Tina Deschenie
At the NM SkillsUSA awards ceremony held in April, Navajo Technical University students won first in the state in the following competition categories: Roderick Brown, Virlencia Begay and DeeAnna James teamed up for a win in Career Pathways, Orlynda Jodie took first for her Job Interview, and Brenda Joe excelled in Customer Service. From left, are: Roderick Brown, Virlencia Begay, Orlynda Jodie, DeeAnna James and Brenda Joe.

NTU Students Earn 62 Medals at SkillsUSA Competition


Students from Navajo Technical University took 62 medals home from the NM SkillsUSA championships held in Albuquerque, New Mexico from April 9-11. They were up against students from other higher education institutions across the state competing in hands-on trade, technical, and leadership contests.

Adriane Tenequer, a junior at NTU who plans to start her own business after graduation, was chosen to serve as president of the competition. “I passed a panel interview and training at the national SkillsUSA competitions in Kansas City in 2014, and afterwards I was thrilled to be named president,” she explained in a university press release. Tenequer was a gold medalist this year.

“From competing last year, I knew to bring all the materials I needed to plan my lesson and create everything on-the-spot to do my teaching demo, and sure enough I won again,” said Marell Charley, a two-time gold medalist who plans to become a history teacher.

Vernon Kaye, a digital manufacturing major at NTU was on a two-man team that won gold in the Additive Manufacturing event. They used a 3-D printer to create an adaptor for a robot arm.

“I like SkillsUSA competition because you apply your learning from scratch. We were tested for our project, and I had to learn how to adapt to the tools I was provided, like a 3-D printer that was smaller than what I was used to, and I had to figure out how to downsize my product to fit,” he said in the release. “SkillsUSA stresses professionalism, right down to what you have to wear, so you have to step up in every way.”

Calvin Price, an Energy Systems major, was involved in a Teamworks event that stretched on for nearly two days. “I worked on the plumbing part of the project, while my teammates each had their own parts to work on,” said Price, who will graduate this month and plans on attending Arizona State University to study Sustainable Energy.

All 33 of the gold medalists from NTU will travel to the national SkillsUSA competitions in Louisville, Kentucky in June.

“NTU has one of the largest memberships in a SkillsUSA chapter.” Kaye said in the release. “There’s talk about getting Navajo Nation recognized as a ‘state,’” which would allow the nation to hold its own round of competitions.

For a full list of medalists, visit NavajoTech.edu.

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