SUU Student Earns 1st Place at SkillsUSA Championships

Published: September 06, 2019 | Author: Kierstin Pitcher-Holloway | Read Time: 2 minutes

SUU SkillsUSA TeamIn just his second year of competing, Southern Utah University student Keith Mankle took first place at the National SkillsUSA Championships, earning gold for SUU. Consisting of competitive events that display the skills and knowledge of students pursuing a technical education, each event includes two knowledge tests as well as hands-on testing in soldering, breadboarding, and troubleshooting. 

“The championship gives students real-world experience,” said Jamie Campbell administrative assistant of the Engineering and Technology Department. “They’re given a project to get done in a certain about of time and they have to do it accurately.”

Campbell attributes Mankle’s success to his hard work and perseverance. Last year Mankle just missed placing, so this year he was committed to winning. 

“I didn’t have a lot of experience in breadboarding last year,” said Mankle. “So this year I was determined to do better and not mess up that portion of the test. To the point where I was the only one who actually completed it. That’s what started to put me ahead.” 

SUU has missed out on gold in recent years and Mankle was determined to earn back that title for the school. Because of his improved performance over the previous year, Mankle felt that he would at least place, but he was shocked and overjoyed at being awarded first place.  

“I didn’t feel like I was doing it for me,” said Mankle. “But more like I was doing it for the school.”

As a retired marine and father of four, Mankle enrolled at SUU to pursue a career change. While at SUU Mankle has enjoyed his experience, but it hasn’t always been easy. Mankle has been able to use his support group to find success at SUU.

“Relearning things is the hardest part of coming back,” said Mankle. “I feel like I’m doing double duty in comparison to the other students. But the professors at SUU tend to help you. They’re not trying to give you a handout, they’re trying to set you up for success.”

“Keith’s success shows that our students are well trained,” said Campbell. “And they’re given the skills and knowledge that they need to be very successful in the careers that they choose.” 

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree, Mankle hopes to further his education by attending graduate school. 

Learn more about the Engineering and Technology Department at SUU.

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