For undergraduate student Lamin Conteh, service defines how he gives back.
The ROTC cadet knew early on that he enjoyed caring for and helping people, but he didn’t discover his passion until he started volunteering with the United Services Organization (USO) in its veteran’s affairs department.
After enrolling at IUPUI, Conteh discovered the philanthropic studies department through a friend. After taking one class, he knew that the program perfectly combined his commitment of service to the country with service to others, and he enrolled in the following semester.
The junior has enjoyed many of his classes, particularly his fall 2019 psychology of giving course with Dr. Sara Konrath.
“I’m interested in psychology because of how the mind works and why we are the way we are,” Conteh said. “I enjoyed learning how and why we give because of those factors or motivations.”
Outside of his studies, Conteh serves in the National Guard and ROTC. Being involved in ROTC at IUPUI requires him to take extra courses on leadership, while also participating in other training activities. The additional time commitment requires extra dedication and commitment to service. Combined with his coursework in philanthropic studies, Conteh is developing leadership skills with problem serving abilities while learning how to serve in multiple ways.
Conteh is also involved with the Philanthropy Ambassadors Club and volunteers with USO. He also gives to the Army Emergency Relief Fund, which helps soldiers with finances during difficult times.
“Lamin exemplifies the successful students who are attracted to the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy,” said assistant dean for external relations, Bill Stanczykiewicz, who also served as Conteh’s professor in the course, Introduction to Philanthropic Fundraising. “Lamin is combining his many passions–psychology, mental health, the military, and philanthropy–in an impressive manner that will strengthen his abilities for professional success and philanthropic impact.”
After he graduates, Conteh hopes to go active duty for six years and then return to work for the USO. He could also stay in the Guard, where he would serve one weekend a month, and start immediately working in fundraising or in other nonprofit work.
Regardless of his career path, Conteh knows that he wants to give back in multiple ways.
“When you’re in a position to give back, you want to serve people all the time,” he said. “For me, I’ve wanted to serve and have always wanted to help. So military can serve as a way to better myself and set myself up for a better life, while also serving my country and helping people in the community and within the veteran community.”