Man welding

The Welding Engineering Technology Degree came to fruition in Fall 2015. Since its commencement it has had an immense amount of growth since it's inauguration into the welding program. It is one of three welding focused degrees available at the university and is a direct response to industry needs.

"The drive to add this degree has come from the industry. There's a distinct lack of professionals who understand the high level science behind welding processes," said Kevin Orme, faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

BYU-Idaho is one of only six universities in the nation that offer the degree. Its focus is not only to teach students how to weld, but rather to train welding engineers, capable of developing and enhancing welding systems and processes. It consists of a welding science core with an engineering concentration.

The welding program is not only seeking to develop greater opportunities and foundations for students enrolled at BYU-Idaho, but is also providing exposure to local high school students to lucrative and fulfilling engineering based career paths.

Each year the welding program invites dozens of high school students from several different schools to compete in a welding competition. This year's competition took place in the Mark Austin Building on March 9, and consisted of 33 contestants from seven schools in the region. The event had students undertake a number of rigorous tests, over a five-hour period, including: a comprehensive written test, math test, and practical welding test. Winners were awarded prizes donated by Lincoln Electric, Miller, and local business Premier Powder Coating LLC.

The competition not only provided high school students with an opportunity to practice their skill, but also gave them a chance to familiarize themselves with potential career paths. A number of BYU-Idaho welding students were also heavily involved in the competition as judges and facilitators of the day's events.

"We had 25 of our students act as judges for the competition," Orme said. "They created the criteria, and handled the planning and procedures of the day."

The competition acted as a great opportunity for students in the Weld 229 course to get hands-on experience in their chosen vocation.

"Being involved in the planning and execution of the competition benefitted me because it gave me a little bit of a real world application. It was an opportunity to exercise the theory that we have learned in class," said Regg Angel, a Welding Engineering Technology major.