A Family Joins the Bantam Community

In recent weeks, Keith Barksdale P’24 has been spending long days onsite in New Jersey while people are tested for coronavirus antibodies. The CEO of Power Analytics has redirected his data analysis company to pioneer new ways to track and test for the coronavirus antibody. His daughter, Peyton Barksdale ’24, has been joining him and helping out on the frontlines of this work.

Peyton Barksdale ’24 (in white) assisting in testing efforts.

The Barksdale family is excited to be joining the Bantam community. Barksdale said his daughter’s choice to attend Trinity came with her characteristic certainty. From their first visit, she made her intentions clear. He recalls her saying “It’s my number one,” on the drive home. Even after visiting other schools, she never wavered on Trinity.

The certainty came in part from the family’s very first interactions on campus—from an excellent tour guide in admissions on the first visit, to the friendly and knowledgeable coaches from the women’s lacrosse team—it just felt right. Not to mention Trinity’s global health program, which appealed to Peyton because she wants to be a physician. She took the lead on applying, leaving the rest of the family only to wait for news from the admissions office. When Peyton received the email that she was accepted to Trinity, the emotion and excitement in her face told Barksdale all he needed to know. As he says, “You’ll end up where you’re supposed to be.”

Keith Barksdale P’24 being interviewed at one of the rapid antibody testing sites.

In his eyes, the family’s first few months as Bantams made that even more clear. Trinity connections have made their way into his life in serendipitous ways since Peyton decided to accept the admissions offer. For example, Barksdale has had a longtime mentor-mentee relationship with Gennaro Leo ’07. What he didn’t know about his friend was that he was a Trinity graduate, and had even met his spouse at Trinity. Barksdale later met even more Trinity alumni by chance, finding delight in the tremendous breadth of the Trinity network, and the entrepreneurial spirit he sees in many of its graduates.

Moreover, Barksdale is a firm believer in the value of the liberal arts. In college, he studied English, History, and Spanish. He has seen the liberal arts work for him on Wall Street, and in data analysis. “Coming from a liberal arts background, you’re going to be creative and really do things that force you to learn things and communicate things…You can create the best product in the world, but that doesn’t mean anything if you can’t communicate it,” he said.

Barksdale believes that liberal arts studies are important because they allow generalists to focus their passions into a specialty, and gives them the ability to take a larger perspective when problem solving. For example, he saw opportunity in the systems being used for antibody testing and pivoted his company’s focus to help solve these problems. “We just started to customize the system. We built our method around it.” He found more efficient ways to use the data. Their first day of testing, they screened 700 people, 10% of what the state had already done up to that point.

Barksdale is adamant that the liberal arts gives people the ability to take on challenges in a new way. “If you don’t look at things in a broad view, and you’re only focusing on your own lane, then you’re going to miss things.” He said this has translated into his leadership strategy as well. Open-minded thinking leads to solving problems. The family will continue the tradition of innovation and the liberal arts, as they embark on their four-year Trinity tradition and immerse themselves into what it means to be a Bantam family.