Learning to lead: WSU hosts workshop to improve and empower engineering student organizations

A major objective of the Wayne State University College of Engineering is to sustain a vibrant culture of learning and discovery so that every student gains not only the technical skills, but also the personal skills needed to embark on a successful career. Beyond research and academics, the college encourages students to seek opportunities of personal growth involving hands-on experience, global perspective and community engagement, which many choose to explore through student organizations.

In further support of this philosophy, the College of Engineering’s Office of Academic and Student Affairs recently hosted a leadership workshop for all student organization leaders. With final exams nearing, engineering students from all departments demonstrated their commitment to leadership by taking a break from their academic studies and gathering on a Saturday morning to learn how they can improve their organizations.

The goal of the workshop was to provide leadership training that isn't covered in regular engineering coursework so that student organizations can continue to grow and operate effectively, generating greater overall student engagement. The interactive structure of the workshop, led by Professor Heinz Plaumann of the Department of Chemical Engineering, provided an atmosphere for students from varied backgrounds and departments to network, opening the door for more collaborative workshops, projects and research in the future.

Diontay Marshall, vice president of the Wayne State chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), highlighted how his involvement in NSBE has taught him the value of collaboration and having one’s perspective challenged.

“Organizations bring like-minded people together, but they might not think or coordinate the exact same way,” said Marshall. “Each person brings the different, necessary skills to the plate that are needed to innovatively think through a situation.”

Aladeen Alghazeer, secretary of the Wayne State chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), explained how having a sense of leadership goes beyond just personal growth when it comes to student organizations.

“It isn’t just about me developing my leadership skills. It’s about learning how to pass them on to all of the other members in the organization, and leading by example is a way for me to do that,” said Alghazeer. “We’ve done a lot of cool new things with my organization in the last few years, and we’d like to keep that going.”

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