Before Dr. Steve Lampa taught veterinary anatomy, he directed human anatomy to WSU students on a human medical track. It was at that time he found his passion for teaching and gradually moved away from his work as a researcher to a full-time professor. Today, Dr. Lampa teaches some of the critical core classes, including small animal anatomy, large animal anatomy, and neuroanatomy, to veterinary and neuroscience students at WSU. Dr. Lampa enjoys getting to know students and teaching them why the content matters in a way that sets them up to be successful for life-long learning. He’s been teaching at the college since 2004.
What was your career path leading up to WSU?
I finished my Bachelor of Science in biology and then completed my Master of Science in zoology from WSU. While I was finishing my master’s degree I was working for WSU and teaching human anatomy to medical students. I became passionate about college teaching and academia, so I decided to pursue a PhD in neuroscience from WSU with an excellent mentor, Mike Laskowski. After completion of that degree, I worked as a post-doctoral researcher and instructor. I gradually transitioned away from research and teaching veterinary anatomy to entirely teaching veterinary anatomy, first as an assistant professor and now as an associate professor.
What drew you to WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine?
After finishing my PhD, opportunities were available, but WSU was the only one that afforded me the chance to teach veterinary anatomy and work as a post-doctoral research assistant. This shared position appealed to me because it allowed me to explore two diverse career opportunities in academia.
What is your favorite part about being an educator?
Being with students and seeing the process of their learning in general, but more specifically, I love seeing growth and supporting the idea of having a growth mindset, not being fixed, and challenging students to try to grow as I practice a learner-centered approach to teaching to help students acquire knowledge. Also, I like the student “lightbulb” moments which are very satisfying as you are explaining concepts. Finally, I enjoy listening and watching students learn and work collaboratively.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I am proud to say that the first member of my immediate family to finish a bachelor’s degree and then advanced degrees, and the Oregon coast is my happy place.