A simple conversation was enough to propel Rayshad Dorsey forward.
The shy, small-town boy from South Carolina couldn't see his leadership potential — but his architecture professor could.
At age 4 my mother gave me a Lego set. The wonder and imagination of building and creating took hold of my interest, and with her encouragement, I immersed myself in the world of design.
Senior year of high school, I was invited to attend a PEER program at Clemson where I stayed with a student mentor. I was able to go to class with him and spent the weekend learning what it would be like to be an architecture student.Learn about PEER » Opens New Window
Clemson was so different from my small high school and class of 70. I came from a culture that was predominately African-American, and I initially put a lot of pressure on myself being a minority student. Really, I was looking for where I fit in this new community.Search our degrees » Opens New Window
My friends R.J. and Julian — who was my mentor during my campus visit — and I started talking about creating a National Organization of Minority Architect Students (NOMAS) chapter at Clemson. The architecture program here has so much legacy, and we wanted to start an organization to support that.
I signed up for a required sophomore architecture studio class and later discovered that my professor was going to be former Clemson President James Barker. I didn't realize then just how much the relationship we would create would push me personally and academically.
While not every professor is going to become a close mentor — and even fewer will be a former university president — they will challenge you intellectually. And across campus you'll find people and organizations whose roles are to support you and help you find your place.