With majors in both English and political science, Barnwell graduated summa cum laude, earning the highest academic award bestowed by Huntingdon College, the Margaret Read Scholarship Medal. His involvement spanned across the spectrum of campus life, with leadership roles that included charter president of the Collegiate Exchange Club; president of College Democrats; editor-in-chief of the College literary magazine, The Prelude; and class president during his freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years. Barnwell had an ensemble role in the Huntingdon Drama Club production of “Months on End” Iin 2013. He was inducted into the honor societies Sigma Tau Delta (English), for which he served as president; Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership), for which he served as president; Alpha Beta (senior scholarship); and Phi Eta Sigma (freshman scholarship).
He was recognized with the Political Science Award in 2010, 2011, and 2012; the Jane Williams Academic Award in 2010; the Political Activism Award in 2013; and the Joseph Dean Memorial Award in English in 2013. Barnwell interned with Project Vote Smart in 2012; Envision Montgomery 2020 in 2011; the Alabama Democratic Party in 2011; and the Business Council of Alabama in 2013. His profile is included in the 2013 edition of Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. Following graduation, he traveled and studied in Paris with Huntingdon students and faculty through the Huntingdon Plan.