Steven Lamy

Photo by: Ziva Santop/ Steve Cohn Photography
Photo by: Ziva Santop/ Steve Cohn Photography

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

No one is born as an effective teacher or academic mentor. Most of the time we mimic those who guided us when we needed support. As a first generation college student, I did not know many of the questions that I was supposed to ask in order to succeed as an undergraduate and I certainly did not know the answers. I did not even know what my options were after graduation.

My professors were fantastic mentors and I realized that this was an integral part of teaching at the university level. They did not give me answers; instead, they helped me formulate questions and suggested ways that I could find answers. I am still a student of the mentoring process and my students help me learn more about how to navigate their world. One of my mentors asked us all to consider a question that Tolstoy once asked: Who or what defines who you are? As my students maneuver through life at USC and beyond, I urge them to consider this question. It is my job as a mentor to help them find exciting, innovative and thoughtful answers to Tolstoy’s question.