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Mentorship helps a female student succeed in robotics

Student uses robot arm in robotics

Brooklyn Park, Nov. 7, 2022 – There are only a few women in Hennepin Tech’s Automation Robotics Engineering Technology program. Nik Jones is one of them. She’s also involved in a mentorship program, “Be Bold Break the Mold” which supports female students who are entering non-traditional careers. Nik discussed the mentorship program recently.

Hennepin Tech: “Be Bold Break the Mold” meets once a month, either on Zoom or in-person. The meetings have guest speakers from industry experts that relate to current engineering fields and topics. The group discusses a wide range of career topics such as issues concerning women in a male dominated field. Why do you enjoy participating?

Nik: I get the chance to meet other women from different STEM classes and programs. I’m finding it incredibly valuable to make these connections. Learning from experts in the field and networking with them professionally while gaining a wealth of trade knowledge across industries on a local and national level is an incredible opportunity.

Hennepin Tech: Your mentor is a female engineer from Medtronic. How is she helping you?

Nik: I have two mentors. One from Medtronic and another who is a former IT engineer who served on the board of directors after starting at the bottom of her company. They both are subject matter experts in their fields. I meet with them to discuss various challenges facing women in these industries as well as how they have learned to overcome them and excel past them. We discuss my personal goals and plans while they share their knowledge and expertise offering great insight as to how I can achieve them.

Hennepin Tech: Some students might feel a bit intimidated speaking with the Chancellor of Minnesota State, the person who leads the state’s system of 37 colleges and universities. But you met him in-person and urged an expansion of mentorships. What did you tell him?

Nik: I tried recruit my classmate to join the mentorship program but because of limited funding, it wasn’t possible. I talked to him about that along with addressing other needs that I saw on campus such as additional resources for programming in departments. I’ve broken glass ceilings yet; I don’t want to the only female in my next career field. You can’t complain about things, your attitude and actions should be part of the solution.

Hennepin Tech: Your career history is impressive. While working as the Business Development Manager for two motorcycle dealerships during COVID, your dealerships won several impressive awards for top sales. Since you already had a terrific career, what was the reason to enroll in college?

Nik: I want to reach my potential. Sometimes working for a small company, it’s hard to grow and advance. I decided to go back to school. I worked full-time and was a full-time student for about a year and a half. I earned an associate degree in business at Hennepin Tech and with a few more credits, I’ll have a four-year degree. I chose to complete a degree in manufacturing engineering automation and robotics first however, because I see the tremendous growth and need for blending of business process management with robotic process automation in manufacturing.

Hennepin Tech: Thank you for serving on Student Senate. You also volunteer extensively in your community – including motorcycle groups that support charitable causes. You have said your heritage motivates you, explain.

Nik: I am of French/German and Oneida, Iroquois Nation ancestry. Daughter of the American Revolution, my family having served in every war and farming over 100 years on our family farm it is just who we are. Thinking seven generations ahead is my obligation. I am honored to serve in the Senate, my church, and other groups.

Hennepin Tech: Congratulations on earning All-Academic Team honors! Many students will be inspired by how you overcame challenges. Describe your academic background.

Nik: I was a high school dropout. I attended 11 different schools by my junior year. I didn’t know what the President’s List was until I came here. I have been on that list six semesters in a row.

The attention that I am receiving on campus is what I call strategic individualized care. I attribute my academic success to the care that I received at Hennepin Tech. Everyone goes above and beyond. The teachers and tutors are amazing.

They all pushed me to the next step and encouraged me to be a leader on campus. TRIO, Disability Services, all the instructors – there’s no way I could have made the All-State Academic Team without them. This place has become a family. I know everyone’s name by heart. They’ve enriched my life deeply and inspired me to believe anything is possible.

About Hennepin Technical College
Founded in 1972, Hennepin Technical College (Hennepin Tech) is the largest stand-alone technical college in Minnesota. With campuses in Brooklyn Park and Eden Prairie, the college offers degree and non-degree courses in over 40 programs in the skilled trades and high-demand career fields. Achieving a high job placement rate, Hennepin Tech prepares students for high-paying employment opportunities.

Last updated by mdibba : 2022-11-11 09:38:49