Get to know Mercer University‘s faculty members a little better through our Faculty Flashback series. Some of our professors will be sharing personal and professional details of their lives in a Q&A as well as then-and-now photos from today and their college days.
Dr. Jennifer Barkin, associate professor of community medicine and obstetrics and gynecology in the School of Medicine, has worked at Mercer for eight years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in statistics from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s degree in biostatistics and Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh.
1. What advice, related to life or college, would you offer students at Mercer now?
Surround yourself with the most talented colleagues and mentors, and never let your ego get in the way. They will make you better and stronger, and you will discover that you have your own unique talents. Some of the worst errors in judgment are instigated by the ego. Be selfish and surround yourself with the best.
Take time to read the landscape. This world is a political arena and relationships matter — and so water cooler conversations have real value. Or, as Dr. Seuss would say, “Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”
2. What is something you wish you knew in college that you know now?
That things often work themselves out with time and space.
3. What made you want to join the team at Mercer?
The recruiting process, the facilities, the capability of doing clinical research with the hospital affiliations and the potential to build my research program here. I was very impressed, though I knew little about Macon at the time.
4. What do you love most about your work?
The topic of my research, of course, and the fluidity. At Mercer, I feel like I have room to move and build. I am creative in the way that I work and get frustrated when I feel constrained. I have never felt constrained here.
5. What are some of the projects/accomplishments you’ve been most proud of in your career so far?
The extensive national and international collaborative network I have built, the launch of the website for the Barkin Index of Maternal Functioning (BIMF), testifying before the Georgia House of Representatives, my Board of Directors work with Postpartum Support International, the BIMF’s inclusion in the clinical trials for Brexanalone (Zulresso), directing the MUSM/DPH academic health department, and my bright, extremely productive mentees.
6. What is your favorite spot on Mercer’s campus?
The green space in the front of campus near the administration building and, of course, the medical school!
7. What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of work?
Reading to my kids, exercise, bird-watching, travelling. I’m not much interested in household chores, and my research program is my baby.