Students honored at international conference


The Appalachian Online

Tommy Culkin

Three Appalachian State University students were recently honored at the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association Conference in Washington, D.C.

Clay Nelson, a senior technology education major, received the Outstanding Chapter Service Award.

The award, which recognizes outstanding leadership and service in the recipient’s school’s community, is only given to one student each year.

Even though he received the honor, Nelson said he was surprised because he didn’t know that he was nominated for the award.

“I do always try my best to help other people and to set a good example for App State,” Nelson said. “That being said, I was completely surprised to win this award, which, quite frankly, I didn’t even know existed. It feels nice to be honored for just doing what I naturally always do.”

This is the second time in three years that an Appalachian student has won the distinction.

Dan Blakeley, a graduate student studying appropriate technology, received the Donald Maley Spirit of Excellence Outstanding Graduate Citation at the conference. The award is given to graduate students who exhibit high levels of scholarship, dedication and leadership.

Blakeley said only three of the awards were given out and that it was humbling to be recognized for his work.

“It means a lot that [the judges] see me doing a lot, not only for the club, but for the program and university,” Blakeley said. “Because I’m doing a lot for the solar vehicle team and outreach programs, and it’s nice to be recognized for all the extra stuff.”

William Miner, a senior technology education major, won the Donald Maley Spirit of Excellence Outstanding Undergraduate Citation. Miner is a member of the Technology and Engineering Education Collegiate Association and is a student teacher at West Wilkes High School.

Appalachian students also came in first place in the transportation challenge at the conference.

The competition required teams to customize a quadricopter drone to pick up and carry objects.

Blakeley said Appalachian’s team won by not overcomplicating things, and taking a more straightforward approach.

While most of the teams attempted to outfit the drone with complex robotics, Appalachian’s team simply attached a giant paper clip to their drone and used it to hook the objects.

Nelson said Appalachian fielded a far smaller team than most of the other schools. While most teams consist of approximately 20 students, Appalachian only had five students.

“We have to do a lot more work per person than any of the other schools have to do for the same output,” Nelson said. “It really exemplifies the dedication and work ethic of every one of us.”

Appalachian has developed a reputation of doing well at ITEEA conferences, which Nelson said is indicative of their drive to succeed.

“We’ve always had the attitude that we want to win everything,” Nelson said. “We have high expectations for one another, and don’t want to let our teammates down. Not only that, but when we do poorly, it reflects on App State, and we want to put forth a culture of success and winning.”

Story by Tommy Culkin, Senior News Reporter