by Emma Hopson
National TSA Treasurer
Being a part of the Technology Student Association (TSA) involves more than competing in events at the state and national levels. Being a student member means making connections—whether with students from other schools in your state, other states, or another country—and networking with business and industry. From my experience in TSA, I have found that connections made through TSA have had the most impact on my future.
Last year while serving as the Colorado TSA treasurer, I was invited to attend the Joint 8-on-8 meeting of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME, pronounced “Sammy”) in Colorado Springs. SAME is an organization full of highly skilled and successful professional engineers. Just like TSA, SAME is an organization for people with the same interests and passions to gather and interact. SAME focuses on collaborating to resolve issues relating to different engineering fields. This group is also about bettering the community, which includes working with the youth of our country.
During the Joint 8-on-8 meeting, I had the honor of giving a speech on the behalf of Colorado TSA to explain TSA, how it impacts the lives of our members, and how SAME can become involved by providing financial support, judges for competitions, or mentoring TSA student members. Amazingly, we had several SAME members approach our table during the meeting. And that day, dozens of engineers signed up to judge at our state conference and many more expressed an interest in giving financial aid and talking to students about projects.
My favorite part of this event was meeting all of the different engineers and leaders at SAME. Considering my career goal is to become an astronaut, it was inspiring to meet several aeronautical engineers. Everyone I talked to was invested in helping me learn the steps to becoming an astronaut. They referred me to other people with more knowledge and organizations and programs that would extend my chances of success.
One of the most influential people I met at the SAME event is a colonel at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. When he heard I am interested in becoming a pilot and astronaut, he invited the entire Colorado TSA officer team to take a private tour of the academy. On the tour, my eyes were opened to how many different pathways are available. It was astonishing to see all the classrooms, labs, and recreational areas. This was an experience that changed my life and how I think about my future.
I encourage all TSA student members to become involved with their local SAME posts. Your chapter could benefit from experienced SAME judges at TSA conferences, SAME mentorship for TSA projects, and beneficial connections in the future.
by Ben Abt
2018–2019 National TSA Reporter
As the 2018–2019 TSA season gets underway, it is time to start working on the great year ahead. As you begin to choose your competitive events and pick your teams, you should also start to consider TSA’s leadership program—LEAP (Leadership, Education. Achievement. Personal Growth.)—which includes the LEAP Response, for middle school competitors, or the LEAP Report, for high school competitors. (The LEAP Report now replaces the LEAP Resume.)
For many, your LEAP Response or LEAP Report may have been something that you filled out after you completed your competitive event, but in fact, you should start planning your response or report before you even start the competition. The LEAP Response or LEAP Report is a critical part of every TSA competition and can help prepare you for your future, while helping you gain an advantage over your peers.
I remember my TSA chapter’s first meeting of the year when I was in 10th grade. My chapter advisor handed everyone a sheet of paper and asked them to write down what they had done during the summer. Initially, I believed this task was just an ice breaker to start the year, but I soon realized my advisor’s motives.
From that list of activities, we were told to identify times when we worked with others, served as a role model to someone, or demonstrated leadership in any other capacity. We then saved our lists. As we started our competitive events and worked on them with our teammates, we were encouraged to document on our lists, experiences that required our leadership. By the time we were getting ready for the conference, everyone on the team had a list of their leadership experiences over the past few months, allowing us to compile our LEAP Reports (at the time called LEAP Resumes) efficiently and effectively.
I recommend that before you work on your competitive events this year, you quickly take a moment to write down your experiences from the summer. Additionally, as you participate in a leadership activity such as a summer job or being the captain of your sports team, I recommend that you document the experience. Refer to the “The Student Leadership Challenge” free resources. You will soon see how easy it is to put together an effective LEAP Response or LEAP Report.
If treated properly, the LEAP Response or LEAP Report should help you articulate the skills that you have developed and demonstrated over the course of your specific competitive event. It is also an easy way to improve your chances at getting that first place trophy.
by Alexander King
National TSA President
It is truly my pleasure to serve as your 2018–2019 national TSA president. I am humbled and honored to be entrusted with upholding the values ingrained in our organization’s 40-year history. Why not begin this new school year with the introduction of your new national TSA officer team? We are six individuals whose hometowns span from Colorado to Pennsylvania. Each of us brings special character traits that allow us to serve TSA to the best of our abilities.
Your national TSA officer team met from July 17–20, 2018 in Reston, VA to develop our program of work. Immediately we made a connection and felt as if we had been close friends for years and would become lifelong friends.
Your national vice president from Alabama is Isabella Eleogo—a free spirit with a kind heart whose joyful personality is beyond contagious. Audrey Garoutte from Missouri is serving proudly as national TSA secretary. She has been given the nickname of “team mom,” which suits her because of her nurturing personality and willingness to care for others. From sewing patches on blazers to having a first aid kit, she makes it her goal to take care of everyone on the officer team.
Serving as your national TSA reporter from Pennsylvania is Ben Abt, who has become like a brother to me. Ben is from Pennsylvania and with me being from Georgia, I have been teaching him the culture of the South. From Colorado is Emma Hopson, your national TSA treasurer. She has such a big heart and desire to serve others. Her drive and passion for this organization is tremendous. Also from Missouri—your national sergeant-at-arms, Ashley Stokes—the “punniest” person I know. Before meeting her, I thought I was a Harry Potter fanatic, but Ashley definitely takes that title.
Your 2018–2019 national TSA officer team is excited to announce this year's social media hashtag: #OneTSA. More than 250,000 students from around the country come together with the common goal of “learning to lead in a technical world.” We may come from different schools, different cultures, and different backgrounds, but we proudly represent #OneTSA. Be sure to use this hashtag on all of the national TSA social media platforms. We are eager to serve our great organization this year!