"When I came to FHSU, I had to learn computing from scratch," said Roth Chapin, Oberlin graduate student. But after three semesters of leveling courses, he has now decided that computers are his career of choice.
In addition to his bachelor's degree in business and two professional certifications from Cisco, he plans to graduate in two years with a master's degree in information networking and telecommunication and computer science. His knowledge of computers didn't come naturally though.
"The first semester here I took an Intro to Computing class where I learned to use Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point," he said.
Chapin graduated from Baylor University, Waco, TX, in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing. At the time, Baylor had one computer lab on campus and Chapin was required only to take one computer course for his degree.
Upon graduation, he went to work for the Venture Corporation in Houston until 1992, when he moved to Oberlin to be near his family. Jobs around Oberlin were scarce for a college graduate, so eventually he went to work for Wal-Mart in McCook, NE, knowing that eventually he would return to college.
Chapin began saving money to pay for tuition, and cost became a major deciding factor when choosing a university to attend in Kansas.
"Quite frankly, FHSU is the best educational value in Kansas," he said. "I considered the University of Kansas before returning to school, but after their dramatic increase in tuition I would have had to quit after only two semesters for financial reasons."
Chapin enrolled in leveling courses in the spring 2002 semester at FHSU to decide where to focus his efforts in graduate school. He originally thought he'd be interested in software engineering, but soon found out that it wasn't for him. He then started taking courses in programming, networking and computer science. This was when he found his niche.
"Science will lead to a point where it fails every time, and there is something about that that fascinates me," he said.
In comparing his experiences at Baylor University with those at FHSU, Chapin found the relatively small classes to be beneficial.
"It's much more of a one-on-one and interactive setting that promotes communication and understanding," he said. "How much can you learn, and what type of questions can you ask if you're sitting in an auditorium with 200 other students?"
Upon graduation, Chapin plans to pursue a career in international wireless networking or computing. He wants to look into the integration of new technology with the Internet, cell phones and other forms of already existing technology. His hopes are to work in Canada or somewhere in western Europe.