Before I came to SIUC, I knew that I would have to find something else to do besides classes. I needed to be a part of a club that would teach knowledge outside of coursework, to better understand, and develop a deeper appreciation for the engineering process. I came down to the conclusion to join the Robotics Club, primarily because I read about a robot previously built by the club, “The Juggernaut”. The Juggernaut was a tank of a robot, designed to dish out, while still avoiding damage. I thought how amazing of an experience it would be to build a robot that fights other robots. That became one of my dreams; to build a robot for a battlebots competition.
On January 17th, the Saluki Science Ambassadors (SSA) kicked off the semester by volunteering at a Gumdrops event. Gumdrops is an amazing non-profit charity in Carterville, Illinois. This charity provides at-risk children with backpacks containing a weekend’s worth of food. Their mission is to remove barriers to academic success for the at-risk children by providing them with the food they need, giving them one less thing to worry about. This charity feeds over 1,300 children every week. As a community outreach RSO, the SSA thought this was a perfect place to volunteer.
Helping at Gumdrops wasn’t only a way for us to get back into the swing of things, but also a great way to give back. At SSA, we strive to give back to the community as often as our busy schedules allow us. Another nice perk of the Gumdrops event was that it gave us an opportunity to spend time together as an RSO and get to know each other better. I’m proud of my team for growing closer as an organization while doing something positive, and it’s just another reason why I love SSA.
The LDP achieved a major goal last year when we expanded to include the other STEM colleges: College of Science, College of Applied Science and Arts, and the College of Agriculture. This is an important achievement because of its alignment with our LDP Vision: To become the premier university program that develops global technical leaders. Our goal was just to be inclusive of the other STEM Majors; however, we were pleasantly surprised by the diverse skills and ideas all the new students have contributed.
The first attribute I noticed was the invaluable resource that our pre-med majors bring in the form of first-aid training. They embraced the responsibility of being our group’s medic with passion. Our medical preparedness gets better each semester and with each treatment experience. I have even noticed a sense of confidence and safety from our team members knowing we have trained people in our group in the event that something may go astray.
While wrapping up the Fall 2017 semester, I was granted the opportunity to become the President of the Saluki Environmental Educators (SEE). My time in SEE was brief prior to my nomination, but I didn’t require much time to realize that SEE was the organization where I wanted to focus my efforts. From the first meeting I knew that SEE’s mission resonated with my passions as an aspiring educator and nature enthusiast, and I recognized the potential for opportunities in which I could grow my leadership skills.
The Saluki Environmental Educators is a professional development Registered Student Organization (RSO) that seeks to promote environmental education, interpretation, public involvement, and volunteerism by partnering with community groups throughout Southern Illinois. We are a small but passionate crew of community-minded individuals with a myriad of interests and areas of study.