Office Space: Katherine Loh Ph.D.

Sep 13, 2022

by Tangela Walker-Craft

What do Star Wars movies, chickens, and lacrosse all have in common? 

You can find elements of each in the Florida Southern College office of Dr. Katherine Loh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Communication, NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, and member of the World Lacrosse Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Commission.

The self-proclaimed “unofficial chicken lady,” Star Wars movie fan, and teacher of a “Top Ten Class to take at FSC” can be found in the Chatlos Building, office F.  She has occupied her current office for five of the 10 years that she’s been a FSC faculty member.  Her neighbors in Chatlos are Dr. Mike Trice in the office to the left of her doorway and Dr. Alex Ortiz in the office to the right.

Dr. Loh teaches several courses that satisfy general education requirements at FSC.  Those courses include Communication 1500 (Fundamentals of Speech), Communication 2270 (Intercultural Communication), and Communication 3200 (Persuasion).  She also teaches Communication 3210 (Organizational Communications), Communications 3900 (Special Topics), and Honors 1701 (Honors Speech).

If you have the pleasure of visiting Dr. Loh in her office, you will see photos of her sons, Ben and Alex.  But what you will probably notice first is her chicken art.  There is a wall dedicated to a display of whimsical drawings of chickens.  Dr. Loh developed a friendship with an artist on Facebook who creates barnyard art.  At her request, he customized a chicken drawing with a caption especially for her.

The customized photo caption came about as the result of a discussion that took place in one of Dr. Loh’s classes.  She and her students were discussing the fact that most cultures have a dish that is similar to tacos.  She referenced the Chinese cuisine, bao, also known as steamed buns or baozi.  It is most traditionally made with a pork mixture packed into a soft bun. Dr. Loh’s comment, “Anything can be taco-ed,” resulted in so much amusement during the class discussion, that she asked her friend to create a drawing including those words.

“My class just cracked up,” Dr. Loh said, remembering her students’ reaction to her comment. “I need to memorialize that phrase.”

A fondness for chickens preceded Dr. Loh’s office art.  An attempt to raise chickens fostered a love for the feathered friends. “When I moved to Florida, we moved out into the countryside,” Dr. Loh said.  “I’m like, wouldn’t it be cool to have chickens.”

In 2016, her pets were even featured on The Cado Show, a student produced YouTube show. The chickens were originally gifted to Dr. Loh by a friend, as baby chicks, to start her first coop. Though she no longer has the coop, the FSC professor continues to have an affinity for the poultry.

The Star Wars aficionado has several trinkets and action figures in her office representing popular characters from the movie series.  Among them are Grand Master Yoda, Darth Vader, R2-D2, and of course the adorable Mandalorian named Grogu, sometimes referred to as “Baby Yoda”.

Not to be accused of having a singular intergalactic interest, Groot, one of the main characters from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy also makes an appearance on a shelf in the professor’s office.  Groot is a tree-like creature from the Planet X who only repeats the same phrase, “I am Groot.”.

When asked if she had any items in her office that were given to her by a student, Dr. Loh proudly retrieved an autographed, framed photo of a FSC NCAA championship basketball team from a shelf.  Inside the photo frame is a piece of the basketball net from the championship game.  Dr. Loh shared that several members of the winning team were communications majors who wanted her to have a souvenir that celebrated their victory.

Dr. Loh says the items she has had the longest are her books.  She never throws away her books, some she has had since she was in grad school. She does, however, loan them to students with the understanding that they must be returned, so they are available for future students.

If you ever find yourself in the Chatlos Building, consider stopping by Dr. Loh’s office to check out the array of interesting items displayed on the walls and shelves of her office.  Ask her to share the story about the student-built bird houses, the photo of the four Thompson Brothers, or any of her interesting novelties.  You will not be disappointed.