All posts by Newsroom

Kate and William Hood Dunwoody honored with Legacy Award

Kate and William Hood Dunwoody founded the region’s only nonprofit polytechnic college over a century ago, which to date has produced more than 250,000 graduates.

December 14 is always a special day at Dunwoody College of Technology. It marks the anniversary of its beginning.

Over a century ago today, Kate and William Hood Dunwoody bequeathed $4.5 million (or $108 million in today’s dollars) to found Dunwoody College of Technology — the region’s only nonprofit, polytechnic college.

And every day since then, we have been working to change lives by building opportunities for graduates to have successful careers, to develop into leaders and entrepreneurs, and to engage in “the better performance of life’s duties.
(Quote is from the Last Will and Testament of William Hood Dunwoody.)

The Dunwoody’s were recently recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals with The Legacy Award — an award reserved for givers who are no longer living.

Birchwood Café Chef helps Architecture students design Steger Wilderness Center Dining Hall

Chef’s critiques and background in restaurant industry influences student James Matthes’ kitchen design.

Earlier this year, third-year Architecture students were asked to help design and build a brand new dining hall for the Steger Wilderness Center, an ecologically-focused building devoted to sustainability education and climate change solution.

Photo of Birchwood Café’s Chef Marshall Paulson critiquing student designs.

Birchwood Café’s Chef Marshall Paulson critiques student designs, shares tips and best practices on kitchen design

The project—led by Architecture Instructor Molly Reichert and Center Founder Will Steger—began in late August, when students spent a week at the Center in Ely, MN. Here students studied the Center, learned of the building requirements set forth by Steger, and camped at the location where the new structure will be built!

Students have since split into several small teams, each working to design a different options of what the dining hall could be. Steger will then use the designs as he seeks funding for the structure.

But creating the schematic design proposals hasn’t been as easy as some of the student’s past design projects. It has required a lot of one-on-one time with the client, new approaches to design, and even critiques from the Birchwood Café’s Chef Marshall Paulson.

Advice from industry experts gives students a taste of life in the industry

As someone who has spent most of his time in a kitchen, Paulson was able to provide students with a unique and necessary perspective to each of their designs. During his presentation, Paulson shared industry tips and best practices on things that might not have immediately come to mind for the students, including sink location, cabinetry space, number of drawers, preferred shelving structures, ideal appliances, kitchen health codes, budgets, and timelines.

Architecture student James Matthes said that the critique was extremely valuable, helping him and his group identify a few areas of improvement that could be made to their design.

“It was really good to have his perspective,” Matthes said. “We bounced ideas off of him, and he was able to pick out a few things that we had missed, especially in regards to the openness of the kitchen to the dining room.”

In addition to help from Paulson, Matthes’ background in the restaurant business has also helped shape his schematic design.

Family business helped shape Architecture student’s design
Initial sketches/designs from Architecture students James Matthes, Aaron McCauley, Guyon Brenna, and Marcos Villalobos.

Initial sketches/designs from Architecture students James Matthes, Aaron McCauley, Guyon Brenna, and Marcos Villalobos.

“My dad owns a restaurant and I worked there for several years,” Matthes explained. “So I’ve been surrounded by kitchens my whole life—it’s kind of in my blood.”

With good Italian food, reasonable prices, and catering capabilities, Matthes’ family restaurant, Marino’s Deli’s, cliental and sales varied greatly. And those experiences have helped Matthes decide what the Center Dining Hall could look like and how to best accommodate a wide-array of customers and kitchen-needs.

“We have a very small restaurant, and we keep our prices fairly cheap so we get a huge mix of people coming in. So, I got that small, day-to-day interaction with people, but we also cater really large events. And that’s kind of what this Dining Hall space has to be flexible with: the people and both small events and big events.”

But one thing Matthes said he and his classmates were not as prepared for was the challenge of making a sustainable kitchen.

“It’s really tough to make a sustainable kitchen,” Matthes said. “You have these big pieces of equipment, and you’re constantly washing things—it’s a waste. But we’re exploring ideas on how to deal with waste and recycling and composting, and Will is interested in adding a root cellar and using an icehouse. And that’s not something we’ve done in past projects, like when we were-designing an apartment complex in downtown Minneapolis. It’s just not something we are used to seeing. So it brings a whole other perspective that should help all of us in the long-run.” 

Studio provides real-world experience

While this studio hasn’t been the student’s first stab at design, Matthes shared that this particular project has been much more real than the projects conducted in year one and two.

The combination of hearing from industry experts, working with a real client, and knowing this is a structure that will actually be built, has forced the teams to approach their designs in a much more practical, real-world way—an approach to education that Dunwoody College prides itself on.

A potential dining hall design for the Steger Wilderness Center created by Architecture students James Matthes,<br /> Aaron McCauley, Guyon Brenna, and Marcos Villalobos.

A potential dining hall design for the Steger Wilderness Center created by Architecture students James Matthes,
Aaron McCauley, Guyon Brenna, and Marcos Villalobos.

“In the past it’s been ‘okay, here is our design. This looks cool, so let’s just go with that,’” Matthes said. “Whereas now [we ask] ‘does this appeal to the client and is it going to fit?’ And so from the get-go that was something we really concentrated on: to make sure that the design worked.

“It’s exhausting every design idea that we’ve had, and it has been stressful, but in the end, it’s worth it. It’s worth it to see a client happy and enjoying what they’re seeing.”

Learn more

The students will present their designs at 9:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 16, at Dunwoody. Steger and Paulson as well as Founder of Birchwood Café Tracy Singleton and Mechanical Engineer and Alternative Energy Consultant Craig Tarr will be in attendance.

After the presentation, Steger will choose several student designs, or portions of their designs, to move forward with. The final building design will be dependent on funding and community support. The hope is to break ground in 2018.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.

Radiologic Technology graduates honored at Pinning Ceremony

Dunwoody Rad Tech graduates ready to enter the profession.

IMG_9956 copySeven of Dunwoody’s Radiologic Technology students officially graduated on Thursday, December 8, at a Pinning Ceremony where they were honored for the successful completion of the program.

Program graduates must also take and pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam in order to secure employment. The current five-year average pass rate for Dunwoody is 88%.

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 before graduation–from level-one trauma centers to geriatric hospitals. There are two graduating cohorts per year–one in July and one in December.

IMG_9991 copyCongratulations to the following December 2016 Rad Tech graduates:

  • Summer Bachmeyer
  • Brittney Boie
  • Kayla Canfield
  • Rami Erickson
  • Rhea Gulden
  • Kim Kotila
  • Josh Olson
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: Rhea Gulden
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.

Most Improved Award: Josh Olson
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: Kim Kotila
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.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Radiologic Technology program. 

3D printing: more than just modeling

3D Printing at Dunwoody is more than just prototyping of parts.

Engineering Drafting & Design students were recently tasked with creating their own golf putters. Students designed putter heads in SolidWorks and printed prototypes using the College’s Stratasys 3D Printers. But they didn’t stop there. Students then took their models to Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center to make metal castings of their designs before machining and refining them into polished, ready-to-use golf putters.

Dunwoody Architecture students visit the Delos-Mayo Clinic Well Living Lab

Latest Architecture studio shows students how the design of a building can influence the health of the people in it.  

Photo of Well Living Lab Door21 hours a day. According to the Well Living Lab, that is the amount of time the average American spends inside a building. For Dunwoody Architecture students, that brings up a whole lot of questions:

How does being indoors affect our health and well-being? Can alterations to a building or structure improve that experience? How can we change the way most people think and feel about indoor spaces?

The Dunwoody Architecture Studio 7 class chose to tackle these questions head-on by touring the Well Living Lab, a Delos-Mayo Clinic Well collaboration focused exclusively on human health and the built environment.

 Well Living Lab research inspires latest Architecture studio

“I always feel that it is important to introduce students to contemporary ideas that push them out of their comfort zone. We have been discussing many design issues in class and how our environment can impact human health in both positive and negative ways. Learning how researchers are measuring our built environment and its users could help students get a better understanding of how their design decisions impact health,” said Architecture Principal Instructor Stephen Knowles.

Dunwoody Architecture students tour Well Living LabDuring the tour, students were exposed to the many different ways researchers study and alter the interior of a room. The lab has 5,500 square feet of configurable space dedicated to researching how the indoor environment impacts our comfort, health, and productivity.

And this left quite the impression on Architecture student Roman Zastavskiy:

“[The tour] helped me realize how often buildings are being repurposed,” Zastavskiy said. “Usually when you design a building you design it for a specific use. So, it’s comfortable when you’re using it for that case, but then if it’s reused, things are completely different.”

And changing the actual building is not as easy as changing the building’s purpose. The fixtures, lights, floors, and vents are for the most part rooted in place, which can be challenging for those remodeling and those who will use the building after the remodel. Zastavskiy explained that the Well Living Lab recognizes these difficulties and incorporates potential solutions into their space:

Photo of tinted lights at Well Living Lab

An example of how lighting within a room at the Well Living Lab can change colors and brightness.

“At the Lab, it was a very dynamic system,” Zastavskiy continued. “The lights change tints, the floors are retractable, so you can move it to re-plumb or re-do electrical work, etc. It is kind of a one-building fits all approach, which allows you to say ‘okay, this space doesn’t work for this reason anymore. So let’s change it.’” 

In an effort to make the studio more hands-on, a tour of the Lab wasn’t the only thing required of the students. They were also asked to find a specific aspect of indoor living they would like to help improve.

Throughout the semester, students studied and researched their topics, and later this year will present architectural drawings that show how a structural change could potentially fix that very problem.

Project focuses include sound acoustics (interior and exterior); active design (a planning approach to creating buildings that promote physical activity); biophilia (the study of interior and exterior foliage impacts), and for fourth-year Architecture student Gianna Madison: individual thermal control by way of heating and cooling:

Photo of Well Living Lab showcasing a wall of indoor plants/greenery

This particular Well Living Lab room has an entire wall of indoor plants and greenery.

“The focus of my project is individual thermal control,” Madison said. “I chose this particular subject because this is a real life problem that is encountered, within most buildings, and it remains one of the most difficult things to regulate. Most often someone is always going to be too hot or too cold, rarely is there a happy medium.”

“And when you have someone in an office that is freezing, there are statistics that say they’re less likely to be productive because they’re so busy trying to keep warm. The same is true if they are too hot; it’s difficult to focus,” she explained.

Studio encourages new thoughts, ways of designing

Both Zastavskiy and Madison shared that focusing on a singular topic—and how it can affect someone’s well-being—requires a completely different way of thinking; something that they haven’t quite done before.

A wall of computers that control the Lab’s rooms and features

Students were also able to see how many of the Lab’s rooms and features are controlled.

As Zastavskiy explained: “[In prior projects] it has been all fun and games. You can design whatever you want. Usually it looks nice but does it actually make sense? Well, probably not. Because you didn’t really think it through and you didn’t really research these different aspects. You could design a building that looks nice, but then after building realize it’s freezing cold because you loved windows so much you built the whole thing out of glass.

“Where as now, even just focusing on my project focus, which is sound—you start to pay attention. How will people feel in this building? If I walk into this space, will it be loud? Will it be quiet? I never really thought about that. Now I approach [designing] completely differently. A project like this forces you to start thinking about that kind of stuff. That’s what I really like about this studio.”

Learn more

The Studio 7 students will present their findings and recommended building designs during their final project presentation in mid-December.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.

Learn about previous Dunwoody Architecture studios with Will Steger and Minnesota’s Independent Filmmaker Project.

A growing enterprise

Engineering Drafting & Design student Aaron Rasmussen is finding success in business and at Dunwoody.

Not many 19-year-olds can say they own a business. Even fewer can say they started that business when they were 12. But Dunwoody Engineering Drafting & Design student Aaron Rasmussen can.

Photo of Dunwoody Engineering Drafting & Design student Aaron Rasmussen

First-year Engineering Drafting & Design student Aaron Rasmussen

Rasmussen is the sole owner of Rasmussen and Associates, a lawn care, cleaning and moving service in Winsted, Minnesota. Despite being just out of high school, Rasmussen has upwards of 30 seasonal employees as well as some major customers. And the client list keeps growing.

Recently Rasmussen & Associates was hired on by several local banks to help clean out and spruce up foreclosed properties all over the state, including towns like Bemidji and Detroit Lakes.

What started out as a friendly favor quickly evolved into a large, successful business; and likely no one is more surprised by that than Rasmussen himself.

Starting Rasmussen & Associates

Rasmussen has always had an interest in managing. From high school clubs to part-time jobs, Rasmussen has consistently found himself in leadership positions.

But when it came to starting his own lawn care business? Well, according to Rasmussen, that venture began almost unintentionally.

It all started when Rasmussen’s neighbor asked him to cut her grass. He agreed, not anticipating how much his neighbor would like the end result. Word traveled quickly, and soon Rasmussen was working all over the neighborhood.

It didn’t take long before Rasmussen had more requests than he could handle. He needed help. So, he asked a few of his friends to join him, splitting the payment.

“I realized I could make money doing that,” he said. And just like that Rasmussen and Associates was born.

Finding success in 3-D Printing
Photo of Dunwoody College's 3-D Printers

A couple of Stratasys 3-D printers in Dunwoody College’s newly renovated Metrology Lab

As if balancing high school, his lawn care business, and his part-time job wasn’t enough, Rasmussen also had a second part-time job working at Lester Building Systems, a leading pole barn manufacturer. 

Here Rasmussen managed the company’s 3-D printing activity, specifically designing products to improve the day-to-day activities of residential construction workers.

Several of Rasmussen’s ideas have been adopted and mass-produced by the organization. In fact, next summer Rasmussen will visit Lester’s corporate headquarters in South Carolina to see a machine he designed become a reality.

Rasmussen said it was during his time at Lester Building Systems that he realized his love for designing and 3-D printing. And despite owning a successful business, Rasmussen knew he was ready for something more. So, when he saw that Dunwoody had a degree in Engineering Drafting & Design — and access to some of the most advanced 3-D printers in the world — Rasmussen was sold.

Despite only being a few weeks in, Rasmussen has already founded a Combat Robots club and was elected Treasurer of Student Government.

Moving toward the dream job
Photo of Dunwoody College's 3-D Printers

A student project being printed inside Dunwoody’s 3-D printer

After college, Rasmussen wants to continue with product development, specifically in 3-D printing for the construction industry. A Dunwoody degree will help with that, he said. And one day owning his own 3-D printing company? Well, that would be the dream job.

His advice for young entrepreneurs out there is to just do it. But make sure you’re a personable boss and you’re okay with putting in long days.

“I don’t sleep much,” he laughed. “But, other than that, it’s pretty good.”

Dunwoody opens new Veteran and Military Student Center

Dunwoody’s new Veteran and Military Student Center is a central point for veterans and military students to study, find resources, and socialize.

Dean of Students Kelli Sattler began her work at Dunwoody College of Technology in July 2015 with a clear vision for creating a well-rounded student experience.

“Another important part of my role is to step back and think big picture about what our College is doing to support and empower students to be at their best,” Sattler wrote in a letter to students and parents. “In doing so, I collaborate with faculty, academic support, student services, and colleagues across campus. I also listen to students and lead the way in implementing their vision for the future.”

So when veterans and military students spoke up last spring about their need for a bigger space with more resources on campus, Sattler put a focus group together, listened to their needs, and got to work on a plan for a new Veteran and Military Student Center.

The Center opened earlier this fall.

Dunwoody students build a new center

New Veteran & Military Student CenterDanial Hannover is a Construction Management student and President of the Student Government Association (SGA). He also served in the United States Marine Corps from 2008 to 2016. In that time, Hannover was deployed to Afghanistan twice. When he was honorably discharged in 2016, he was a Staff Sergeant (E-6).

Hannover has been working with Sattler to ensure that the new space offers the right kind of environment for veterans and military students to thrive.

New Veteran & Military Student Center“It’s a complete 180 from the last Veterans Center,” Hannover said. “Whenever I come in here there are at least four or five people studying, doing homework. And you see people talking and connecting with each other, which is cool.”

Donavan Sullivan also played a vital role in building the new Center. In addition to his four years of service in the Marine Corps, Sullivan was the Student President of the College’s honor society – Phi Theta Kappa – and the Multi-Cultural Student Union. Since graduating in May 2016, Sullivan has stayed with the College as an Admissions Counselor.

New Veteran & Military Student CenterWith his experience as a veteran, student, and employee, Sullivan offered a unique point of view.

“Some of the things that I suggested were moving it to a bigger space and updating the materials and resources in the Center,” Sullivan said. “We’re also working to get some TVs in there. One of them will play a PowerPoint presentation to show resources for students like the VA number and the suicide hotline. Suicide is a big issue in the veteran community. So I want that hotline number to just be out there constantly.”

Dunwoody establishes new programs to support veterans

In addition to building the new space, Sattler has been working with veterans on campus to establish Warrior Wednesdays and the Veteran and Military Student Organization.

Comcast talks to students at first Warrior WednesdaySattler’s goal for Warrior Wednesdays is to invite veteran-friendly employers in to talk to veteran students, giving students a chance to network with companies who are interested in hiring veterans. Comcast was the first company to participate in October.

“This will be sort of a one-company career fair,” Sullivan said. “Just to get them to come and meet with students about job opportunities for veterans.”

The Veteran and Military Student Organization had its first meeting in early November with plans to customize their agenda based on the needs of the group. Their goal is to become another resource of information and support for students on campus.

The effects of a new space
President Rich Wagner speaks to a veteran student during the Grand Opening of the new Center

President Rich Wagner speaks to a veteran student during the Grand Opening of the new Center

Hannover is already seeing what he had hoped the Center would do for veterans on campus.

“It’s bringing students together talking and connecting with each other. That’s one of the biggest things that veterans have an issue with.” Hannover said. “They’re not around the people that they’ve been around for the past four to 20 years of their life. And they all have the same mentality. So it’s good to see people connect and create a support system for each other.”

Sattler is hoping that this new Center will encourage other students to speak up about their own experiences on campus as well.

“If students see that we listen as an institution and that we care about the things that are working and the things that aren’t, and that we’re willing to make improvements based on that feedback, I think that goes a long way,” Sattler said.

Dunwoody celebrates Veterans Day

Dunwoody will be celebrating Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 11, with a flag raising ceremony at 10:45 a.m. followed by a presentation featuring Lorne Brunner at 11:30 a.m. in the McNamara Center.

Brunner served in the U.S Navy for 20 years. His military career encompassed six tours of duty in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Japan, and the Bering Sea. He was a chief petty officer and cryptologist assigned TAD with two SEAL teams. He will share his journey from leaving a Navy career after significant combat injuries and rehabilitation, to a successful occupation as a licensed private investigator and certified forensic fire and explosion expert.

Q&A with a Dunwoody Computer Networking Technology Alum

Dunwoody alumni are innovators, entrepreneurs, top technicians, and skilled workers.  Here is a quick Q&A with just one!

Andhi Michaux, ’03 Computer Networking Technology
Chief HR Officer, Garda Capital Partners

Photo of Andhi MichauxQ. Where is the weirdest place you have ever met a fellow alum?

A. Atlanta. I have three siblings who live there and while visiting I struck up a conversation with someone who was a Dunwoody alum and living in Dunwoody, which is a suburb of Atlanta. You just can’t make that stuff up.

Q. Has there been a moment in your career when you thought “My job is awesome!” and what was that moment?

A. I think the first time I felt that way was on my first business trip to London. I had never been to the UK before and it was an absolutely wonderful experience and the fact that I was there on business made it even more exciting. I was still quite young in my career at the time, but it was a pretty cool experience to be on a business trip in a different country while only being a few years out of school.

Q. What would your former classmates be surprised to know about you now?

A. They would probably be surprised that while I did work in my field of study (IT) after graduation, I was actually able to parlay those skills into a completely different field (Human Resources) and now I am a department head for a multi-billion dollar hedge fund. Definitely not how I saw things going, but I couldn’t be happier with my career.

Q. What is your favorite memory of Dunwoody?

A. My favorite memories of Dunwoody will always be the people and the connections made during my time there.  My classmates, teachers, student workers, colleagues and fellow Alumni Board of Managers members…these are the people that I truly hold in high regard and will always be the frame through which I happily look back on my Dunwoody experience.

You can read more Q&As with Alumni & Friends in the Summer 2016 edition of the Alumni & Friends Magazine.