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College of Engineering and Computing

  • Ogunleye smiles on the streets of Columbia.

Andrea Ogunleye shares her GLD experience

By Communications Staff | October 19, 2020

Andrea Ogunleye graduated from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2019 with leadership distinction in professional and civic engagement and global learning. We were able to sit down with Andrea to hear her thoughts on the Graduation with Leadership Distinction experience, or GLD, and the benefits it provided her.

1) What led you to pursue graduation with leadership distinction?

I had a professional development coach my freshman to sophomore year who encouraged me to think about pursuing GLD as it was starting to get more recognition from employers. I decided it may be a good way to reflect on how much my college experience, in and out of the classroom, impacts my professional life and to potentially stand out to employers.

2) How did the GLD experience benefit you?

It helped me make the connection! I was able to reflect on how much theoretical learning I had put to practice through work experience and extracurricular activities like involvement in professional organizations. Doing this gave me more confidence in the skills I had garnered throughout my college career. It also gave me a chance to pause and appreciate my college experience.

3) Was there one experience or moment in particular that was extremely impactful?

The moment I realized how truly service-oriented engineering is. That was probably the most impactful for me. A few of my peers who had gone into the workforce had sometimes expressed, in one way or another, a level of discontentment with what they do because they could not see the value and impact they bring to their communities and the world at large. I started to think that may be the case for me once I graduated. Giving myself time to reflect deeply on my beyond-the-classroom experiences and figure out the “why” behind what I learned within the classroom helped me understand the indirect yet undeniable impact civil engineering truly has on people and the built environment. It was no longer about simply getting a reliable, well-paying job for me.

4) What did you learn while you were writing the e-portfolio?

About my major? I learned how versatile engineering really is and how much what we do really has a direct effect on the communities we serve.

About my myself? I learned more about the parts of engineering that excite me the most and the trajectory I hope my professional career will take from that.

5) Do you think the e-portfolio experience helped you professionally, either in getting a job or preparing for the professional world?

It helped me prepare and set up a clearer plan for my career path. While working on my e-portfolio, I had to do a lot of research about what I had learned and refamiliarize myself with concepts I did not fully grasp at the moment of learning them. It gave me a better understanding of what my passions really are and helped me narrow down what exactly I am looking for in my career.

6) What would you tell a current engineering and computing student if they were considering pursing GLD, but hadn’t decided yet if they should?

If you are close to graduation and clueless on what you have really gotten out of your college experience or what you feel you should do after graduation, GLD is not only a great tool that guides you in reflecting on these things but helps you make necessary connections between in-classroom and beyond-classroom learning. This could help you pinpoint what your interests really are within your field, your strengths, and skills, and how you can apply these to the future you see for yourself.

Learn more about GLD

Students who earn Graduation with Leadership Distinction demonstrate extensive, purposeful engagement beyond the classroom, understanding of course concepts in “real world” settings, and application of learning to make decisions and solve problems. Students can earn Graduation with Leadership Distinction if they meet the requirements, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater, and  graduate with an associate or baccalaureate degree in any major.


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