Siblings continue the family tradition of attending Dunwoody College

Nick and Angela FreelandNick Freeland, ’15 Mechanical Drafting & Engineering Systems, and Angela Freeland, ’20 Mechanical Engineering, saw firsthand the value of a Dunwoody education when their father James enrolled at the College following a 20-year career as automotive mechanic.

James Freeland had returned to school and earned his Mechanical Drafting & Engineering Systems Degree in 2013. He now designs parts in the medical field. His decision made an impact on his two oldest children, and it wasn’t long before they both decided to follow in their father’s footsteps.

Nick had spent a year attending the University of Minnesota Duluth and was about to enroll in classes for his second year when he decided that the hands-on, professional atmosphere at Dunwoody that his father described would actually be a better fit.

“I’m more math-based and I learn better with hands-on opportunities. Plus I wanted a career more on the engineering side,” Nick said. “My dad was going here, so I just decided to enroll [at Dunwoody].”

Father and son were at Dunwoody together for only one semester, since James was about to graduate, but having two generations in one family attending at the same time – and in the same program – is still a rarity.

Right away, Nick felt at home in the small-class environment with students who were serious about their education and focused on their career choice. He especially liked working with the Computer-aided Design (CAD) software, which felt more like a game than actual work.

During his first year at Dunwoody, Nick was hired for a paid internship at Johnstech, a manufacturer of high-performance precision test solutions in the semiconductor test market. The internship continued during his second year and then turned into a full-time job after graduating. Today, Nick is a CAD Designer, Level II and designs components for the company.

Angela was still in high school when both her dad and brother were attending Dunwoody. So when she learned about Dunwoody’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) at a college fair during her junior year, it seemed like a good fit.

The summer program allowed Angela a chance to explore all of the different career paths and programs offered at Dunwoody. She was drawn to the graphic design program.

Like her father and brother, Angela is also mathematically and mechanically-inclined. So after a semester she switched her program and is now a student in the four-year Mechanical Engineering program.

“I like the idea of being able to design and build something, and you can work in almost any field,” Angela said.

Nick wasn’t surprised by either his sister’s decision to attend Dunwoody, or the switch to Mechanical Engineering.

“I always knew she’d be my boss someday,” Nick said with a laugh.

Angela, who is a member of Dunwoody’s Student Government, is already enjoying the project-based learning and hands-on environment with instructors who have all worked professionally in the field.

“I like the project work and the instructors are great,” Angela said, adding that having a mix of older and younger students in the program has also been an advantage.

While it is still three years away, Angela is already thinking about her career after Dunwoody. She is interested in exploring mechanical engineering in the construction industry and would like to become a project manager someday.

The three Freelands aren’t the only relatives in the family to attend Dunwoody. On their mother’s side, the pair have two uncles who have attended the College — Carroll Gackstetter and Michael McMonigal.

“Dunwoody is a really good fit for a lot of people,” Nick said. “As a graduate, you have a lot of opportunities in technical industries.”

Angela agrees, adding that technically-trained workers will always be needed.