Freshman engineering leadership group named best in nation
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
MANHATTAN -- Leaders in Freshman Engineering, or LIFE, have been named the best freshman council in the nation by the Association of Engineering Student Councils. The award was presented at the association's recent 2013 conference in Urbana, Ill.
The freshman group is coordinated through Kansas State University's Engineering Student Council by Debbie Dolechek, senior in architecture engineering, Wichita, and Dylan Hunter, sophomore in civil engineering, Topeka. President of the Engineering Student Council is Brandon Brunner, senior in electrical engineering, Hutchinson.
Brunner said the council restructured Leaders in Freshman Engineering to be more effective.
"The freshman group used to have a typical structure – president, vice president, treasurer, etc. In the new structure, no one has a title, but everyone is required to manage one project and help out with several," Brunner said. "Project managers structure their volunteers as they see fit. This does several things. First, it encourages independent initiative because there's no outsourcing to the top. Second, it gives us a dynamic structure that flows with the demands of the current system. And third, it gives everyone experience with real delegation and efficient leadership structuring."
"We've seen fantastic results this year with LIFE, and next year things will only get better," said Brendan Bishop, senior in mechanical engineering, Parkville, Mo., and president-elect of the Engineering Student Council. "We have awesome plans in the works for next year's group, and we look forward to developing the next generation of freshman engineers."
Ben Williams, freshman in chemical engineering, Lawrence, and a member of Leaders in Freshman Engineering, said the restructuring gave the group a defined mission.
"Most freshman councils just exist, but we exist for a real purpose -- to raise retention rates in the College of Engineering," he said.
Williams and Ryan Pachta, freshman in mechanical engineering, Wamego, attended the presented on how to run a successful freshman council.
"Since our structure is so different, everyone was really eager to ask questions," Pachta said. "There wasn't a single other council with a structure similar to ours, so I got to work with other universities across the nation to develop their own freshman councils."
Bishop also earned an honor at the conference. He was elected as regional recruitment coordinator for the National Association of Engineering Student Councils.
Along with Williams and Pachta, other members of Leaders in Freshman Engineering include:
Zach Haverkamp, chemical engineering, Berryton; Riley Sorden, mechanical engineering, Delia.
From Greater Kansas City: Myra McLenon, general engineering, Merriam; and Kyle Alsop, mechanical engineering, and Ava Clark, industrial engineering, both from Overland Park.
Nicole Sabourin, architectural engineering Holcomb; Justin Ballard, chemical engineering, Junction City; Kelsey Kilburn, chemical engineering, Lawrence; Colten Johnson, architectural engineering, Marion; and Katelyn Ford, industrial engineering, and Dalton Savage, civil engineering, both from Topeka.