People listening to people speaking.

Autonomous Nation’s TechConnect Workshop: Bridging the Gap Between Tech Careers and Education

Many students today hear about the opportunity for a career in tech but are unaware of what types of jobs are available across the autonomous industry and in our region. During Grand Farm’s Autonomous Nation Conference on August 29th, 2023, students gathered on the outdoor pavilion at the Microsoft Campus in Fargo, North Dakota to connect with professionals to learn, and share their ideas, experiences, and hopes for the future of the autonomous industry.

Dr. Ruchi Bhardwaj, Grand Farm’s Grower and Education Program Manager, brought together over 70 educators, students, and industry professionals who represented different careers in technology and the autonomous industry. 

Ujjwal Adhikari, the Chief Technology Officer for Kirkwall Autonomous Systems, started the workshop by sharing his unconventional educational journey, self-driven motivation, and curiosity for new industries, including AgTech. He iterated the main theme for many of the speakers, which was to “keep walking forward even if you feel like you don’t belong because there is a good chance that your boss or teacher also feels the same way.” 

Dr. Xinhua Jia, Professor of Ag and Biosystems at NDSU, emphasized that “Autonomation is everywhere, especially in the engineering field.” She continued to set a precedent that automation is here to stay and an important part of many tech industries.

Scott Schofield ended his presentation with, “Pursue your passion, get an education, build your skill set, and then look for opportunities:” practical advice for students everywhere.

Alex Salisbury, the Unmanned Operations Specialist for Weather Modifications, showcased a drone for the audience during his presentation.

Watch a recording of the TechConnect workshop on YouTube to hear the full presentations of the speakers.

Learn more about the workshop’s incredible speakers and get connected with them to build your network.

  • Dr. Xinhua Jia, Professor of Ag and Biosystems, NDSU,
  • Alex Sailsbury, Unmanned Operations Specialist, Weather Modifications,
  • Shott Schofield, Project Integration Team Manager, Northrop Grumman,
  • Anna Hanson, Sales Director, Bytespeed,
  • Aaron Sykes, STEAM Outreach Coordinator, National Center for Autonomous Technologies,
  • Dr. Ana María Heilman-Morales, Director, Big Data Pipeline Unit, NDSU,
  • Scott Meyer, Founder, FiveMin.AI, Ed3,
  • Ujjwal Adhikari, Chief Technology Officer, Kirkwall,
  • Curtis Sullivan, Vice President of Workforce and Culture, Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce,

Curtis Sullivan announces the TechConnect speakers.

By bringing together a diverse group of technologists, innovators, and educators, the TechConnect education workshop broke down walls between the groups and created a space where the future of education and innovation could come together.