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Choose KU, Choose the World

Laura Sherrod on location during the television shoot.Dr. Laura Sherrod

By Anastasia Lehneis '17

Dr. Laura Sherrod, a professor of physical sciences at Kutztown University, embarked on a remarkable journey to Colombia to participate in a series soon to be featured on the Discovery Channel. A lover of science, math and the outdoors, the chance to explore the hidden treasures Colombia has to offer was something Dr. Sherrod couldn't pass up.

After realizing the series was missing a female geophysicist, a friend of Sherrod's, who she met through the Environmental and Engineering Geophysics Society, contacted her explaining that Discovery was filming a six-part TV series called "Finding Escobar's Millions," which shadows American adventurers on a quest to discover historical fact from fiction in the South American country.

With just days to plan, Sherrod juggled her academic and personal schedule and boarded a plane in February for a whirlwind adventure.

While Dr. Sherrod won't spoil the outcome of the series before it airs on Discovery, she was able to explain some day-to-day experiences.

During her time in Colombia, there were moments when the team was able to tour various places around the town. On days when filming wasn't taking place, Sherrod would begin her day exercising and facetiming her daughter and family.

"All my interactions with the Colombian people were positive and enjoyable," Sherrod explains.

The opportunity gave Dr. Sherrod the chance to learn more about geophysical surveying, identifying what is underground without having to dig. Not only did she lend her knowledge of geophysics, she was able to gain new insight to bring back to Kutztown.

Dr. Laura SherrodSherrod's academic journeys began at Western Michigan University, where she found a love for geophysics and hydrology during her pursuit of a bachelor's degree and eventually, a Ph.D.

"WMU has a very strong hydrogeology program and a very active, applied geophysics group; my exposure to these during my college years shaped my career path."

In 2009, Sherrod started her role at Kutztown University and remains thankful for how family friendly her experience here has been. When she started working at KU, Sherrod was a single mother whose family lived in Michigan, which made for a big transition.

"The group of faculty in the physical sciences department were warm, welcoming, helpful and supportive; I am very glad to have the opportunity to work with them," she said.

Sherrod also explained how her love for Kutztown University's campus points back to the students, and how "overwhelmingly respectful, caring and helpful" they are.

"We are so fortunate to have such a great student body here," she said.

"Finding Escobar's Millions" will premiere on the Discovery Channel on Nov. 3 at 10 p.m.