SWIC student wins gold in national competition

News-DemocratJuly 16, 2013 

Education and training paid off for two Southwestern Illinois College technical education students who won medals at the recent SkillsUSA National Competition.

Cody Coffin won gold -- first in the nation -- in precision machining technology and Mike Campbell won bronze -- third in the nation -- in computer numeric control turning at the June 29 competition in Kansas City, Mo. Both are from Collinsville and pursuing associate's degrees in precision machining technology.

SWIC student Jacob Sams placed 10th in the nation in post secondary computer numeric control milling.

Two Collinsville High School students also participated in the SkillsUSA competition. Ryan Brunton, a junior, placed 11th in the nation in precision machining, and Michael Garcia, a senior, placed 10th in the nation in computer numeric control milling.

SkillsUSA is a national technical education organization that partners educators, employers and students to teach greater skills to Americans, according to its website.

Contestants compete at the local, state and national level. Coffin and Campbell were among the first-place winners during the Illinois state competition held in April.


Beth Millas, of Fairview Heights, recently was appointed to the school board at Grant School District 110. She is filling the seat previously held by Mark Burgdorf, who moved out of the district and could no longer serve on the board.

Millas was one of six candidates interviewed by the board to fill the vacant position. She will serve the remaining two years of the term, which is up for re-election in 2015, according to Superintendent Matt Stines.


Two students from Swansea are the winners of this year's Chad Wood Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by the Swansea Rotary Club.

Rebecca Cole, a Belleville West High School graduate, and Emily Dahm, of Belleville East High School, each were presented a check in the amount of $1,500 at the club's June 13 membership meeting.

Rebecca, who graduated in the top 10 percent of her class at West, was captain of the marching band and the bowling team in her senior year. Her scholarship application essay focused on her volunteer work at Mind's Eye Information Service for the blind, where she recorded and read live segments. Rebecca, the daughter of Chris and Dusty Cole, plans to attend Missouri State University in the fall to pursue a career in nursing.

Emily, co-valedictorian of her class at East, was class president in her senior year and treasurer her junior year. Her essay focused on her experience in hospice and hospital volunteer work. Emily, the daughter of Amy Cole, will attend St. Louis University in the fall, where she plans to major in biochemistry and pre-med.

The scholarships were funded by the rotary club's annual 5K run, which took place on June 1.


New Line Theatre awarded its 2013 musical theatre scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to Elizabeth Ferris, of Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville, who plans to study theatre at Illinois Wesleyan University. Elizabeth appeared in many productions at Althoff and with Looking Glass Playhouse, including "Once Upon a Mattress," "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "Hello, Dolly," "Chess," "Guys and Dolls" and others.

Each year, the New Line Theatre Scholarship Fund awards a scholarship to one St. Louis metro area high school senior who shows the potential to make artistic contributions in the musical theatre.


Alexandra Vecchio, a 2013 graduate of Loyola University Chicago, accepted an internship with U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley's Office in Washington D.C. Quigley, D-Illinois, represents the 5th Congressional District of Illinois, which includes the city of Chicago. Alexandra, a 2009 graduate of Belleville East, begins her position in August. She is the daughter of Pat and Dale Vecchio, of Belleville.


Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Georgiann Davis and Dan Welch are the 2013 Vaughnie Lindsay New Investigator awardees. The internal grants worth $12,500 each are made to tenure-track SIUE faculty members in order to recognize and support individual programs of research or creative activities.

Davis is an assistant professor in the department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Studies, and Welch is an assistant professor in the department of Growth, Development and Structure in the SIU School of Dental Medicine.

Davis is one of a few sociocultural scholars specializing in intersex studies. Her new project, "Children with Intersex Traits," focuses on a group whose voices often go unheard in the medical world. Welch serves as the course director for neuroanatomy and his current research project is "Underlying Central Nervous System Etiology of Bruxism." It presents a foundation for research on bruxism, the involuntary gnashing and grinding of teeth.

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