Two VU programs and 7 students receive Indiana Awards for Excellence

VINCENNES, Ind. - Two Vincennes University programs and seven students are the recipients of Indiana Career and Technical Education Awards for Excellence.  The awards were presented Feb. 6 at the Indiana Government Center in Indianapolis.

Award for Excellence recipients include VU’s Agribusiness and John Deere Technology programs. VU students earning awards include Adam Baker, Evansville; Daulton Eaton, Washington; Lacey Ellerman, Oaktown; Dakota Rostron, Patoka; Anees Saleh, Indianapolis; Erin Tower, Dubois, and Jade Uebelhor, Ferdinand.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz spoke at the ceremonies.  VU President Dick Helton served as master of ceremonies for the awards luncheon.

Both Ritz and Helton said that graduates of career and technical programs are critically important to the future of the Indiana economy. They cited high demand for graduates and increased emphasis state leaders are placing on career and technical programs. Helton said this is the best time to be graduating with a career and technical degree.

The Indiana Career and Technical Education Awards for Excellence Program was initiated in 1984 to recognize exemplary programs, students, and partnerships that benefit the state.  The program is supported by a grant through the Indiana Department of Education and by contributions from the Indiana Dept. of workforce Development, VU, Ivy Tech Community College, and the Indiana Association of Career and Technical Education Districts.

VU Program and Recipients

VU, the John Deere Company, and John Deere dealerships received a partnership Award for Excellence for VU’s John Deere Technology Program. One of only 15 John Deere programs in the U.S., the VU program is housed in a large and modern implement repair-classroom facility. The program was cited having each student sponsored by a John Deere dealership, providing students with direct hands-on experience using the most modern farm equipment. John Deere also provides the latest equipment to VU and trains it instructors, who have over 75 years of field experience in addition to teaching in the field. Instructor Levi Lumm nominated the program for the award.   

VU Student Award Recipients

Agribusiness Program received an Award for Excellence. The program was cited for its hands-on instruction in management techniques, farm finance, weed identification, crop pesticide usage, cost analysis, safety, problem solving scenarios, computer applications and its ACBSP accreditation. The program also benefits from an Advisory Board that includes key agribusiness leaders, travel to conferences, and partnerships with groups such as the FFA. Its 2011-12 graduates received an average starting salary of $34,000 and demand for graduates is high. Professor Susan Brocksmith nominated the program for the award. Adam Baker will receive an associate degree in the Biomedical Electronics Technician program this spring. He serves as a tutor in the Electronics Department, participates in recycling discarded electronics, and volunteers at the local YMCA. He also has achieved several industry certifications. Baker is a 2012 graduate of Central High School in Evansville. Instructor William Harner nominated Baker for the award.
Lacey Ellerman received an associate degree in Administrative Office Technology in December and was recognized as the program’s Outstanding Graduate. She is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. While attending VU she worked three jobs including tutoring, served as vice president of the VU Speech Team and a member of the Campus Activities Board, and completed internships at the VU COPE Office and Good Samaritan Hospital.  Ellerman is a 2011 graduate of North Knox High School. Professor Mary Bowen nominated Ellerman for the award.   Daulton Eaton will receive an associate degree in the Biomedical Electronics Technician program this spring. He serves as a tutor in the Electronic Department, participates in United Way’s Day of Caring, and is a Red Cross blood donor. He is preparing to complete several professional certifications. Eaton is a 2012 graduate of Washington High School. Instructor William Harner nominated Eaton for the award.
Anees Saleh will receive an associate degree in Aviation Maintenance and FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certification this spring. In addition to excellence in class, Saleh works part time in a managerial position to support his wife and three children, finding time to travel to Chicago monthly to assist his parents. He also assists his children’s school projects, assists in non-profit fundraising, and performs safety inspections for the Indiana Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Alliance’s Super Mileage Challenge. Instructor Thomas Knoll nominated Saleh for the award. Dakota Rostron is majoring in the Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Program, attending classes in VU’s Computer Integrated Manufacturing Program while also working at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana. She placed first in the 2013 Indiana Statewide Machining Contest for CNC Lathe, first in the Skills USA Regionals and State for CNC Turning, and placed second SkillsUSA Nationals for CNC Turning. She is a volunteer firefighter and has served as camp counselor. She is a 2013 graduate of Princeton Community High School. Instructor Timothy Hedrick nominated Rostron for the award.
Jade Uebelhor received an associate degree in Family and Consumer Sciences—Child Development in spring 2013 and received the programs Distinguished Student Award. In addition to working in preschool classrooms at multiple sites, she also performed leadership roles such as secretary for the Dubois County Teens for Life, counselor for Tri-County YMCA Day Camp, Sunday School teacher, missionary and youth leader. She was awarded the 2010 St. Maria Goretti Youth Distinction Award from the Catholic Diocese of Evansville. After graduating from VU she became a preschool teacher at Good Shepherd Catholic School in Evansville.  Professor Lou Ann Lindsey nominated Uebelhor for the award.  Erin Tower will receive her associate degree Nursing this spring at the VU Jasper Campus. She received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences from Purdue University in 1999 and has worked since 2003 as reproductive specialist for MLDD, Inc. in Huntingburg. She volunteers with her local 4-H Club, serves on the board of the Dubois County Humane Society and on committees for the Agility Club of Evansville, winning many awards in national dog agility and training competitions. She also serves as a Eucharistic minister and lector at St. Celestine Catholic Church and volunteers for NE Dubois High School Athletics events. Assistant Professor Melissa Belcher nominated Tower for the award.

 


The Vincennes University Percussion Ensemble performs "Me Tarzan" as led by director Sharon S. Jackson.

 


VU Faculty Dean Ackerman and Mary Bowen serve as members of the Awards for Excellence Management Committee.

 


Vincennes University students demonstrated their culinary talents during the Awards for Excellence reception.

 


Flutist Courtney Gokey provided music during the luncheon.

 


President Richard Helton presided over the luncheon program and welcomed guest speaker Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz.

 


Two young attendees were anxious to meet Miss VU 2014 Hannah Swan who sang at the luncheon and led the audience in the National Anthem prior to the awards ceremony.

VU Photographs provided by David Fisher and Duane Chattin