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New CALS Initiative Offers Invaluable Leadership Training to BAE Students

“We cannot be the leading state in agriculture if we do not have strong agricultural leaders.”

This sentiment, expressed by CALS Dean Richard Linton, was one of the drivers of the creation of a new student leadership initiative: CALS Proud Fall 2017 Student Leaders Training.

Presented by the CALS Leadership Office, the half-day seminar was offered for the first time in Fall 2017 for students leaders of CALS clubs and organizations

“The focus of this workshop was to provide student leaders with tools they could use to thoughtfully and strategically lead their respective student organizations and clubs,” explains Director of College Leadership Programs Rhonda Sutton. “Session topics focused on definitions for leadership, leadership styles, how to use a mind map to lead their student organization and the importance of philanthropy as a leader.”

Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) senior Alex Greeson was one of the students to attend the workshop.

“We were lucky enough to send multiple officers to this workshop and we learned a lot about ourselves through the leadership style assessment,” explains Greeson, president of the student chapter of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

Greeson attended the seminar with fellow seniors and ASABE officers Lauryn Kabrich and Matthew Parker.

Aside from what was learned from the workshop, CALS offered another incentive; the $1000 Challenge. By showcasing how they applied the leadership skills and lessons from the workshop to improve the clubs they represent, student leaders could be awarded $1000 to further improve their club.

“The goal of that contest was for the leaders from the organizations to show how they had implemented the tools from the half-day workshop to lead their organizations, and to discuss how either they and/or their organizations changed as a result,” notes Sutton, who also ran the seminar.

Greeson, Kabrich and Parker took what they learned at the conference and shared it with their fellow officers and ASABE members. They set specific goals to increase their involvement and attend networking events to speak with underclassmen who may be interested in BAE and leadership roles in ASABE. They also strove to foster more industry connections, leading to invited speakers such as BAE alum Devon Carroll, vice president of Custom Controls Unlimited and NC State BAE Advisory Board member.

One of the highlights of the semester was ASABE’s partnership with the BAE Department to organize the annual North Carolina ASABE Section Meeting, where professionals and academic speakers gave a day-long continuing education seminar on current topics in biological and agricultural engineering. During and after the meeting, students were given the unique opportunity to network with professionals in an academic setting. Immediately following the section meeting, ASABE hosted its Fall Career Fair, hosting companies from all across the industry.

By setting and exceeding their goals, CALS named ASABE the winner of the $1000 Challenge.

“We’re grateful CALS deemed it worthy of investing in the department and in our club,” notes Kabrich, an Engineering Council representative for ASABE. “We want to place an emphasis on getting underclassmen involved so the club has a good base moving forward.”

“As a transfer student, I felt extremely welcome in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and its organizations and we want others to feel welcome,” Parker, ASABE vice president notes.

The funds awarded will be used to continue to build the club, hold more invaluable professional development activities, and send ASABE members to conferences and events. One such event is the ASABE Southeast Regional Student Rally that they hope will soon be held in Raleigh.