At the beginning of this semester, I had no clue what the Leadership Development Program (LDP) was or what they did. However, on September 13, I was invited to take part in a game night hosted by the LDP. Everyone was friendly and professional and by the end of the night, I was all in. Continue reading “A Warm Welcome”
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.
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 “Racing the Clock By– Scott Costello”
Earlier this month, I went on a trip to Northern Michigan with the Saluki Baja team to compete in a snowy off-road race with other college Baja teams. The trip proved not only to help our team measure up our Baja car in comparison with others, but it also allowed us to grow as a team by better getting to know one another.
The trip started with a twelve-hour drive up North. While en-route, it was important to engage others in meaningful conversation. We stopped in Edwardsville, Illinois, to drop off our Baja car with SIUE’s Baja team. Before the trip, our Baja team made a deal with SIUE’s Baja team–they would drive our Baja in their trailer and we would let them stay the night in the house we rented in Michigan. This deal allowed us to network with mechanical engineering students from another school while also saving us the cost of renting a truck and trailer from SIUC to transport our Baja car.
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 Sunday February 11, the LDP had its first social event of the semester. When planning this I thought “in what way could we hang out and support our school?” While watching the SIUC men’s basketball team, I saw that they were on a five game win streak which put them at second place in the Missouri Valley Conference. We were playing Bradley University on the upcoming Sunday, which seemed like a perfect opportunity to get together and cheer on the Dawgs.
At the basketball game, we had about a dozen LDP members put aside their busy schedules to come out and support the Salukis. We all wore our matching yellow LDP t-shirts to display our teamship. Cheering loudly for our team with great friends and de-stressing was an awesome way to start off the semester. I guess we were a good luck charm in the sense that the Salukis had an outstanding 74-57 win over Bradley! Overall, I would say that it was a great way for us to bond together as a team; over a fresh Saluki victory!
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.
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).
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.