Gwinnett Tech Students Earn Four SkillsUSA National Conference Medals

When Gwinnett Tech students earned a record number of competition medals at Georgia’s SkillsUSA Post Secondary State Leadership & Skills Conference back in March, it was clearly a sign of the excitement to come at the national conference. Of the 57 GTC students who competed at the state level, 38 placed. A total of 23 competition medals were earned; 10 gold, 9 silver and 4 bronze.

The ten gold medalists earned the opportunity to advance and compete at the 2016 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference this summer in Louisville, Kentucky. Gwinnett Technical College’s national competitors included:

  • Alyssa Harvey – Computer Programming
  • Shawn Wood – Diesel Equipment
  • Shamaah Matos – Cabinet Making
  • Lauren Pelletier – Health Occupations Professional Portfolio
  • Eric Skinner – Job Interview
  • Omega Ruth – Photography
  • Gisella Brust – Prepared Speech
  • Rhonda Ducuing – Restaurant Service
  • Segunda Macawile and Nahida Sultana – Web Design Team

When the results came in, Lauren Pelletier and Eric Skinner earned spots on the top podium as National Gold Medalists. Gisella Brust and Omega Ruth earned National Silver Medals. The other Gwinnett Tech national competitors showed strong and finished with great pride in their performances. By the end of the week, a total of 39 medals and five national titles were awarded to Georgia students.

Gail Edwards, GTC’s SkillsUSA Director touts, “This year we had more students in the SkillsUSA competitions and more medals awarded than any other year in the history of the College. Our students continue to show that they are the brightest and best in the industry.“ Dr. D. Glen Cannon, President of Gwinnett Technical College says, “These results reflect an outstanding level of academic leadership that inspires our students to not just learn new skills, but to develop a level of competency and real-world application that sets them apart. This is what makes their Gwinnett Tech education truly exceptional.”

To add to the excitement, Dwight Lewis, a Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management student from Loganville, was Gwinnett Tech’s first SkillUSA competitor to be elected as a state officer. This summer Lewis was elected to serve as Georgia’s SkillsUSA President. It’s a big milestone for Gwinnett Tech to have a student serving in this important statewide leadership role.

Kudos are also in order for the following Gwinnett Tech faculty members who served as 2016 SkillsUSA advisors and staff members who supported the students’ efforts: Garfield Anderson, Albena Asenova-Belal, Dennis Bowers, Lorri Chin-Shue, Lorenzo Clark, Kerri Crean, Candace Do, Gail Edwards, Charles Hardnett, Steve Jessup, Saphronia Johnson, John Leonguerrero, Margaret Long, Rachel Mariano, Janice McClendon, Andrew Miller, Kathy Nesbit, Judith Pishnery, Pamela Spann, Johnny Stallings, Morgan Taylor-Burns, John Thacher, Kathleen Torrance, Penny Waddell, Mark Whittaker, and Dragana Zulfic. Margaret Long and Dr. Penny Waddell have both proudly trained two National Gold Medalists.

SkillsUSA contests begin locally and continue through state and national levels. The National SkillsUSA Championships showcase the skills of post-secondary students through hands-on competitions in leadership, health occupations, trades/industry and technical contests. More than 16,000 students, teachers and business partners are expected to participate in the weeklong national competition.

SkillsUSA is a national, nonprofit student organization that has developed more than 10 million workers through active partnerships between employers and educations. Hundreds of American industries have turned to SkillsUSA as the source for employees who exemplify “Champions at Work” in both skills and attitudes.

SkillsUSA’s mission is to empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. SkillsUSA improves the quality of America’s skilled workforce through a structure program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training. The organization has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations. Skills USA programs also help to establish industry standards for job skill training in the lab and classroom, and promote community service.

Participation in SkillsUSA competitions is just another way Gwinnett Tech works to provide an exceptional career-focused education for their students that prepare them for real-world jobs.

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About Gwinnett Tech: Gwinnett Technical College, one of Georgia's largest technical colleges, is committed to delivering relevant knowledge to meet the workforce training needs of its community. The College offers more than 150 associate degree, diploma and certificate programs and hundreds of seminars, workshops and courses providing specialized training. Gwinnett Tech is Gwinnett County's largest provider of corporate training and also serves residents and businesses in north Fulton County. Gwinnett Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Gwinnett Technical College. In addition, some college programs hold separate licensure or accreditation status with appropriate agencies. For more information, visit A unit of the Technical College System of Georgia.