Leading Workouts

By: Garret Murray

The LDP is a group of unique and diverse people who are aligned by our values. Recently the LDP learned the first practice of the leadership challenge, the concept of modeling the way in leadership. This is exactly the way I have attempted to approach the task of leading workouts. Whenever addressing the group for stretches, instructions, demonstration, encouragement or anything else I strive to create an upbeat and enthusiastic environment. I believe that my example and what I give to these workouts should show our commitment to others, your commitment will be reflected at you.

I am not a morning person nor am I an inherently cheerful person. I have found that part of the point of leading workouts is learning how to find motivation in an unpleasant task. It has really shown me how prepared and determined you must be to succeed at being a leader. As I said the LDP is a diverse set of people, all at different fitness levels and experience. Figuring out how to balance the workouts to accommodate this gap took a few tries. Those who were struggling needed encouraged and those who had no issue needed a challenge. Both ends of the spectrum needed diverse challenges to keep them entertained and avoid the feeling of the same monotonous workout every time. A core concept of the program is to challenge to process and take risks, so every workout I try to incorporate new exercises the group has never done before.

For me this project has been about finding a way to help the team succeed in reaching their workout goals. I know I cannot reach their goals for them, all I can do is give them the tools to do it themselves. By being as prepared as possible, ready to go that extra mile and support them every step of the way.

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

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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