Cameron Kantner

Listen, learn, and help

Cameron Kantner loves to talk, but he wants to spend the rest of his life listening.

When he was in elementary school, his report cards always noted that he had difficulty being quiet.

Now he focuses on getting other people to talk about themselves. A student in the master’s program in counseling and counselor education at the School of Education, he spends much of his time counseling other IU students—most notably at the LGBTQ+ Culture Center.

“I love to hear people’s stories,” Cameron says.

His own IU story began with a detour to Tennessee.

Cameron talks with a woman in a room full of books.
A fountain
Cameron sits outside.

A roundabout path to Bloomington

Cameron attended Carmel High School north of Indianapolis. He went to a small college in Tennessee on a swimming scholarship, but the change was too drastic. The whole college was smaller than his high school graduating class.

So he transferred to IU Bloomington. He liked the size, tradition, and spirited community here. An advisor helped him choose a major in sociology, and a course in sexual diversity led him to declare a second major in gender studies. For his senior thesis, he and a partner analyzed how students used bathroom-stall graffiti to have conversations about sexual assault.

As a senior, he decided to go to graduate school. He had learned that he liked working with people, and he was drawn to counseling. His love of IU made staying a natural choice.

Sometimes Cameron walks or bikes around campus just to marvel at the buildings, the fountains, and the people, and to feel that sense of belonging he’s had ever since he transferred here.

Putting skills into practice

Cameron wanted to explore several kinds of counseling, so he’s gotten a range of experience. He’s a career peer at the Career Development Center, where he helps students do everything from choose a major to prepare for interviews. He also works part time at a residential facility for people with schizophrenia, helping them prepare to live on their own again.

His best experience at IU has been as a counseling intern for the LGBTQ+ Culture Center. He talks to his clients about all kinds of topics, including anxiety, the coming-out process, and gender transition. And he co-leads a support group for gay men.

“I’m giving a voice to someone,” Cameron says. “I’m helping them know that what they have to say matters.”

Each year I’ve grown so much. I’m more confident now, and I’ve learned a lot. A large part is the classes I’ve been in, but it’s also from the people I interact with. When I need someone to talk to, they’re always there, whether it’s the middle of the afternoon or 3 a.m.

Cameron stands on a wooden bridge and looks out.
A pencil holder and business cards that have a graphic of words such as 'ally,' 'lesbian,' 'gay,' and 'transgender'
Cameron, wearing brown leather oxford shoes, rests a foot on a pedal of his bicycle.