KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Rend Lake College has its first SkillsUSA national champion in architecture graduate Michael Mosler.
Mosler, 20, of Mt. Vernon brought home the gold medal in the college/postsecondary division of architectural drafting at the 45th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, June 22-26, in Kansas City, Mo. It is the first time a student representing RLC has earned a national title in the eight years Rend Lake has competed in SkillsUSA.
“It was overwhelming,” he said of winning. “I didn’t think I was going to win.”
Mosler was one of 28 in the division and scored 781 points out of a thousand to take the championship over silver medalist Emberly Valgardson of Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah; and bronze medalist Robert Gill of Western Dakota Tech Institute in Rapid City, S.D.
“I think its exciting that we have a good enough quality program to have a national champion,” said RLC Professor of Architecture and SkillsUSA coach Kevin Weston. “We’ve had a silver medalist when Ryan Reu took second place in architectural drafting at the 2002 contest. Now we have a gold medalist.”
Mosler is also RLC’s first student to win back-to-back state championships on his way to nationals. Last year, he placed ninth in the nation in architectural drafting. Through his participation in SkillsUSA at Mt. Vernon Township High School and RLC, Mosler competed four years at the state level.
“This year, with the program at the college, and my previous experience with Gary Hatfield at [Mt. Vernon] high school, I dedicated my time and my energy and I came out first. ... Coming from Mt. Vernon High School to Rend Lake College, those programs really work well together.”
He credited his success to those programs and years of summer architecture camp through Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where he is now gearing up to start the architecture program this fall. He will also be working a part-time job in the department.
“Another thing I credit is I have spent a lot of hard work and dedication to architecture and architectural drafting. And my parents and my family have encouraged me to stick with it. There have been times that I thought that I wasn’t going to make it or I would get discouraged. But you just get back on your feet and do it. Coming in ninth last year, I didn’t think I would do so well this year at nationals. You just get on your feet and you try again. Anyone can do it. I’m a testament to that. I’m not good in math or certain skills, but I placed first at nationals. Anyone can do it.”
The youngest child of Alan and Susan Mosler said his interest in architecture began at a young age.
“As a child, I always played with Legos ... build with blocks ... draw buildings.”
His plan is to get a master’s degree from SIUC with a minor in history, earn his license and build a career as a historical preservationist architect – a field that would combine his love of architecture and fascination with history. He did very well in his two years at RLC. He was a regular on the biannual Vice President’s List for high academic achievement while working toward an associate degree and holding down an on-campus job in the IT department.
He said RLC’s program – starting from a basic house structure to surveying and a final project of designing an entire commercial building – was well-rounded with Weston and professional architects teaching the classes.
“You dabble in a little bit of everything. The order it goes in is just perfect. My education at Rend Lake has really set me that far ahead,” Mosler said.
His mother played a big part in getting him where he is today and imparting in him a hunger for more knowledge, whether it’s researching advancements in the field or teaching himself the latest software, he said.
“My mother is a teacher. She always instilled into us that we need to learn. It is an important thing.”
Mosler likes architecture because he can design or remodel work that will be put into action. In addition to a hefty gold medal, his prizes for first place included a new Gateway laptop customized for running high-end computer-aided drafting software, $1,500 in architectural software, textbooks, tee-shirts and other various items from corporate sponsors.
For additional information about this release or the architecture program at RLC, call 618-437-5321, Ext. 1816 or 1261, or visit online at www.rlc.edu/aca/as.