Start Here. Accomplish Anywhere. - Mark Elmore

By Steven Geller - Director of Media and Public Relations

When Mark Elmore finished serving his country with the Marines in 2016, he was clear about wanting to go into a Mechanical Engineering program. His next step was figuring out where to start.

During Elmore's search, Normandale jumped out as the two-year college that was convenient and had the most distinct path to the University of Minnesota Engineering program.

Elmore had also been handy with mechanics when he was growing up and was a helicopter mechanic in the Marines. He admittedly was not a great student in high school, so following graduation, he decided to go into the Marines where he got the direction he was looking for.

"I realized while I was in the Marines that education was extremely important and I decided to take my education more seriously," said Elmore. "I knew I wanted to enroll in college when I got out, and that is what I did. Normandale's Veteran Advisor and School Certifying Official Lori York was great in getting me set up with all my benefits, and I was ready to attend Normandale pretty quickly."

During Elmore's second semester, York mentioned a program for veterans that gave them the opportunity to spend the 2017 summer semester at Stanford University. Elmore applied to the program, was accepted and ended up participating as the only student from the Midwest region (and the state of Minnesota).

Elmore and 15 other veterans from across the country took part in summer classes on Stanford's campus, visited Google and LinkedIn headquarters, were visited by veteran non-profit groups Service to School and VetLink, and received many resources to help make the most of their education and veterans benefits from the GI Bill.

"I realized sometimes as veterans we are humble about the great things we can accomplish in the classroom, and I learned from this experience that there are a lot of people out there who want to help veterans succeed and many programs that can help us," said Elmore.

After this experience, Elmore realized his potential and expanded the list of schools which he is submitting an application to the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, University of Texas-Austin and MIT. As Elmore begins his last year at Normandale, he reflects on the great education he has received and what a great academic environment it has been.

"I think for me it has really been a second chance at education because I did not do so well in high school," said Elmore. "To come here and be able to take these classes, learn from these great instructors and excel academically has been incredible for me. I have been able to learn and achieve more than I thought I ever could before."