Grade school biology class introduces most people to Mendel’s Laws, including the principle of genetics explaining how characteristics are passed from one generation to the next.
Ryan Tinder is quite familiar with the principle and quite certain his bent toward engineering was inherited. His grandfather was a mechanical engineer for 50 years. His mother has been a computer engineer for 20 years. Oh yeah, an uncle has been a mechanical engineer for 15 years. Credit the bloodlines.
Tinder, 17, is a senior at Tuttle High School and is enrolled in his third year of the Pre-Engineering Academy at Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Chickasha Campus.
Last spring, Tinder became interested in leadership development. He pursued a state officer position through Pre-Engineering’s national student organization SkillsUSA, which intends to ensure America has a skilled workforce.
SkillsUSA includes more than 350,000 active middle school, high school and college students nationwide and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Labor as a successful model of employer-driven workforce development.
Tinder made such an impression while running for state officer that he was pushed by state SkillsUSA leadership to pursue a national office. He was in fact chosen to the 10-person SkillsUSA National Officer Team as its secretary. Tinder is the first national officer to represent the Chickasha Campus in its 50-year history.
Any given year, this would result in nationwide travel and national speaking engagements in which the officer team touts the benefits of SkillsUSA membership. There still might be one or two regional engagements, but COVID-19 has resulted in most activities instead occurring online or being canceled altogether.
Jeff Herndon, CV Tech’s coordinator of Career Tech student organizations, credits Tinder’s character and tenacity.
“The guy’s a trooper,” Herndon said. “This was sold to him in January as a wonderful opportunity that included lots of traveling. COVID took two-thirds of that out. Now he’s left with just the work.”
Tinder said the national office has resulted in only good things.
“It’s a huge opportunity to make a major investment in myself and my future, and I knew that I couldn’t miss it,” he said. “I have a year-long opportunity to make an even bigger impact on the community and learn everything I can along the way.”
Tinder said he came to CV Tech for the advanced, college-level classes available through Pre-Engineering.
“It was absolutely the right decision for me,” he said. “I look at the classes I’m taking right now – for example, Calculus III, and the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) opportunities like VEX Robotics. None of that would be possible if it weren’t for CV Tech.”
Tinder was a key team member on CV Tech’s state champion VEX Robotics team last year. Again, any other year, the team would have gone to the World VEX Robotics championship in Louisville, Ky. But the event was canceled due to COVID-19.
“VEX has been an incredible opportunity that I’m super grateful for,” Tinder said. “We’ve been fortunate to have some great success. I’m super excited to come back and defend that title this season. We’re definitely looking forward to competing just as soon as we can.”
The robotics season is currently on hold indefinitely due to COVID. Still, Tinder refuses to dwell on things that are out his control and instead looks optimistically to the future. After graduation in May, he will pursue a Computer Science degree at Georgia Tech and then hopes to start a career in the tech industry.
He reflects on only good experiences while at CV Tech and is vocal about his appreciation for the opportunities he has experienced.
“Before I joined Pre-Engineering, I remember having hesitation,” he said. “Let me just say, it’s all here for you. Getting into that top college. Finding that dream job you’ve always wanted. Or reaching any other height you can think of.
“All of the tools to do it are right here in the Pre-Engineering program. It can happen, it is possible, and you can do it!”