Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The people side of life always has been important to Kevin Shroth.

From growing up in a racially diverse middle class neighborhood of south Chicago to continuing his academic career as a Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) scholar at The University of Iowa, Shroth has had no problem building friendships.

Shroth, a UI alumnus of Native American ancestry, now is using his interpersonal skills as a faculty member in communications at Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette, IN, where he began teaching this semester.

“It’s enjoyable for me to sit down and read a piece of work that a student has worked on, and tell them what they need to do to get better,” said Shroth, who earned his Ph.D. in communication studies in May 2009. He also received his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the UI as well.

“It’s an intellectual exercise for me in terms of how can I identify what went wrong and what went right and explain it to them in a way that they’ll understand.”

Shroth was awarded a presidential fellowship by the Graduate College, and was a participant in the SROP program in 1997 and 1998.

The SROP program provides promising underrepresented undergraduate students with in-depth research experiences while working with a faculty member. The program is administered by the Graduate College’s Office of Graduate Ethnic Inclusion (OGEI).

“(The OGEI staff) helped create a warm and inviting environment,” Shroth said. “The people side of any business is really important. They are always very helpful. They went out of their way to help get funding for an undergraduate to present at a conference. Typically there is no funding for an undergraduate to present at a conference, especially in the humanities.”

Shroth’s mother is Native American and a member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations in South Dakota.

Shroth was raised by his mother in Chicago and earned a scholarship to attend The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, which had a diverse student population representing such countries as Pakistan, India, and Japan during his time at the school.