“My Goal Is to Give Back to the Community That Raised Me”
November 09, 2022
Meet five LSU Bengal Corps students who are pursuing a two-year leadership development program piloted by the LSU Leadership Development Institute. All of the students are engaged in ROTC, either Army or Air Force ROTC at LSU or Navy ROTC at Southern University.
Taalib Auguste, from Prairieville, Louisiana, is a political science major and Army ROTC student at LSU
“I’m here because I wanted to push myself. In Bengal Corps so far, I’ve learned things I’m bad at, and how to get better at those things and not shut down and become isolationist. I’m a better teammate. One day, I want to run for political office because I want to help Louisiana. Not only on the cultural side but also the economic side, which is why I see myself studying law and going into politics. My goal is to give back to the community that raised me.”
Stressor: Emotional intelligence; understanding my own emotional state will help alleviate anxiety in stressful situations. Meanwhile, understanding the emotional state of people on my team requires me to be a better listener and observer.
Strength: Communication; being a member of different Creole organizations throughout the state has made it easier for me to communicate ideas and information effectively through multiple mediums.
On leadership: You have to be capable of making hard decisions. My favorite Creole saying is, “ti cochon, ti sang,” which literally means, “your pig, your blood.” Figuratively, it means the blood is on your hands if you don’t do what’s right.
Sydney Do, from Lafayette, Louisiana, is a kinesiology major and Army ROTC student at LSU
“I wanted to be a part of Bengal Corps because I wanted to learn my stressors and overcome them. When I graduate from LSU, I will become a leader in the Army. As I use my leadership skills, I will be able to achieve goals and progress faster in my career. My dad was a paratrooper and my uncle a Green Beret, so I grew up in a military lifestyle. My dad woke me up every morning singing cadences, military songs, and I’ve always had a passion for physical fitness. I also love to read and spend time outdoors.”
Stressor: Judgement; I don’t anticipate something going wrong, and when it does, I get very frustrated. I used to only plan for the “best case scenario” and I never gave myself room to breathe.
Strength: Judgement; I’ve learned how to plan and prioritize and schedule in “flex time” in case something takes longer than expected, giving myself a cushion between activities.
On leadership: I think integrity is the most important factor because staying true to yourself and being completely honest is what is needed in a leader.
Logan Price, from Corpus Christi, Texas, is a cybersecurity major and Army ROTC student at LSU
“The Bengal Corps program is an extremely rare opportunity to develop leadership skills early in life through not only practical experiences, but leadership theory as well. I’ve gained a much better understanding of the difference between leadership styles, and how I, as a leader wanting to defend our country and cyber-assets worldwide, could help make the difference between a thwarted cyber-attack or losing millions of dollars in breached data. When I’m not studying, I play esports or help families find missing persons using open-source intelligence tools.”
Stressor: Achievement attitude; looking forward to the best possible outcome always leads to some form of disappointment.
Strength: Communication; extremely useful in both the military and civilian sides of cybersecurity and information technology.
On leadership: There is no one definition. I lead by a quote I was once told as a young and timid leader: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
Nina Donald, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is an English major at Southern University and an Air Force ROTC cadet at LSU
“I’m first in my family to join the military, starting with JROTC. That’s what really influenced me to join the Air Force. In LSU Bengal Corps, I’ve grown overall as a person. Especially, I’ve realized the importance of openness. It allows me to work through stressors so I can be a better leader for others. In the future, I envision myself being a lawyer. I’m very fond of languages, too. When I have time, I learn bits and pieces of Hindi and Chinese.”
Stressor: Communication; even though I’m strong when it comes to communicating emotion, I often find myself anxious about communication that involves responsibility. I work on this by setting times in the day where I only communicate to take away the stress of thinking about something all day.
Strength: Relationships; I’m good at interpersonal connections and supporting members in my group.
On leadership: Leadership is being able to make people want to follow without forcing them. It’s not about bossing others around, but supporting people to get to a goal.
Gabriel Savoy, from Pierre Part, Louisiana, is a landscape architecture major at LSU, Navy ROTC Midshipman at Southern University and part of Pershing Rifles, Louisiana’s and LSU’s official color guard
“In Bengal Corps, we focus on developing ourselves first, before developing other people. That was new to me, something I hadn’t seen yet. As a future officer in the Marine Corps, I aim to protect my fellow Marines and make sure they are being set up for success and are supported. But later in life, I might go into real estate. To me, it’s the landscape that makes the house; it’s what’s around. I guess it’s because living in the swamp my whole life makes it feel like home; that my home is not just my house. I hunt in hunting season—ducks, rabbits, alligator, deer and squirrel. Do I eat them? Of course. I don’t hunt anything I don’t eat; I’m Cajun. I love to make sauce piquant, gumbo. I just love to cook.”
Stressor: Balance; finding balance within my day can be difficult with school, ROTC and multiple extracurriculars. I want the ability to be really busy and have a lot on my plate, but still accomplish everything every time.
Strength: Hearing; I strive to understand the situation of my subordinates, peers and higherups. This makes for smooth and efficient work.
On leadership: I want the ability to inspire and influence a cohesive group to achieve a common goal that everyone can be proud of.