MOAA JROTC cadets

The 2018 Outstanding JROTC Cadets, front row, from left, are Corianna Durham, Midland Valley High School; Ian Romero, Strom Thurmond High School; Gabriel Ruelas, Silver Bluff High School; Symone Jones, Allendale-Fairfax High School; Isabella Shioleno, South Aiken High School; and Macie Grantham, Wagener-Salley High School; back row, from left, are Reid Derrick, Batesburg-Leesville High School; Christopher Morris, Barnwell High School; Samuel Larsh, North Augusta High School; Christopher Priester, Denmark-Olar High School; T’Laysha Creswell, McCormick High School; and Blake Durden, Aiken High School.

In the spring of 1970, the Aiken Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, or MOAA, honored the outstanding JROTC cadet from Aiken High School with a saber, which was displayed in the school’s trophy room.

In 1975, the recognition program was expanded to include the 12 area high schools in or near Aiken: Aiken, Allendale-Fairfax, Barnwell, Batesburg-Leesville, Denmark-Olar, McCormick, Midland Valley, North Augusta, Silver Bluff, South Aiken, Strom Thurmond and Wagener-Salley.

Each award recipient receives the MOAA medal and certificate, and his or her name is engraved on a plaque displayed in each school.

The tradition continued with a banquet held at Newberry Hall on May 2. U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., was the featured speaker at the event, which was attended by 120 people, including two family members for each cadet, their military science instructors, and MOAA members and their spouses.

The honored cadets are Corianna Durham, Midland Valley High School; Ian Romero, Strom Thurmond High School; Gabriel Ruelas, Silver Bluff High School; Symone Jones, Allendale-Fairfax High School; Isabella Shioleno, South Aiken High School; and Macie Grantham, Wagener-Salley High School.

USCA graduating class honored with lasting tribute

USC Aiken honored graduating classes by planting trees used during their commencement exercises.

For the class of 2018, which graduated in May, the university's master gardeners planted a Savannah Holly, a Summer Red Maple and a Japanese Cedar, all of which are now located near the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center and Parking Lot C, which is one of the largest student lots on campus.

The new tree-planting practice started with the class of 2017, which graduated in December. After commencement, the university planted a D.D. Blanchard Southern Magnolia, which was the first one planted near the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center and Parking Lot C.

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ATC Welding

Aiken Technical College welding students participated in the 2018 South Carolina Technical College Welding Competition with an ATC student placing in each of the six categories. Pictured, front row from left to right, are Ben Caldwell, Derek Barnhart, Elisha Israel, Noah Slate and Kristina Miller. On the second row, from left to right, are Alex Vera; Shawn McClanahan, ATC welding instructor; and Keith Cusey, ATC welding department chairman.

ATC students place in state welding competition

Aiken Technical College welding students placed in each category of the 2018 S.C. Technical College Welding Competition at Central Carolina Technical College.

ATC was among 10 technical colleges competing in the annual event, which challenges students to display their skills in a timed environment. The following students placed in the competition:

• Elisha Israel, of Edgefield, placed first in category 1 - gas tungsten arc welding tee joint, 3F carbon steel/aluminum and gas metal arc welding butt joint, 3G carbon steel

• Derek Barnhart, of Aiken, placed second in category 2: shielded metal arc welding tee joint, 3F/4F carbon steel

• Kristina Miller, of Aiken, placed third in category 3: shielded metal arc welding butt joint, 3G/4G carbon steel

• Alex Vera, of Hephzibah, Georgia, placed sixth in category 4: shielded metal arc welding pipe, 6G carbon steel

• Noah Slate, of Aiken, placed second in category 5: gas tungsten arc and shielded metal arc welding pipe, 6G carbon steel

• Ben Caldwell, of North Augusta, placed third in category 6: gas tungsten arc welding pipe, 6G stainless steel.

USCA's new programs meet industry needs

In response to industry leaders' anticipated needs, the University of South Carolina Aiken will offer new programs in applied mathematics and applied computer science, beginning Fall 2018.

After discussions with area employment leaders, the university restructured its math and computer science programs to better prepare the next generation workforce. As a result, USC Aiken now offers four new options: applied mathematics, applied computer science, applied computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity and applied computer science with a concentration in applied gaming. All of these programs are relevant to the growing industries in the CSRA.

"With the area becoming a cyber-hub and a technology corridor taking shape, both programs will set USC Aiken grads up for success and provide area industry leaders a fully equipped pool of qualified candidates in these fields," said Dr. Daren Timmons, dean of the College of Sciences and Engineering.

These programs are added to the more than 50 USCA offers.

As part of the university's last strategic planning process, industry leaders throughout the CSRA shared what they believed their future employment requirements would be, so USC Aiken made it a priority to help. The same industry partners helped inform the development of these programs, including the associated curriculum.

"Developing the proposed programs and securing the final approvals were collaborative efforts," said Dr. Jeff Priest, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

"Our industry partners also shared invaluable insight and lent their support to the math and computer science programs' development and approval processes. Specifically, the university appreciates the dedication of Savannah River National Laboratory, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Savannah River Remediation and SC Cyber to USC Aiken and our students."

Both the new cybersecurity and applied gaming tracks are part of the university's applied computer science program. For many years, the university offered a Bachelor of Science degree in math and computer science, but based on the input received from the area and students, USCA decided to update the degree program.

"I am truly excited to hear that these degree programs are developing at USC Aiken," said Jonathan Hoyle, Class of 2017.

"It's a crucial area for the future of computer science. My only regret is that I'm not there to participate in the program."

During his senior year, Hoyle's honors capstone project revolved entirely around augmented reality. Although the new degrees were still in the developmental phase when he was on campus, Hoyle was able to link his interests and career goals to his capstone project and receive help from a computer scientist at the Savannah River National Laboratory and USC Aiken faculty.

"I'm ecstatic to learn that USC Aiken is getting a degree revolving around game development and augmented and virtual reality technologies," he said.

"I believe this program is an incredibly thrilling opportunity to prepare students to influence the next generation of technology."

During freshmen orientation this summer, members of the Class of '22 can enroll in either of these new programs. Classes start Aug. 23.

Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.

A native of Aiken, Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.