Robotics student describes why he enjoyed classes at HTC

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Brooklyn Park, May 21, 2021 – A few weeks prior to his college graduation, Derik Sorenson was busy interviewing for jobs. During one Zoom interview, there were eight people on the video conference call and each person took turns asking him questions.

“It’s terrifying!” said Derik with a smile and a bit of laughter.

Though job interviews are intimidating, they’re also a reminder that years of hard work will soon be rewarded with a new career. Derik completed the Automated Robotics Engineering Technology program at Hennepin Technical College (HTC).

When he enrolled at HTC, he didn’t have a background in robotics but believed he would enjoy the program because he enjoyed fixing cars. During his classes at HTC, the COVID lockdown occurred and there were some weeks when classes were online only. Thankfully, COVID restrictions were eventually eased so that skills training and lab work were allowed to take place in-person, on campus.

As Derik completed each new class project, he realized he was building confidence in his skills.

“The classrooms have hands-on equipment and that equipment is exactly what is in the workplace. Being hands-on is how I learn and that’s a real benefit,” said Derik.

With teamwork an essential skillset for employment, Derik also appreciated how faculty organized the classrooms so students learned from each other. Every student had something to share. Some students were more advanced in their engineering know-how while others were better with demonstrating soft skills, such as communications and leadership. Students bounced ideas off of each other.

Derik is married with two young children and considered himself a non-traditional student because he was older than most of his classmates. He said that his life experiences were valuable and he shared his knowledge with his classmates – many of whom he now considers his lifelong friends.

“Every day was fun. It was challenging and tough work but I really enjoyed how it tested me. That’s what kept me coming back and the reason I stuck with it because learning something new is exciting,” said Derik.

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 and offers degree and non-degree courses in over 45 programs. HTC is a member of Minnesota State, which includes 30 colleges and seven state universities.