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Two staff members at Hennepin Technical College earn “40 Under 40” recognition


Laura Otieno, Student Life and Health Coordinator


Tara Clinkscales, Financial Aid Processor and Veteran Certifying Official

Brooklyn Park, March 26, 2020 – Two Hennepin Technical College (HTC) staff members, Laura Otieno, and Tara Clinkscales, have received this year’s 40 Under 40 Award from the American Association for Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC). Otieno is HTC’s student life and health coordinator and Clinkscales is HTC’s financial aid processor and veteran certifying official.

Otieno and Clinkscales were among the 40 women recognized by AAWCC this month. Nationwide, women selected for the award are rising stars who are making a difference for the college and community that they serve. AAWCC promotes the advancement of women through education, service and leadership development.

Otieno has worked at HTC for just one year yet she’s already demonstrating her passion for improving HTC’s outreach to low income students and those facing other barriers. In addition to working with student clubs and programming, Otieno connects students to critical resources such as health insurance and stable housing.

“Many students at HTC are from underrepresented communities and they face challenges in their daily lives. I want to build rapport and establish trust with students because it opens the door for HTC to support them. The goal is helps more students make it to graduation,” said Otieno.

During Clinkscales’ four years at HTC, she has worked diligently to ensure minimum processing times for students’ financial aid. She has the ability to break down the confusing verification steps and lay out understandable action steps for students. In her role includes assisting military veterans, she’s overcome challenges within the system and helped veterans secure funds for housing. Clinkscales also serves as the president of the AAWCC chapter at HTC.

“As we try to grow the program each year, we’re focusing on the basic needs of students such as food insecurity,” said Clinkscales. “We’re opening up the conversation about what’s happening in the real world and we’re intentional about taking meaningful action to assist students.”

About Hennepin Technical College

Founded in 1972, Hennepin Technical College (HTC) is the largest stand-alone technical college in Minnesota. With campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie, the college has a diverse student population of more than 18,000 and offers degree and non-degree coursework in over 45 programs. Achieving a 99% job placement rate, HTC prepares students for in-demand and high-paying employment opportunities. HTC is a member of Minnesota State, which includes 30 colleges and seven state universities. For more information, visit

Media contact: Lisa Kiava, 612-559-8068,

Last updated by mdibba : 2022-07-21 07:15:26