Courtney Lesoon

Department: Architecture
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
GCF Position: Committed to Caring

I am the Graduate Community Fellow for the Committed to Caring Program (C2C) which honors faculty member who are outstanding mentors to their graduate students. My contribution to the project consists mostly of writing feature articles about the awardees and their mentorship practices. My work also includes coordinating photoshoots, conducting interviews with awardees, organizing the C2C awards reception, and developing informational material related to the C2C program (for example our new “Mentorship Guideposts”). I also serve on the selection committee for the C2C Award.

Courtney helps recognize outstanding faculty mentors.

How does your GCF project enhance the graduate student community?

The honoring of great mentorship on campus is intended to encourage more good mentorship on campus. So, in the long run, I think the C2C program has the potential to help transform MIT into an exceptionally caring place which all graduate students will benefit from. In a more immediate sense, I think that the writing of nomination letters for the C2C program gives graduate students the opportunity to reflect and be thankful for the great people around them. Sometimes just taking the time to mindfully consider positive influences in our lives can help make our outlooks that much brighter.

What is your favorite part of working in your GCF position?

My favorite (and least favorite) part of being the GCF for the C2C program (pardon the acronyms) is getting to read all of the nomination letters submitted by graduate students. Nearly every letter brings me to tears. Despite this sometimes embarrassing reality (I usually end up crying while in my office, or worse, in a cafe), I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to witness these beautiful and sincere sentiments. It triggers some very human response in me, and I think I’m a better person because of it. I also like planning the awards reception.