Lindsey Taylor Robke: Finding a Better Medicine for Our Children
“Don’t let fear or doubt keep you from pursuing your dreams—and don’t let people tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t do something you want to do.”
Lindsey Taylor Robke ‘12 never intended to be a teacher. She enrolled at Transylvania expecting to get a degree in biology and go to pharmacy school. That seemed like an acceptable path for a smart young girl.
But after taking a few classes and changing her major “about 20 times,” it hit her that the most influential people in her life had all been teachers. “It was then that I knew what I really wanted to do with my life,” she says. “I can’t imagine a nobler profession than teaching, or a more fulfilling one.”
Her interaction with the children at the East Seventh Street Center/Kids Café, where she regularly volunteered while at Transylvania, cemented her resolve to get into teaching. Dealing with such a diverse community was new to her. "At first, it made me unsure of myself, and uncomfortable, but something pushed me to persevere." The connections she made with the children there continue to affect her in intangible ways.
Robke will enter her chosen profession as a third grade teacher at Picadome Elementary in Lexington. Even in a tight job market, she was offered the position immediately after graduation. “Kudos to the Transylvania career development office for helping me prepare for my interviews,” she says.
She grew up in Independence, Ky., and attended the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program during the summer before her senior year of high school. “I was fortunate to have not one but two Transylvania professors, Greg Partain (music) and Frank Russell (history), in my focus area and my seminar,” she says. “I still credit them for helping me open my mind.”
Once she arrived at Transylvania, Robke found additional mentors who further opened her mind in ways she had never imagined. “I remember religion professor Paul Jones telling us to be conscious of our lenses; religion professor Carole Barnsley taught me about Islam, colonialism, and even mangoes; and I can’t even begin to speak of the impact of my education professors,” she says. “They have empowered me to go into the world and to teach authentically, wholly, and effectively. They’ve taught me how to be. Professors Tiffany Wheeler and Angela Hurley especially helped me to see the value in myself, even when I felt fearful or doubtful of my ability to teach.”
Robke credits Transylvania’s liberal arts curriculum with exposing her to a variety of topics and thoughts that help her look at problems and issues broadly and intelligently.
“I can’t say enough about the importance of being able to draw connections, to see the larger picture, and to consider multiple angles,” she says. “My liberal arts background has helped me solve my problems more effectively, both in the classroom and the real world. In short, it has taught me to think.”