TSTC SkillsUSA Walden

Texas State Technical College student Mikayla Walden won a gold medal at the 55th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in late June in Louisville, Kentucky.

Texas State Technical College won its first-ever medal at the 55th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held June 24-28 in Louisville, Kentucky.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching employability, leadership and technical skills helping middle school, high school and college students pursue successful careers and build a skilled workforce.

SkillsUSA has more than 100 competitive events ranging from 3D visualization and animation to welding sculpture.

Mikayla Walden, a Computer Networking and Systems Administration major from Broaddus, won the gold medal in Technical Computer Applications.

“I honestly didn’t expect it,” Walden said. “It took about 10 seconds to realize I was getting gold. I have a feeling of accomplishment.”

Amy Hertel, a TSTC Cyber Security instructor who traveled with the Marshall delegation, said Walden never lost faith in her skills.

“The competition was tough and had many elements over a two-day span,” Hertel said. “It was a test of endurance as well as technical ability.”

TSTC’s Marshall campus also had students compete in CNC Turning, Customer Service, Cyber Security and Industrial Motor Control.

“We are incredibly proud of Mikayla, as well as each of her teammates who represented TSTC and East Texas in such fine fashion,” said Barton Day, provost of TSTC’s Marshall campus. “These competitions are a great experience for our students and a terrific showcase of the skills provided by a top-notch technical education.”

Also at the national conference, TSTC’s students from the Harlingen campus received a silver medal and students from the Waco campus received one gold medal, four silver medals and a bronze medal.

TSTC’s competitors qualified for the national conference by winning the SkillsUSA Texas State Leadership and Skills Conference held in Waco last April.

More than 6,400 students from Alaska to Puerto Rico competed at the national conference, with more than 1,100 gold, silver and bronze medals awarded. In-kind industry and education contributions in equipment, materials and time totaled more than $36 million for the event, according to SkillsUSA.