Everyone told Steve a History major wasn’t lucrative, but now he’s using his degree to take care of his family and change the world.

October 17, 2016
Writer: Spring 2016 English 452 Students

Steve Thomas works as the Pathway and Online Advising Manager at BYU-Idaho. His job is to oversee advising services for all students in Pathway as well as BYU-I's online programs. Steve says, "The Lord heard my prayers, knew my heart, and blessed me to be able to do exactly what it is I always desired... (to) help His children from all over the world identify, work towards, and reach their goals."

What led you to your career?

"I love what I do and even if I was a billionaire, I would do this for free," Steve says. His enthusiasm for his work is infectious, but he did not originally plan to be in this job.

When he was a child, Steve did not know how to answer when people asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. All he knew was that he wanted to help others realize their potential and reach their goals.

Steve came to school with this in mind, but there is no major called "potential realization management," so he did what comes naturally-wavering between majors. "Bouncing around from the health field to business, and even music, nothing fit. It wasn't until I followed my heart and studied what I loved that life felt right, and my goals felt attainable," Steve says.

Seeking to help others realize their potential, Steve returned to Mississippi to work in the inner city of Jackson as a high school history teacher. He found joy in encouraging his students. Through his coaching, many realized their potential and the power they held within.

How did he get from teaching to advising Pathway and Online students?

"The Lord heard my prayers, knew my heart, and blessed me to ... help His children from all over the world identify, work towards, and reach their goals." Steve heard about the Pathway position on campus opening and applied with hopes to help more students. He mentioned it was hard to leave his students in Mississippi, but he is so happy fulfilling a large purpose now. Now he helps students all over the world.

How do you feel your college studies help you in your work?

"(My studies) gave me the skills, knowledge, and understanding of the world and the people who live in it to better understand individuals from all walks of life," Steve says. It is Steve's belief that if he had not followed his heart and studied what he loved, he would not have the job he has today.

Investing in himself rather than chasing a paycheck is how Steve sees his college education. He went for what he loved, believing it would help him get where he wanted instead of studying something with financial payoff as the primary goal. His study of history did not seem like it would bring him money, but the skills and lessons involved in studying history-analysis, international understanding, and human behavior-define his role as the Pathway and Online Advising Manager. Now, he can change the world as well as take care of his family.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

"I see myself motivating others from all across the world to identify and realize their potential, and help them reach their goals," Steve says. When a man finds his dream, he stays with it. That is what Steve Thomas is doing-living his childhood dream and inspiring others to reach their potential, just like you'd expect from one of our heroes.