Every student at the University of Minnesota Crookston campus has a unique story of how they got here, and their stories are what weave the history of this campus in northwestern Minnesota. Peter Andrada, a Minnesota native, found his way to the University of Minnesota right out of high school in the early 90s, but the timing wasn’t quite right for him then. Nonetheless, years later Andrada would find himself thriving in his IT career and back at the University of Minnesota Crookston to finish his degree.

Photo of Peter Andrada

When Andrada, currently director of IT at Jumio Corporation, first left the university, he found his way into the information technology workforce at Medtronic through his cousin. Andrada was able to merge his technical abilities with his affinity for people. When he first started working as an IT engineer, Andrada answered many IT questions for customers and would never get frustrated with them.

“Back when I started, I had a lady who called in every single day with the same questions,” Andrada stated, “I think some people might find it frustrating at times, but I welcomed her questions and calls everyday, in fact, I worried if she didn’t call,” commented Andrada.

Throughout his career Andrada has had a plethora of opportunities such as traveling, giving presentations to kids about online safety, participating in documentaries, as well as giving two TedTalks.

“I am so grateful for those [TedTalks], getting the chance to be a presenter was incredible,” stated Andrada. 

Andrada’s 23 years in his IT career have been a marvelous experience for him and his family, however he always knew he wanted to go back to school. Later in his career, Andrada’s wife encouraged him to finish his degree. 

“Every accolade and accomplishment in my life is because of my wife. When I was looking into going back to school, she initiated all of the forms, she started all of the conversations, and gave me the push I needed,” Andrada recalls. 

When Andrada started his online university career later in 2018, his first two classes were an introduction to online learning and the other one was a coding class that included Javascript and HTML. “I was pleasantly surprised at how the program starts right away with coding,” mentioned Andrada. 

Andrada is greatly appreciative of the online program at the UMN Crookston as it has given him the chance to finish his degree while still advancing in his career. As an older student, Andrada has also taken the opportunity to mentor younger students that have yet to start a career in IT. 

“I like to think that I have been a sort of mentor for the other students that I am in class with. I have hired many people over the years and so I know what directors and companies are looking for in employees and what stands out” mentioned Andrada. 

Once Andrada graduates in 2021, he plans to continue his education by completing his master’s degree. Now that he is back in the higher education realm, Andrada cannot seem to get enough of it. Andrada found his appreciation for higher education later in life and now he instills the value of it in his own children and holds high standards for them and for himself. His path has not been conventional, however, Andrada found his own path on his own time, and now he is getting the most out of his college career.

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston cultivates curiosity by engaging students in hands-on learning connecting theory to practice. As the experienced leader in delivering education online, the Crookston campus offers a distinctive learning environment providing personal attention and mentorship to develop leaders, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. Visit Crookston at umcrookston.edu 

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Learn more at system.umn.edu

Story Contact: Shawn Smith - smithsd@umn.edu - (218) 281-8414