Ask Tim

There’s an old Danish proverb that goes, “To leap high, you need a long run.” This year’s national officer team may have taken this idea to heart.

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  • Learn more about your national officers, such as their hometowns and schools, and see additional pictures here.
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Of the 15, five are national competitors—three have won gold medals, two have medaled in multiple years. The team’s diverse career goals include law, politics, medicine, physics, communications, graphics and engineering. Both Shajara Williams and Herman Dominguez are studying physics and plan to work in that field. Dominguez found he had the knack while studying electronics. “I love calculations, you know, I’m one of those people,” says the Texas native, who hopes to work for NASA someday. And Missouri’s Williams plans to study biophysics after high school and become an international medical researcher.

(Clockwise from top left) Michelle Price, Vanessa Sandoval, Alida Finnie and Ashleigh Harris (more pictures below)

Amelia Mitchell and Turneas Haynes represent a positive trend in career and technical education: women in nontraditional fields. In their case, it’s automotive technology. Utah’s Mitchell is a graduate of the Toyota T-TEN program and is now pursuing her bachelor’s degree in automotive technology. She’s also an intern for Caterpillar. Haynes is an honor student from Mississippi who plans to get a degree in business as well as automotive.

Criminal justice may be their field of study, but Vanessa Sandoval, Ashleigh Harris and Michelle Price have a lot of different interests and responsibilities.

Sandoval, a self-described “regular kid,” is also drawn to broadcasting and political science. The Texan believes having skills is paramount and whatever her eventual career, she’ll benefit from diverse studies. She’s also a member of the National Honor Society, plays volleyball and runs track. Despite all her commitments, she insists, “I don’t spread myself too thin.”

Harris keeps busy playing tennis, running track and volunteering for Big Sisters. She’s earning college credit at her Virginia high school and says she’ll go on to a four-year college and major in criminal justice.

Price, also from Texas, is a two-time national gold medalist in Job Skill Demonstration. She likes acting and is considering a career in politics.

Another multiyear national medalist is Albert Rice, who has won three in Plumbing for his home state, Arkansas. The father of four (and soon to be five) wants to give back by becoming a postsecondary technical educator.

Ohio’s Brittiany Austin, Frederick Flores of California and Massachusetts’ Kathryn Shannon all want to attend medical school after graduation, eventually working in pediatrics, cardiology and emergency medicine, respectively.

Another Californian, Virginia Mata, plans to be a manufacturing engineer and is currently studying CNC programming. “I like to work on machines, I like programming,” she says.

At home in Minnesota, Heidi Enter once competed in and now coaches figure skating. She’s studying both graphics production and e-commerce. “I’ll be able to work with both no matter where the world takes us,” Enter says.

Alida Finnie, a Texas state medalist and national competitor, is studying media technology. “I want to go to college to major in communications and hopefully work on the news someday,” she explains. Another competitor, Georgia’s Lara Berg, studies drafting and design but wants to go into communications or physical therapy.

Whew! With a high-energy national officer team like this, the rest of us might be struggling just to keep up. Let’s hope we get a long run. End of story

For more information on the current national officers, visit

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SkillsUSA Champions | Fall 2003 | Volume 38, No. 1
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