Zack Hatten – who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in fourth grade – will receive an associate of science degree from Lorain County Community College after heavy involvement on campus and taking on numerous challenges. He plans to attend Cleveland State University and complete a program in Japan while studying science and mathematics. Hatten feels a connection with the culture because his great-great-grandfather was Japanese, the Elyria resident said.Hatten completed a specialized course developed as a collaborative between Accessibility Services and a faculty member to help transition students with autism to college. He said this was foundational for his progress and many of his experiences at LCCC.
“I learned a lot about myself in the college world,” Hatten said. “The experiences that I have had have been wonderful. I met some great people along the way.”
Hatten’s advice to other students is to “set up a good routine for yourself here. People underestimate college. They think it is high school, but it is not. Pace yourself!” And that’s just what Hatten did.
“In general, I think LCCC was a great foundation for me as far as college experience,” Hatten said. “It has helped prepare me by pursing higher education.”
After completing an online summer course through NASA, Hatten was accepted to complete an onsite workshop in Mississippi. He was placed on a scenario team and had to build a simulation rover designed to work on Mars and created software code. For his first mission, his team captured the most rocks on the Mars simulation. He also learned about what it would take to send a person into space. The main thing he learned while there was about the type of mentality one needs to pursue a scientific research field. Ultimately, from the NASA experience, Hatten learned that he would be interested in research and development.
Hatten additionally worked with Youth Edge throughout his time at LCCC, which provided him with work experience in the automotive industry. He is also a lab assistant in chemistry at LCCC and currently works 19 hours a week in addition to finishing his degree. He found that he likes mathematical-based sciences best.
Hatten also enjoys martial arts, video games, walks, reading books about the brain and listening to instrumental music. In spare his time he hopes to do a self-study to better understand computer coding.