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Nov. 23, 2011

Defender John Cordier, a sophomore on the Pitt men’s soccer team, is expanding his horizons in a big way. The biology major recently attended a neuroscience conference in Boston entitled “Preparing 21st Century Minds: Using Brain Research to Enhance Cognitive Skills for the Future.” Hosted by the Learning & the Brain Society, Cordier joined the discussion in the hopes of enhancing his journey to becoming a doctor of neuroscience.

“It was a big deal to me because it combines neuroscience with higher education and research methods,” said Cordier, a native of Fairview, Pa. “I really enjoy that and would like to pursue as a career.”

With an extensive list of learning objectives, students attending the conference sought to gain knowledge about various topics, including ways to cultivate critical thinking and reflection, promotion of cognitive skills to prepare students for the future, and how to teach, learn and lead in the 21st century.

Cordier is an extremely involved student-athlete at the University of Pittsburgh. He is an instructor in the Emerging Leaders program, a hands-on learning experience that provides students a fun and exciting way to discover and develop their leadership skills. Cordier is also an active member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). He has taken initiative within the committee and has brought forth new ideas, including a SAAC newsletter that is will debut during the spring semester.

“This is the first year we’re publishing a newsletter and I am writing a couple of articles for it,” Cordier said.

Additionally, Cordier was recently involved in the WPIAL “Summit on Sportsmanship.” He and other student-athletes from Western Pennsylvania discussed the importance of respect and conduct with local high school athletes.

Last summer, Cordier attended the Panther Leadership Conference, an annual event that was developed in 2005 through collaboration with Pitt’s Emerging Leaders program. Activities held during the conference are geared toward helping Pitt student-athletes gain insight on leadership, communication, teamwork and confidence building. Cordier feels that what he learned at the conference can be applied effectively both on and off the field.

“The conference allowed many of the student-athletes in attendance to apply leadership away from the field,” he said. “It opened our eyes. Leadership goes beyond having the title and being the captain of a team. I learned a lot about myself. I also learned that how you’re viewed on the team is part of how you’re viewed outside the team as well. It was an inspiration to get involved outside of the team.”

Cordier plans to include a discussion of one of the activities that he participated in at the conference as part of a presentation about group dynamics and personality type at a future undergraduate leadership conference at the University of Arizona in February.

Panther Profile: John Cordier

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