Sara Eskew and Zach Hudson of Wallace State Win SkillsUSA National Gold Medals in Mobile Robotics Technology; CSI team wins silver

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HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State Community College students Sara Eskew and Zach Hudson each recently won gold medals in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference 2021 competition.

Both recent graduates Eskew and Hudson took gold in the Mobile Robotics Technology category, joining elite Wallace State company. Seven Wallace State students have won a national gold medal since 2003.

“Winning gold is a huge achievement, especially with my 50th birthday and the challenge of learning new things,” said Eskew of Hanceville. “SkillsUSA is unlike anything I’ve done before. I learned so much about engineering and programming and so much more about myself and my abilities. There were many long hours, but I enjoyed every minute.

Eskew, an IT graduate, has accepted an internship at Mobex Global in Hartselle where she will work to support and assist the IT team in hardware and software maintenance, troubleshooting and programming, as well as technical support.

Hudson, 23, graduated with a general studies degree in May and plans to move to Auburn University or UAH to major in mechanical engineering.

Hudson accidentally got interested in the SkillsUSA competition. He stopped by (computer science teacher) Terry Ayers’ office one day, looking for help with a drone. His classmates were working on robots and Hudson was hooked.

“Our competition was demanding and involved several months of dedication, frustration and patience. The first robot we built was nothing like the one we were competing with. I didn’t know how to program anything before SkillsUSA, but I liked the convenience and problem-solving, ”said Hudson of Hanceville. “Mr. Ayers taught me a lot. It’s a great feeling to win gold, especially given the hard work we put in.

All teams in the Mobile Robotics Technology category had to create an engineering notebook and explain the design, programming and functionality of a robot, in addition to earning points for programming and driving skills. All competitions were conducted virtually for the first time, both nationally and statewide.

Wallace State also produced National Silver Medalists from the Crime Scene Investigation Team consisting of Leah Tarvin, Candance Browning and Callie Flaugh – scoring the second consecutive national silver medal for Wallace State in this category.

In 2019, Wallace State had three students (Jacob Humphrey in Welding and Chase Blakey and Benjamin Brownlee in Mobile Robotic Technology) who won gold for the college.

The 2020 competition has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eskew and Hudson have increased the number of gold medals this year.

During this year’s state competition, Wallace State won a medal for 44 students, including 26 who won first place in gold. The college led the state in terms of medals won, two years after racking up 71 overall.

For a full list of national winners, visit https://skillsusa-register.org/rpts/EventMedalists.aspx

For more information on the State of Wallace, visit www.wallacestate.edu

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Sara Eskew, left, and Zach Hudson won a SkillsUSA national gold medal in mobile robotic technology.

The Wallace State Crime Scene Investigation Team, left to right, of Leah Tarvin, Candace Browning and Callie Flaugh won one of the college’s 22 state gold medals.

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Wallace State Community College

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Kristen holmes

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