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E.B. Bollendonk

Goddard Middle School and Littleton High School, CO
B.A. Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; B.A. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado-Boulder
Project Coordinator, Syncroness

What did you gain in TSA? 

TSA gave me invaluable leadership, hands-on learning, and fast-paced work experiences. My leadership roles in the organization—serving in state officer roles and as national TSA secretary—translated into taking on leadership roles in college and pursuing a management-related career. Gaining technically-related leadership skills in TSA also helped me successfully take on a project management-related job at an engineering firm. Participating in TSA helped give me background knowledge and the confidence to approach work situations, even when I am unsure of technical aspects of our projects.

Believe it or not, in TSA, the late nights cramming to complete projects before conferences and competing at one too many events also helped find success in my career. I learned how to work hard, efficiently, and with a positive attitude. These skills are especially important in my role as a project coordinator—as I am handed dozens of different tasks every workday—but they could translate into any career. So enjoy the rush of that last minute pressure surrounding your events: you will be better for it!

What advice do you have for current TSA student members? 

Each year, try something new at your state and national conference, such as participating in a different competitive event. You may rather stick with what you know, but trying new things will give you better, all-around knowledge of TSA and a stronger technical background. You will be able to learn new things, meet new people, and possibly discover a new interest. For instance, trying out the photography-related events unearthed my passion for photography. This has grown into me taking on photography as a small side business.

Even if you decide that the new event you try is not for you, you will not lose anything. Participating in something new gives you knowledge that will help make you a better leader. Within your chapter, you can make recommendations to other members and better relate to your friends who also participated in the event that you tried. Learning about a new technical area will also make you a better student in the future.