Snow Canyon graduate receives top award for engineering at Utah State

Kade Derrick, a 2014 graduate of Snow Canyon High School, celebrates with family after winning the top engineering award at Utah State, Date and time not specified | Photo courtesy of Kade Derrick, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Kade Derrick was nominated by professors in the biological engineering department at Utah State University for an award in his department. He put together an application packet and he was chosen, but he did not stop there.

Next he competed for the college award, which includes all of the engineering departments at Utah State. The result was he received the top award for the College of Engineering.

The 2014 graduate of Snow Canyon High School was awarded the Senior Scholar of the Year award for the College of Engineering and was given a laptop and a $200 cash prize.

But Derrick wasn’t finished.

He applied for a university-level award where he competed against the top students from the various colleges at Utah State. He is waiting to hear back on the results of that award.

Derrick, a senior at Utah State, studies biological engineering, focussing primarily on biological systems.

“I got into that degree thinking that I wanted to be a scientist, thinking I wanted to be a researcher, and along the way I fell in love with biomedicine,” Derrick said. “So much so that I am now going to medical school. I actually applied to medical school, was accepted and I’ll start in the fall.”

Kade Derrick, a 2014 graduate of Snow Canyon, accepts the Scholar of the Year award for the Utah State College of Engineering, Date and time not specified | Photo courtesy of Kade Derrick, St. George News

Derrick said he really fell in love with science at Snow Canyon High. He pointed out two teachers, Nick Lang (biology) and Kyle Jones (chemistry), as being driving forces behind his passion for science.

“I just remember being in their classes and being so fascinated as to the little scientific details of what was occurring,” Derrick said. “As the students around me hated the topics, I just loved it and wanted more. That’s really what led me to pursue engineering, biological engineering and now medicine.”

Kade will graduate in April with a degree in biological engineering and a minor in chemistry. His parents,Dan and Madelyn Derrick, reside in Santa Clara and he is married to Lauren Smith Derrick, with whom he has had daughter Raelee.

Derrick served his two-year mission straight out of high school in Argentina and then went on to Utah State. He says he felt prepared for the college environment based off his time at Snow Canyon.

He took a number of honors and Advanced Placement classes that had a similar intensity to the courses he was taking in college, but mentioned it was an adjustment to get used to the social life and various activities that go on at a university.

As for something that stood out for Derrick while on his journey through college, he pointed to athletics.

“Sports is something that I’m very passionate about,” Derrick said. “It’s been different than high school because at high school it’s so intimate, then you come up to college and there are so many more people. It’s been a lot of fun to have the Aggie family and thousands of people cheering for the same team.”

When asked if he misses the warm Southern Utah weather living in Logan, Kade chuckled and said, “that is so true.”


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