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Construction Management student McBonn B Njankenji shares personal story on what led him to Dunwoody

McBonn Njaneknji McBonn B. Njankenji, a sophomore in Dunwoody’s Construction Management program, wasn’t always planning on going to college for construction—let alone college in the United States.

Born in Bamenda, Cameroon, growing up Njankenji and his family did not have much in terms of money; his mother never finished high school and his father didn’t attend college.

Things changed, however, when Njankenji turned 10, and he and his family decided to move to the United States in search of a better life and a better future. But, because of their history of financial difficulties, Njankenji said he felt pressure to pursue ambitious, high-paying careers.

“I was trapped in a world where my mother wanted me to be a doctor and my father wanting me to be an engineer,” he said.

Njankenji explained he tried pursuing both careers, but quickly found he didn’t enjoy or excel at either one. What he did find enjoyment in, however, was construction—a career path his father had also followed.

Finding his passion

“I fell in love with it,” Njankenji recalled. “I would ride with my father to job sites, and I loved seeing the smiles on the owners’ faces after a job was completed.”

Njankenji knew he wanted to be a project manager, but when it came time to finding the right college, he said he was surprised by how few schools offered a comprehensive Construction Management program.

“There weren’t a lot of schools that focused on Construction Management like Dunwoody,” he said. “I remember going online [to the Dunwoody website] with my father and seeing classes like estimating, drafting, and all sorts of courses that broadly exposed anyone new to the construction field.”

It was Dunwoody’s in-depth, hands-on approach to education that sealed the deal for Njankenji and his family. So, despite living in Maryland at the time, Njankenji chose to move to Minnesota and enroll at Dunwoody College of Technology.


Hard work pays off

Njankenji has since found much success at the College. He worked as a Field Engineer Intern for PCL Construction last summer and has received several scholarships along the way.

Most recently, he received the 2016 Foundation Scholarship, an award given annually by the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, which helps students pursuing a Residential Construction education in the Twin Cities with their tuition costs.

Njankenji said it’s scholarships like these that help make his dream of attending college a reality.

“I don’t regret this move,” he said. “I moved all the way from Maryland to get the most out of my education, and Dunwoody has helped with that. I am honored to be granted this scholarship and am glad I have organizations like BATC to support me every step of the way.

“Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to let me shine.”

Learn more

Learn more about Construction Management.

For more information on scholarships available to Dunwoody students, contact financialaid@dunwoody.edu.

Graphic Design student designs store displays for local baby clothing brand

Student Ashley LeMay designed and produced 25 point-of-sale (POS) displays for Tumblewalla–a local baby clothing brand–that can be found in retailers around the Twin Cities.
Graphic Design student Ashley LeMay

Graphic Design student Ashley LeMay

Ashley LeMay came to Dunwoody after working for 10 years as a teaching assistant for special education in the St. Paul Public School system when Dunwoody Pre-Media Principal Instructor Pete Rivard came to teach a Photoshop lesson during her students’ digital photography class. Afterwards, Rivard talked to the class about what a graphic designer does.

“I just knew immediately that that was my calling–it was where I needed to be” LeMay said. “All the stuff he was talking about was stuff I can’t stop myself from doing like analyzing color and typesetting.”

She immediately applied and was accepted into Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology program. When she felt she was ready to make the change, she enrolled in classes.

LeMay’s decision to change her career path proved to be a good choice. She recently took on her first real-world project designing and producing point-of-sale (POS) displays for Tumblewalla – a local baby-clothing brand. Her work can be found in Pacifier stores, Kiddywampus, and other retailers throughout the Twin Cities.

Tumblewalla fills need for more playful baby, toddler clothing

Tumblewalla POS display, side viewWhen Sonal Gerten, Founder of Tumblewalla, started the baby clothing company, she saw a need in the market for more spirited, pure, and comfortable fabrics for babies and toddlers that represented the vibrancy and yoga traditions of her Indian heritage. With that, she brought Tumblewalla – loosely translated as “one who tumbles,” – to life.

When it came time to bring her products to retailers, Gerten wanted to highlight the playfulness her brand represented. She was looking for someone with “the expertise and passion to make this happen” so she reached out to Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology department.

Graphic Design Principal Instructor Tom Herold then invited interested students to learn about the job opportunity from Gerten after class.

“This project was Ashley’s from the beginning. She had the time, she had the energy, and she had the ability,” Herold said. “Frankly I don’t think Sonal could have had a better designer working with her. This was about as complete a job that she could have gotten anywhere else.”

LeMay overcomes design challenges to create the perfect POS display

Tumblewalla POS display, front view“The first display was designed to look like a letter block.” LeMay said. “[Gerten] liked this but her concern was that she needed a place to hang a onesie up because her sales do better when there’s one out on display.”

When parents shop for baby and toddler products, they love to touch and feel pieces before buying them. However, retail space is often limited–making it difficult to showcase a product in the shelf-space allotted for it.

LeMay needed to adjust her first POS display so it could both hold the packaged product and display a single onesie for parents to touch and feel–all without increasing production time and material cost.

So with that, she designed and built a display with a high back made to look like a clothesline. The onesie could be hung up on the display using wooden clothespins. The display needed to be technically executed so that the cardboard would not fold under the weight of the product.

LeMay delivered on all fronts.

In addition to being functionally sound, Gerten wanted the display to communicate the playfulness yet sophistication of the Tumblewalla brand. For this, LeMay suggested using cutouts of Tumblewalla’s lotus motif along with a deep contemporary blue paint.

LeMay working on a Tumblewalla POS display

LeMay working on a Tumblewalla POS display

The deep blue “aesthetically pops on the shelf and conveys who we are in a simple yet fun way that’s very aligned with our brand positioning,” Gerten said.

LeMay built and hand-painted all 25 POS displays seen in stores around the Twin Cities. The project–from start to finish–took 30-35 hours.

“Ashley is a problem-solver–no challenge is too difficult for her.” Gerten said. “She also quickly understood the Tumblewalla design aesthetic and surpassed my expectations in terms of design options. She is a joy to work with and extremely talented!”

The Dunwoody Difference

Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology instructors are constantly looking for ways to connect students to industry throughout their education. From the annual Internship Expo, to participation in national student competitions, students are given every opportunity to gain industry-standard experience and skills before graduation.

Find more information about the Design & Graphics Technology department.

Meet the students participating in the 2016 MSP Home & Design Show

Dunwoody is pleased to introduce Maggie Ellsworth, Alex Lord, Lise Hanley, Megan Augustine, and Lydia Faison, the five interior design seniors participating in the MSP Home & Design Show, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2016.

The show—a first for Minneapolis—will allow attendees to learn of upcoming trends, meet with design professionals, and participate in interactive demonstrations. The Dunwoody group will manage a feature booth at the event, where they will present their take on a modern home office. Hand-crafted furniture and additional design work created by the students will also be on display and available for bidding/purchase.

Meet the seniors

Photo of Maggie EllsworthName: Maggie Ellsworth
Hometown: Saint Paul, MN
Passions Related to Interior Design: Space planning, sustainability, rendering, and lighting.
Hobbies Outside of Work: biking, camping, art/film, geography, and history.
Why Interior Design? “I believe as interior designers, we have the ability to make an impact on consumers. I want that impact to be a positive one.”

 

Photo of Alex LordName: Alex Lord
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Passions Related to Interior Design: Art and sculpture.
Hobbies Outside of Work: Sculpting, and designing and painting custom automobiles.
Plans After Graduation: To start a business and possibly design furniture/lighting on spec.

 

Photo of Lise HanleyName: Lise Hanley
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Passions Related to Interior Design: Minimalism.
Hobbies Outside of Work: The local music and art scene; real estate.
Most Excited About: “Exploring my strong interest in furniture design and hopefully meeting Keith Wyman, the owner and designer behind Concrete Pig.”

 

Photo of Megan AustineName: Megan Augustine
Hometown: Wyoming, MN
Passions Related to Interior Design: Home design and remodeling.
Hobbies Outside of Work: Building and racing mopeds; flying.
Plans After Graduation: To work in commercial/hospitality at an architecture firm. 

 

Photo of Lydia FaisonName: Lydia Faison
Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN
Passions Related to Interior Design: Rendering and furniture design.
Hobbies Outside of Work: Cross-stiching, wood-working, riding motorcycles, camping, traveling, and hiking with her dog.
Why Interior Design? “I notice and appreciation functional art above others. I think it’s amazing when a space can transport you somewhere else.”

Learn more

Get your tickets for the 2016 MSP Home & Design Show.

Learn more about Interior Design.

Dunwoody’s Haas Education Center grows

Dunwoody College of Technology’s Haas Education Center recently added a new Haas VF-2 vertical milling machine to its collection.

This state-of-the-art machine will expose second-year Machine Tool Technology students to multi-axis machining, tool probing, and part probing functions–giving these students experience with the latest tools in their industry. But it’s not just the machining students who will be working with this new equipment.

New equipment promotes hands-on collaboration

“One of the main reasons we got this machine was to support special projects and program collaboration,” said Brian Nelsen, Machine Tool Technology Senior Instructor.

The Haas Center has become an important space for all students to bring their hands-on assignments to life – like the electronic bikes designed and built by the Engineering Drafting & Design students. And with the growing number of students enrolled in programs like Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering Technology where hands-on projects are key, the addition of this machine will help support a higher volume of work.

Watch the machine in action:

Pre-Media Technology student wins First Place in cardboard as art competition

Student Karen West wins National Corrugated as Art Competition with a life-size concert harp made completely out of corrugated cardboard.
Graphic Design student Karen West

Graphic Design student Karen West

Second-year Pre-Media Technology student Karen West put in over 40 hours designing and producing a full-sized concert harp, standing five to six feet tall. What’s more impressive? The harp is made completely out of cardboard. And her hard work recently paid off.

The Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC) named West the First Place winner in the Corrugated as Art category of the 2016 Student Packaging Design Competition.

Along with the First Place title, West also won a $500 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to Orlando, Florida, to attend the AICC/TAPPI SuperCorrExpo Conference in October.

Harp built by student Karen WestAICC Corrugated as Art Competition

The annual AICC Student Packaging Design Competition honors the best student designs entered in three distinct categories. This year’s Corrugated as Art category asked students to design a musical instrument of their choosing and build it completely out of corrugated cardboard. The final product needed to be one-of-a-kind and not commercially reproducible.

By entering into the competition, students have the opportunity to showcase their talent and creativity to corrugated packaging and display professionals from around the world.

Harp, deconstructedWest designs and builds life-size harp

West used ArtiosCAD to design each piece of the harp individually. West then cut the pieces on the College’s Esko Kongsberg V20 CAD cutting table and assembled them by hand to form the harp.

To figure out proportions and how the harp should be put together, West started with a 6-inch model and scaled up for size. Each week, for three weeks, she built a new harp a size larger than the last.

Karen West with the full-sized concert harp made from corrugated cardboard.

Karen West with the full-sized concert harp made from corrugated cardboard.

“I learned that it’s a good idea to do steps,” West said. “There are certain things you can’t do because of size. So each week, not only was I blowing it up and adjusting it, I was also adding more to it. It was a great learning process.”

West was also happy to participate in the competition because it gave her hands-on experience that she can take with her after she graduates in spring 2017.

“This competition gave me a glimpse at what’s out there in industry,” West said. “It was cool to see just how creative I could get with only corrugated cardboard.”

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology department.

Dunwoody takes 2nd in 2016 American Solar Challenge

The Dunwoody/Buhler Team

The Dunwoody/Buhler Team

Dunwoody/Buhler Apprenticeship program allows students to work at Buhler, attend classes at Dunwoody, and even race solar-powered cars.

Dunwoody students/Buhler Apprentices have spent the last few weeks traveling the country with a solar-powered car they helped to build. The students competed in the 2016 American Solar Challenge (ASC) July 22 – Aug. 6, earning second place.

8 days; 1,971 miles

The Challenge—which began in 1990—consists of a three-day track race and an eight-day, 1,975 mile road race through seven states. Students began in Brecksville, OH and travel to Hot Springs, SD, stopping at several checkpoints along the way.

Solar car on the roadThis year, checkpoints were located at nine national parks and historic sites—including the Ulysses S Grant National Historic Site (St Louis, MO), Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site (Topeka, KS) and Scotts Bluff National Monument (Gering, NE)—helping to celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial.

Students taking a break from traveling to charge the car

Students taking a break from traveling to charge the car

The 2016 Dunwoody/Buhler team consisted of Electrical Construction & Maintenance Principal Instructor and Dunwoody team coordinator Steven Lee; Buhler Apprenticeship Training Coordinator Daniel Roth; Adjunct Instructor Gary Reiman; as well as members of Dunwoody and Buhler’s American Apprenticeship program, including Michael Klaas; Andrew Hohn; Alex Peden; Austin Carline; MacKenzie Ritchie; Nate Sharp; Justin Mestler; Vlad Lelyukh; Dominic Lemke; Michael Cenin; Marc Guillet; Sam Nogosek; and Isa Brady.

Several members of Buhler’s Swiss Apprenticeship program also joined.

“Buhler has been involved in other solar races around the world and the solar car that we used was actually originally built by them for one of those races,” Lee explained. “The apprentice students made modifications to the car so it met requirements for the 2016 American Solar Challenge.”

Together, the Dunwoody/Buhler team traveled a total of 1,971.5 miles in 59 hours, 30 minutes, and 22 seconds.

Students with their solar carBuhler/Dunwoody partnership

Dunwoody and Buhler’s American Apprenticeship program helps supply well-trained grads to Buhler, a global market leader in mechanical and thermal process engineering technologies.

The program allows students to attend Dunwoody classes, while also working at Buhler’s Plymouth, MN, location.

Final results

1: Michigan
2: Dunwoody
3: Toronto
4: Missouri S&T
5: Principia
6: Appalachian State
7: Iowa State
8: ETS Quebec
9: Berkeley
10: Minnesota and Poly Montreal
11: Illinois State
12: Kentucky

See final times. 

Photo Credit: Samuel Rhyner
(https://www.facebook.com/americansolarenergyracers/?fref=nf)

Student-designed furniture, home office to be displayed at 2016 MSP Home & Design Show

Dunwoody partnership sparks scholarship, real-world experience for five Interior Design students.

Interior Design Students Maggie Ellsworth, Alex Lord, Lise Hanley, Lydia Faison, and Megan Augustine have been quite busy this summer—building their skills, their portfolio, and their own furniture.

Photo of Home & Design Show Logo

The five senior students will present design ideas and several work samples at the very first MSP Home & Design Show, a new event where attendees can learn of the latest trends in interior design and home improvement.

The Dunwoody group will manage a feature booth during the show, where they will demonstrate how they would design a modern home office. Hand-crafted furniture and additional design work created by the students will also be on display and available for bidding/purchase.

Photo of Alex Lord presenting on a final project

Alex Lord presenting design solutions to faculty and industry professionals during Fall 2015 finals week

“The show is a wonderful opportunity for the future graduates because it gives them a great deal of exposure,” Interior Design Principal Instructor Sarraf-Knowles said. “It’s an opportunity to show off their talents and the skills that they’ve learned. It will also add a great component to their portfolio, which will really assist them when they go out and interview.” 

In addition to the professional exposure, the five participating students will also receive a scholarship from the MSP Home & Design Show.

“We wanted to partner with a reputable organization in the community that we feel could also offer something unique to the MSP Home & Design Show,” said Bruce Evans, Show Manager.

“We are committed to giving back…The scholarship is something we see being a staple within the show for years to come and hopefully [so will] the recipients,” he said.

Show promises networking, demonstrations, and celebrity guests

A first-time event for the students and the community, the show promises attendees a unique setting where they can:

  • Photo of Celebrity Guest Speaker John Gidding (photo courtesy of MSP Home & Design Show)

    Celebrity Guest Speaker John Gidding (photo courtesy of MSP Home & Design Show)

    Learn of upcoming interior design trends

  • Meet with design professionals
  • See guest celebrity John Gidding, HGTV Architect and Interior Designer
  • Become inspired by household décor items
  • Participate in interactive and educational demonstrations
  • Support Dunwoody’s Interior Design program and its future graduates

In addition to these fun events, the Dunwoody students will also be presenting on the evolution of a home office—a popular topic in the industry right now.

Student’s take on a home office might surprise guests

“We are doing research on the impacts of home offices nowadays. Currently, there are a lot of traditional companies that are eliminating the desks and telling their employees to actually work offsite at their home. This saves the company money on real estate, but also allows the employee a lot more flexibility.”

Photo of student-designed floor lamp

A student-designed floor lamp presented during Fall 2015 finals week

Because of these changes, Sarraf-Knowles said the feature home office will “look different than the standard or typical home office.” Instead, students will consider furniture flexibility (changing one piece of furniture into another); technology changes; and the various types of home office uses, workers, and needs.

The office will tentatively feature a student-built desk, light fixture, lounge chair, storage device, and coffee table. Students will also explore aesthetic pieces like backdrops and ceiling elements.

Learn more

The MSP Home & Design show takes place Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2016, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Learn more about Interior Design.

Radiologic Technology students honored at Pinning Ceremony

Spring 2016 Radiologic Technology cohort

Back row from right to left: Paul Sieckert, Alyson Stumbo, Eryn Kivo, Miranda Butler, Katie Welle, and Laila Merten. Front Row from right to left: Autumn Walbridge, Ashley Newstrom, Kristi Nelson

Nine Dunwoody College of Technology Radiologic Technology students officially graduated on Thursday, July 11, at a Pinning Ceremony where they were honored for the successful completion of the program.

Program graduates must take and pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam later this month in order to secure employment. The current five-year average pass rate for Dunwoody is 90%.

Laila Merten and Eryn Kivo receive pins during Pinning Ceremony

Laila Merten and Eryn Kivo receive pins during Pinning Ceremony.

The College’s Rad Tech graduates earn an Associate of Applied Science degree over two years (four semesters and two summer sessions). During this time, students rotate between 10-15 different clinics and hospitals in the Twin Cities area, including North Memorial Hospital. The variety of clinical sites allows students to work with real patients in every healthcare setting and situation–from level-one trauma centers to geriatric hospitals–before graduating. There are two graduating cohorts per year–one in July and one in December.

Students graduate with honors

During the Pinning Ceremony, Rad Tech faculty and staff also recognized students with various awards. Congratulations to the following graduates:

Dunwoody Clinical Excellence Award: Katie Welle
This award is given to a student who exemplifies the ideal behavior in a clinical environment. This student works well with students, staff technologists, and other clinical instructors in their clinical setting. The student receiving the Clinical Excellence Award personifies the type of student that Dunwoody and the Radiologic Technology Program would want every student to strive to be in their clinical setting.

Laila Merten receives Academic Achievement Award.

Laila Merten receives Academic Achievement Award.

Academic Achievement Award: Laila Merten
This award is given to one graduating student from each of the academic platforms at Dunwoody. The nominees for the award have a high attendance rate and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Other considerations for the award are based on work ethic, extra-curricular participation, pursuit of excellence, self-awareness, and leadership.

Best Team Player Award: Paul Sieckert
This award is given to a student who exemplifies the meaning of the phrase “team player.” This student takes it upon themselves to seek out work and help out in all areas in the Radiology Department, and also works well with other students, department technologists, and clinical instructors. They are the first person to lend a willing hand when help is needed.

Most Improved Award: Ashley Newstrom
This award is given to the student who exemplifies the most improvement from day one through their graduation—not only in the classroom setting but in the clinical setting as well.

Best Patient Care Award: Eryn Kivo
This award is given to a student who demonstrates superior care to the patients that they work with during their clinical rotations. The student selected for this award ensures that the patient comes first and that all the needs and concerns that a patient may have are taken care of.

Visit Dunwoody’s Radiologic Technology web page for more information about this program.