Published June 30, 2023
Former DC3 student, Jose Rodriguez, of Dodge City, is now a fifth-semester engineering student at K-State. In addition, he is a member of the K-State engineering team, Wildcat Wind Power, which won First Place Overall at the 2023 Collegiate Wind Competition, in Boulder, Colo. [Photo Courtesy of Jose Rodriguez]
Jose Rodriguez, a transfer student from Dodge City Community College (DC3), is a current member of the Kansas State University (K-State) competitive engineering team, which won first place at the 10th annual Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC), May 15-19, in Boulder, Colo.
Having completed his fifth semester in the K-State engineering program, and his first semester as a member of the college’s engineering team, which is called Wildcat Wind Power (WWP), Rodriguez said he will serve as the team secretary for the 2023-2024 year.
“WWP is a multidisciplinary engineering design team that competes annually in the Collegiate Wind Competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory,” he said. “The competition challenges our team to develop unique solutions to a complex set of wind energy projects, including the design of a small-scale wind turbine, the design of a utility-scale wind farm, and wind-related outreach in our local community.”
The competition, which helps prepare future members of the wind energy workforce through real-world technology, project development, and outreach experience, culminated in a week-long final event at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Balch Fieldhouse. There, the 13 finalist teams tested their wind turbine prototypes and presented their work to panels of wind energy experts.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alejandro Moreno, said the yearly competition helps students gain hands-on experience and builds professional relationships that will help them join the nation’s wind energy workforce.
“Wind energy is already one of the fastest growing industries in the country, but we need many more workers for us to achieve our goals of a 100% clean electricity by 2035 and a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050,” Moreno said. “I congratulate the 2023 winning teams, and I look forward to seeing what these students do next in this space.”
Regarding the future, Rodriguez said he is planning on another two years at K-State, before he graduates in May 2025 with a degree in mechanical engineering and minors in personal financial planning and leadership studies.
“I have not fully decided what specific path I want to follow in my career, but I still have a couple years to decide,” he said.
Originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, Rodriguez relocated to Dodge City in 2011. After graduating from Dodge City High School (DCHS) in 2017, he decided to continue his education at DC3. Serving as a student-athlete on the college’s 2018 and 2019 track and field teams, he graduated in May 2019, with an Associate of Science degree.
As a first-generation college student at DC3, he utilized available campus resources such as TRIO Student Support Services, which is designed to help first-generation, low-income or disabled college students succeed in their college endeavors. And he made use of the on-campus tutoring services available at the Student Achievement & Resources Center (SARC).
“DC3 offered me affordable, high-quality education that prepared me for K-State after graduating,” Rodriguez said. “The SARC, Science & Math Department, and TRIO worked endlessly to provide me with all the resources I needed to continue my education. Both coaches and professors became mentors in school and in life.”
In addition to the people who helped him succeed at DC3, he said he also is grateful for the many others who have supported him along the way.
“I want to first thank my parents Joan Millan and Francisco Rivera for their continuous support throughout my journey and for giving me everything, when they had nothing,” Rodriguez said. “I would also like to recognize the long hours of hard work my WWP team put toward designing and creating a national award-winning project. I would not have been here without them. Lastly, I would like to encourage first-generation students and underrepresented minority students to continue to break barriers in their families and communities. The sky is the limit.”
By Lance ZieschDC3 Assistant Director of Marketing and Community Relations