National SkillsUSA Competitor Will Study Welding Technology With Scholarship
Utah welding student Dalton Van won the $5,000 Weld-Mask™ Scholarship Sweepstakes. Learn more about his passion for welding.
Welding scholarship winner
Through dedication and hard work, Dalton Van accomplished something few welding students do at Uintah Basin Technical College (UBTech).
Van, who started taking welding classes at the college while still a high school sophomore at Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah, graduated this spring with his high school diploma and an advanced welding technician certificate from UBTech. The advanced certificate requires 990 hours of course work. Van took UBTech welding classes as high school electives and also took night classes at the college to complete the certificate while still a high schooler.
“I’ve worked with UBTech for six years, and in that time, Dalton is only the third individual to achieve the 990-hours certificate while in high school,” says welding instructor Rick Prather. “It takes an immense amount of dedication and a lot of time.”
The UBTech welding program enrolls about 250 high school students every year and another 30 to 50 adult students.
Van entered the UBTech program having tinkered a bit with welding but with no formal training. He quickly picked it up and became an outstanding student.
“He’s extremely competitive. He was grasping it very fast so we challenged him — how far can you take this?” Prather says. “He took right over and never looked back.”
The advanced welding certificate is a specialized program designed to prepare students for many American Welding Society (AWS) certifications. Students learn welding in all positions on plate and pipe, developing skills in MIG, TIG and pipe welding, as well as oxygen acetylene cutting and plasma cutting.
Van has twice represented Utah and UBTech in welding at the National SkillsUSA competition, taking the silver medal in 2018 and eighth place in 2019. He has also competed at the AWS U.S. Weld Pre-Trials event.
“We couldn’t be happier or more proud of him,” Prather says. “He’s also the kind of person who can always put a smile on your face. You couldn’t ask for a better ambassador.”
In addition to a lot of hard work and talent, Van also has a bit of luck on his side. After purchasing a Miller® Weld-Mask compact auto-darkening lens and submitting his entry form, Van was randomly selected as the winner of the $5,000 Weld-Mask Scholarship Sweepstakes. He received a scholarship from Miller Electric Mfg. LLC toward his welding education, and he plans to attend Utah State University Eastern to study welding technology. Van hopes to have a career in welding engineering.
“This is why the scholarship means so much to me,” Van says. “I don’t know that I could afford secondary schooling without the help of scholarships.”
The $5,000 Weld-Mask Scholarship Sweepstakes was part of the Miller Building a Welder program. The initiative is focused on introducing individuals to welding as a career option, as well as inspiring and encouraging students and teachers. Building a Welder is just one way that Miller is helping grow the welding workforce and passion for the craft.
“You couldn’t have gotten a better welding student as the winner,” says Stephanie Carter, director of marketing at UBTech. “His story is just really fun.”