Thankfulness By- Dr. Bruce DeRuntz

I am thankful for my family who fill my bucket with their love every day, provide me with endless pride in their accomplishments, and joy from their humor. For the mentors in my life, who continue to inspire me to strive to do more while guiding me with their wisdom. For my students, who give so much effort to make our university great and our community beautiful, and for their trust in me to help them become the global leaders of the future. Finally, for my God and country who give me so many blessings to live a wonderful life and to help others.



Thankfulness By- Madeline Meyer

When reflecting on what I am thankful for, the first thing that pops to mind is “people.” I am very fortunate to have supportive and fun family, friends, and LDP team. I am also thankful for the new experiences and opportunities I have been exposed to since starting at SIU. There are few words that are accurate enough to describe my gratitude for this life, but I am beyond thankful I get to cherish each moment with my friends and family.


Thankfulness By- Jingsong Dong

As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to give thanks to a few people that have helped me get to where I am today. I would like to give my thanks out to my parents for supporting my education and also for supporting me economically from China. I would also like to give thanks out to my fellow LDP members. I would like to give some special thanks to Zach for helping me and explaining things to me during the LDP game night. Olivia, because she never makes anybody feel left out in the mentor group or in the LDP. I would also like to thank Bob and Scott. Bob because he is spending all of his time on Mary-o-Kart and helping me through it, and Scott, because he is teaching me how to use Inventor for our Mary-o-Kart team. Finally, I want to thank our LDP family, through this program, I am blessed with new friends and have many precious moments with so many different people. Thanks LDP!


Thankfulness By- Jessica Higginbotham

Thankfulness. I really don’t know where to start because every day when I put my life into perspective, I realize how blessed I am. From being able to go to school and pursue my dreams to having a loving family who have had my back through every challenge; I have been given so much. The most blessings that I have received though, if I had to decide, come from the people in my day to day life. Thanks to my international family, with their support, I am constantly encouraged to work hard for my MCATs. For my fellow LDP members, I would like to say thank you for sticking with me through thick and thin, as I faced medical emergencies and stressful classes. We have had incredible times and we did it all together. Finally to my roommates, I would like to say thank you for welcoming me into your small family, for looking after me when I’m stubborn, and for putting up with my textbooks being all over the kitchen.  All of these people make small impacts on me every single day and, while they may not realize it, I couldn’t achieve what I do without them. For this Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for them; for each of their smiles, laughs, and for the light they bring into my life. Thank you all and have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Thankfulness By- Dr. Harvey Henson

LoadingAll of us have so much for which we should be thankful. I am grateful for many things, but mostly I’m thankful for the special people in my life, my beloved family, dear friends, and wonderful colleagues. The relationships I share with these individuals are indeed the most important and treasured parts of my life. I would not be the person I am without the love, touch, care, sacrifice, and influence of these special individuals.

I consider my children, my son Nolan and daughter Samantha, to be precious gifts from a generous and loving creator God. I love my children dearly, and I am devoted to protecting, providing, and caring for my family. I am so thankful that I am able to provide a life for them which is comparatively much better than the one that my parents and I experienced. I think this must be the aim of every parent who strives to prosper and care for their family.  Parenting is a real challenge that requires patience, hard work and sacrifice. Although this takes tremendous effort and time, the rewards are definitely worth it. So, I’m also thankful for my health and the ability to provide for my loved ones. When I pause to think about parenting and look back over my formative years, I reflect back on the leaders who influenced me growing up. I’ll be forever grateful to those who cared for and shaped me throughout my life.

Indeed, I’m thankful for so many who sacrificed for me. I stand on the shoulders of some amazing and important people — parents, family, mentors, and friends… so many whose devotion and tireless dedication helped me become the father, the leader, the man I am still learning and striving to be today. They collectively taught me to always work hard, to serve, and to live such that others know that I consider them more important than myself.

Thankfulness By- Olivia Taitt

First and foremost, I’m thankful for my amazing family and friends. 2017 has been my best and hardest year thus far, but I accomplished a lot. I gained several new skills and experiences this year, including learning to fly, nailing down my nutrition, completing my first internship, and finishing my best cycle race. I’m thankful to have a job that I love, and also where I get to work with my best friend. The LDP has given me so many learning opportunities and the confidence to always try new things. I made some of the best friends of my life in the program.


LDP Service Weekend -By Gannon Druessel

Some might ask, how can you make a difference in just one weekend? Well, with a dedicated team who all work towards a common goal, greatness can be achieved. This past weekend, the LDP came together to volunteer at the Women’s Center. These projects not only built team cohesiveness while we all had fun, but also gave us an opportunity to give back to the community and help people who needed it the most.

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A Shift in Paradigm -By Zachariah Warhus

Merriam-Webster defines paradigm shift as “an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way.” Before my second year in LDP, the closest that I came to a paradigm shift was when I discovered that the food in the dining hall was unlimited. However, the biggest paradigm shift that I have experienced has been transiting from being a first-year ‘mentee’ to a second-year ‘mentor’. As a first-year member of the LDP, I was focused on achieving various goals such as earning my red tie and meeting my desired GPA. I was helped along by my second-year mentors: Roberto and Nick. With their help I was able to complete all my projects and earn my tie.

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Building a Winning Team – ATMAE Competition -By Lincoln Kinley

In the LDP we spend a large part of our time putting what we learn into action within our RSOs. However, one of the goals of the LDP is to put what we learn into practice within our RSOs. The SIU ATMAE Robotics team recently attended the Association of Technology Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) National Robotics Competition and we returned with a first-place trophy. Our design team consisted of five members: Paul Schumacher ( Project Manager), Nate Johnson (Engineering Manager), Nick Sjoberg (Hardware Manager), Ryan Guss (Engineering Lead), and myself (Software Manager)

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Progress Through the Program – By Robert Lozar-McDonald

    Being in the LDP is a full immersion metaphor for doing anything and everything challenging. It starts off being uncomfortable, without any immediate tangible reward; then it gets hard. During this section of LDP, which is usually the first couple of months after Team Week, everything that is going to be expected of you can be overwhelming. All the assignments and service projects was a lot to handle, and I personally got very irritated with all of the work that I had to do. I couldn’t seem to keep up with it, I had no free time, constantly rushing, and I had to prepare and plan constantly. I had to jump, not step, outside of my comfort zone to properly communicate with everyone. If I screwed up even a little, boy did they let me know it. I thought it would never end, then a strange thing happened.

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