I owe my success to … “Which individual — faculty, staff or administrator — from your time in Rolla had the greatest impact on your success?” Historian Larry Gragg, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of history and political science, posed this question during the summer. Here are a few of your answers.
The easy answer is Dr. James Bogan, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of art history and film (my favorite English professor). The way he challenged us and taught us to write has transcended one semester and stayed with me my whole career. Over the past 35 years, I have had the opportunity to head up plants of 2,000 people and successfully led multi-billion-dollar businesses. Today I am the operations lead for our company and oversee 1,500 locations and 90,000 people around the globe. I firmly believe that the communications skills I earned from Dr. Bogan are a key in the success I have had in my career.
Tom Hayes, ME’81
My favorite professor was James Grimm in electrical engineering. I went with him to a papers contest in New Mexico in 1956 and wondered why we went over a bridge in the middle of a desert. Growing up in Missouri, I didn’t know what a dry wash was! He urged me to go on for a master’s degree, which I got from Purdue two years later. I got my Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1968 with a wife and four kids.
Fred Dietrich, EE’57
Palo Alto, Calif.
Professor (David) Westenberg, interim chair of biological sciences, gave me my first chance at research, which is now a big part of what I do as a professor myself. Professor (Oliver) Sitton, associate professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, excelled at getting students to learn by doing in his classes and gave us a great chance to solve a big problem from the ground up in our senior biochemical engineering lab. Also, Tina Sheppard, former director of residential life, who was my first hall director as a freshman, and ultimately my mentor and boss when I was a head RA and she was the director of residential life. She taught us a lot about leadership and gave students more power and choice than any other university I’ve seen. That ultimately gave us the opportunity to try new things and learn from both failure and success.
Kyle Lampe, ChE’04
I owe my success to Dr. (Oliver) Sitton, associate professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, who was my advisor when I started the chemical engineering program. Over my four years at Missouri S&T, Dr. Sitton spent many hours talking about my academic options and my career possibilities and supporting me personally. I can still remember the meeting where he pushed me to look to the oil and gas industry to experience process engineering. When I came back from that internship, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to start my career as a process engineer. I have been fortunate to spend the first four years of my career in process engineering at the Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery, the same refinery where my father, grandfathers and great-grandfather worked at various points in their lives. Even now that I’m currently in the environmental department, I consider myself a process engineer first. As I write this, I see clearly Dr. Sitton’s impact on my career and personal development. He will smile to read that I revised several sentences — including this one — to use action verbs rather than ‘be’ verbs. In the first months of my career, my supervisors and others praised the technical writing skills I developed from the numerous lab classes he taught me. Without Dr. Sitton’s guidance, I may have ended up where I am today, but it would not have been as smooth of a journey.
Emily Amizich, ChE’09
Glen Carbon, Ill.