STEM Strong at SkillsUSA Championships

Col. Austin, Chapter President. Photos by Sgt. Slaymaker

The 2023 SkillsUSA European Championships had a strong STEM presence for the students of the Europe East district. Over 240 high school students registered in one of twelve STEM-CTE contests. Each contest required students to take their skills beyond the classroom and apply them in several industry-relevant challenges.

SkillsUSA is the largest nonprofit national education association of its kind offering quality educational experiences for students in leadership, citizenship, and character development. Serving more than 400,000 members, SkillsUSA is committed to producing the most highly skilled workforce in the world through both education programs and competitions.

Students from across the district had an opportunity to win $16,000 in scholarships and prizes courtesy of AFCEA Chapter 158. AFCEA Chapter 158 has been hosting SkillsUSA NY Area VII (Europe) for the past six years by identifying top industry and military professionals to design, administer and judge each contest.

Drone Flying, Alix Nassirkhani, 7th grade KMS.

The sixth annual SkillsUSA Championships introduced four new STEM contests including the new STEM Challenge, having students design and engineer atmospheric experiments to which team finalists would have their experiments flown in a contracted High-Altitude Balloon (HAB). Also included in this year’s program was the new STEM Debate having students go head-to-head as they presented their Pro and Con arguments concerning artificial intelligence.

The official awards ceremony took place at the Innovation Lab on Ramstein following a live drone contest and STEM Bowl where words of encouragement regarding STEM application and opportunities came from Chapter president, Col. James Austin. Further inspiration towards careers in STEM came from keynote speaker Major Rachel Kolesnikov-Lindsey, a Space Force Guardian involved in the Atlas V Rocket Launch helping to put over a dozen satellites in orbit.

Two students, Isaac Wu (right) and Marc Schlaefer (left), both KHS 11th grade students, programming a drone.

This year’s SkillsUSA European Champions include:

  • Programming: Brandon Seyler (Kaiserslautern High School)
  • Cybersecurity: Brandon Seyler & Devin Riding (Kaiserslautern High School)
  • Engineering Technology Design: Daniel Greer & William Goodwin (Stuttgart High School)
  • STEM Debate: Anna Roth & Simon Fox (Stuttgart High School)
  • STEM Challenge: Samuel Marrero-Torres, Jacob Porter, Max Furqueron, Julia Harris, Preston Jackson, Anna Roth, Sebastian Schafer (Finalists with placements determined following HAB data analysis)
  • Nursing: Payton Cherrey (Ramstein High School)
  • Television Video Production: Alexander Montgomery & Harlan Adams (Kaiserslautern High School)
  • Advertising Design: Waverly Tanouye (Ansbach Middle High School)
  • Photojournalism: Katrina Chao (Stuttgart High School)
  • Marketing: Annika Sabol & Isabel Mayuri (Kaiserslautern High School)
  • Drone Challenge: Tristan Anderson & Josiah Askew (Kaiserslautern High School)
  • STEM Bowl: Jacob Gerber (Kaiserslautern High School)

For more information about the 2023 SkillsUSA Regional Championships and to see the full list of contest finalists, please visit the AFCEA Chapter 158 website –