LDP Member Spotlight- By Scott Kasper

      My name is Scott Kasper and I’m from a small town around Springfield, Illinois called Riverton. I graduated near the top of a class of a little over 100 students. I lived in a small white house with my mother right down the street from my grandparents, so family has always been a big part of my life. Being an only child, coming to SIU has been a huge change in my life. Growing up in Riverton was just as any small town; the people were composed of a similar demographic. In Carbondale, I am part of a much larger community and I have been exposed to much more diversity. It has been one big continuous learning experience as I came to SIU, and I love it. I came to study civil engineering, but even as a freshman, I’ve picked up so much more than that.

       In the first few weeks I was here, there were many activities I discovered on campus. These activities truly made me feel welcomed, and I met quite a few people, some that I now see every day. One of these welcoming events was the Engineering RSO Fair where I first heard about the LDP. While talking to Dr. DeRuntz, the Director of the Program, about what sort of things they do in the LDP, he informed me of all the positive opportunities that could arise out of becoming a member. I was impressed with what they had to offer and couldn’t resist the urge to join a group with like-minded individuals. In the short time I’ve been with the LDP, my favorite memory was going to Dr. DeRuntz’s home for an LDP cookout. Being immersed in such a relaxed social environment with the other members was great, especially when there is usually a much more professional approach. Being able to wear my sweatpants and play some lawn games was a good way to connect with all of the people I’ve met so far. It also showed how much everyone is willing to provide, as many people showed up with their own dishes or games to play. What blew me away the most about that day was the way that Dr. DeRuntz invited us into his home and introduced us to his family. He worked the grill and his wife made macaroni and cheese. He didn’t have to do any of this, yet he did it out of the kindness of his heart.  Perhaps it was just a taste of the southern hospitality promised when choosing SIU, but it’s still a simple way to show you care.

In the future, I hope to finish out my degree and become a licensed professional engineer. I hope to take the values of leadership I’m learning here at the LDP and apply them out in the “real world”. This will help me be a valuable asset to any company. One day, I hope to be the CEO of a major firm, or maybe start my own from the ground up. I hope I can look back and see where I started to become a good leader and lead my team to many great successes. Until then, I’m going to work diligently to get where I want to be. The LDP is a great resource for me, and I hope to take advantage of all they have to offer.