As a college counselor, former humanities professor, writing coach, professional editor, consultant, and human rights activist, Dr. Ian Lekus knows the power of naming and claiming stories. He also knows that stories never look neat and tidy as you’re living them. He loves helping students see patterns and start tying together the unruly, seemingly disconnected threads of the tapestries they’re living. Without doubt, the college admissions process is complex and even intimidating. But it also offers a rare, structured opportunity to take control of your life –claiming where you want to go, identifying your values and priorities, and finding opportunities that can offer you the chance to grow and thrive.
Before coming to the Washington, DC area, Ian taught in Harvard’s History & Literature and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies programs. He has also held faculty positions at Tufts and University of Georgia and has been a visiting instructor at both the University of Maryland and the Cornell-in-Washington Program. His work with Moxie students draws upon his extensive college teaching experience, as well as many hours of one-on-one support to high school students – drafting and editing college application essays, preparing for standardized tests, improving their writing skills, and navigating their humanities and social studies courses.
Ian holds a BA in History from Cornell and a PhD in History from Duke. He is currently finishing a book on the protest movements of the 1960s, to be published by the University of North Carolina Press. He has served as an advisor to Amnesty International USA since 2013, and he launched a coaching and consulting practice to help organizations working for human rights and social justice strengthen their communications strategy to maximize their effectiveness and impact. He is also a longtime and long-suffering DC United season ticket holder, a sci-fi fanatic, and a hopeless punster.
Everyone has a story and plenty of them. For teens, high school is an exciting time to start finding and taking control of those stories — whether you’re just starting freshman year, figuring out course selection and extracurriculars, building a college list, drafting application essays, or trying to put together all the pieces of the admissions puzzle.
Maybe there’s an obvious theme running throughout your life so far: your love of robotics, anime, or lacrosse. Maybe your history teacher gave you an assignment that revealed a passion you never knew existed. More often, though, there’s experimentation and confusion: do you love physics or photography more? Sure, you tried out all sorts of activities — student government, Spanish and soccer clubs, the jazz band and the yearbook, community service fundraisers — but while they all felt right on some level, they weren’t really your place. Maybe you feel like there’s an element of your story that shapes everything: the loss of someone close to you, the discovery of a learning difference, coming out as LGBTQ+, a global pandemic. How does that shape your journey, your narrative? Which parts of all these stories are really yours? (Spoiler: all of them.)