Ferris Student Earns Breaking Traditions Merit Award from Michigan Department of Education

Quincee DenaultFerris State University student Quincee Denault earned a Michigan Department of Education Breaking Traditions awards for overcoming obstacles and stereotypes to be successful in career and technical education programs.

Denault, of Lowell, Mich., is a 4.0 student majoring in Mechanical Engineering Technology in Ferris’ College of Engineering Technology. She graduated from Lowell High School in May 2012.

“Being a female in a nontraditional program teaches confidence and how to prove oneself in difficult situations,” said Denault, one of 25 students who received awards. “As I entered my junior year of high school, I knew I needed to find a place and a path to continue my education and to support the skills and abilities that had now come so natural to me. Factors such as these are what contributed to my decision to follow a nontraditional path of a female in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Ferris.”

Ali Siahpush, an associate professor in CET, nominated Denault for the award. Chuck Drake, professor and Mechanical Engineering Technology program coordinator, and Leigha Compson, university career programs specialist, wrote letters of recommendation in support of Denault.

“Quincee’s mathematics and engineering understanding are outstanding,” Siahpush said. “In my expert opinion, there is no question that Quincee will be an extraordinary scientific researcher.”

Denault believes that her program fits her skill set, personality and interests.

“Females should be encouraged to break the tradition and follow their passion,” she said.

During the 2014-15 academic year, Denault served as vice president of the Women in Technology student organization and was on the dean’s list – among other honors.

Denault, and the other winners, were saluted by the MDE.

“The Breaking Traditions awards recognize high school and college students who have demonstrated success in CTE programs that are nontraditional to their gender,” State Superintendent Mike Flanagan said in a press release issued by the MDE. “At a time when there is a call from various stakeholders for building a more-responsive, market-driven schools-to-jobs pipeline, it is important to recognize the efforts of these students and the programs that helped them.”

The MDE’s Office of Career and Technical Education has oversight of high school instructional programs that develop student skills in a specific career cluster. Most programs offer early college credit opportunities to provide a seamless transition to postsecondary education.