Tag Archives: robe leadership institute

Participating in the Robe Leadership Institute

Kevin White

Kevin White,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 29 October 2016

This semester, I have had the amazing opportunity to be selected into the Robe Leadership Institute. The purpose of RLI is to supply a group of selected graduating seniors in the Russ College (all engineering and technology majors) with leadership insight and techniques. Dr. Bayless (Mechanical Engineering Professor) facilitates and teaches this course.

Throughout the semester, we have successful Ohio University grads come in and speak to us about their leadership experiences and career advice. As a student, this is an incredible experience that most students don’t get. I am making sure to take advantage and to ask the speakers every question I can. To hear about a successful person’s career path, accomplishments, and failures and to ask them how they utilized different leadership techniques has been a great experience for me, as I approach graduation in May.

Also, I admire how excited the speakers are to give back to Ohio University Russ College students. An added bonus to this course is a trip to San Diego for Spring Break to further expand our leadership.

At the beginning of the course, our professor had us participate in a Challenge Course at the Ridges.

Challenge Course

The purpose of this event is to have our whole class participate in problem-solving activities. By doing these activities, I found out more about my peers in the class and their leadership techniques. I am excited to see how all of us make a transition as leaders by the end of the semester. I am so excited that I have decided to take this course and transition into a great leader in what ever I do.

Robe Leadership Visits San Diego

Leigh Ann Tumblin

Leigh Ann Tumblin,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular engineering

Athens, OH 6 March 2016

This past fall, I was a part of the Robe Leadership Institute (RLI) which is a class that focuses on learning about the characteristics of successful and effective leaders.

Every year, RLI takes a trip to San Diego, California, to meet CEOs of several companies in the area. During our trip, we got to meet the leaders of iTech, Wintress Engineering, Indyme, HM Electronics, and FieldLogix. These CEOs told us about their leadership experience and how they built their companies to be successful.

Robe Leadership on the Beach

We had a great time visiting the companies, but we also had the opportunity to do lots of sightseeing! My favorite part of the trip was visiting La Jolla Cove which was about a mile walk from our hotel.

La Jolla

We hiked along the shoreline and got to see and hang out with sea lions.

Sea Lions

San Diego was a beautiful place to visit and everyone had a blast for the whole week we were there. The trip convinced us that we need to move to San Diego, or at least come back and visit in the near future!

Leadership Biography

Esteban Rodriguez

Esteban Rodriguez,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 15 December 2015

This past semester I took a very special class that is offered only to a select group of engineering students: the Robe Leadership Institute. It was based on developing our leadership skills and also to get to know some of our most successful alumni. We had speakers once or twice a week and we would learn from their experiences of being leaders in the professional world.

On top of that, we had projects such as writing a leadership biography of our favorite leader. For this particular project I decided to write about Juan Manuel Santos, the current President of my country, Colombia.

This project consisted of doing in-depth research on this leader and it was broken down into 3 different parts. The first part included an introduction of the project and the leader, and also a historical overview of all the events that were important in our leader’s life.

The second part was dedicated to our leader’s leadership style and special traits that helped him become successful. This part was very important in order to understand the methodology of this person.

Finally, the third part was a connection between us and the leader–how we could apply his traits and styles to our particular situations.

This project required a lot of time, but I learned a lot from it since it made me understand the most important person in my country to a great extent. In addition, I could comprehend some of the most relevant historical events that make our country what it is today. Finally, I would say that this class has been the one that has prepared me the most for the professional world.

Participating in the Robe Leadership Institute

Adam Robertson

Adam Robertson,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 20 September 2015

Well, it’s the beginning of another amazing school year here at Ohio University. It always feels so great coming back to school, especially after a long summer of working. This semester is my first semester as an Engineering Ambassador, so I am really excited for this year.

It is also my first semester being part of the Robe Leadership Institute. The Robe Leadership Institute (RLI) is an awesome class/organization where engineering students participate in lectures with Dr. Bayless and debate the characteristics or roles of a leader. Each student does have to go through an interview process to be able to get in the class. However, I feel it is absolutely worth it.


It’s only been a couple of weeks and the class is already very close with each other. The 17 of us participated in a team-building challenge over at The Ridges the first week of class and it really bonded us together.

Throughout the semester we will get the opportunity to interview many influential people, which include anyone from Professors to CEO’s. I have learned so much on leadership so far and yet we haven’t even interviewed anyone. I would highly recommend this class to every student. Even though this class can be incredibly demanding, the material that I’m learning in this class is not taught in any other class.

Developing Leadership Skills

Nicole Sova

Nicole Sova,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 10 September 2015

This semester I joined the Robe Leadership Institute and Engineering Ambassadors. With both of these organizations I have had the opportunity to get to know some incredible people (although sometimes through some unconventional methods).

Below is a picture of the Robe Leadership Institute’s class of 2016 all standing on a small tarp; you can see me in bright yellow about to attempt to move the tarp. The goal of the exercise was to flip the tarp around (so that the top of it faced the ground) without ever stepping off of it.

Magic Carpet

Looking at the helping hands, close proximity, and smiles, I would never have guessed that this photo was taken within minutes of memorizing each other’s names. The “magic carpet” (as the activity was called) tested our communication skills, logistics, and personal space, but most of all it broke down barriers and built a foundation for trust and friendship.

Engineering ambassadors decided to take the team building off of solid ground and up onto a high ropes course. We climbed our way across eight different rope obstacles and then ziplined back down to awaiting doughnuts. Below is a photo of a few of the ambassadors climbing towards the central tower; you can see me standing below the top of the tower watching a friend climb.

High Ropes

As an engineer, I work on group projects all of the time. Leadership and team building strategies are at the foundation of engineering curriculum. What really helps make those group collaborations worthwhile are the fun and adventurous activities that complement them outside of the classroom.

RLI Trip to San Diego

Emily Blaha

Emily Blaha,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 14 March 2015

The Robe Leadership Institute is a seminar for Russ College students to be introduced to leadership concepts and develop their own opinions on what characteristics lead to effective leadership. I had the opportunity to participate in the class this past fall. I think the most beneficial thing for me is that I understand more about my own personality and how to work best with others. We also get to hear from many different speakers throughout the semester; most of them are alumni who have held high leadership positions in different organizations.

Over spring break, participants in RLI traveled to San Diego to visit 5 companies in the area: FieldLogix, Outsource Manufacturing, Wintriss Engineering, Vektrex, and Indyme Electronics. While we were there, we met with the CEOs of the companies and discussed leadership with them. It gave us the chance to see all of the leadership concepts that we learned in the seminar in action. Each of the leaders was unique. They all had their own strengths and weaknesses, and it was easy to see that each company needed a different style of leader.

Robe Leadership Institute Members

Today, more and more companies are looking for engineers to be leaders. The way we think about efficiency and problem solving gives us a great foundation to be effective leaders. Here’s a short article about CEOs with engineering backgrounds!

I love RLI

Spring Break in San Diego

Steven Crane

Steven Crane,
Senior, Engineering Technology and Management

Athens, OH 12 March 2014 – Good moooooooorning students! Have I got some updates for you! I’ll just let you in on a few of them.

The trip that I wrote about in my last blog post was absolutely amazing! It started with another Robe Leadership Institute member (Josh who is a Chemical Engineering student) and I being stuck in Dallas, TX for 30 hours because our flight to San Diego was canceled. The dreaded ice storm caused the havoc there, but I’d rather be on the safe side of flying.

We did find heaven at the Dallas Airport!

We did find heaven at the Dallas Airport!

Once we arrived in San Diego, Josh and I had 40 minutes to get ready for the first meeting. We made it, and we were so glad we didn’t miss it. We listened to a SWAT Team Captain tell us about his leadership experiences (and some of his stories as well)! He had a completely different perspective, because his leadership skills involved other people’s lives, which has no room for mistakes.

The next day we began our visits with 5 different CEO’s over the next two days. To say it wasn’t exhausting would be an understatement; but it was totally worth it. I learned so much and found it awesome that these CEOs would sit down and have an interactive meeting with us (a bunch of college students).

As engineers, we couldn’t help but make a pit-stop at Legoland!

As engineers, we couldn’t help but make a pit-stop at Legoland!

They shared with us their successes, failures, and the ins and outs of their companies today. My biggest “holy crap” moment was when we took a tour of iTech, who manufactures batteries. They told us that they have a warranty return rate that’s practically zero! The fact that they were so efficient and so effective at something so complex was amazing.

In the middle is Rob Bolton, President of iTech

In the middle is Rob Bolton, President of iTech

iTech is manufacturing in San Diego, CA, and they’re competing against companies in China (and they’re doing a fantastic job at it)! The companies in China have wages of $0.80/hour and little/no regulations vs. our wages of more than $10.00/hour and regulations through the EPA. This was really encouraging to me, as someone who is studying manufacturing, which we can compete with China and do it much better.

I feel blessed to be a part of the Robe Leadership Institute at Ohio University for the school year of 2013-14! I know this is an experience that I wouldn’t have been able to participate in at any other school. And this is why I go to THE Ohio University!

I miss San Diego!

And yes, that is a banana tree in someone’s front yard…I miss San Diego!