A 2015 Presidential Executive Order expanded the Presidential Scholars Award to recognize students based on outstanding scholarship, demonstrated ability, and achievement in career and technical education (CTE) fields. February is CTE Month, and in the spirit of celebrating the unique and valuable opportunity that CTE provides, we caught up with some of the 2016-2018 CTE Presidential Scholars to learn more about where their educational journey led them.
What is the common theme? These impressive individuals are taking the world by storm with their civic-mindedness and clear-headed career trajectory. Many attribute their strong CTE experiences to high school. Let’s take a closer look!
Joseph Fujinami | Class of 2016 | Architecture and Digital Design | Home: Hawaii
Meet Jose: Joseph, a Japanese-American architect, graduated with honors from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Joseph has helped Chicago’s transportation network, studied informal settlements in Madrid, won an honor for a project regenerating contemporary Athens, and interned at international architecture firm BIG. Today, he is pursuing graduate studies in urban design at Princeton University.
“Today’s rapid advances in technology, coupled with the onslaught of the pandemic, continue to drive a growing demand for specialization and adaptability within our workforce…so that our analog skills are Truly in tune with our technology-driven society, one must look to the early foundations of professional and technical education, such a foundation can only serve to amplify one’s passions to accumulate even greater knowledge and commerce.
Kendra Spire | Class of 2016 | Dairy Science and Global Resource Systems | Home: Wisconsin
Meet Kendra: Kendra graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in dairy science and global resource systems. She was elected by the faculty to represent her college as the student marshal at the start. After completing internships at dairy genetics companies, Spier joined URUS, a world leader in dairy and cattle genetic tools, as Global Development Education Coordinator. She is also coordinator of the cooperative development program-GENEX, funded by USAID.
Dalton green | Class of 2017 | Agricultural education | Home: Georgia
Meet Dalton: Dalton assisted in an effort to enable elementary agricultural education (AgEd) programs across Georgia. While attending the University of Georgia, he worked on developing the AgEd program and served as collegiate president of Future Farmers of America. Since graduating, he has worked for Ag America Lending, as a board member of the Georgia Young Farmers Association, newsletter editor of the Georgia Hereford Association, board member of administration of the Tri-state Cattlemen’s Association and conservation consultant. Dalton is pursuing a master’s degree in AgEd. He and his wife raise registered Hereford cattle.
Alkenly Ortiz | Class of 2017 | Architecture and construction technology | Home: Massachusetts
Meet Alkenly: Alkenly earned a BS in Architecture from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with minors in Building and Construction Technology and History of Art and Architecture. Since then, he has completed two internships in the development of housing units for veterans. Today, Alkenly is pursuing his master’s degree at Boston Architectural College as a full-time student and works full-time as an architectural designer at ICON Architecture where he was exposed to nonprofit institutional work and affordable housing in local neighborhoods.
Zackery Love | Class of 2018 | Public Health and Politics | Home: Alabama
Meet Zack: At the University of Washington’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, Zack promotes health on its campus and serves as a leadership coach for FCCLA, a career and technical student organization. As a representative at the World Ministerial Conference in Sweden, he shared his ETC experiences internationally. Zack believes his CTE experience positively enhances his personal, academic and professional growth. He intends to pursue graduate studies in health policy and law and serve as a U.S. official working on health policy.
Veena Thamilselvan | Class of 2018 | Public Health and Social Policy | Home: Michigan
Meet Veena: At Johns Hopkins University, Veena is pursuing a major in public health and a minor in social policy. A study abroad program in Uganda inspired her to join the American Public Health Association (she is currently co-chair of the external relations committee). During the pandemic, she worked to develop a network to support isolated seniors. She works at Baltimore Connect which aims to connect community organizations across the city, weave together resources and promote collaborations. Next year, she is starting a master’s program in public health and hopes to work for Doctors Without Borders.