The MSOE Mindset identifies graduates as leaders of character; responsible professionals; passionate learners; and value creators. It was officially articulated and rolled out on campus in Fall 2018, but its attributes have been central to the MSOE mission for a long time.  

When Dakota Cole learned about the MSOE Mindset, she knew it would be important to her. “I have always believed that mentality and overall outlook have a huge impact on either the success or failure of an individual. When I came to MSOE and saw the university’s defined list of what it takes to succeed, I took great interest,” she said. “I use the MSOE Mindset every single day and it has proven to be beneficial in my life thus far. I am passionate about everything the mindset promotes.”  

“The MSOE Mindset led me to succeed in my freshman year of college. It pushed me out of my comfort zone at times, but I know I am a better person because of it. I was involved in servant-leadership projects through the University Scholars Honors Program and I loved it. The skills I learned throughout the process and the connections I made are something I will always have, and I believe the benefits of servant-leadership and project-based learning are something every student at MSOE should have the opportunity to experience.”  

 One servant-leadership project stands out for Cole. “One project I worked on was in collaboration with MKE Plays, an organization that works to build and revive parks in areas where play space is limited or nonexistent. We focused on a site at 29th Street and Melvina Street, which is located northwest of MSOE. We designed a park layout and pavilion for the community, and hope to see the project through construction this year.”

Through her work with the CREATE Institute, she also had the opportunity to play a role in the International Servant Leader Summit last spring. "I recruited colleges to encourage student participation in the summit. I also organized ‘Lightning Sessions’ for students to submit, which were five-minute videos they created highlighting servant leadership projects they were involved in. These videos were then broadcast during the summit. Overall, we ended up with over 500 students from all over the world in attendance at the summit."

Cole continues to help with monthly servant leadership roundtable discussions on campus and also will be working with Doug Nelson, chair of MSOE Servant Leadership, to help run the Wisconsin Servant Leadership Milwaukee City Tour at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

In her third year as a CREATE Student Fellow, Cole will be leading an exciting project for the MSOE community. "It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to grow with the CREATE institute thus far. As a senior fellow, I have also found great joy in being able to mentor the newer fellows and work on projects with them. I always appreciate the new ideas and enthusiasm they bring to the table. I will be finishing up my master’s degree at MSOE next year, and I’m already looking forward to seeing where CREATE continues to take me in my personal and professional development."  

Cole is pursuing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering with construction management.