NDSCS hosts the annual American Welding Society Behind the Mask Competition

NDSCS student welding

North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) partnered with the American Welding Society (AWS) to host the annual Behind the Mask competition for high school and college students. The competition, which took place at NDSCS-Fargo on March 20th, saw ninety-seven high school and college students from North Dakota and Minnesota compete for the top prize.


The competition is designed to challenge each student’s welding skills and to provide them with a platform to present their skills to the welding industry. Behind the Mask is judged by industry professionals who evaluate participants on safety, quality of welds, and the ability to follow AWS welding standards. Students from NDSCS-Fargo, NDSCS Wahpeton, Alexandria Technical College, Southeast Region Career and Technology Center (Wahpeton), Bismarck Career Academy, Sheyenne Valley Career and Technology Center (Valley City), North Valley Career and Technology Center (Grafton), Mandan High School, East Grand Forks, and Minot High School all competed in the event.


The competition’s generous sponsors donated all the prizes for the event, which consisted of awards for the top welders in the separate high school and college divisions. All the proceeds from this event go back into AWS scholarships ranging from $500-$2,500 that are available to high school and college students pursuing a welding career. These scholarships help up-and-coming welders pursue their craft and continue to build upon the skills they already have.


The results of the top welders in the high school division include:

GMAW (wire)

1st – Brodin Agotness (North Valley Career and Technology Center)

2nd – Allen Mielke (Minot)

3rd – Chantz Delzer (Mandan)


SMAW (stick)

1st – Clay Wagner (Mandan)

2nd – Brayden McClure (Mandan)

3rd – Dominic Kautzmann (Mandan)


The results of the top welders in the college division include:

GMAW (wire)

1st – Colin Lemieux (NDSCS)

2nd – Seth Winrod (NDSCS)

3rd – Ben Klemen (NDSCS)


SMAW (stick)

1st – Lucas Nelson (Alexandria Technical & Community College)

2nd – Kaden Feldt (Alexandria Technical & Community College)

3rd – Dominic Finken (Alexandria Technical & Community College)


“It is a privilege to host the AWS Behind the Mask welding competition at NDSCS,” said Mitchell Van Vleet, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of NDSCS Welding. “It was a great opportunity for all the welding Instructors and the students to get together and support the future of the welding industry. Thanks to all the NDSCS Welding staff who participated in the event to make it a great experience for the students.”


The AWS Behind the Mask Competition is a great way to showcase the talents of welders, while also providing an opportunity for students to gain recognition and financial assistance. NDSCS is proud to have been a part of this exciting competition for the past 2 years.