Carnegie Mellon University

Xander Darsow teaching the Osher course Home Repairs 101.

An Osher Course Highlight

By Gloriana St. Clair

“Prep, prep, prep,” says Xander Darsow is the secret to a good home wall painting job. His students in Home Repairs 101 make note of this advice as they move through the practice stations on finishings. Sanding, staining, painting are not usual activities at an Osher class; yet the dozen class members have worn old clothes to hone their skills with power tools and paint brushes... Students have created electrical loops, studied appliance labels, and practiced soldering. In the class finale, Xander shared photos his future home improvement projects to get feedback from the students.

Xander, also known as Eric Darsow, is a Minnesota native who has taught for Teach for America. A recent Carnegie Mellon graduate in information systems management, he finds Pittsburgh to be an ideal venue for a young professional (he is 29). Osher students are more likeable than younger ones because they volunteer to help him pack up his large plastic boxes of drills, paint brushes, sample woods, caulking, name tags, screwdrivers, wire strippers, and other tools. He is a conversational person willing to discuss a broad range of topics from art to gardening to sexuality.

Teaching is his passion. Home Repairs 101 students are eager to learn more from Xander. Having met us now, he is also eager to continue this creative relationship. His ideal course would be one in which he tutored the students in a carpentry project and then helped them execute it in their home. Whatever he teaches, Osher students can expect an exciting, interactive experience.