Tag Archives: leadership

Learning from the Robe Leadership Institute

Colton Moran

Colton Moran,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 20 October 2013 – This Fall, I was selected–along with a handful of other ambassadors as well as a few other Russ College students–to participate in a program at Ohio University called The Robe Leadership Institute (RLI). I heard about this class my freshman year and I had always been interested in participating in it.

This year (My Senior year) I am participating and I must say it has been an eye-opening experience. The class consists of reading material (4-6 books), interviewing academic and corporate leaders, and a heavy amount of group discussion and self-reflection. All of this is gauged towards understanding leadership concepts and principles.

Before I came into this class, I felt that I had a solid grip on leadership due to my personal experiences throughout school organizations and group work along with a small amount of personal reading, but I’ve realized that’s far from the truth. The RLI class has led me to a lot of realizations about being a leader in terms of directing large groups of people, but also about being an everyday leader. The latter so far has been the most helpful and in my eyes, important.

In the class, we spent time doing a low ropes challenge course (the counterpart to a high ropes challenge course other ambassadors and I participated in). During this course I found something out about myself that I already knew, but didn’t think much about. I like to talk, a lot. But sometimes it’s best to sit back and listen for a while rather than direct the conversation. I must say I decided to implement that little lesson and I quite enjoy the results I have seen from it.

In all, what I have learned from not only this class, but every leadership experience I have had, is there is always room to improve your skills. Knowing that is the first trick, and the second is actively putting yourself in a position to lead and in each opportunity trying to do a little better than last time. Who knows, all those small improvements might make you out to be quite the impressive leader. I know that’s what I am shooting for and that is why I have enjoyed the RLI class I am taking this fall semester.

Synchronized Skating

Talli Topp

Talli Topp,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 17 October 2013 – I am in my fourth year as a member of the Ohio University Synchronized Skating team. The skating team is a great way for me to relax and remove myself from school for a few hours each week. I think the fact that I have a good group of close friends that are not in any of my classes has been one of the best things that came out of joining a club sport. As much as I enjoy my friends from class, it is really nice to have a group of friends who have no idea what I am talking about when it comes to classes; it forces me to forget about the stress of classes for a little while and just truly enjoy myself.

Another great part of being on a club sports team for me is that I get to practice my leadership skills. I have been the team president for the last three years, and the last two years I have also been the head coach. It is really stressful at times, but having the responsibility of both of those positions has taught me a lot about my leadership style, and has also helped me immensely with my time management skills.

We are coming up on the date of our first performance, which means that practices are beginning to become quite intense. This is my favorite time of the year, because I really get see what everyone on the team–including myself–is made of. I have seen so much dedication from the members of my team; we are all willing to add extra practices to our schedules, even if it means that we have to practice at midnight. I can’t say for sure, but I am pretty sure that dedication like that is something that most OU students have when it comes to their classes and their extracurricular activities.

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.

Spring Break with the Robe Leadership Institute

Devin Liskey

Devin Liskey, Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 12 April 2012 – This spring break I had the opportunity to travel to San Diego, California with Russ College’s Robe Leadership Institute. We visited three businesses a day for three days. We were given a personal tour by the CEO of each business and participated in an information and question panel after the tour. Each CEO had his own style and story and it was very interesting to hear how each had worked their way to their position.

After the three days, the group had some free time to explore. Below is a picture of a few of us on the USS Midway, a floating naval aviation museum. The ship was staffed completely by veterans who had served on similar ships. When we told a few of the guides that we were engineers, they were excited and talked with us in depth about the boilers and engines.