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UVU Students Earn 10 National Awards at SkillsUSA Competition

1 July 2010 No Comment

July 1, 2010
For Immediate Release

For more information: Darin Taylor (801) 863-8168
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Karissa Neely (801) 863-6351

At the 46th annual SkillsUSA National Championships held June 21-25 in Kansas City, Mo., UVU students brought home 10 national medals, including two gold, six silver and two bronze.

Construction student Nathan Jackson received a gold for his carpentry skills, and art student Jared Hawkins’s screen printing earned him a gold.

When the competition ended UVU was ranked No. 3 among participating U.S. colleges and universities based on its impressive medal tally. Much like the Olympic Games, an overall ranking is determined by the total medal count earned during the national competition. UVU has been nationally ranked third or better for the last 10 years.

“To bring this into perspective, there were 42 states that did not earn as many national medals as UVU took home as an individual institution,” said Darin Taylor, department chair of Engineering Graphics & Design Technology and UVU SkillsUSA director. “This speaks volumes about the quality of students, faculty and programs we have here at UVU.”

Hawkins and Jackson were among 5,600 students competing in 96 different contest categories. To go to the national level, students had to take first place at their state competitions. At Utah’s state competition in March, UVU students earned the right to compete in 20 categories at the national level.

For the carpentry medal, Jackson had eight hours to build a house, 4 feet long by 8 feet wide by 6 feet high. To showcase his skill, he had to demonstrate proper framing techniques, build a gable roof, cut stairs, and trim out a window. Jackson, who graduated from UVU in April, actually finished early.

It was a lengthy process for Hawkins to medal in screen printing. After a written exam and technical interview, he was judged on his quality control skills, checking shirts for printing errors and screening machinery for set-up gaffs. After adjusting a color problem, he then had to correctly expose a light-sensitive screen image. As a final step Hawkins crafted a five-color design, which for the graphic design major, was the easiest and most enjoyable part of producing his gold-winning screen prints.

“I’ve built my own little screen printing shop in my garage, and I do little projects on the side to earn money,” he said.

Silver medal winners were: Jason Nielson for automotive refinishing technology; Luke Eddleman, Kevin Goodwin, Phil Kinsey, Doug Wagstaff, Jimmy Wegener, John Wheeler and Alana Wolfgang-Duran in chapter business procedure; Klinton Epperson, Aaron Hall, and Brooke Pagano in crime scene investigation; Jared Liljenquist in related technical math; Christopher Chileshe in technical computer applications; and Michael Gleason in technical drafting.

The bronze medalists Kevin Sellers and Christen Thompson won in robotics and automation technology, and Lars Jenson earned a bronze medal for collision repair technology.

“This is a wonderful accomplishment. It is a clear example of the quality of our students, the quality of their instruction, and our commitment to engaged learning,” said Ian Wilson, UVU interim vice president for academic affairs.

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical, health and skilled service occupations.

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