I Spy Someone making a difference.
John Steen is 'friend of students'by Katee Upchurch
Coastal Carolina University assistant dean, John Steen, has been making a difference in the lives of students for 15 years. He has been described as being the best friend a student can have, and he assists students in several areas: petition, course repeat form, probationary problems or simply as someone to talk to.
Steen was nominated for I Spy recognition by Nyoka Hucks, an administrative assistant in the science dean's office. I Spy, a program created by the University's human resources department, provides employees an online forum to recognize meritorious but under-noticed deeds of their co-workers. She nominated him because she has seen how much he cares for students and how he works each day to help them with whatever they may need.
"He genuinely cares for each student as an individual," says Hucks. "He makes such an impact on students' lives that many continue to keep in touch years after graduation. One former student even sends him a Christmas gift each year," she says.
Steen says he is humbled by this recognition.
"I feel that what I do for students is part of my job," he says. He began working with students when he first graduated from Mars Hill College in 1965 and moved to Louisiana to teach at a small denominational school. He has always liked helping students and enjoys interacting with them each day. Steen especially likes to watch struggling students improve and eventually graduate. He feels rewarded when the students he helps are recognized for their improvements by other professors. Steen says students sometimes need assistance in navigating through the University system, and he can help them get to where they need to go.
After getting his bachelor's degree in biology in 1965, he earned a master's degree in biology in 1967 from Appalachian State University and a Ph.D. in biology in 1981 from Mississippi State University. Steen joined the Coastal Carolina University faculty in January 1995 after doing research on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi for 25 years. He currently teaches biology and has previously taught other freshmen science courses at Coastal.
Steen is originally from Kannapolis, N.C., and currently lives in Conway. He is married to Jean Steen and has one daughter, Rebecca, who is in her twenties.
Visit the Human Resources' Web site for more I Spy nominees and to nominate someone you think is special: https://www.coastal.edu/hreo/workplace/ispy.html.