‘Motivation, standard for excellence, unique perspective:’ Dixie Lin Poteet

Dixie Poteet

From your time at CSU, what are you most proud of?

I am most proud of making a positive impact as a role model and a mentor. Knowing that I have been able to positively help other people on their own journeys has been a fulfilling experience for me. I have been grateful for the opportunities to serve as a support system in the same ways many students, faculty and staff have been for me.

Dixie Lin Poteet

Hometown: Grand Junction, Colorado

Major: Civil engineering

What’s been the hardest part?

I am sure many students can empathize with this, but I would say the hardest part was the first semester where we transitioned to online classes. Asking questions, being able to engage with professors face-to-face, and organizing study sessions were all part of my study habits in the classroom. Transitioning to online classes and attempting to do the same over video chat or email was incredibly difficult. I also missed being able to work out at the CSU Rec Center in between or en route to classes as a good break in my school day.

Is there anything you learned during the pandemic that you wouldn’t have otherwise?

Without the pandemic, I would not have learned the importance of setting and respecting my own personal boundaries. In-person classes allow at least a 10-minute break where you can walk around and change classrooms. With online classes, though, I found myself stuck at my desk trying to stay engaged. I have learned to respect my body’s need for sleep and my brain’s need for screen breaks. Taking time for myself away from working on schoolwork, answering emails, or watching lectures has been a beneficial change in my personal habits.

Anyone in the college – faculty or staff – who made a difference in your life in the past four years?

The comprehensive answer to this list would be quite long, but I will try to keep it down to five people: Dr. Tom Siller for helping me believe in myself when I still couldn’t believe the opportunity I had been given at CSU; Gwen Sieving for mentoring me in my three years with CREWS, from new member to student coordinator; Susan Benzel for mentoring me and encouraging me to pursue multiple opportunities during my time as a Scott Scholar; Dr. Mazdak Arabi for teaching such a fun class (CIVE 203 Engineering Systems and Decision Analysis)  – Learning Matlab and risk analysis was the highlight that kept me going during some tough times that semester; and the wonderful Laurie Alburn for having the best candy and always answering my email questions no matter when I sent them.

What did the Scott Scholarship allow you to do that you couldn’t have done otherwise?

I am grateful for the freedom to choose what I pursue outside of the classroom. While I have worked part-time during the school year and full-time during summers, I was able to do so out of an interest in the job over a necessity for funding. Having that freedom allowed me to vary my interests and pursue multiple opportunities during my time at CSU.

What have you learned as a Scott Scholar that prepares you for your next steps in life?

Being a Scott Scholar has afforded me several opportunities to develop professionally. Whether helping plan a Scott Scholars Shadow Day or answering questions on a student panel, I learned how to remain genuine in professional situations. Staying true to who I am allows me to bring the same motivation, standard for excellence, and unique perspective to any task or situation I find myself in.