Student Spotlight: Mikaila Soule

California native earning Welding Technology diploma

Mikaila Soule, 24, is an exceptionally busy student at Dakota County Technical College. Not only is she earning a 36-credit diploma in Welding Technology with plans to graduate May 2021, Mikaila also plays professional football as a linebacker and safety (#47) for the Minnesota Vixen in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA).

Mikaila Soule

When she’s not going to school or playing football, Mikaila holds down a 40-hour-a-week as a tire technician at Costco Wholesale. Up until January 2021, Mikaila was working an additional 40 hours a week at Kendell, a door and hardware manufacturing company in Mendota Heights.

“With school and both jobs, I was putting in about ninety-five hours a week,” she said.

On top of that, Mikaila recently purchased a new home in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. One of her favorite hobbies is DIY projects around the house.

“Before we moved in, we had a little bit of work to do,” she said, noting those initial small projects ignited a drive in her to take on repair and remodel jobs. “I just brought my bathroom down to the studs and am completely redoing it. The bathroom is my first major project, and I’m really proud of the tile work I did. I have plans to redo almost every room in our house.”

Mikaila’s bathroom remodel gallery

Mikaila’s skill-set, financial and career goals

Mikaila’s career aspirations are always changing, but one goal she wants to accomplish is becoming an underwater welder.

Underwater welding

“I lived in the water as a kid,” she said. “I was both a swimmer and water polo player. I loved being outside. I also really enjoy building and fixing things. So, if you put the two of those together, you get underwater welding.”

In the meantime, Mikaila is considering joining either a carpentry or pile driver union. She views working in these occupations as a way to master skills she can apply to a range of DIY projects, large and small.

“One common theme throughout my life is building things,” she said. “One of my goals is to be able to build a house. Getting into a carpentry union would teach me the skills and give me the experience I need to accomplish that goal. I love staying busy.”

During her time at DCTC, Mikaila was awarded a $1,000 Dakota Electric Association Scholarship. She follows the financial advice of Ramsey Personality, Anthony ONeal, in his book Debt-Free Degree and will not take out loans to get an education.

“Receiving a scholarship is probably the best way to achieve this goal,” she said, “and because of Dakota Electric, I will have a debt-free degree.”

Playing linebacker and safety for the Vixen…

Mikaila Soule #47

Mikaila loves playing professional football. She is competing in a sport where she finds her spark (Soul, Disney Pixar).

I am very happy playing pro football. Between water polo and hockey, I have always been a physical player. I was annoyed when I played lacrosse because the rules were so different—I was such a football fan, and I really wanted to play, but never got the chance.

So, when the opportunity arrived to play with the Vixen, I was all hands in. I am not a violent person, but being able to annihilate a QB is something that you cannot imitate legally anywhere else. I love both the mental and physical challenge of football. I love being on a team.

Mikaila Soule
Welding Technology Student
Dakota County Technical College
Minnesota Vixen

Mikaila Soule: Vixen football gallery

More about Mikaila…

Mikaila and Nina

Originally from Murrieta, California, a city of nearly 104,000 residents near Palomar Mountain in the southwestern part of the state, Mikaila attended Vista Murrieta High School from 2011 to 2012. She went on to attend Woodbury High School in Woodbury, Minnesota, graduating in 2015.

Mikaila has been with her partner, Nina, for six years. Nina is an assistant manager at a Kowalski’s Market deli. Mikaila and Nina have two pets, a 15-year-old cat named Piggy and a 3-year-old bunny named Chica Bun Bun—Chica for short.

Three words that describe you as a person:

Growing up in California, Mikaila loved to go dirt-biking in the desert with her dad and brother. She enjoyed taking apart both her bicycle and dirt bike—and putting them back together.

“When I wasn’t in school, I spent most of my time as a kid in my friend’s backyard, which was basically a skate park,” recalled Mikaila, who competed in softball, hockey, lacrosse, water polo and swimming in high school. “I skated, BMX’d and spent a lot of time scootering with my friends.”

Along with completing DIY projects around the house, she enjoys working on her car and car audio. She really likes listening to music. Mikaila and Nina reside with Piggy and Chica in Cottage Grove, Minnesota.

Mikaila life gallery

One word that best describes your experience at DCTC:


Mikaila Soule Q & A

Why did you choose Welding Technology as your major at DCTC?

It wasn’t really a choice; I knew that I was going to weld, and DCTC had the courses I needed to get there. It was an easy decision.

What is the most challenging part of the Welding Technology program?

The program is all challenging—in the best way possible. Welding was a foreign topic to me so it was all a challenge.

What do you like best about welding?

Welding is challenging! I love learning, pushing myself and building things!

Three words that describe you as a welder:

What is your favorite type of welding?

TIG! [tungsten inert gas] This is the most intricate process, and it’s definitely the cleanest.

What advice would you give students considering welding as their career path?

Do it. Even if you don’t use the skill in an everyday job, welding teaches you a lot that can relate to how things work in the world.

What is one thing every welder should know?

Don’t forget to take your shield off grinding mode and always wear gloves when you are sanding your metal.

You can watch Mikaila talk about underwater welding (34:25) in the following video:

DCTC Foundation Scholarship Donor and Recipient Event

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

With my wife, Nina, in our home in Oceanside, California.

What person has influenced you the most in life?

I don’t have anyone in mind. I believe you are in control of the outcomes in your life (to a certain extent) and idolizing people can detour the way you are as a person.

This does not mean I think other people are bad, but in following people so closely it’s very easy to lose yourself and feel as if you are a failure compared to said person.

More about Welding Technology at DCTC…

The Welding Technology program at Dakota County Technical College offers a variety of training in different welding processes specific to the welding trade. As a student in the program, you will gain knowledge through theory in class and hands-on experience in our state-of-the-trade welding labs.

Major topics and welding processes will be covered in this nine-month course to ready you for entry-level positions in the industry. Subjects covered include:

  • Shielded Metal Arc
  • Gas Metal Arc
  • Flux Cored Arc
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding Processes Oxy/Fuel
  • Plasma Arc
  • Carbon Air Arc Cutting
  • Gouging Processes

You will work with a variety of metals, including steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Shop Fabrication, Blueprint Reading, Math, Visual Inspection and Safety are also covered in the curriculum.


Mikaila Soule 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Currently, football
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Australia
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Being a part of the WFA (Women’s Football Alliance)
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Give to charity 2) Pay off my house and probably buy like 10 houses 3) Invest a lot of it to continue to grow wealth and continue to, “Give and live like no one else.” — Dave Ramset
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19—anything produced by Shonda Rhimes; also Letter Kenny
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Soul (not only is it amazing, but it shares my last name)
  7. One thing you want to accomplish most in life: Wealth
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Northern cardinal
  9. Dream occupation: Underwater welder/master carpenter
  10. Person you would most like to meet: P!nk (Alecia Moore)
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Power tools… all of them
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Racism
Learn more about Welding Technology at DCTC by contacting:

Bruce Hartung
Welding Instructor

Karianne Loula
Testing Coordinator & Advisor

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

Weld or join metal pieces together using hand-welding, flame-cutting, or brazing tools.


Above the statewide median of $21.49/hour.


Median: $22.42/hour
High: $26.60/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $24.44/hour
High: $28.43/hour


In Minnesota, there are 10,020 workers employed in this large career, which is currently in very high demand and seeing high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 4.6 percent. There will be a need for about 11,565 new Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers to meet market demand between 2018–2028. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education