Meet Our Alumni
What types of students enroll in MTI?
There is no typical student at Minuteman Technical Institute. MTI welcomes any adult student–of any age over 18–who is open to learning and following their passion. Some students are seeking a career change, others are brushing up on skills, and others are recent high school graduates seeking hours and experience toward trade certifications. Students learn in a supportive environment with the goal of attaining the skills needed for a high-demand career.
Anyone from any background an interest in pursuing a trade should apply. We strongly encourage women, people of color/BIPOC, recent high school graduates, LGBTQ+ and military veterans to contact us.
To learn more about the experiences of recent MTI students, watch the video above or click the names on the navigation bar.
Kateri Gerald-Burns, 21, of Boston, completed the Carpentry (Pre-Apprentice) adult evening program at Minuteman Technical Institute in the fall of 2022. The Carpentry program was held in collaboration with the North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund, the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, and other partners.
“It’s definitely worth the experience,” said Kateri, who hopes to start a business flipping houses. “You create networking. We’re able to get a taste in the field for everything… welding concrete, floor covers, drywall.”
“You meet a lot of great people. You create a family.”
Meet Raul Gonzalez of Lowell, who attended Minuteman Technical Institute's Robotic Technician adult evening program in the fall of 2022.
Mr. Gonzalez is a U.S. Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq. "I'm now opening a new chapter in my life. It's something that I didn't know I'd love this much, but I have found something I've been put on this earth to do," he said of the technology occupations he is pursuing as a result of studying at MTI.
Brianna Phipps enrolled in Minuteman Technical Institute’s (MTI) Automotive Technology program in the fall of 2020. Brianna, who is from Bedford, said she always wanted to work on cars, but enrolled in Southern New Hampshire University after high school because many people encouraged her to attend college. When the pandemic forced colleges to hold classes online in the spring of 2020, she made the decision to leave and enroll in MTI. She also works during the day at the Toyota dealership in Lexington.
- Q. Have you always been interested in the automotive field?
- Q. Why did you decide to leave college?
- Q. What do you enjoy about automotive?
- Q. How has MTI helped you in your current job?
- Q. What is it like to work all day and take classes at night?
- Q. What is it like being a woman in a male-dominated field?
- Q. What are your long-term career goals?
- Q. Are you enjoying MTI more than a traditional college?
Yes. I used to work on cars with my dad when I was little. It’s always been something I was super interested in and loved learning about. It started very early on. There’s a picture of my dad with his car jacked up, and I took my Barbie Jeep and put it on a rock next to him to make it look like I was working on my car too.
I had always wanted to attend a trade school, but some of my family and friends pushed me to go to college. I worked hard because you feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do after high school. When the pandemic hit, it gave me the opportunity to say, ‘I didn’t want to go to college anyway, and I’m definitely not going to college online.’ COVID gave me the push I needed to do what I wanted
I like working with my hands, figuring stuff out, and seeing the progression of what I’m doing. I like seeing the pieces of something coming together, intertwine, and create this whole car. I like learning about how different things connect, and how if one thing doesn’t work, it makes something else not work and you have to figure it out. It’s like a giant puzzle.
I work in the service center of the Toyota dealership. Right now, I’m doing basic stuff like oil changes, tire rotations, and brakes. As time goes on, they are showing me more and more of the machines and how different procedures work.
I’ll learn stuff [at MTI] and go to work and understand the problem and help with something. At the same time, I’ll learn something at work – for example, how to use a new machine – and I’ll come back to class and show people and be excited to practice it. It works both ways. It’s cool to use the knowledge in both places.
It’s definitely exhausting. But, because automotive is something I am so interested in, it’s motivating. It’s always exciting to learn new things like how to use the machines and the tools. I would love a nap sometimes, but it’s not some kind of dreadful experience that I have to power through. I am actually excited to be here.
Automotive is a starting point. I definitely want to get my commercial driver’s license (CDL) and learn how to drive big trucks. My uncles and my brother are all truck drivers. The automotive field ties into that because I want to be able to understand and fix what I am driving. I eventually want to learn how to work on diesel engines. I want to learn everything that will help me do better in my career path. I want to learn as much as I can.
- Q. Why are you pursuing a career as an electrician?
- Q. What do you enjoy most about the electrical field?
- Q. How is MTI helping you in your role as an electrical apprentice?
- Q. How is MTI helping you with your long-term goals?
I was working in sales. It was fine, and it was better than some other jobs I’ve had, but I was bored. Sitting at a desk all day was killing me. Getting laid off in the spring of 2020 made me reassess. I looked online at hundreds of job postings. There was one where 1,500 people applied for it.
Then, I reached a turning point. Here we are with the pandemic and who do I see driving around? I see plumbers, electricians, carpenters. For me, the stars aligned. From the moment I got to the Electricity program at MTI, I said, ‘Yes, this is what I want to do.’
It’s that satisfaction of creating something, building something, and watching it work. I could literally do that all day. It’s the most satisfying feeling. You put in the time, you put in the work, you apply what you know to a problem, and you solve it. It’s awesome. That’s easily my favorite part about it.
It’s helped to be able to say, ‘I know how to do that.’ When I’ve done it a few times in school, I get familiar with it, I learn all the bits and pieces. All the EMT (electrical metallic tubing) projects were really helpful. One day we had to run some metallic pipe… and my boss asked, ‘Do you know how to bend metal pipe?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I do.’
I had thoughts about being an electrician before, but MTI has strengthened my resolve. Everyone always tells you the trades make a lot of money. I knew that, but I thought, ‘Eh, I’ve already gone to college. I’ve already gone down this path.’ But after a while, I thought, ‘forget this.’ If these people–electricians, plumbers, and auto mechanics–are out there during the pandemic still working, there’s nothing that’s going to sink that. There’s no amount of change or development that’s going to get rid of our need for power and plumbing and vehicles. MTI has been a great experience for me so far, and I’m excited to continue with the program.
Mary Bowen, of Cambridge, enrolled in MTI to pursue an education in cosmetology. After a successful career as a special needs teacher for more than a decade, Mary said, "there was something that wouldn't go away, and it was the fact that I always wanted to do hair." Watch the video to learn more about Mary's career journey.
- Q: What do you like most about cars?
- Q: What made you decide to leave the oil industry to gain an education in automotive?
- Q: How does MTI help you with your current job?
- Q: What is your next career goal?
- Q: Tell us about why you immigrated to the United States.
- Q: Tell us about your experience once you arrived in the U.S.
- Q: You drove across the country, from California to Massachusetts. What was your favorite part?
In my late 20s, I decided I would try college. I enrolled in one semester, but I didn’t feel studies were for me. I realized that studying was not right for me because I had spent the last few years working. I didn’t feel I would have success with that. But, I was looking for something other than the oil industry. The oil industry, it seems like, won’t stay so long in this situation because the world is changing. I wanted to get into something else.
I’ve learned a lot of things. When I learn things in class, the next day I will go to work, I will see a car in front of me, and I will try to match what I just learned in class. For example, in class we read about the starter. Now, every time I open the hood for each vehicle, I look to see where is the starter? Or, what does it require for the starter or the alternator. Every time I study something, the next day at work I will search for that. I will try to see it in person, physically, and not just in books.
Maybe I could start out as a mechanic, but after that I would like to run a business, like maybe a used car dealership. When I was living in Texas and California, I bought and sold many used cars from auctions. I bought Fords, Chryslers, Toyotas and Hondas. … I would enjoy the car first [by driving it around for a few weeks], and I would fix it up. Once I got the title and the paperwork… I would post it online to sell.
I worked for seven years, in Iraq, for an American oil drilling company. After I finished with high school, I joined them. I learned many things and got to many positions. In 2016, I lost my job because the prices for oil went down. The company had been supporting and providing for me, and gave me a residency status [which is needed to live in this particular region, which is safer than other parts of Iraq.] I had nowhere to go. I didn’t want to go back to Baghdad because it was dangerous. At that time, I still had a valid visa to the U.S., so I could study and start my life over from there. It was a good decision for me.
I applied for asylum. It got accepted very fast. I worked in Texas for an oil drilling company on the platforms. I didn’t have a fixed schedule. One week you would work 60 hours, another week it’s 100 hours. You would meet your group of four or five workers, and go to the rig site where the drilling is. The job was to tighten the pipes… like every part – one on top of another on top of another. Any mistake will make a disaster. It’s very tough. It’s hard.
I do a lot of road trips. There is a big difference between the east and the west [of the United States]. It’s totally different. When I’m driving in the west, the roads and highways are so big, then state by state the road gets more small. California is a beautiful state and the weather is nice, but it is expensive. Every state has a different thing I like. I can’t say one is better than the other. New England is a nice place, and I am very happy to be studying at Minuteman Technical Institute as I prepare for my future.