Getting to Know Lucas Christain

Lucas Christain is the Housefellow for Welch House and Henderson House and serves as the Director of Community Standards and Integrity as well as the Student Affairs College Liaison to the Mellon College of Science (MCS). He completed his undergraduate degrees in history and sociology, as well as a master’s in college student development, at The University of Iowa. This is his eighth year at Carnegie Mellon University.

Lucas is pictured above with his wife and two children. Now, let’s learn a bit more about Lucas …

How did you come to join CMU?

I am close friends with David Chickering, the Housefellow for Morewood Gardens. Both he and I attended The University of Iowa and also worked together at Iowa. David encouraged me to apply for a CMU housefellow position in 2008, and I’ve been here ever since. My wife and I love Pittsburgh and find the city and Carnegie Mellon to be welcoming communities. In fact, we’ve decided to raise our two boys here and have convinced my parents to move to Pittsburgh.

Why are your housing communities so awesome?

Henderson and Welch, or “WeHe” as the two communities are affectionately known, are a tight-knit community where students tend to live for two to three years, creating a sense of familiarity and consistency within the community. Also, the wellness theme in Henderson House is a shared experience and unifies the members of the community. While this is true, the residents make the communities awesome.

Share one of your most prized CMU memories.

I have had the opportunity to work with some incredible students in my time at CMU. Picking one story or one experience is difficult. However, I can say that the most prized memories I have are of the relationships that I have developed with students that last beyond our shared time at CMU. Building genuine connections with students is the most rewarding part of my job.

What is an important life lesson you have learned from a student or students?

Slowing down is important. When you slow down, you do better work, you are less stressed, and you can actually see the nuances and uniqueness of each situation at hand. When we work too quickly, we often focus on completing a task versus accomplishing a goal or enjoying the experience.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests?  What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about wellness and well-being. I run regularly and enjoy the balance it provides me. I’m also very interested in music, food, and the brewing and distilling science of beer and spirits.

All-time favorite book: Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Country western musician Johnny Cash. I’m always glad to take people for coffee or tea and tell them about my appreciation for Johnny’s life, music, and legacy.

You get to eat a meal where fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol get completely wiped off the books. What would be your food of choice for this very special (and sadly impossible) meal?

Szmidt’s Old World Deli is a restaurant in Greenfield. I would order their Keege pastrami sandwich, which has grilled pastrami, pepper jack cheese, sautéed banana peppers, and roasted garlic mayo on homemade bread. It’s terrible for you, but so good for your stomach and soul. I often order the Keege and a bag of salt and vinegar chips when I take a day off from work to read and relax. It’s a wonderful thing!


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