OREM — Utah Valley State College students won gold in 20 different contest categories at the State of Utah SkillsUSA competition in Salt Lake City recently.

UVSC students placed first in contests such as 3-D visualization and animation, culinary arts, diesel equipment technology and robotics and automation technology.

Fourteen Utah institutions were represented.

More than 30 UVSC students will be heading to Kansas City, Kan., to compete in the national competition in June.

"The quality of instruction of the individual programs at UVSC is exceptional, and our institution has stellar faculty with years of industry experience," said Darin Taylor, director of UVSC SkillsUSA and professor of engineering graphics and design technology.

Taylor said his favorite part of the competition is watching the hands-on sections. Watching students create cabinets in the allotted time frame, draw a set of architectural plans in less than six hours and watching the culinary students prepare, cook and present various items that make your mouth water is nothing short of amazing, he said.

The SkillsUSA competitions started in 1968 with approximately 54 competitors in three different contests. Today, nearly 5,000 compete in 89 different contest categories. UVSC started competing in 1973. After competing in the post-secondary division, winners go onto the national competitions where first-place winners in each category represent their state.