Learning to be a Leader

Ben Taylor

Ben Taylor,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 30 September 2013 – This semester I’ve been presented with a fantastic opportunity: I am one of seventeen students in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology that is fortunate enough to be a part of the Robe Leadership Institute (RLI). By all accounts, the RLI is a class; I get homework assignments and grades, attendance is taken, and it shows up on my class schedule. But the RLI is definitely something more than a class. It’s an opportunity for the Robe Scholars (the students in RLI) and I to realize and develop our leadership skills in ways that no other program at Ohio University can offer.

This semester, the RLI started with several weeks of self-reflection and self-realization: Exploring who we are as people and what types of leaders we are all capable of becoming. Now, as the semester has hit its halfway point, our instructor, Dr. David Bayless, is bringing in special guests for the class to interview. The guests that we are interviewing are professionals, many of whom graduated from Ohio University, who have had great success as leaders, whether they are engineers, businessmen, or otherwise. Being able to talk to these individuals in a small group setting has allowed me to gain a perspective into the minds of leaders, young and old–people who I would otherwise never have had the opportunity to talk to.

This opportunity was only possible because I got involved in the engineering community early on in my academic career. I joined the Institute of Industrial Engineers as a freshman and was able to become President of the organization by my junior year. This was the first major leadership position I was able to attain during my time here at Ohio University and it was an essential element of my application and interview in order to get into the RLI. Had I not gotten involved early on in my academic career, this opportunity may not have been possible. So my message to any prospective students reading this is to get involved early! You may not feel ready to accept the responsibility of a leadership position; believe me, I wasn’t either. But the more involved you become, the more experiences you’ll gain, and the more prepared you’ll be to further yourself academically, professionally, and personally.

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