Dalton Nichols graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ranken Technical College in Spring 2020 with an Associate Degree in Application and Web Development (AWD).
As a second-year student, Dalton made an impression on prospective employers from across St. Louis as they gathered to view final projects. Evan Gudmestad, Information Technology Assistant Division Chair, was present when Dalton unveiled a web application that could be used to store headstone information from graveyards nationwide. Replacing an archaic paper filing system, the app was “modern, fast, and easy to use . . . Dalton’s presentation left [such] an impact on the employers that he was sought after before he even graduated. He considered dropping out of school to take a job offer but he made the right decision, to finish what he started and earn his degree,” Evan says.
Rachel Wilkins, in charge of tapping talented geniuses for UNCOMN, was one of the representatives that was impressed with Dalton’s talent and passion for software development. Rachel shares that among all the applicants she was considering “Dalton was well-prepared and had researched our organization’s cultures and values. He was work-ready.” In his virtual interview, he was able to demonstrate a digital mirror prototype – an outstandingly innovative and practical device able to display real-time weather conditions, appointment calendars, bills and utilities, and other information on demand. Dalton built the mirror using open-source software, applying the techniques he had learned at Ranken to ‘wow’ Rachel and her team!
Dalton recalls that “Evan Gudmestad had a huge impact. He invested in us in every way that a teacher should. I learned much from him about programming, but also about leadership.” His post-graduation career path has surpassed his expectations, and he reached out to the college to let us know that although he is employed by UNCOMN, he is currently contracted to the United States Air Force at Scott Air Force Base as a software developer. “I would not have the knowledge or career that I have without [Evan’s] leadership and the AWD program,” Dalton emphasizes.