While Barton students aspire to reach for the stars, they quickly learn that it takes hard work, determination, and a plan to meet the challenges that come with lofty goals. Luis Reyes, a Class of 2020 graduate, knows all about meeting challenges and turning them into opportunities. This native of Ocala, Fla., accepted a new job as an Operations Analyst for Morgan Stanley at its headquarters office in New York City.

Reyes’ hard work and determination clearly paid off with big dividends — a successful college career and an exciting new job waiting for him after graduation in May. So, what’s been his path to success?

An accomplished swimmer, Reyes joined the fledgling Barton swim team in August 2016 as the team’s first signed student-athlete. He dived into college life, earning his rank in collegiate swim meets with the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly, while also proving himself adept at the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle and occasionally competing in the 200-meter individual medley. This Barton Bulldog earned the Sportsmanship Award his freshman year, and he served as team captain for four years.

Choosing to be in a brand-new program came with more responsibility, especially as a first-year student,” shares Reyes. “As a captain of our inaugural team, it was my job to help establish our team culture, recruit teammates, and ensure that we work with our coaches to build a strong, reputable program. The additional responsibilities allowed me to empower my teammates to be the best version of themselves in and out of the water. Leading by example, ensuring academic success, encouraging to perform, and assisting in the college experience are ways I’ve contributed to my team. Since my first year, our team has continued to double in size, making it 22, and 43, respectively and my leadership influenced my team to win our back-to-back conference championships in 2019 and 2020.”

“Luis was a leader on our team from the beginning,” notes head swimming coach Tyler Zieglar. “As a member of our inaugural team, he played a big role in creating a team culture—developing a strong locker room chemistry and establishing a team camaraderie. He represented the swim team very well on campus and in the community. We counted on him competitively throughout his swimming career, and we were fortunate to have his leadership for four years. He was very involved on campus, in the classroom, and, of course, on our swim team. We were proud to have Luis as part of the swim team’s first graduating class this spring.”

While Reyes knew from the beginning that he wanted to swim for Barton, he wasn’t sure about his major. Enrolling as an undeclared major, Reyes spent some serious time considering his options and seeking advice from Ron Eggers, dean of the School of Business, and Teresa Parker, associate professor of instructional technology. Reyes’ goal of one day owning his own business was the catalyst to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with minors in Accounting and Spanish. Little did he realize that this weighty decision would eventually lead him to New York.

“Luis always had a ready smile and encouragement for everyone on campus,” shares Ron Eggers, Dean of the School of Business at Barton College. “His positive attitude and style resulted in his election as vice president in North Carolina Phi Beta Lambda. He enthusiastically completed a study abroad program and two internships, both leading him into post graduate opportunities. I consider him so much more than a very successful student and athlete. I consider him a friend.”

To further support his academic pursuits, he participated in the Honors Program and completed three internships. The first and third internship, during the summers following his sophomore and junior years, allowed him to serve as a summer finance intern with the American Express Company in New York. Reyes’ second opportunity was an internship abroad during the fall semester of his junior year, serving as a finance and IT intern for Hotcourses Ltd. and IDP Company in London.

“My internship in London prepared me for my new position in a variety of ways,” Reyes continues. “The program allowed me to showcase my flexibility and adaptability as I performed in scenarios that were foreign to me. Co-leading an office closure and assisting in the marketing and human resources departments sharpened my communication, problem solving, and analytical skills. Learning to mitigate problems, working with a diverse group of colleagues, and figuring out how to perform a task efficiently empowered me to be prepared for future endeavors.”

In addition to academics and sports, Reyes also excelled in leadership roles on campus during his Barton Experience. Reyes served as a peer leader, an orientation leader, a resident assistant, and a customer service specialist for the Office of Academic and Career Planning. Additional leadership roles included treasurer for the Student Government Association, vice president of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and vice president for the Student Philanthropy Society. During his sophomore year, he was named Greek Man of the Year, and during his junior year he was named Greek Academic Man of the Year and served as a Junior Marshal. While at Barton, he was also inducted into the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society.

Reyes embraced his Barton Experience, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration (summa cum laude), and he attributes participation and hard work to his collegiate success. “I value my Barton Experience because I was given so many opportunities,” he shares. “Faculty put their trust in me, even when I sometimes did not always trust myself, and that made all the difference. I will always remember their support.”