Carnegie Mellon University

Coach Award Winner | Dan Myers

What does leadership mean to you?

That’s a big one. It’s about helping people be the best they can be. It’s not getting the best out of people, it’s more about enabling them to explore their potential. 

How do you think your background helped to prepare you to be a leader?

As a member of the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force), I was trained to be a leader. It’s a core principle of being an officer in the military. Or a military member in general. We are taught leadership. We practice leadership. And we have the opportunities to figure out our own styles of leadership. I’d say training and experience go hand in hand for that. 

What motivated you to be a leader in the MSE community?

I didn’t set out to be a leader. There wasn’t a goal I had in mind. It’s just what I’m used to. 

How does your positive attitude affect your peers in the program?

I think I bring a different perspective — I don’t have a computer science background, I’m the only Australian, and I’m also in the military. My approach isn’t necessarily better, it’s just a different approach. I hope I help people to see things a different way. Because my peers definitely help me see things a different way as well. Students with diverse backgrounds and different experiences is one of the benefits of the program.

What was your training prior to joining the program?

Electrical Engineering, with experience in aerospace. I worked on FA18 super hornet maintenance and fleet management prior to joining the program in the fall of 2019. 

What types of tasks or assignments within the MSE community have you volunteered for that are above and beyond the requirements for the program?

I was a member of the admissions committee for the class of 2020, participated on the student panel as part of the MSE Virtual Visit Day, was a “buddy” for two future MSE students, and helped out another future student who had questions about bringing their family to Pittsburgh and CMU. 

In the fall of 2019, in the Methods class, there was a concept that was a bit difficult to understand, but it clicked with me so during the recitation I shared my perspective with my peers.