March 08, 2013
Student Demetrios Layne is making the most of his opportunities
The nation’s continuing economic challenges have put a spotlight on issues of access, affordability and college completion throughout higher education. SIU is at the forefront of efforts that ensure the education we provide enables our graduates to enjoy an improved quality of life, enhanced opportunities, and higher salaries, and is a superior value.
Through outstanding teaching, innovative uses of technology, and extensive support services, we are helping students realize their dreams. Demetrios Layne can attest to that.
Demetrios readily admits that test-taking is a challenge. He was a solid 3.0 GPA student at Lake Park High School near his hometown of Itasca, Ill., but struggled with the ACT college entrance exam.
We offered him an opportunity when other universities did not.
Demetrios, whose family is originally from Panama, is a junior majoring in physical education, with a minor in political science. His goal is to become a college football coach, but he also is interested in a public service role that would help improve Chicago’s schools.
He enrolled at SIU through what was known as the Center for Academic Success and is now called Exploratory Student Advisement. The program helps undecided students entering SIU through our University College, some of whom are under-prepared, pick a major that will best prepare them for their careers. Advisers provide important mentoring that helps students adjust to university life.
“When I came to SIU, I took the initiative,” Demetrios says. “I wanted to prove myself, and I earned a 3.4 GPA my freshman year. Lots of people struggle when they take tests, but are still great students. You have to be optimistic and you have to prove yourself. I would love for other students to realize this University is giving you an opportunity.”
Other students benefit from his positive outlook and advice. Demetrios is a Saluki Peer Mentor, helping new freshmen make the transition to college life and academic expectations. By making sure new students are fully engaged in their classes and campus life, Saluki Peer Mentors provide reassurance to parents and help establish a foundation for the new students’ success.
He also participates in the weekly Black Male Roundtable, which brings African American students together for educational discussions that can range from campus topics to the economy and world affairs. He also is active in the Speaking and Teaching student organization, which sponsors the annual Carbondale Youth Showcase. Demetrios and other members of Speaking and Teaching also recently organized a town hall meeting for African American students. I attended that meeting and appreciated the constructive input they provided.
Demetrios’ passion for others’ success extends to the high school level. Last fall, he served as the quarterbacks coach for the Carbondale Community High School football team, and he anticipates doing so again next fall. Much as he enjoys sharing his knowledge of the game he loves, he also knows the most important lessons he shares aren’t about the “X’s and O’s.”
SIU is helping Demetrios achieve his dreams. And he is doing what our students do so well: Helping others reach for theirs.