Student Leaders Unite at MSC Fall Leadership Conference

By: Mollie Lastovica

The Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications had strong representation at the 60th Annual MSC Fall Leadership Conference, held August 21-23 at Camp Allen in Navasota.

Agricultural communications and journalism senior Travis Burks served on the executive team for FLC as the Director of Delegates and Associate Professor Barry Boyd, Ph.D., attended as a Focus Group Leader for the conference goers. Agricultural communications and journalism students Kalee Bumguardener and Mollie Lastovica and ALEC graduate student Kevin Andrews attended the conference as student leaders representing the Aggieland Yearbook, COALS Council and the Graduate Student Council, respectively.

The conference theme, “Home Field Advantage: Playing to your Strengths,” set the foundation for attendees to focus on promoting their individual strengths as leaders instead of focusing on improving their weaknesses to mediocrity. Student leaders from a variety of different organizations across campus united as delegates during the conference.

The three day event included a handful of motivational speakers, small group sessions with faculty focus leaders, roundtable discussions with a number of successful alumni and a President’s Panel and roundtable session with many of the university’s top administrators including President R. Bowen Loftin.

As a focus group leader, Boyd was responsible for leading approximately 12 students in thought-provoking discussion revolving around the pillars of priorities, perseverance, keeping the bar high and traditions.

“Interacting with students outside of my major and college gives me a broader perspective on the quality of students at Texas A&M, their potential as future leaders in our communities and it energizes me for the coming semester,” Boyd says.

Boyd teaches ALED 301, Personal Leadership Education, ALED 201, Introduction to Leadership and ALED 324, Ethical Leadership during the semester. While he has had ample training and experience instructing courses in leadership, he is proof that one can never stop learning.

“The guest speakers gave me a new perspective on leadership development and what is important,” Boyd says. “Specifically, I was reminded to have high expectations for both myself and my students.”

For Burks, serving on the executive team was an opportunity to facilitate the unification of student leaders across campus.

“MSC Fall Leadership Conference is great because it brings student leaders into one place and is an opportunity for organizations to get out and network with other student leaders and bounce ideas off each other,” Burks says.

As Director of Delegates, Burks was responsible for recruitment and logistics regarding conference attendees.

“I gained organizational skills and was able to plan the event with other people,” Burks says. “Every director has a role in planning everything and our input is actually considered.”

With well-versed faculty members and an executive team committed to running a successful event, FLC was equipped to host and assist students in growing as leaders.

“Attending FLC allowed me the opportunity to interact and network with awesome people and influential leaders,” Bumguardener says. “The speakers really challenged my way of thinking about the topics they presented and I definitely felt that the conference helped me grow as a leader.”

The focus on her strengths allowed Bumguardener to learn how to achieve the best outcome when working with others both in classes and when dealing with the yearbook.

“I would recommend this conference to any other student looking to discover effective ways to lead and have a productive dialogue with other student leaders and Texas A&M faculty,” Bumguardener says.

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