Hightstown High student wins automotive technology grant from Universal Technical Institute

Robert Rizo of Hightstown won a third-place grant during Universal Technical Institute-Exton's Auto Tech Challenge on Feb. 12. Pictured from left: Sean Sammon, Rizo, UTI Exton Campus President Bob Kessler and Robert Henken.

Universal Technical Institute-Exton (UTI) welcomed students from around the region to compete in its first Auto Tech Challenge, using in-demand automotive technology skills and knowledge.

The top three students walked away with a combined $15,000 in UTI grants, so they could train for careers in the transportation industry after high school at the UTI campus of their choice, according to information from UTI. Roberto Rizo of Hightstown High School finished third, taking home a $3,000 grant.

Thirty students from the Philadelphia-metro and surrounding areas began the day on Feb. 12 with an individualized written exam before facing off in a variety of hands-on, automotive assessments. The competition was unique in that participating students had no prior vocational training, according to the statement.

Dean Faulds of New Milford High School in New Milford, Connecticut, took top honors among his peers by demonstrating technical know-how and earning a $7,000 grant to any one of 13 UTI campuses across the country. Faulds was also presented with a first-place trophy to commemorate his achievement.

“We value the opportunity to provide these aspiring automotive technicians with an interactive sampling of a rewarding, life-long profession,” Bob Kessler, campus president at UTI-Exton, said in the statement. “UTI campuses have been hosting competitions like these for more than a decade now, and each time we’re impressed by students’ breadth and depth of knowledge. UTI has more than 35 leading manufacturer partners and local employers who look to us to train the next generation of technicians. This is a great way to encourage and reward students’ interest in the transportation industry.”

Adam Tuzza Jr. of Longwood High School in Middle Island, New York, placed second, earning a $5,000 grant.

For more information on UTI’s programs at its Exton campus, visit www.uti.edu/locations/pennsylvania/exton