Southern Utah News Articles
Fredonia grad Aston 2019 SUU Valedictorian
For mechanical engineering major Cameron Aston completing all his courses with a 4.0 and being chosen as the Southern Utah University 2019 Valedictorian is a dream come true. To him, it is proof that you can do anything you set your mind to and an honor he will always treasure and be grateful for.
Aston’s love for mechanics and engineering started at an early age. Growing up in Fredonia, Arizona, surrounded by dirt bikes, ATVs, and other off-road vehicles, Aston loved learning about them so much that he would read the owner’s manuals in his free time. His passion for all things related to motors led him to begin his education at Southwest Technical College as an automotive technician.
He graduated Southwest Tech at the top of his class and moved on to welding courses. Aston’s welding professor encouraged him to study engineering and enroll at Southern Utah University, where he says he “never looked back.” He will graduate with a major in mechanical engineering and a CAD/CAM minor.
Dr. Ali Siahpush, associate professor of engineering, has known Aston for four years. He praised Aston for his strong work ethic, saying, “He is never late, he is always there. He does a really good job doing his homework; his exams. I grade his exams first to make sure my solutions are correct.”
Siahpush described Aston as being a “typical mechanical engineer, he wants to be very precise.” Along with being an outstanding student, Siahpush said, “There are times he knows more than I do. He is the one that corrects me in class, and I love that! He has a good sense of humor and he communicates well. He does well in lab environments, he does well in analytical solutions and experimental work. He would be an engineer I would hire right away because I know he will do a good job.”
During his senior year, Aston focused his capstone project on building a solar-powered light system for the Cedar City “C”, located at the top of Cedar Mountain on the northeast side of Cedar City.
Every year for Cedar High School’s homecoming, the students light the “C” with road flares, but Aston wanted to design something more permanent that could be used nearly every night. Paired with and supported by Cedar High School, Aston and his team created a design that includes color-changing LEDs so the “C” can be lit, potentially, any color of the rainbow.
“The idea was actually given to the department by Cedar High School,” said Aston. “We thought it would be an amazing legacy project. When it goes up, I will be proud to know I was part of such a large community icon.”
Aston and his team are getting close to completing the design, and hope to have a system ready for Cedar High School by the end of the semester.
When discussing his honor to be this year’s valedictorian, he said, “It is truly beyond my wildest expectations for myself.”
As an engineering major, Aston has learned about a wide range of principles and has participated in project-based learning opportunities throughout his education.
Cameron is the son of Jan and Tony Judd of Fredonia.
“I love my major because of the sheer diversity of what we learn,” said Aston. “It keeps me interested and moving forward without getting bored. I can’t wait to get out into the workforce and put my new knowledge to use to make a positive impact as an engineer.”
Following his graduation from SUU, Aston plans to work in the field as a design engineer and is currently considering a position in southern Utah. While he eventually plans on pursuing graduate school after a few years working in the field, he is ready for a small break from studying.
“If I have learned anything from SUU, it’s that I love to learn. I plan to continue learning everything I can about engineering and other aspects of science,” Aston said.