SWATC student Bennett Olsen was awarded with “UCAT Student of the Year” at the third annual Utah College of Applied Technology (UCAT) Student of the Year Appreciation Dinner. The evening recognized all eight students from each of the eight UCAT colleges from across the state.

The students got to spend two days getting to know each other, participated in a legislative session of higher education at the Utah State Senate building, and finished with an appreciation dinner at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building with Utah Governor Gary Herbert. To determine the UCAT Student of the Year, each student had to cast a vote for each other on whom they felt would best represent them as a whole. The result ended in a tie between Bennett Olsen from Southwest Applied Technology College and Lindsey Smith from Dixie Applied Technology College, and each were awarded with the title of UCAT Student of the Year.

Bennett finishes his automotive classes one day after receiving his new title and starts his full-time job just two days after that. We are very proud of Bennett’s accomplishments and he is a fantastic representative for SWATC and technical education throughout the state of Utah.

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Bennett Olsen Biography:

Bennett Olsen was raised in St. George, Utah and is the youngest of five children. Growing up, Bennett was considered to be a model student.  However, he didn’t really enjoy high school and during his junior year (and with a 3.95 GPA) Bennett withdrew from public school and enrolled in an alternative high school where he could complete courses at his own pace. Four days later, he walked out with a high school diploma in hand.

Bennett wasn’t sure what education and career path would be in his future. He knew an advanced education was an important part of his personal development and in gaining skills necessary for a career, but he dreaded the thought of selecting an institution and jumping right back into school. All of Bennett’s older siblings went to a traditional university. Bennett also applied and was accepted into a local university, but he couldn’t help but feel that it wasn’t the correct route for him to take. As someone who loves work, he wanted to get into his elected field as quickly as possible.

That’s when he found Southwest Applied Technology College. The more he read about it and looked into it, the more he felt that it was the better option and enrolled in the Automotive Technician program. Bennett stated, “Education is incredibly valuable in preparation for the future. However, traditional education is not for everyone including myself. Thankfully, there are other options and ways to receive higher education that will suit individuals with different learning styles and preferences.”

Bennett has been thrilled with his educational experience, and enjoys going to class every day. Bennett has also been able to use the skills that he’s gained while in the Automotive Program to secure part-time work while he finishes school. In January of 2017, Bennett will be graduating debt free, fully trained, certified, and prepared to start his career.