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Skidmore College

Professors who teach me to trust, try and take one thing at a time  

March 21, 2019
by Lexi Parker '19

One of the biggest reasons I came to Skidmore was to learn from a professor who knew my name.  
 
Four years later, I’ve had 22 professors. They absolutely know my name. Many also know my personality, career interests, talents and that I’m from Lake George, New York.  

Sure, I’ve learned plenty of academic things from them. But what really resonates are the lessons they’ve taught me that extend far beyond the classroom.  

Here are three people, and three lessons, I’ll never forget.  

Hope Casto

Associate professor of education

Hope Casto has been with me since day one. As my academic adviser, she ensures I’m on track curriculum-wise. She also does so much more.  

Professor Casto’s office has been a second home for me on this emotional roller coaster called college. Whether it was stress, fear or anxiety, excitement or happiness, she welcomed and guided.  

She did her advisor duties, helping me pick out classes I would be interested in, while also stepping in as a caring mentor. She helped me navigate how much I could put on my plate without feeling overwhelmed, while also finding new and exciting opportunities for me to try out.  

What she taught me: To trust myself.  

Even when I couldn’t comprehend how I’d get through, she believed I would be fine. In her words, “Lexi, I’m not worried about you. I always know you will figure it out.”  

A steady voice of reason, her confidence in me grew my own self-confidence. And that’s something so valuable, I can barely put words to it. 

Learn more about Hope Casto and education studies 

Daniel A. Nathan

Professor of American studies 

I have taken five classes with Daniel Nathan. By choice. As he once said, that’s enough classes to be “both proud and embarrassed at how well we know each other.” But it wasn’t all fun and games. Professor Nathan was tough on me, too, pushing me to think bigger, broader, and go deeper. 

What he taught me: Just try. And, it never hurts to ask.  

When I was a junior, I was working on a documentary on the Skidmore men’s basketball team. It was turning out fine, but I knew it could be better with information from one very important person — President Philip A. Glotzbach. He’s certainly approachable, but I doubted he’d respond. I was ready to settle on mediocre when Nathan stepped in. “Just try, Lexi,” he said. “The worst that could happen is he says ‘no.’” Well, he said “yes.”   

He also taught me: Take one thing at a time.  

The world threw a lot of things my way during my time at Skidmore. Some of them were gigantic papers and historic movie analyses for Professor Nathan. If I panicked, he’d always say, “Take one thing at a time. You may not get an A, but that’s OK. You can always do better.”

Learn more about Daniel Nathan and American studies   

Jeffrey Segrave

Professor of health and human physiological sciences

First, Jeffrey Segrave’s cheery, British accent is unforgettable. Second, his passion for the Olympics and sport as a whole is absolutely magnetic. But for me, it’s more than a casual Union Jack reference or Manchester United score. 

What he taught me: How to be there for other people.  

Segrave is the perfect representation of what Skidmore really is — a community. And he leads by example, showing up for others no matter how busy he is.  

You’ll see Segrave in the classroom and then again at your basketball game, and again when you’re giving a presentation, and then again when you’re receiving that award you’ve worked so hard for.  

While he’s definitely not alone in this, he’s a shining example of how Skidmore professors care about more than just academics. They are also interested in your passions and achievements outside the classroom.  

The lesson here is about how he made me feel — that I matter, that I’m cared for, that I belong. By sharing in my passions, he inspired me to be more passionate.  

Learn more about Jeffrey Segrave and Health and Human Physiological Sciences

Skidmore’s X factor: our professors  

As I shared, these are only three of 22 professors I’ve had at Skidmore. And from literary masters and modern-day science savants to passionate social activists and dedicated medical researchers, they have filled my brain with more knowledge than I ever imagined.

But they’ve also filled my heart.  

They’ve been leaders and mentors, confidants and caregivers. They have waved enthusiastically from the stands and walked entirely out of their way so they could keep hearing me talk.  

They nurtured the best version of myself. And that means the world to someone who has the whole world ahead of them. 

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About the Author

Lexi Parker

Lexi Parker is a senior from Lake George, New York, studying education and American studies. You can find her on the sidelines managing the men’s basketball team, creating lesson plans in the Education Department, or eating mac and cheese in downtown Saratoga Springs.

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