Posted: August 26, 2015 | Written by: Crystal Olmedo & Brooke Cary
Riverside City College student Tiffany Vang won the gold medal for graphic communications at the National Skills USA competition in July.
Skills USA is a non-profit organization that services over 300,000 students and instructors every year by assisting them with training for their profession of choice and holding competitions to test and award the competitor’s technical skills. Vang represents the ninth gold medal won by an RCC student at the Skills USA competition since 2006.
This year’s national competition was held in Louisville, Kentucky at the Kentucky Exposition Center with around 15,000 spectators in attendance. “There are 100 categories,” Vang said, “and about 6,000 people compete. It’s huge.” For Vang, the vocation of choice is graphic communications: a rather difficult category of competition. But difficulty did not turn Vang away. “I can say that the graphic communications competition is the most difficult and not many people want to participate. I took twelve tests demonstrating my skills for the competition,” Vang said.
During Vang’s time at RCC she went through a difficult divorce, spending some time in a shelter for domestic violence. This trial gave her motivation to make a better life for her and her family. “When I left my marriage, my children and I had nothing except my car and the clothes we were wearing,” Vang said. “I picked my children up from school and we went to the shelter.” Vang said she appreciates how her supportive her instructors were during this time and helped to pursue her goals.
The program provided Vang with the training she needed for each of the machines she would use in the competition and moral support from the digital media professors. “The Applied Digital Media professors are so nice. They made me feel like family rather than just a student,” Vang said. She was incredibly thankful for the program and attributed much of her success to the support she had from RCC’s program, “I told them we are among the best school for graphics in the nation, because we won nationals every year.”
Vang currently attends RCC full-time, works on campus in Supplemental Instruction and also cares for her two small children. She expects to graduate with her associate’s degree in the spring. “At first I set my goal for only receiving an associates degree, but now I want to transfer to California Baptist University so I can earn a bachelor’s degree online,” Vang said. She hopes to pursue marketing and graphic design for the fashion industry. “I want people to know that they can be successful,” Vang said, “I am an immigrant. I am a single mom, and I can still be successful. But I couldn’t do it without support.”