STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Since 2007, Mississippi State's industrial technology majors have won top honors in competitions at the national Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering conference.
This year was no exception. Ten university students were recognized at ATMAE's recent "Developing the Future Workforce" conference in New Orleans.
Senior Horace F. "Trey" Tavares III, of Kosciusko, won first place in the Haig Vahradian Technology Challenge. He and his teammates in the robotics competition also won best electronics/controller methodology and best technical report, as well as second place overall.
At three of the four most recent conferences, an MSU industrial technology major has won the challenge competition, a "Jeopardy!"-like quiz bowl, said ATMAE faculty-sponsor Mickey Giordano. In 2011, MSU took second place.
For five of the past seven years, MSU's robotics team placed at the tournament, Giordano added. The instructor of instructional systems and workforce development said students' strong commitment to problem-solving and critical thinking is the primary contributor to their continued success at the ATMAE conference.
"Our students do all the work on the robot themselves," he said. "They came up with the ideas and the design, and they built it. Doing it all themselves gives them more of a sense of pride because it's all their own work."
Students on the ATMAE robotics team and those in the quiz competition do not receive academic credit; they volunteer outside of class, Giordano said. They worked in MSU's Industrial Education Building metal shop, and one or more faculty members--Giordano, fellow instructor Jerry Mize or associate professor John Wyatt--stayed to answer questions.
"Our students deserve the pat on the back because they're the ones who come here and do all the work," Giordano said. "They volunteered their time and effort to get it done and raised around 80 percent of the money to pay for their trip."
The Office of the Dean in MSU's College of Education also provided funding to cover the students' conference expenses.
That support is especially critical because the ATMAE conference offers extensive networking opportunities for students, Giordano said. In addition to learning about graduate-degree programs at other colleges and universities, MSU team members also can meet with industry representatives promoting job opportunities.
"Attending this conference pays off in the end," Giordano said.
Additional information about MSU's industrial technology program and ATMAE chapter is available at http://iswd.msstate.edu.
For more about MSU, visit msstate.edu.