Where this Falcon Flew: Paul Garbarino

by: Alyissa Horn '21

It was only last year that Paul Garbarino was finishing up his dual degree here at Bowling Green State University. Paul’s four years on campus would help shape him to become the person he is today: a strong, driven leader who is pursuing a Master’s Degree while simultaneously working full-time for the Department of Justice. In 2015, Paul was a first year student walking around campus and navigating through what would become four of the most influential years of his life.

Everyone has a reason for choosing BGSU, and Paul’s was the University’s Division 1 men’s cross country program. Paul says he always wanted to feel like he was a part of whatever university he attended, and he wanted to feel like he was contributing to a meaningful cause. Prior to Paul’s class from 2008 to 2014, the program has placed last in the Mid-American Conference. But when the Paul’s class of freshmen joined the team, the program began to completely turn around.  Paul lead as team captain in 2016, and his senior year the men’s cross country team went on to be MAC runner-ups.

Paul’s involvements at Bowling Green extended far beyond athletics. He started his first year as a broadcast journalism major with a minor in marketing. He later changed his focus to multiplatform journalism while changing his minor to economics. During his first semester at BGSU he found himself sitting in an Introduction to American Government class, and it was here that he found a passion for policy and government. Political science ends up becoming his second major while he tacks on another minor in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law (PPEL).

Paul has a favorite piece of advice to share: get involved. While academics are obviously important, he believes the opportunities here at BGSU are unparalleled compared to universities elsewhere. Paul would end up working as the Managing Editor of the BG News, leading the Undergraduate Student Government as the Speaker of the Senate, consulting prospective students as an Honors Ambassador, winning top awards with the University’s Model Arab League and Model European Union teams, and leading the cross country team to place second in the MAC.

This advice echoes true for Honors students, as well. Paul stresses to Honors students to make sure they’re getting involved with student organizations. He believes the critical thinking classes are among the most important ones he took, but students should not rely solely on their coursework as a means to success. For his Honors Project, Paul helped to create the City of Bowling Green Job Fair; he says without his involvements, he would have never had this inspiration. He says these organizations and opportunities on campus are quintessential to fueling the passions behind students’ honors projects.

It was a job fair, similar to this one, that paved the path for Paul’s current career with the Department of Justice. In 2017, he attended the Public Service Career Fair, and it was here he met with a representative from the DOJ who made him aware of their internship program. Paul ended up applying for the internship and receiving an offer. In the summer of 2018, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked at the Department of Justice’s Headquarters. Before this moment, he would not have seen himself working in law enforcement, but he says he absolutely loved working for the DOJ. Every day while in the Nation’s Capital, Paul found himself immersed in American governmental policy, and he fell in love with the career.

Following graduation in 2019, Paul accepted a job with the DOJ, and he is now working for them full time while simultaneously attending the University of Detroit Mercy to obtain a Master’s Degree in Economics. He hopes that, within a year, he will be applying to be an FBI Special Agent. Further down the road, Paul has not ruled out furthering his education with a law degree and/or PhD. And potentially pursuing a career as a university professor and public office as an elected official.

When asked about his favorite memory at Bowling Green, Paul struggled to choose just one of the countless memories that the university gave him. His answer ended up echoing one from a question that he had been asked when he was nominated as one of Bowling Green’s Top Ten Outstanding Seniors. The question was: “You return back to campus in 10 years with family and/or friends. What is the one location you take them to and why?” Rather than well-known places, Paul says he would take them to an old bathroom on the west side of the Doyt Perry stadium that once was considered the Men’s Cross Country Team’s locker room. While the team has since upgraded locker rooms, Paul says this cramped bathroom with cubbies is the place that best reflects his memories of going to practice every day, joining his teammates who became lifelong friends, and defying expectations to turn something that was nothing into something great. Paul says there is no other place that could tell more of a story from his time here at Bowling Green than that old locker room, and he chose this as his favorite memory because it was this team that brought him to BGSU that would help sculpt him into the person he is today.

Paul was a student who took advantage of every opportunity that Bowling Green State University and the Honors College had to offer him. The greatest thing about this university, according to Paul, is that you can be a big fish in a little pond. That is exactly what Paul did with his four years, and today, his successes echo how true that statement is.

Updated: 10/24/2019 12:12PM