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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Cadets attend leadership conference

A group of sophomores in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets attended the 10th Annual Nichols Rising Leaders Conference on April 3-5.
Richard Cummins, the director of the Corps Leadership Program and Class of 1973, said the conference was created in 2004 by Bruce and Patsy Nichols out of appreciation for everything Texas A&M and the Corps did for their son Travis, a former deputy Corps commander.
The Nichols settled on a conference in leadership development in sophomores who are rising to be juniors in the corps, Cummins said.
According to Wahlt Harvey, senior petroleum engineering major and chair of the conference planning committee, 100 of the 148 applicants were offered interviews and 64 students were selected based on their existing interest in leadership.
The majority of these people that applied do fill key leadership positions in the corps, Harvey said. We select people through the [application] process and the interview but it just so happens that these people are the same people that fill major leadership positions in the Corps.
Cummins said the conference exists to challenge and strengthen existing ideas of leadership and help transition them into their junior leadership roles.
To help attendees become better leaders, the conference featured renowned speakers lecturing on topics such as why one should lead, how to lead from where you are, making difficult decisions and leading through change, ethical leadership and continual development.
According to Cummins, sophomore cadets serve in a direct leadership role and are responsible for the direct training of one or two freshmen in nuances of Corps life and etiquette while juniors operate at a supervisory level.
Rather than being hands-on with one or two, [juniors] may have supervisory responsibility for some of those trainers that oversee those that are being trained, Cummins said. At the supervisory level youd take a step back and listen.
Harvey said that when planning the conference, the committee used a framework based around supplying motivation to learn, information that they need and then the inspiration to go into the world to act on what they learned.
We as a staff met multiple times, Harvey said. The [goal in planning] was to get them excited, teach them and then send them out. The big question that we ask is So what? What difference is this going to make to the Corps, to our outfits, to us as individuals?
Sophomore biology major Sydney Snell said that in addition to teaching valuable leadership skills, the conference also gives cadets the opportunity to network with other members in the Corps who they may not have known otherwise.
[The conference] helped a lot because everybody there was pretty much going into leadership positions next year and its just a really great group of people to get to know because they all bring so much to the table, Snell said. Were pretty isolated within our outfits so it was really great to meet some people from across the Quad.
Harvey said that the conference wasnt just meant to be a fun and informational experience, it was also meant to encourage application of the learned skills.
The guy who thinks it was just a field trip missed the point, Harvey said. Its not just about going and hearing some cool things and getting this good feeling, its about getting that and using it.

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