Alumni Business - Shane Scarbrough
Owner and Founder | Dark Elf Dice
1993 | English
Why did you decide to attend UW-Parkside?
After graduating from high school, I wanted to further my education. Back then, I wasn’t exactly certain what I wanted to do with my life or what career path I wanted to take (a situation a lot of high school graduates find themselves in!).
I was the first member of my family to attend college, and I considered a few schools in the UW system, but Parkside was the best choice. From my very first visit, I was immediately impressed with the campus, the undergraduate programs offered, and the amazing support and guidance I received from faculty and staff as I was making my decision. Everything was exciting and new, and UW-Parkside was the best choice to make my academic experience meaningful and help me discover who I was meant to be.
Favorite UW-Parkside memory?
I have so many great memories, but in my senior year, I had the opportunity to be part of Parkside’s volunteer program. Volunteering allowed me to apply my academic skills and knowledge outside of the university setting for the very first time and gave me the chance to serve the community. I wrote and designed a recycling brochure for the City of Racine Health Department and was offered a paid internship shortly thereafter. The internship turned into a full-time health inspector job, and I was eventually promoted to Director of Environmental Health. I worked for the City of Racine for 10 years before changing course and starting my own business. None of this would have been possible without the volunteer program and the support I was given by UW-Parkside.
How did your UW-Parkside experience impact your professional or personal life?
My experience at UW-Parkside has made my life richer and better in so many ways. I actually met my wife Janette in a creative writing class. We’ve been married and the best of friends for over 32 years and have raised three amazing daughters. We’re now grandparents, and I’m so grateful each and every day that Janette walked into class late. Little did I know that morning would be the single most important day of my life.
Who has had the biggest influence on your life or your career and why?
Janette has actually been the biggest influence on my life and career. With her encouragement and support, I left my public health profession, and we started our own business together. Dark Elf Dice is a family-operated endeavor (our daughters and son-in-law work for us), and we’re now one of the oldest and most trusted tabletop roleplaying game dice and accessory businesses on the internet. Janette’s also a UW-Parkside graduate, and together we make an outstanding team.
Advice for students who want to be entrepreneurs?
As I’ve grown older, I’ve discovered that life unfolds in surprising ways. When I began my academic studies, the thought of being an entrepreneur never crossed my mind. I was more interested in the thrill of learning and personal discovery. At Parkside, I was exposed to a variety of classes and social activities that aided my personal and educational development. This in turn gave me the skill set needed to succeed in creating and operating my own business.
My best advice for students wanting to be entrepreneurs is this: challenge yourself daily and expand your scope of knowledge. Even if you’re working towards a business degree, don’t neglect philosophy classes, history classes, and other coursework that will expand and enrich your educational development. Get involved with activities on campus and become as well-rounded socially and academically as you possibly can. UW-Parkside is the perfect institution to help you grow in new and exciting ways. The experiences you gain will help later in life when you create your own business.