Over 6,800 students, parents, and advisors attended the 36th Annual National Technology Student Association (TSA) Conference in Washington, DC last week. I was privileged to be one of those. TSA is committed to students studying in Technology Education and those interested in a STEM career. Middle and high school TSA students traveled to DC from across the nation to network, compete, and share new ideas and skills that could be used in the future.
One of my best days was spent with Caleb Gum and Elisabeth Stansbury, Virginia TSA members. Caleb served as the TSA Virginia State President last year and is looking forward to college where he will be pursuing a career in engineering. Elisabeth will begin her sophomore year of high school and is thinking about a career as an engineering teacher. She chooses to compete in the technical competitions, while Caleb likes speech, debate, and solving technological issues. Caleb and Elisabeth not only gave me an overview of the conference, but they also explained the rules of each competition and gave me some useful tidbits about TSA traditions. The conference hosts over 60 different competitions and we watched as many as we could!
Caleb had just served as a voting delegate earlier that day. His enthusiasm for the empowerment of a student-led organization became apparent when he told me about an important vote that occurred. An amendment to the bylaws took place that will change the election process for future national officer candidates. Regardless of the outcome, what he appreciates more importantly is that student members have the power to make change happen.
Imagine my gratitude for the hard-working, dedicated advisors and tireless volunteers like Mr. Stephenson, Ms. Stansbury, Ms. Gross, Dr. Childress, and Dr. White. Student members were engaged and serious about their projects. They were equally excited to tell me about their work and how it makes a difference in our world. As I met many future engineers, wearing the royal blue TSA attire, who compete in teams, exhibit employability skills, and develop stronger STEM skills through the context of Career and Technical Education, I am thankful to the teacher who believes in the impact of career and technical student organizations.
Thank you TSA members and dedicated advisors for sharing your work and talents to change the world for the better.
Robin Utz leads the College and Careers Transitions Branch in the Division of Academic and Technical Education in OCTAE.