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Wendland Finds a Home in Telecommunications

Connor Wendland (Wi-Fi & Broadband Technologies ’20) wasn’t sure where his future would lead.

“I had no clue until the end of senior year,” he said.

Knowing that the world is becoming more and more dependent upon internet connectivity, he began to explore that route at the encouragement of his parents and his grandfather, who had worked for the family’s local telephone cooperative.

“Everything is based off the internet,” said Wendland, who is an install and repair technician for Alliance Communications, based out of his hometown of Baltic, S.D.

“It’s an ever-changing career – it’s never going to be the same old thing. We do a bunch of different stuff every day. I like that I get to be outside, driving around and seeing the countryside and have a little freedom” to work independently.

Once he chose Telecommunications, knowing he wanted to be able to commute home often, Mitchell Tech was the obvious decision, as it is the only school in South Dakota to offer the program, now known as Wi-Fi & Broadband Technologies.

“It was the only place in the state that offered it,” but once he got to work on campus, Wendland quickly learned that the fit was even better than he’d anticipated.

“I really enjoyed the hands-on learning. The classroom experience was huge, having instructors who were really good at what they do, who were able to teach you what you were going to be doing.”

Recalling the enthusiasm a program ambassador shared for the industry on his campus tours, Wendland decided to pay that experience forward to future students by becoming an ambassador himself. He said it also helped him.

“It really helped to shape me as a leader for what I do now, being in charge and knowing what needs to be done and how to get it done,” he said, calling his time as an ambassador “an honor.”

“That experience held me accountable to be a good model and keep good grades, because you were supposed to be a leader. It helped motivate me to not skip class and turn assignments in late.”

Overall, Wendland said, his time at Mitchell Tech was “phenomenal.”

“I would recommend anyone go there,” he said. “It’s a nice, homey feel – it’s not a university where you go and you’re just a number. The instructors help make sure that what you’re doing really is what you like to do and what you want to do. That was just a real good feeling, knowing your instructors really did care about you.”

Wendland said the instructors’ ongoing communication with him since graduation reaffirms that they genuinely care about their students.

“They don’t just send you off and throw you to the wolves,” he said with a laugh. “They check in on you and make sure everything is going well.”

And, when he returns to campus, Wendland said it feels like he’s returned home. 


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