Mary Leigh Wolfe 2016-06-29 04:29:10
Partner with Students! As I write my last column as ASABE President, the spring semester is ending. In my role as head of the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech, I hear students talking happily about their plans for the summer (and occasionally groaning about a final exam yet to be taken). Others are looking forward to commencement and the next phase of their lives. Faculty are looking forward to a summer of research and working with graduate students (and maybe a little relaxation). I have prepared my letter to our 2016 graduates offering them one-year free ASABE membership as they launch their careers. (If you are a 2016 graduate and haven’t heard about this great offer, contact headquarters at www.asabe.org/contact-us.aspx). Students (preprofessionals in ASABE lingo) are an important community within ASABE, and I have had the pleasure of interacting with many across the Society this year. It is fun to see them at their own schools or with their ASABE sections as well as gathered together in groups from multiple institutions. The Virginia Tech ASABE Student Branch hosted the 2016 Southeast Region Rally in Blacksburg, Va., the first weekend of April. It was a pleasure to see so many students from across the Southeast get together. I was proud of the leadership that our students demonstrated in planning and hosting the Rally and impressed by those I had the opportunity to talk with during the various events. Young people are excited about the profession and about the great things they are doing now and what they are going to do in the future. By the time you read this, I will also have spent time with students at the 1/4 Scale Tractor Competition in early June. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this spring, I had the opportunity to talk with a team member about the tractors that she and her teammates designed for the competition. The work that student teams undertake and accomplish is amazing and highly commendable. We need to embrace and nurture students’ enthusiasm, their intellect, and their passion for making the world a better place—a passion we all share. We should enhance our partnership with students, as individuals and as a Society. I encourage industrial and government members (and nonmembers) to provide internships for students. I urge faculty members to provide undergraduate research experiences and to mentor students for careers and skills outside the classroom. I advise students to pursue opportunities and make the most of them. ASABE will continue to provide and expand connections and activities for Society students. As I have traveled this past year representing ASABE, I have typically entitled my remarks about the Society “ASABE: Members Working Together to Make a Difference.” This is how I see ASABE: a diverse range of people sharing common goals, not always agreeing about everything but always agreeing about our mission—“positively impacting food, water, energy, and the environment” with the overall goal of benefiting people of the world. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as president of an organization with passionate, devoted people. I look forward to continuing to work with ASABE members and Society partners as we face global challenges together. Thank you for your support over the past year, and here’s to an even better next year!
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