July 13, 2022 | Michelle Yu

NC Space Grant congratulates the SkillsUSA Championship 2022 medalists on their incredible performance at this year’s national competition. Special congratulations are extended to several national honorees from Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) and Edgecombe Community College (ECC) who also participated in the 2022 NC Space Grant-supported NC High-Altitude Ballooning Challenge and Competition. The SkillsUSA Championship is a national career competition event showcasing students’ career and technical abilities.

Payden Kiser, a student at Edgecombe Early College High School and ECC, received a third-place medal in the Principles of Engineering Technology Competition. Kiser is a member of ECC’s High Altitude Balloon Team, critECCly stable, which was a competitor in the 2022 High-Altitude Ballooning Challenge and Competition. Kiser’s medal-winning presentation, The Significance and Benefits of the APRS Network, was based on work supported by the NC Space Grant.

Catawba Valley Community College’s Team C, composed of Jody Laws, Landon Rao, and Gabriel Marks, received a third-place medal in the Engineering Technology Design Competition for their work on high altitude balloon designs. CVCC hosted and participated in NC Space Grant’s 2022 High-Altitude Ballooning Challenge and Competition in March. CVCC was awarded the most medals out of any school in the southeastern United States at the SkillsUSA Championship 2022. All results can be found on the national SkillsUSA website.

Implemented in 2014, the High-Altitude Ballooning Challenge and Competition is an event aimed at community colleges to introduce students to the process of designing, building, and launching a weather balloon for research purposes. Student teams are challenged with building a balloon over the academic year before launching the balloon and its payload at the spring competition. The event was put on hiatus from 2020-2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and returned this year.

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