PRO leaders ease transitions during Opening Week and beyond


Missouri S&T PRO leaders with Project X vehicles (left to right): Seth Marton, Doris Ditter and Tim Clemon. Photo by B.A. Rupert

Missouri S&T attracts some of the best and brightest students, but even these high achievers get anxious when heading off to college. That’s where Missouri S&T PRO (preview, registration and orientation) leaders come in. They combine friendly faces with sage advice that can really help get new students off on the right track during Opening Week orientation, the week before classes begin on Aug. 22.

“I love helping and advising new students,” says Seth Marton, a junior in architectural engineering from Lake Saint Louis, Mo. “I stress the importance of learning how to study and what to consider when choosing where to live.

“Opening Week orientation is a great program where freshmen get to know a lot of people. It really helps prevent jitters.”
In addition to working Opening Week, Marton is coordinator for Transfer Transitions, a one-day orientation for transfer students the Thursday of Opening Week.

Tim Clemon tries to focus on putting students at ease. “So many of them have questions but don’t want to ask them,” he says. “I help draw them out.”

A junior in psychology from St. Louis, Clemon says he’s maintained friendships with many of the students he’s met as a PRO leader during Opening Week. “They come to me frustrated about a test they failed. I tell them it’s not the end of the world — you can recover. You just need to learn to study early on in the course.”

Clemon ran the mini-Career Fair last year during Opening Week, which gives freshmen exposure to future employment opportunities. This year he’s a floater. “I’ll be all over the place,” he says.

Sometimes it’s not just students that may need reassurance. “I spend a lot of time with parents — they have a lot of questions,” says Doris Ditter, a junior in chemical engineering from Platte City, Mo. “I tell them Missouri S&T is empowering to students. Students run all the organizations; the faculty mentors are there to supervise.”

According to Ditter, her advice to freshmen is to “work hard to play hard.” She is leading a “power of communications” workshop this year. “We take students on field trips all over the Rolla area, then they present to the group about their trip,” she says. “In addition to helping them get familiar with the area, they learn helpful skills to talk to recruiters and professors.”

Every year PRO leaders dream up the fun and unusual activities Opening Week at Missouri S&T is known for, including Project X, a competition featuring wild-looking remote-controlled vehicles designed and built by student teams. Members of the campus and Rolla community are on hand to cheer on their favorite teams as the vehicles navigate obstacle courses throughout campus on the Friday of Opening Week.

By Linda Fulps