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

The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Zachry program to teach ‘real-time’ leadership

Zachry
Photo by File
Zachry

No matter how much technical knowledge an individual possesses, success requires teamwork and leadership. A new program at Texas A&M aims to pass these skills on to engineering students.

The Zachry Leadership Program, ZLP, is a five-semester program that will prepare A&M engineering students to lead in their field once they graduate. An event in November will kick-off the program, and accepted students will begin meeting in the spring semester.

 “The students will be exposed to engineering, leadership, business, and citizenship,” said Tanya Wickliff, ZLP director. “They are getting exposed to hands on opportunities to apply their learning in a real-time fashion.”

The students who are accepted into the ZLP will receive access to mentors already in the  industry and a $1,000 scholarship per semester. The program was in part made possible by a $25 million donation from the Zachry Group, a construction and engineering firm headquartered in San Antonio.

The current CEO, John Zachry, graduated from A&M in the early 1980s, but the Zachry family has a long history with A&M. His father and grandfather are also former students, and his son currently attends A&M. The Zachry Engineering Center was A&M’s main engineering building before it was cleared out for renovations and an expansion that is currently underway.

The $25-million donation from the Zachry Group also helped rebuild the Zachry Building and endow a professor of practice in the mechanical engineering department.

“Zachry Group prioritizes leadership development within the company and wants to play a role in expanding the leadership skills of a select group of engineering students at Texas A&M,” said Bob Gresham, the vice president of engineering development for the Zachry Group.

Melissa Awbrey, manager of collaborative dialogue for the Zachry Group,  said the firm will share resources, namely experienced employees, with the program.

“Accomplished industry leaders will be invited to participate as coaches,” Awbrey said. “The intention will be for the coaches to engage in dialogue with the students to deepen their understanding of how the concepts they are exposed to in the program play out in real organizations.”

Awbrey said Zachry engineers and other employees will likely serve as supplemental faculty to the program. They will be able to provide the students of the program with mentoring and real world experiences and can bridge the gap between academia and industry, Awbrey said.

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