Singing the praises of Lynn

Parent donor applauds the Institute for Achievement and Learning

Karen Barbash is a mom on a mission. She feels it’s her duty to tell other parents about Lynn University, especially about the work of its Institute for Achievement and Learning.

“If I can help someone be aware of how Lynn changes lives, then I will get on my soapbox and tell people exactly why I am so enthusiastic about this university,” she said.

Evan and Ben Hirschman, Barbash’s bright, popular sons, had some learning challenges that made academics a struggle in their Maryland high school. Evan, five years older than Ben, resisted the idea of labeling himself a challenged student. He enrolled at the University of Arizona, seeking none of the academic support he’d been given in public school. After a disappointing start, the family heard about Lynn, and Evan transferred.

“It was life-transforming for him,” Barbash said. “He was excited by the classes, loved his professors. I get goosebumps just thinking about the change in him. For the first time, he loved school and his self-confidence soared.”

The institute’s staff and faculty helped Evan discover his strengths, and they used technology and academic strategies to help him overcome his weaknesses.

“He graduated in 2015 with a business degree,” Barbash said. “He has done very well using his excellent people skills as a pharmaceutical sales rep. He’s absolutely thriving.”

Ben is now a junior at Lynn, studying digital media and journalism. He hopes for a career in sports journalism and is an intern at Sports Immortals, a sports memorabilia museum and gallery.

“It was his academic coach at the institute who noticed how articulate he was,” Barbash said. “She suggested he look into a communications major, and he absolutely loves it.”

The institute coached Ben so well, in fact, that he is no longer in the program, a true testament to its success.

Karen Barbash performing for a toddler

Soapbox or not, Barbash is a born storyteller. She worked as a senior environmental consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, but after Ben was born, she wanted a change. When she took the boys to a music program for children—and realized she could do it better—she started Sing-a-long with Karen, a musical mommy-and-me program in the metro Washington, D.C. area.

“Honestly, I expected it to be very part-time,” said Barbash, a classically trained guitarist. “But it took off, and I was suddenly earning more in weekly classes and special events with babies and toddlers than I was at Booz Allen.”

With one son graduated and another enjoying a successful junior year, Barbash and her husband, Barry Barbash, partner with the law firm of Willkie, Farr & Gallagher LLP and co-head of the firm’s asset management department, enthusiastically support Lynn’s annual fund and have hosted admission recruitment events in the Washington, D.C., area for the last three years.

“I wish I could host 30 a year,” she said. “I want to tell every parent and every student who is on the fence between two schools that Lynn will change their lives.”

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ASSAF Courtyard
ASSAF courtyard during Spring Break 2019.
Charlotte Jerdak, student
Ross College of Education students
Ross College of Education students enjoy having class in the amphitheater outside the new Christine E. Lynn Center.
Jennifer Lesh, faculty member
Lynn Hockey team
Lynn's ice hockey team captured the East Florida Collegiate Hockey Conference title, beating Flagler in the finals 5-0.
Theodore Curtis, faculty member
Watson Institute master course with guest facilitator, Ronald Porter.
Weekly Watson Institute master course with guest facilitator, Ronald Porter.
Ja'dan Johnson, student
Prospective student with family posing in front of Fighting Knights cutouts.
Prospective student and family enjoying their tour of Lynn University.
Saylor Rogers, student
Christine E. Lynn University Center
Welcome to the Christine E. Lynn University Center.
Charlotte Jerdak, staff member

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