McCanna listened to the concerns and found ways to
help students in both groups break out of their cliques to
spend more time together. She also insured that interns
were added to the same email lists as co-op students, so
that members of each group knew what everyone was
doing. Now, members of both groups are called “co-terns.”
“Small things like that made a big difference,”
McCanna said. “It was a great opportunity to network and
show management that I could be a leader.”
But this sort of leadership is what Buzzanell expects
from her students. “Part of leadership is working together
to make sense of situations and then figuring out what
expertise is needed to rework things,” Buzzanell says.
Look in the mirror
Team members, observers, and others constantly evaluate a
leader. That’s why it’s important, Buzzanell says, for a good
leader to evaluate himself or herself as well.
Buzzanell frequently asks students to write down
their reflections. She wants them to think about what is
Children explore the interactive exhibit Visiting Our Solar System (VOSS), which involved more than 50 students in the EPICS
program, and pays tribute to the late Janice Voss, a Purdue alumna and astronaut. Students in disciplines ranging from engineering
to education to communication worked on the VOSS website, virtual fly-through tour, interactive classroom model, educational
plaques, and social media and public relations. Photo by John Underwood.
Spencer Bockover, a 4th-year student in anthropology, works
with EPICS team members to develop designs that address
problems in the neonatal area of a hospital in Vellore, India.
Photo by Suzanne Walker.
working, what isn’t, and whether they are learning from the
situations they encounter. She takes the time to work with
students on their reflections, giving personal feedback to
help them improve their leadership skills.
“It is difficult. You have to look at yourself and admit
that there are lots of things you don’t do well,” Buzzanell
says. “It’s such a gift to have the time to reflect on yourself
and to have someone to analyze that with you.”