Humans of Parkland: Isabel Scarborough

Photo provided by Isabel Scarborough

Photo provided by Isabel Scarborough

EvyJo Compton

Staff Writer

Isabel Scarborough is an associate professor in anthropology at Parkland. She got her doctorate in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Illinois.

Scarborough says she settled down in Champaign-Urbana because of the atmosphere.

“I just love Champaign-Urbana,” Scarborough says. “It is small enough to be comfortable but also offers much of the cultural life of larger cities because of the university. On the other hand, it isn’t small enough so that everyone knows everyone, as I still meet new people every day.”

She chose to work at Parkland because it felt like a great place for her.

“Parkland was a good fit,” Scarborough says. “It’s very enriching. I work with the other professors in the Social Science department, students of a variety of majors, and meet different people every day.”

Scarborough originally went to college at a small university, which she says is part of why she chose to come to Parkland.

“I went to an all-girls college for my undergraduate degree on the East Coast,” Scarborough says. “The name of it is Bryn Mawr College. [It] was small, just like Parkland. It inspired me to look for a job at a small teaching-centered college,”

One of the reasons Scarborough enjoys small colleges is the high-level communication that students and faculty can have.

“There was a lot of one on one with the professors and students and I wanted to look for a place that also had this constant communication between faculty and students, something which I found at Parkland,” Scarborough says.

Scarborough says she loves to teach because of these interactions she has with students.

“I love teaching,” Scarborough says. “I just love being able to work with the students one on one and being able to talk about everything in my discipline.”

Scarborough fell in love with anthropology while in college when she took a class that inspired her to change her major. Her childhood also helped to inspire her to go into anthropology.

“We did a lot of traveling when I was young,” Scarborough says. “As my father worked for State Department. I have an accent, which I acquired while growing up in Latin America. Being bi-cultural and bilingual, I wanted to continue to travel and be in contact with other cultures and anthropology was perfect for that.”

Along with teaching anthropology, Scarborough is a very active member of the community.

“I’m on the Diversity Committee here at Parkland,” Scarborough says, “I am also on one of the executive boards at the University of Illinois for the Ethnography of the University Initiative where I represent Parkland College. I am also very active in the national anthropology association; it keeps me current with everything that’s going on in the world. It’s a very exciting time to be an anthropologist; there’s almost a new discovery every week.”

One program Scarborough has come to appreciate while working at Parkland, is the Pathway Program.

“My son was in the Pathway Program,” she says. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for students. They can attend the University of Illinois while fulfilling all their Gen Eds at Parkland. It amazes me to see the students juggling two schools, and still be able to do everything else college students do. I teach one of the First Year Experience classes for Pathway students and I get to meet and know a lot of them there. It’s great.”

Scarborough hopes to continue to meet students at Parkland and work with them for many years to come.