Thomas Rainey (pictured above holding baby Oliver, fellow Housefellow Helen Wang’s son) is the Housefellow for Mudge House, a mansion that was donated to the University and converted into a residence hall, located on the corner of Morewood Avenue and Fifth Avenue. In addition to his role as Housefellow, he also serves as the Student Life liaison to Housing Services and the faculty advisor for SUMMIT, a three-day program directly preceding the spring semester that features courses, seminars, and workshops on topics selected by students. “We’ve had courses on baking, balloon animal making, Bhangra, glass blowing, ice skating, photography, pizza tossing, sign language, fire arm safety, archery, pottery, and a lot of other topics,” says Thomas. “Students get to explore things they are interested in or passionate about that they don’t always have time for during the regular academic year.”
In addition, Thomas is a member of the Division of Student Affairs funding committee, and he works with Housefellow Bryan Koval on the selection, training, and development of resident assistants (RAs).
Thomas completed both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, in psychology and students affairs in higher education, respectively.
How did you come to join CMU?
I first visited Carnegie Mellon with members of my graduate program, and I truly fell in love with the energy of campus. Later, I did an internship with M. Shernell Smith, now a fellow housefellow, in the Multicultural Initiatives office. During this time, I met so many extraordinary students and was incredibly excited when a housefellow position became available. I applied and was fortunate enough to be selected. I enjoy my work here every day.
What is an important life lesson you have learned from a student or students?
Embrace your passions. Maybe that means coming off as nerdy or awkward, but that is the true beauty of Carnegie Mellon. It’s the acceptance and celebration of what makes you uniquely you and the sharing of that with others that really allows you to embrace who you are and what you love.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies/interests? What are you passionate about?
I love to read Japanese manga (comics) and I love to watch football and basketball. I enjoy lifting weights and am trying to get into running more. I also enjoy watching documentaries and reading books and articles of all genres. I enjoy any form of music that tells a great story. Most importantly, I am an avid chicken wing enthusiast. If you want to know the best place to get wings in Pittsburgh, let me know.
All-time favorite book: The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Tell us at least one thing that’s on your bucket list: Skydiving!
If you could give first-year students one single piece of advice as they start their journey here at Carnegie Mellon, what would it be?
I would encourage them to be open to new experiences and to embrace the best versions of themselves. This university has so many amazing things to offer, so during your time here take advantage of as much as you can but also pace yourself and enjoy the amazing ride.