The Ever Changing Environment By– Jessica Higginbotham

     One of the most interesting arguments in psychology is that of nature versus nurture. It is the question of how much of our behavior is determined by who we are genetically versus how we have been shaped by our environments. Our genetic composition determines the emotional or technical capacity that we start off with, but a rich environment can mean the difference between honing those talents or staying at our natural abilities. We can see evidence of this in our everyday, whether it be our successes, our intelligence, or our looks; but at the end of the day, the question remains: were we always destined to be who we are, or did our experiences growing up shape us into who we are today?
     Luckily for us, years of research has shown that it is a little bit of both. Our genetic makeup can design us to be the best athlete or the quickest study, but if we don’t hone those skills, that natural ability only goes so far. I learned this at a very young age when my 3rd grade teacher would help me with my reading.  Every day she gave me extra lessons in reading, and I started to improve in my reading but most importantly I started to understand the importance of reading.

Continue reading

Lighting the Way towards Success By– Ryan Nick

     Summer and Fall of 2018, I had the opportunity to intern with a company whose mission is to “Power the Quality of life”. They have approximately 2.4 million customers and if their job is done correctly, hardly anyone will give them a second thought. Ameren’s legacy companies, Union Electric and CIPSCO, were founded in 1881 and 1902, respectively. In 1997, these companies combined and started to grow the company we know today as Ameren. They have grown to operate facilities in Electric generation, transmission, and distribution as well as natural gas transmission and distribution. The culture at Ameren is influenced by the company’s long and rich background in the business.
     My experience at Ameren allowed me the opportunity to improve my skills as an engineer, a leader, a team player, and earned me friendships I hope will continue now that the experience has come to an end. Continue reading

New Member Bio By– Maria Ross

My name is Maria Ross. I am a freshman here at SIU studying Math Education with hopes of becoming a high school math teacher. I am from a small town outside Champaign, Illinois called Mahomet. I chose to go to school at SIU so that I could carry on my family legacy as a third generation Saluki following my grandfather and father.

In high school, I struggled to decide on what I wanted to study in college, but I knew I wanted to become a teacher. Even though I am from a small town, the community left a big impact on me. Throughout high school, I excelled in my academic work, especially math, but I also had a passion for music from participating in band and choir. Eventually I narrowed down my decision to mathematics over music. I think what inspired me to choose math was the wonderful math teachers I had in high school. They taught me a lot inside and outside the classroom and are role models for the kind of teacher I want to be some day.

The transition to SIU has been exciting, but also stressful. It’s a big change, and in the beginning, it was difficult to find an organization that I was interested in. After hearing about LDP I decided to give it a try. At the first meeting, I was greeted with warm welcomes and positive attitudes. At that moment, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this awesome team. They have already pushed me and inspired me to be a better person. I am excited to see what skills I will obtain from this program that I can put back into the education system through my work with high school students one day.

Maria Ross receiving her LDP Polo

Joining USG By– Nate Lightle

     This school year has been a year of taking action for me. I became an LDP Mentor, Baja President, and most recently joined the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) as a Senator. My motivations for joining LDP and Baja were simple: both of these organizations are going to impact me directly and make me a better future engineer by improving both my soft skills and my problem solving capabilities. USG, on the other hand, does not have that direct correlation. I have no plans to become a politician, and I personally try to avoid getting into political discussions or arguments since I prefer dealing with certainties and facts rather than opinions and grey areas. Despite my general avoidance of politics, I somehow found myself being sworn into a Senator position last week to do the exact debating and problem solving I attempt to avoid. I can easily trace my motivations for this decision, whenever I find myself in a discussion over legislation or funding, I can draw back on my main motivation to keep me going forward: to make a difference on our campus.

Continue reading

The Best and most Difficult part about being in the LDP By– Scott Costello

     Being in the LDP has truly been a life changing experience. There have been good times, and difficult times. Yet at the end of the day whatever needs to be done was finished. When I think of the best and most difficult part of being in the LDP, I think of camaraderie, reward, and things that we learn. While for me, and some others, the most difficult part would be the time.
     My fellow members and I do a myriad of things: school, work, other RSO’s, etc. Some of my fellow members have 19+ credit hours this semester, others are Presidents, Senators, athletes, employees and co-workers. It takes a lot of work, and sometimes juggling, but we all make it work one way or another. LDP members may have a lot on their plate, but with dedication and teamwork, we manage to clean those plates beyond imagination.

Continue reading

Team Weekend By– Suddarsun Shivakumar

     Every August, the Leadership Development Program (LDP) hosts Team Week. The idea of Team Week is to help the new members bond and come together as a team. As LDP grew larger, we started accepting new members into the team even in the middle of the semester. The LDP can be seen as a stack of Jenga blocks: very closely bonded. When new members join the team, it can be tricky and difficult to get them as closely bonded as the rest of the team. This was a challenge for the senior leadership in the team, and we decided to have a “Mini-Team Week” for this purpose it was called the “Team Weekend” (Read Diogo Seixas’s article here on the purpose of team week).

                                                    Team Weekend Continue reading

Mentee vs. Mentor By– Lincoln Kinley

LDP is a program about personal growth. We start out as nervous newbies, often unaware of the greatness that is held within ourselves. As we progress through the program, we learn more about ourselves. We learn what we are good at, what we need to improve upon, and why we are here, just to name a few. One of the biggest transformations members of LDP make is when they go from a first year member to a second year member, or in other words, from mentee to mentor.

Coming into the program as a first year, I revered the second year members. It seemed like they always had the solution to whatever problem I was having. Fast forward a year, and now I’m in their shoes. Making the transition from mentee to mentor is just like making the transition from followership to leadership. At first, you have no idea what you’re doing, and you feel overwhelmed by the task at hand, but you still try your best. Eventually you figure out something that works, and you flourish from there. Undoubtedly, I’ve grown since I was a first year member. I have much better time management skills, I can handle many more responsibilities, and I know how to be an effective member or leader of a team.

Continue reading

The Automotive Technology Organization By– James Gross

The Automotive Technology Organization or ATO is SIUC’s automotive departments first registered student organization. ATO plays an important role in further developing skills needed in the automotive field beyond what can be taught in the classroom. We have project cars we build to compete in drag and autocross racing. Through these projects, students learn how to plan events, fabricate and rebuild components, and seek outside support for the program—all of which are important skills to have. Furthermore, students have the chance to compete at sanctioned tracks for Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), both of which are environments that facilitate networking and professional development. There is a saying in the racing world, “Winters make Winners”. Living up to that, we have been busy this winter preparing for competition.

Continue reading

Gumdrops By– Gannon Druessel

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.

SSA spending their Wednesday helping kids in need

STEM in the LDP By–Dr. DeRuntz

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.

Continue reading