When he took the job at Bowdoin 41 years ago, Isaac Henry Wing Professor of Mathematics William Barker probably wasn’t expecting to one day have his own son as a co-worker.

Assistant Professor of Computer Science Sean Barker returned to Brunswick three years ago and joined the faculty and his father as a tenure-track professor.

Originally from the New York City area, William Barker began his career at Bowdoin after going to graduate school at MIT and doing a brief instructorship at Dartmouth College. He has worked at the College ever since.

“I almost like every aspect of Bowdoin,” said William Barker. “I’m really, extremely pleased that I’ve been able to spend my career here. I think the faculty, my colleagues and my students are great.”

Growing up, Sean Barker frequently spent time on campus.

“I would often come and meet my dad in his office,” said Sean Barker. “His office was in Adams, somewhere high up, I remember, because I went up the stairs and I recall a couple of times I would use the computer lab at Bowdoin.”

Sean Barker’s interest in computers began early­­­—his dad gave him an old Mac laptop to use when he was three­­­—but he hadn’t originally intended to go into teaching.

“For quite a number of years, I thought I would go into industry because I always liked building things, but as a graduate student I had the opportunity to teach a couple classes at UMass Amherst and I really enjoyed that,” said Sean Barker. “It was relatively late in my time as a student that I decided I wanted to go into academia.”

When Sean Barker began looking at various liberal arts schools to start his teaching career, Bowdoin happened to have an opening, and he and his wife  decided to move closer to his family.

Both Sean Barker and William Barker see many benefits of being able to work with one another in a professional setting. Although they don’t often get lunch or have meetings with each other, working in Searles allows them to see each other with some regularity.

“What’s nice is that I get to interact here with him more as an equal colleague,” said William Barker. “It’s not that we meet everyday, nor that we are in the same department. That could have been a little bit difficult. He’s making his career here and he should be free to do that without any of my interference. It is nice to interact with him in this professional way.”

For Sean Barker, his dad acts as a source of guidance and advice on campus.

“Mostly, it’s just nice to have someone who has been at Bowdoin much longer than I have. So it’s nice to ask questions to someone who has been around long enough to have more of a detailed view of the ins and outs of how things work than I do as a relatively new faculty member,” said Sean Barker.

In terms of teaching styles, Sean Barker may be more organized, while his dad brings a level of freneticism to the classroom.

“I know that he has a bit of a reputation for being energetic,” said Sean Barker. “I think he’s known for being a bit off the walls sometimes. I think his style of instruction might be a bit higher energy than mine, but that’s a hard bar to reach.”