Passing the Torch By Suddarsun Shivakumar

—–As we pass the halfway point of the semester, I can’t help but look back at my time as the president of the LDP as I prepare to pass on the torch to the next president, Breanna. As I transition out of the LDP, I plan to mentor the new president of LDP to pass on the lessons I’ve learned over my three years. Over the year, we have grown as a team tremendously and I have made numerous mistakes from which I have learned and grown. I would like the new president to learn from my mistakes so that she does not repeat the same errors. I remember how lost I was when I was started as president; Dr. DeRuntz guided me down the right path, but I still did not get the valuable perspective of a peer who had been in my shoes. I know how much that would have benefited me, and I want to set Breanna up for success.
    One of the most important lessons I had to learn was how to make decisions quickly and efficiently. Everyone on the team looked to me when a decision had to be made. This meant that I had to know the team before I could decide our best course of action and delegate tasks accordingly. Another important challenge I had to tackle was to understand when to be stern and when to give someone another chance. This was never an easy decision, but with guidance from my mentors, I found a way to use the “carrot” and the “stick” effectively. These integrated directly with making hard decisions. I soon learned how to use this effectively to help others in my team improve themselves. By passing these lessons on to Breanna, I will achieve my goal to help the next president of LDP be better than I was. I look forward to coming back to the LDP tailgate next year and seeing a team that is excited and enthusiastic in improving the community around them– a team that learns from each other and holds each other accountable. Most importantly, I see team members who strive to improve the student organization they are part of and the reason for such a great team will be because of the culture set by the amazing leadership of the senior members and the president. Even though I am certainly not happy about leaving such a great team, I am content knowing  that I will be handing over the responsibility of being the president to someone who is destined for success.

A Vision Born in Africa By Aprille Schoenecke


Since my childhood, I have always been intrigued by people of other nationalities. I became aware of the lack of resources distributed globally while I watched the tsunami of December 2004 devastate thousands of people from East Africa to Thailand. Red Cross and many medical professionals offered themselves and sent resources for those affected by this natural disaster.                                        After I saw the great need for medical professionals to respond to national disasters and serve where healthcare access is limited, I chose to complete my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. After gaining several years of work experience, I looked for opportunities to volunteer my medical skills in an under-served international location. I received training by Crisis Response International and GOMidwife before traveling to work at a bush clinic in Togo, Africa. I quickly fell in love with the vibrant Togolese people and volunteered to stay longer than I planned. I conducted prenatal care checks, delivered babies, and treated many patients who came in with Malaria and other sicknesses. My team and I also traveled from village to village to share community health teachings through visual aids, skits, and translators.                                                                                            I came away changed from those seven months in Togo. I realized, I wanedt to have my own medical school education to rely upon when other staff and resources are not accessible. I began to dream of the road less traveled: one could say my vision to become a medical doctor was born at a bush clinic in Africa. Now I am completing the last few SIU classes I need before I take the MCAT and apply to medical school. I am grateful for the skills LDP has already deposited in my life.

Aprille with a baby in Togo

PUKA Painting By Maria Ross

PUKA Library Bookcase

     As a fellow mentee with Jessica, I had the opportunity to give back to my community this past weekend at the PUKA School childcare center here in Carbondale. While Jessica was planning this project, she approached me and asked for my help in one specific area. She planned to complete two different projects in one day: repainting a bookcase in the library and making a new roof for a shed located outside in the school yard. Unfortunately, due to the bad weather on the day of the project, the shed group was postponed. I was put in charge of the bookcase repainting, however, which we were able to do. Since Jessica no longer had two separate teams to lead, her and I worked together in leading the painting group.                                                                                                                         This was a helpful experience for me because I do not think that I am quite ready to lead a project like this on my own. Therefore, it was wonderful leading it under Jessica and having her as a safety net. Leading a project is a big responsibility, and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to dip my toes into leading a service project before being put in complete charge of my own project. Jessica and I sat down before the project to plan everything out, discuss what materials we would need, talk about proper painting techniques, and come up with ideas on how this project can move smoothly while obtaining excellence. It seemed that if we did run into an unexpected problem, the team constantly worked to find solutions on their own. In the end, the bookshelf turned out really well! Continue reading

Robotics at UIUC By Licoln Kinley

—–SIU Robotics looks forward to one particular event every year: the Midwestern Robotics Design Competition. The event is a task oriented, single elimination robotics competition held by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in early March. This year, SIU Robotics upped their game and also attended Robobrawl, a 30-pound weight limit battlebots competition also held at the same time and place as the Midwestern Robotics Design Competition.
     SIU Robotics was the grand champion and runner up of the 2017 Midwestern Robotics Design Competition, so we went to this competition knowing all eyes were on us. Our two teams competing this year put countless hours into designing and building their robot. Both teams suffered major setbacks during their build. One team accidentally fried all of their electronics a week before competition and severely damaged one of their motors two days before competition. The other team spent hours designing a robust ball collection system, which would have been capable of scoring the maximum amount of points possible, only to find that the robot was too heavy to climb up the ramp. Despite these setbacks, both of the Midwestern teams persisted through these challenges. We saw many teams simply give up after they found their robots couldn’t compete, but not SIU Robotics. Our persistence carried us into the finals of the competition. While we only placed fourth overall, we learned many lessons.

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PUKA Project By Jessica Higginbotham

PUKA Painting Team

——At the center of LDP is a team– a team willing to step up and go the extra mile for both the community and themselves. I found while working on the PUKA project that I had to rely on my team constantly in order to accomplish the tasks at hand. To begin, the PUKA project included two separate projects in which we would repaint the bookcase in the library and replace the decrepit roof on the shed in the playground. The PUKA School has worked for the last 45 years as a non-for-profit to improve the lives of children by providing a safe place to learn and grow. They are always open to any help from the community and as part of the LDP, it was a great experience to help them in anyway possible. Before this event, I had never led an LDP service project. While thrilled to accept the challenge, I knew it would be a personal challenge to trust and not micromanage. I physically could not execute this project alone, so I called on my team and enlisted the aid of two members to work directly on each project so that I could focus on the event overall.
     We hoped to build up our team by teaching new skills while providing the PUKA School with renovations that further their vision of providing an uplifting area for children to dream and grow. The event took a lot of planning, and we worked hard to prepare contingency plans for each project as well as a detailed layout of all tasks. Even when the weather refused to cooperate, resulting in the shed team project being postponed, the contingency plan was in place so that the event could still go on.

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Making an Ordinary Person into an Extraordinary Leader By Aprille Schoenecke

Aprille Schoenecke

_____As exemplified by the Marvel superhero movies, people admire heroic leaders who step up to save the day. The LDP exemplifies core leadership traits that make an ordinary person into an extraordinary leader. In regular situations that do not involve a villain or imminent danger, people are naturally drawn to follow individuals who excel at what they do and authentically care about others. A strong leader leads by example and service. A leader exemplifies respect, honesty, empathy, dedication, and approachable accountability. A leader is faithful and dependable. People watch the leader’s actions to see if they follow through with what they say they will do. After showing consistency with the many small things, people will more easily entrust themselves to the leader whole heartedly. Many of the core values of the LDP, I also possess. However, there are several on top of these core values in which I excel. Continue reading

New Member Bio By Connor Eigelberger

     My name is Connor Eigelberger. I am a Sophomore in Mechanical Engineering and looking forward to becoming a leader in the industry. I’ve always known I wanted to be an engineer but have struggled to narrow down which discipline I wanted to specialize in. Knowing this, I based my college selection process on my other passion, the great outdoors. SIU has it all for me, with so many trails and lakes I’ll likely never visit them all. Being that it was only two hours from my hometown of Fenton, MO, meant I could get a great education, explore all I wanted, and continue to keep family close.

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Carbondale New School Feedback By– Robert Lozar-McDonald

     One of the practices the LDP teaches is writing thank you notes to anybody who lent a helping hand or provided our group with an opportunity. Whether it is a guest lecturer, a company gracious enough to give us a plant tour, or even a stakeholder in a member project, we always finish the event with a thank you to show our appreciation.
     So, it was with great surprise that the LDP received a stack of thank you notes from the kids at the Carbondale New School showing their appreciation for the cleanup project we had recently completed. The notes were all so thoughtful, with comments on what a large difference they saw, how much cleaner it was, and how less scary the closet appeared. What was remarkable about this was that not only did they notice our effort, but they demonstrated one of the practices of exemplary leaders and a strong LDP value.

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Aisin Tour By– James Gross

    This spring, LDP is planning to take a tour of the Aisin Group manufacturing plant in Marion, Illinois. We are excited to see their state-of-the-art facility and the ways in which they are innovating to become one of the leading manufacturers in the transportation industry. Like many companies, Aisin is looking for the next generation of technical leaders who can help guide their manufacturing plants to become the best they can. Touring facilities is important to our students because they will be able to experience a potential workplace before being thrown into the industry. I personally love touring manufacturing plants; seeing the many parts of the manufacturing process all needing to be orchestrated in perfect harmony gets me excited to start a new challenge and my career.
     Aisin Group’s message, “One Team, Best Future,” is a message that shows their company is working to become a strong team. As members of the LDP, we know that through teamwork we can accomplish tasks that no one person can do on their own. Aisin manufactures a wide range of products including sunroofs, door handles, liftgate mechanisms, electronic controllers, and garnish moldings for a wide variety of vehicles. It takes a large team of experienced employees to make such a wide range of products with high quality standards. I hope that through opening their doors to our program we can provide them with competent leaders who can ensure their teams perform beyond expectation throughout their company.

Aisin Manufacturing Facility

Racing the Clock By– Scott Costello

     Robotics competitions come in many shapes and sizes, from dangerous, passive, automated, etc. At SIUC first time members joining SIUC Robotics have the opportunity to join a team that doesn’t compete in competitions, rather they build their knowledge of robotics through trial and error. Usually a date for Mary-O-Kart isn’t set. This year was different, Mary-O-Kart is over after this year. What better time to make our projected finish other than Engineering Day. For Robotics, this Engineering Day was huge because we had been working on the Mary-O-Kart all year with the intention of unveiling. To make Engineering Day more special, we had tours of our workshops and several robot demonstrations. I’ve been with Mary-O-Kart since the beginning and have seen many events unfold. My favorite memory, however, would be the excitement of watching our parts box turn into functioning Mary-O-Karts. Continue reading