Denver Barrows, AB '13
Featured Volunteer Leader
Denver grew up in an Air Force family and attended UChicago as an undergraduate, earning his degree in Public Policy. He currently serves as a Logistics Readiness Officer at the Department of Defense’s largest Aerial Port Squadron (721st APS, Ramstein Air Base, Germany).
Sean: Why did you want to become involved in UCMAG?
Denver: I wanted to establish a relationship with those currently serving in the military and those veterans who had a connection to the university. As an undergraduate in ROTC, it can feel very lonely walking around campus in uniform, but it is important to know that there are alumni who were once in your shoes.
Sean: Where do you see UCMAG going in the next few years?
Denver: We have a great opportunity moving ahead. Personally, I want to see more UChicago grads wearing the uniform. We are the best and brightest and can provide valuable leadership as members of the military. We’ve got great leadership opportunities as undergrads and those skills aren’t used when graduates move on to work out of a cubicle. I’d like to see the UCMAG playing a larger role in recruiting students to join the Armed Forces in the coming years.
Sean: Were you active in any groups on campus related to the military?
Denver: I became involved with UCMAG towards the end of my time at the university, but I was not active in any other groups. I was a member of the varsity swim team which has a few alumni currently serving in the military - I was able to establish great connections that way as well.
Sean: What does your connection to the military mean to you now?
Denver: The military has been a part of my life since before I was born. There is a picture in my apartment of my mother, pregnant with me, commissioning my father; it sits next to a photo of my father commissioning me roughly 23 years later. I never thought I would join the military, but it was the best opportunity I’ve ever been given. It has established an incredible foundation upon which I will build the rest of my life.
Sean: What’s been the best part of the UCMAG experience?
Denver: The people! I’ve been able to connect with so many mentors/advice givers through my experiences with the UCMAG. I regularly talk with Major Tobias Switzer and some of the best advice I’ve ever been given about my interest in the JAG Corps was from Katrina Johnson. If I had never learned about the UCMAG, I would have never made those connections.
Sean: Are you involved in any other Chicago affinity or alumni groups?
Sean: In closing, is there anything else you would like to add?
Denver: Service is a privilege. It’s incredibly unique and challenging every day. Like me, other UChicago graduates will find experiences in the Armed Forces to be an excellent application of their liberal arts schooling. The UCMAG is in a great position to articulate that message and recruit soon-to-be alumni to join our ranks.
Also, this network is invaluable. Reach out to everyone you know who has a connection to the university and the military; encourage them to become a part of the UCMAG and let’s continue pushing our organization to become an even stronger member of the university community.