University News

SUU Brings Home Bronze from National SkillsUSA Competition

Published: July 02, 2008 | Category: Academics

Southern Utah University’s Dana Meier placed third in the nation in Electronics Technology last week after competing against more than 20 other state champions at the 44th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference in Kansas City, Mo. SkillsUSA Nationals competitions were held June 23-37.

SUU’s College of Computing, Integrated Engineering and Technology sent two students to compete at this year’s national competition – Dana Meier in electronics technology and Robert Kerksiek in power equipment technology.

Meier, a Cedar City native, who graduated in May in Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology, advanced to the national competition after taking first place in the Electronics Technology category at the Utah SkillsUSA competition in Salt Lake City in April.

Though this was Meier’s first year participating at Nationals, he said he felt that he was well prepared. “SUU’s curriculum covered everything that I was tested on,” said Meier.

When asked whether or not he would recommend his fellow students to participate in SkillsUSA competitions, Meier responded with a definite “Absolutely!” “There was so much energy by the students, advisors and industry representatives. It was a lot of fun,” said Meier.

Robert Kerksiek, a junior from Beaver, Utah, placed seventh in the nation in his contest. This was also Kerksiek’s first time competing at nationals, and he is planning on participating again next year.

“This was a great learning experience; I learned some things that I need to focus and improve on,” said Kerksiek.

The Kerksiek family is no stranger to these SkillsUSA competitions. Robert’s older brother, Walt Kerksiek, also competed in Skills USA competitions as an SUU student and won a gold medal in electronics applications at the 1997 Nationals.

To be eligible to compete at the national SkillsUSA competitions, students must first win their state-level competitions. Contests range from automotive to welding and are sponsored by industry representatives. Participants are tested on their complete range of knowledge and hands-on abilities.

Meier’s medal extends SUU’s national SkillsUSA electronics medals to eight, with a combined total of thirty national medals over the years in all areas of technology.

“We have some exceptional students,” said Dave Ward, Associate Professor of Electronics and Technology and Director of Career and Technology Education. “This gives you an idea that we must be doing something right.”

The SkillsUSA national conference is a showcase of career and technical education students. This year’s competition featured 93 different trade, technical and leadership fields, with more than 5,000 student participants.

“I just wish I could have all my students walk down those aisles during the competitions . . . there wouldn’t be one student that wouldn’t want to participate and test their skills. It’s very impressive,” said Ward.

For more information about SUU’s College of Computer, Integrated Engineering, and Technology programs and their SkillsUSA program, please visit

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