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Mechatronics #11 in United States; Program continues to put RCC in national spotlight

Robeson Community College was in the national spotlight last week, as two students, David Jimenez and Abigail Jacobs, competed in the SkillsUSA competition in Atlanta. The two ranked #11 in the mechatronics category, which featured students from various colleges and universities across the country.

“David and Abigail performed exceptionally well, showcasing their skills and dedication. Their hard work paid off as they secured 11th place in the national event, a commendable achievement given the high level of competition,” stated Timothy Bryant, the director of Industrial Technologies at RCC. “They both demonstrated great teamwork, resilience, and expertise throughout the event. Their performance is a testament to their commitment and the quality of training and support they have received.”

Bryant went on to praise their Instructor Heath Worriax for his efforts in helping the students prepare and train for the competition.

“Heath’s guidance, mentorship, and unwavering support were instrumental in preparing Abigail and David for this competition,” Bryant said. “I am incredibly proud of our Mechatronics area accomplishment and look forward to seeing their continued growth and success in future competitions.”

For Jimenez, competing wasn’t just about medals or recognition, but the experience.

“This has been a great experience,” said Jimenez, who graduated from RCC this past May. “Hopefully, with attending SkillsUSA, I can now get a good job, that was the main goal, I know it is going to look good on my resume.”

Jimenez secured a spot in the nationals by taking first place in the North Carolina SkillsUSA contest held in Greensboro, bringing home the gold. Jacobs, along with Ryland Oxendine placed 3rd at the state level in mechatronics, granting her the ability to compete with Jimenez.

“I’m ecstatic,” Jacobs said after attending the State competition. “I’m confident in my partner and his abilities, I look forward to us working together.”

Although Jimenez and Jacobs did not bring home gold, they still made Robeson Community College proud.

“Both David and Abigail represented Robeson Community College well, and although they did not win those competitions, placing 11th is a remarkable achievement. They gave it their all and did their very best, and it was a great learning opportunity for those students,” stated Cassidy Campbell, the dean of public service and applied technology at RCC. “Hopefully they had a great time representing Robeson Community College in Atlanta, and we also hope that the other students who competed at the State SkillsUSA competition had a memorable time also that they can always reflect back upon as part of their overall college experience.”

Worriax is already looking forward to the next SkillsUSA competition, and says “this year is going to be unique because we will have a returning participant next year, so they will have a good idea of what to expect.” 

“I am incredibly proud of our Mechatronics area accomplishment and look forward to seeing their continued growth and success in future competitions,” Bryant adds.

In addition to mechatronics, RCC also competed in the cosmetology, welding, and HVAC categories of the NC SkillsUSA competition. Although these students did not bring home any medals, they demonstrated excellence in their field of study and make a great impression amongst those attending.

Jazlyn Washington, Bessie Locklear-Kamaka, Cheneice Milon, Kayla Kushmock, Antasia Andujar all took part in the cosmetology fashion show, with their student partners Shylah Godwin, Ashlyn Baney, Honesty Tyler, Khristian Chavis, and Hannah Hunt serving as models for the contest, becoming a living creation of the student’s fantasy design.

Breaen Hill and Raul Cardenas competed in the NC SkillsUSA welding competition, and Josey Locklear, Hancy Trochez, Owen Acosta-Cardona, and Stephen Strickland took part in the HVAC competition during the North Carolina SkillsUSA competition.

“We commend our students on their success during the SkillsUSA competition,” RCC President Melissa Singler said. “We love having an opportunity to watch our students in action, demonstrating what they have learned in the classroom and applying it to real life… We are so very proud of all the contestants who participated in the NC SkillsUSA Competition as well as Abigail and David who who competed at the national level. Congratulations to you all.”



About SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce. The mission of the organization is to empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.  The North Carolina competition was fierce this year, with over 2,500 High School, Middle School and postsecondary students competing in over 120 different skills and leadership contests, and the 2024 National SkillsUSA Competition saw the highest attendance on record, with over 15,000 contestants in attendance, competing in over 120 categories from across the United States. 


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