NOVA’s SkillsUSA National Competitors
Back Row (L to R): Soham Nawthale, Jonatan Solomon Gebremichael, Nathaniel Bunger, Ardian Peach
Front Row: Takeshi Tamashiro-Pardo, Marcus Dent, Claudio Molina, Dhyuthi Chegu, Kanykei Korosheva, Mahelet Gebremichael, Nora Kaup
Last September, upon being recognized at a special NOVA ceremony for winning a bronze medal in Cybersecurity at the 2022 SkillsUSA National Conference, Ardian Peach was prescient about NOVA prospects in future SkillsUSA events when he declared “although this is NOVA’s first medal on the national stage, it won’t be the last.”
How right he was. Last week, June 19-23, at the 2023 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta, NOVA took home Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals, with Peach one-upping himself from last year with a silver in Cybersecurity.
The Skills USA National Leadership & Skills Conference is the ultimate recognition of excellence in career and technical education. This event brings together thousands of students, instructors, business partners, and administrators to celebrate the accomplishments of those preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, and it’s an incredible opportunity for students to showcase their talents and skills on the national level.
NOVA’s Jonatan Solomon Gebremichael Wins Gold!
NOVA triumphed with their first national gold. Jonatan Solomon Gebremichael won in the category of Internet of Things: Smart Homes, a three-day intense hands on event where he was required to install a smart TV, smart thermostat, antennae and more onto a make shift room. The event included a troubleshooting component which required him to fix certain things that “went wrong” with his installation.
Gebremichael was ecstatic over his win, saying “It felt amazing. It was something that I’ve never thought would happen because I did not imagine that I was going to win. I worked so hard, not because I wanted to win, but because I truly enjoy what I do. Being encapsulated in my work and my love and appreciation for STEM and engineering led me to this moment. I’ve won at other competitions, but nothing this big nationally, and for that I am so, so happy. Words cannot even express right now. NOVA has brought me to the forefront of my dreams.”
As mentioned earlier, Ardian Peach returned to take silver in Cybersecurity and earned back-to-back National stage winner status. The three-person team of Nathaniel Bunger, Kanykei Korosheva and Mahelet Gebremichael earned bronze in the Engineering Technology Design team challenge. Claudio Molina also took bronze in Principles of Engineering. Dhyuthi Chegu took the silver in Extemporaneous Speaking.
Mahelet Gebremichael, Kanykei Korosheva, and Ardian Peach with their medals.
Ardian Peach remarked on his continued success “there’s really something special about being able to compete at nationals against some of the brightest students in the country, and fly home with a medal. We’ve proven that our skills go far outside the classroom and have real world impact, and I’m really proud of that. I’ve gotten opportunities at NOVA that I couldn’t get at a lot of 4 year institutions, which have definitely put me ahead. Shoutout to AllCyber at the Woodbridge campus for helping me prepare for SkillsUSA Nationals!”
Peach will transfer to University of Central Florida this Fall and just this week received news that he has been accepted to the USA National Cybersecurity Camp/Combine, which is used to select the team to compete at the International Cybersecurity Challenge.
NOVA’s SkillsUSA team began their journey in Fall 2022, which culminated in 13 gold medals at the State Championship in April (read more about that here) and 12 students qualifying for Nationals. Students arrived in Atlanta on Monday, June 19, registered and went straight to work. Some worked on final adjustments to their projects, others put in one final night of studying and review while others met other students and industry professionals from across the country. The conference was held at the Georgia World Congress Center with some events held at nearby venues. Thousands of students competed from all 50 states.
The theme for the conference was “Our Time is Now” and NOVA students proved themselves up to the task. Each team member supported each other and cheered each other on as the conference and competitive events progressed.
One of the bronze medalists In Engineering Technology, Kanykei Korosheva (who is also president of NOVA’s Student Government Association), said that being part of SkillsUSA “has truly been an extraordinary journey throughout my college experience, enriching me with invaluable skills and unforgettable memories. The camaraderie and collaborative spirit we fostered as a team were instrumental in our success. The networking aspect of SkillsUSA opened doors to new friendships, mentorship possibilities, and potential career prospects.”
Her teammate Mahelet Gebremichael added “this has been an incredible journey for me. It required courage to step out of my comfort zone and explore various areas of engineering, technology, and design through my competition. NOVA has played a crucial role in my growth by providing opportunities to engage in clubs, attend conferences, and even pursue an internship that exposed me to real-world applications of my studies. NOVA’s commitment to providing opportunities for all students, regardless of their background or level of confidence, is truly remarkable and Skills USA plays a big role in connecting students with the same passion and interest, providing a platform for collaboration and learning from one another.”
Nate Bunger, a fellow bronze medalist, was similarly grateful for the support he has received in his success: “SkillsUSA, along with the gracious help and resources of NOVA, helped build my skills, let me explore my passion, and gave me the tools necessary to succeed in our competition.”
NOVA’s medalists are listed below.
- Jonathan Solomon Gebremichael – Gold medal: Smart Homes, Internet of Things
- Ardian Peach – Silver medal: Cybersecurity
- Dhyuthi Chegu – Silver medal: Extemporaneous Speaking
- Nathaniel Bunger – Bronze medal: Engineering Technology Design, 3-person team event
- Mahelet Gebremichael – Bronze medal: Engineering Technology Design, 3-person team event
- Kanykei Korosheva – Bronze medal: Engineering Technology Design, 3-person team event
- Claudio Molina – Bronze medal: Principles of Engineering
There was success for other NOVA students as well. Marcus Dent, placed 5th in telecommunications/cabling and received an immediate job offer from his mentor. Takeshi Tamashiro-Pardo competed in Information Technology and earned his industry certification, CompTIA A+ core 1 and core 2.
Along with all the students listed above, Nora Kaup – First aid/CPR, Soham Nawthale – Computer Programming, and Tanjim Redhwan – Realted Technical Math competed at the national level after winning at the State Championship in April.
Congratulations SkillsUSA NOVA students! You make us proud and boldly lead the way for others at NOVA to strive and succeed.
#BoldyNOVA #SkillsUSA #InDemandTech #NOVAIET