The Twin Cities Engineering Program provides students with a unique way to advance their careers.
Normandale opened its Partnership Center in January 2013 in part to allow students and community members to stay on campus while pursuing bachelor’s degrees. It achieved that goal by partnering with Minnesota State University, Mankato to bring the Twin Cities Engineering (TCE) program to campus.
TCE is an innovative program built around project-based learning in which students gain knowledge and skills by working with industry members on real-life design projects.
Robert McLean—opening new doors
Several factors drew another TCE group member, Robert McLean, to the program. He liked the reasonable price and the opportunity to get hands-on experience—along with a chance for a fresh start.
McLean moved to Minnesota from Jamaica nine years ago. He had attended college in Jamaica, but wasn’t ready to fully commit to his education at the time. After a few years, he decided to return to school.
“I mentioned the idea to a friend,” said McLean. “He knew I was interested in engineering and told me about Normandale’s great reputation.”
McLean enrolled at Normandale in the summer of 2010 and soon found the Academy of Math and Science. The experience was eye-opening.
“It was a lot of hard work, but the instructors were there to help,” he said.
McLean was accepted into the TCE program to focus on mechanical engineering after graduating from Normandale in the fall of 2013.
“It has been a smooth transition,” he said. “I am taking Minnesota State University, Mankato coursework. But Normandale is a place I really like. I’m glad to stay on this campus.”
Tom Kloss—hands-on learning
Current TCE student Tom Kloss came to Normandale after attending the University of Minnesota when he realized a mechanical engineering degree would be a better fit. During one of his classes, a guest speaker discussed the TCE program. Kloss knew he wanted to pursue it.
“It captured my attention because it was geared to hands-on learning, which is a style I prefer,” he said.
The program has provided Kloss with valuable experience. For instance, the spring 2013 group had the responsibility of looking at a budget and helping decide what equipment to purchase for future students. Students also worked on such skills as public speaking, technical writing, résumé writing, and job interview preparation.