Welding Student Who Earned Gold at SkillsUSA Event Wins Annual Ron Hackney Excellence Prize Scholarship
CNM instructor Ron Hackney (left) and scholarship winner Christopher Rodriguez (right)

Welding Student Who Earned Gold at SkillsUSA Event Wins Annual Ron Hackney Excellence Prize Scholarship

Christopher Rodriguez won an estimated $5,000 worth of gear and has been invited to speak at CNM’s Spring Graduation Ceremony
April 25, 2022

Last Thursday, staff and students from CNM’s Welding program gathered to celebrate the winner of this year’s Ron Hackney Excellence Prize Scholarship, as well as the program’s recent success in the SkillsUSA New Mexico Competition.

The Ron Hackney Excellence Prize Scholarship was established in 2012 by a group of engineers who, after taking a welding class at CNM together, were so impressed with the program that they decided to set up the scholarship fund through the CNM Foundation. The award itself is named after Ron Hackney, a long-time welding instructor at CNM.

“I truly believe we have the best students at CNM," Ron says. "We work hard, our shops are always filled. When everybody is quick to leave, our students are the last ones to leave."

The award is intended for students who have excelled in the Welding program and plan to pursue a career in welding. Winners must maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher and demonstrate excellence in character and leadership. The prize includes a welding machine for SMAW (shielded metal arc welding), GMAW (gas metal arc welding), and TIG (tungsten inert gas) processes, along with other welding and safety equipment worth an estimated $5,000.

This year’s scholarship winner is Christopher Rodriguez, a CNM welding student who recently earned gold at the 2022 SkillsUSA New Mexico Competition as part of the Welding Fabrication team. In June, the team will travel to Atlanta for the National SkillsUSA Competition where they will represent CNM and New Mexico on the national stage.

“If you put your heart and effort into it, anything can be done," Christopher says. "Ron taught me to step out of my comfort zone and keep pushing to the next level,” Christopher says.

Christopher will also be one of the speakers at CNM’s Spring 2022 Graduation Ceremony on May 7 at Tingley Coliseum. Christopher's instructors are especially proud because they say he's the first student from the School of Applied Technologies (AT) to ever be invited to speak at graduation.

Learn more about CNM’s Welding program here.