A dedication to Native American culture and a love of sculpture welding have led Erin Beaver to her status as a national champion, aspirations for another win and the dream of starting her own business.
Beaver, a senior at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, began welding at a young age and won her first award in high school, placing second at nationals. She went on to win gold in 2017 when she was named the national champion in sculpture welding at the SkillsUSA competition for her depiction of a native wolf.
“I’ve always been interested in art,” Beaver said. “When I got to the national scene and saw how big it was and how many people I was up against, to get on stage was just a dream.”
With a major in welding and fabrication engineering technology, Beaver’s passion is more than just academic. Her hours of sculpting are in addition to a heavy workload and a sculpting business on the side.
Beaver has spent roughly 300 hours outside of her class work to develop her current sculpture, a depiction of Mother Nature who is portrayed as a Native American woman. She rests on a base of an arrow head with water running through it.
“The mountain is going to form out of her and her hands are going to be where the river starts in the water fall and the water is going to flow out of her,” she said.
Beaver will enter her sculpture into the SkillsUSA state competition on April 11 in Hershey. If she advances to nationals, she will head to Louisville, Kentucky in June.