By Daniel Johnson, Investigative Reporter
The American Welding Society sets the national standards for all things welding and is a highly respectable origination throughout many of the careers that are available to students in the applied technologies program at CNM, said Welding major and President of the AWS Student Chapter, Henno Van Arkel.
Students must be enrolled in welding classes and pay a $15 fee to be members of the CNM AWS chapter, he said.
“Fifteen dollars is a small price for someone like me to pay to receive all the knowledge and opportunities that come with being a member of this group,” Van Arkel said.
Being a member offers many benefits, such as an emailed version of the monthly AWS publication, as well as scholarships and networking opportunities, along with many other prospects for welding students, he said.
Welding major and Communications Coordinator of the AWS, Genevieve Brechtel said the club participates in field trips, as well as presentations by guest speakers and different types of special projects.
“We as students and members of the AWS helped with the construction of the smoking shelters that are going to be placed at different locations throughout the CNM main campus,” she said.
The group is also involved with community service projects, she said.
One of the projects that AWS will host is going to have eighth graders come to CNM and learn about the basics of welding and how to read blueprints, Brechtel said.
Metals Technology major and Secretary of AWS, Zach Lopezsaid members of the club helped out with the state Skills USA competition this past spring.
“I was able to make sure the machines that were being used stayed operational throughout the competition, as well as making sure the students had all the stuff they needed to compete,” he said.
The AWS Student Chapter will also be helping with the Applied Technologies Boot Camps that CNM will be offering in June and July for local high school students, Lopez said.
Metals Technology major and Historian of AWS, Elliot Reddinger said the club also ran the welding simulators for the high school students that came to CNM main campus for Career Technical Education Day.
“The welding simulators are pretty cool because they are like 3-D games that are scored based on how well a person welds,” he said.
Trying to get welding students to come together and participate as a whole is another objective of the club, he said.
Reddinger said welding can be really competitive but that the club wants the students to know that while they are here they are like a family.
A fellow student might be somebody’s main competition for a job after they leave school, but while students are in school they should be able to learn and feed off of each other to become the best welders that they can be, he said.
“We have raffles and get togethers, like barbeques for the welding program as a whole, so students can have an opportunity to get to know their peers,” Reddinger said.
Van Arkel said the club allows students an opportunity to network with local and state employers.
“It’s nice because you don’t only get the opportunity to know what job opportunities are out there you actually get to meet the people that hire employees on a one-to-one basis,” he said.
If a student is motivated then this club can help to make the roll over to the real world easier, he said.
Reddinger said a person has to be involved with other things outside of just working hard in the classroom.
“Employers don’t just want to see good grades anymore, they want to be able to see that a student is committed to their trade and involved with it,” he said.
When students graduate they want to be on top and a student needs to be able to have the ability to say that they did something extra— this club will allow a student to do that, he said.
It is a really great opportunity for anyone who wishes to do more with his or her life then just have a possible job after graduation, he said.
Brechtel said the AWS student chapter has seen its up and downs due to the turnover rate, because of students graduating and moving on.
“We would love to see more students come in and participate on a regular basis, so that the club does not see big one year (of participation), then little the next, we want a more consistent flow of students through the club,” she said.
Lopez said the club has meetings every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in the W building on Main campus and everyone is invited to come check it out.
“Even if you are not in the applied technologies program you can come and check us out to see if it is something you might want to get into,” he said.