Colin Yusten, Mid-State Machine Tool Technician student and commencement speaker, will graduate from Mid-State Technical College on Sunday, Dec. 15.

Mid-State student commencement speaker to graduate with head start on life

December 10, 2019

After completing his two-year degree from Mid-State straight out of high school, Colin Yusten of Marshfield will deliver the student address at Mid-State Technical College’s commencement on Sunday, Dec. 15. The honor marks Yusten’s official transition to a new and exciting chapter already underway, as he now approaches graduation from the Machine Tool Technician program with a full a year of work experience in his chosen field.

In addition to his marriage this April, Yusten counts landing a job at Innovative Machine Specialists in Marshfield a year before graduation among his proudest moments at Mid-State. The shop provides custom machining for industry, including making parts used in the dairy industry and motorcycle manufacturing, giving Yusten valuable on-the-job experience to complement the skills he’s learning in his program.

Yusten’s high school days included work at the grocery store in town and a summer youth camp. After some exposure to technical subjects in his classes, he learned to love mechanics and machining. When it came time to think about college, Yusten’s dad, a salesman in the machine tool field, was a strong influence. 

"He talked me into going to Mid-State… and I really enjoy it,” Yusten said. “You're really accepted for who you are. You can be old, young, fresh out of high school, or have 30 years of experience in some work field…. They're going to take you in and still teach you the same way, and they're going to give you that knowledge that you desire to learn."

Yusten initially enrolled in Electrical Power Engineering Technician program but then changed direction. “It just wasn't a good fit for me,” he said about his decision to switch to the Machine Tool Technician program. But settling on machine tool was not entirely random. Yusten’s father had told him about the machining field, which led him to research it on the side and finally switch to the program just to see what it was like. "After the first semester, I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life," he said.

Looking back, Yusten’s instructors stand out the most, in particular machine tool instructor Mike Berry. “He taught me so much over the years,” he said. “Just that knowledge, that relationship that he has with his students…is just awesome really…. He's the instructor I'll remember for the rest of my life."

Yusten’s next chapter is already looking ahead to the one after that. “I've been playing with the idea of actually getting maybe 10–15 years of experience under my belt in the industry and then potentially becoming an instructor somewhere and passing that knowledge to the next generation,” he said. "Otherwise I would continue to work in the industry and maybe become partners with somebody and open up my own shop."

For Yusten’s full story and on-camera interview, visit mstc.edu/gradspotlight.