Student Profile - Will Robbins
Political science major leads to great experiences for Will Robbins
Lamar University’s proximity to home and good academic reputation made it an attractive choice for Will Robbins when he was deciding where to begin his college education. “It turned out to be the best thing ever,” he said.
After graduating from Monsignor Kelly High School in Beaumont, Robbins planned to attend Lamar for a year, get some college experience and then transfer to another school in a bigger city. “I thought it would be great to stay home at first and get a little experience with college,” he explained. “But once I got to Lamar, I loved it, and I never left.”
Robbins considers Lamar University as more than just his hometown school. Robbins’ grandfather was the chemistry-physics department chair for many years, and both of his parents graduated from Lamar. “I grew up basically on the Lamar campus,” said Robbins. “But to me, it is much more than a local university. The people and humanities are great; I never would have imagined all the opportunities Lamar could give.”
As a kid, Robbins always enjoyed movies about presidents and political leaders. “The more and more I learned about it, the more fascinated I got,” Robbins said. Majoring in political science was, for him, a natural choice. He also decided to add a minor in history. “In my opinion, you can’t really understand the politics of a nation without knowing its history,” he said.
Studying at Lamar University has given him extraordinary and unique opportunities that he had not previously considered. Robbins traveled to Europe in May 2011 for a study abroad program offered by Lamar. He first spent a week in Rome with a friend and then moved on to Greece and Turkey with two Lamar professors. The excursion was credited as history and political science classes. Robbins learned the impact those cultures had on the world and also the history of ancient buildings like the Parthenon, Hagia Sophia and the ruins of Ephesus. “It was great to be there, on the spot,” Robbins said. “I also spent a lot of time interacting with the locals.” He is grateful that Lamar gave him this experience. “I had friends in other universities who wanted to study abroad, but the school wouldn’t help to pay for the trip,” he said. “Because Lamar is a smaller school, students feel special and more taken care of.” He thinks of Lamar University as similar to a big family.
A year after his European trip, Robbins left for Washington, D.C., for an internship with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. “I was supposed to do this internship only during the summer session for my degree,” he said. “But the legislative director actually asked me to stay. I ended up interning for nine months. I learned on the job, and I got involved. This was an amazing experience.” Robbins got an up-close view of how this country runs by working on taxes, budgets and Social Security issues and by preparing speeches with Hutchison. “Now, I love all those things because I got to understand really what is involved.” He said he applied the concepts and political skills that Lamar’s professors taught him and he felt prepared. “I learned the theories at Lamar in order to be able to practice them out there, in the real world,” he said. “I knew what I was going to go through.”
Along with his academic pursuits in and out of the classroom, Robbins has enjoyed his involvement in student organizations at Lamar University. He has been the president pro tem of the Student Senate of Lamar University for almost two years. Also, he is an active member of the Circle K International and one of the leaders of the Catholic Student Center and the Lamar Adoration Community Theology and Service (ACTS) retreats. Those activities helped him to make new friends and deepen his faith. Robbins credits his community service, leadership development and friendships made through organizations with helping him grow, develop his personality and improve his social skills.
His future goal is to find a job in the field he loves. He would like to work one or two years to really get an idea of the job he wants to do and maybe later, apply for graduate school. “I have been talking to a couple of law schools and MBA programs, and they all recommend some experience post-graduation,” he said. “I definitely got experience at Lamar to be able to work for a while in the real world. We will see after that.” He also plans to return to Europe to visit Spain, Portugal, France, Scotland and Germany, where his family comes from.
Robbins’ path toward his bachelor degree has been eventful. Whether in a classroom learning, visiting other countries or completing internships, Robbins has gained a great deal of knowledge and built strong relationships through his time at Lamar.