• Studying politics.
  • From Pasadena, Calif.
  • Learning to think more critically.
  • A football defensive end.
  • Still finding myself.
  • Addicted to my Blackberry.
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As a scholar-athlete, Walter balances football with his politics studies.

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Walter talks with his advisor, Professor David Gutterman, after class.

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IAM

A Leader On and Off the Field

Whether playing football or helping form a new club, Walter Robinson hones his leadership skills at Willamette.

Why I Value Willamette

"My dad always told me, ‘Work as hard in the classroom as you do on the field,'" Walter Robinson says. "I've definitely done that at Willamette. My teachers have made me step outside my box and think critically, and I know that will help me in the future."

Academic Life

Walter fell in love with politics after taking AP U.S. Government in high school, but it was one of his first politics classes at Willamette that really showed him the possibilities of the discipline.

The class was "Themes in Political Theory," taught by Professor David Gutterman.

"Professor Gutterman helped me rethink and develop a different point of view on political philosophy and on politics in general," Walter says. "All my professors have taught me to think critically and question everything. We even question the questions."

The Future

Walter is still exploring a variety of paths for his future — he is considering business school and a career in sports marketing, or possibly law school to become a policymaker.

Some of his policymaking interest comes from his work mentoring local high school athletes.

By talking with the students about the challenges keeping them from academic success, Walter learns what works and doesn't work in schools — if he becomes a politician, he plans to use this information to help improve education policy.

Beyond the Classroom

As a social guy who knows the importance of networking, Walter has found numerous ways to form new friendships at Willamette.

He worked with other students to re-establish the Black Student Union, he joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and he was elected student body president for his senior year.

But some of his closest bonds are on the football field, where he had the chance as a sophomore to join the Bearcats in the national playoffs.

He says his coaches have taught him much more than football.

"They're teaching us to be successful people who contribute to society. At Division III schools, the athletes are here primarily for the education as well as their love of the game."

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