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Scott Roberts Reflects on Kalamazoo College Experience

Scott Roberts in the pool photo with a pull quote from the story.

Facing diverse challenges in academics and athletics at Kalamazoo College prepared Scott Roberts '19 for his career as a software engineer for IBM.

The Round Rock, Texas, native (Cedar Ridge High School) works with distributed systems to improve high-performance computing tasks.

"The technology stack I work on has a lot of applications such as large scale business analytics, natural language understanding, or cancer research," he said. "K prepared me for this by exposing me to a fast-paced, multi-disciplinary approach to education that trained me to constantly adapt to new and diverse challenges.

"This is especially helpful as an engineer because the problems I work to solve don't have solutions and come from all parts of the deployment spectrum."

The classroom was not the only place Roberts was challenged. He swam the freestyle and breaststroke events for the Hornet swimming and diving team and was a member of the 200 free relay team that finished third at the 2019 MIAA Championships. He was also on the MIAA Academic Honor Roll all four years.

"Being a student-athlete at K pushed me to constantly empathize with those around me and consider varying needs and approaches of individuals.," he said. "It made me a better person by making me more emotionally capable."

His liberal arts background helped him "better understand the problems from the ground up to create novel approaches instead of simply trying to tweak an existing solution to fix something," the computer science and business major said.

Roberts said the professors at K pushed him to do his best work by encouragement when he was doubting, help when he was struggling, and challenges when he was ready for them.

"Their investment guided the formation of my identity," he said. "Without them, I wouldn't be the person I am today, let alone half the engineer."

Kalamazoo College prepares its graduates to better understand, live successfully within, and provide enlightened leadership to a richly diverse and increasingly complex world. The College's 1,467 students come from 39 states and 28 countries. Through the K-Plan, Kalamazoo College provides an individualized education that integrates rigorous academics with life-changing experiential learning opportunities, including study abroad, career internships and externships, civic engagement and social justice work. K's student-faculty ratio of 13-to-1 allows for small classes and personal attention to individual needs; student-faculty interaction goes beyond the classroom to include working together on research projects, college committees, and community projects. At Kalamazoo College, we do more in four years so students can do more in a lifetime.