After Mark Cendrowski graduated from LSA in 1981, he headed straight for the lights of Hollywood. He worked on the sets of TV shows doing just about anything—running scripts, ordering lunch, wrangling props—as he navigated the waters toward his ultimate goal: directing. Today, he’s at the helm of The Big Bang Theory, a brainy comedy in its fifth season. The show and its cast have claimed a People’s Choice Award, a Golden Globe, and two Emmys.

Every year, Cendrowski visits campus to talk with students in LSA’s Department of Screen Arts and Cultures and the Department of Theater and Drama. During his most recent trip, he chatted with LSA Today about the long road to his dream job, and what he learned along the way.