Category Archives: Events

Dunwoody kicks off annual Diversity Forum series with Festival of Cultures

Festival of Cultures, 2016Last week, the College kicked off its annual Diversity Forum series with a Festival of Cultures featuring musical performances from La Familia Music group and FireFlyForest.

The Festival of Cultures is an annual event that celebrates the cultures and traditions of students and staff. Students can represent their culture at a table in the College’s McNamara Center by showcasing traditional foods, art, clothing, traditions, etc.

Diversity at Dunwoody

La Familia Music Group plays a set during the 2016 Festival of Cultures.

The Festival is the first event in this year’s Diversity Forum series. Each month, Dunwoody holds a Diversity Forum centered on a new cultural topic. All Forums are free and open to students, staff, and community members.

Don’t miss upcoming events in this series! Check out the Forum calendar below:

  • October 20: Diversity Awareness Month & LGBT Forum, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • November 14: Native American Heritage Month, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • December 15: Racial Justice & Human Rights, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • January 12: King’s Birthday Celebration, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • February 14: Black History Month Celebration, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • March 23: Women’s History Month, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • April 20: Holocaust Commemoration, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • May 4: Asian American Heritage Month, 12:30 p.m., McNamara Center

Interested in one of these topics? RSVP to Dr. Leo Parvis at Dr. Parvis is a Principal Instructor and Diversity Programs & Education Coordinator at Dunwoody College of Technology.

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.

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.

Interior Design Summer Camp challenges perceptions of profession

Dunwoody Interior Design opened its classrooms to 11 high school students at the College’s first-ever Interior Design Summer Camp late last month.

Photo of Interior Design campers

Sarraf-Knowles, Interior Design Principal Instructor and Camp Coordinator, said the camp was created to help challenge students’ assumptions of what an Interior Designer actually does.

“I wanted people to understand that it takes a lot to actually do a project. It’s not just moving furniture around or choosing some colors,” she said. “It’s way more than that. There’s a lot of gathering information, connecting and interviewing with a client, and developing an actual design solution.”

To better show this to the students, Sarraf-Knowles developed a hands-on, interactive project that would allow them to actually experience the creative design process—something Interior Designers typically do when given a project.

Interior Design is more than one might expect

Photo of a "brainstorming wall" where campers posted ideas, graphics, notes for design inspiration. On day one of the camp, campers were asked to create a hypothetical exhibit space for a real-life fashion designer. The exhibit had to be realistic, original but practical, and incorporate the designer’s actual branding.

Students began the project by researching the designer and working on an overall design concept. This required the campers to experiment with colors, patterns, materials, technology, and lighting. The students then created a 3-D protoype of the room, and presented their final project and design solution to Dunwooody faculty and industry professionals.

“The project was very similar to what our students would be expected to do here on campus,” Sarraf-Knowles said.

Exploring Interior Design career paths, employers

Photo of campers listening to a lecture at Dunwoody.When students weren’t working on their displays, they were out exploring possible education and career paths. Campers toured Dunwoody’s Interior Design classrooms, experimented with materials in the Design Library, and explored the College’s fabrication lab and print and packaging lab.

Students were also given the opportunity to tour and meet with professionals from HDR Architecture, a local Architecture firm, and Fluid Interiors, a furniture design shop and dealership.

While touring HDR Architecture, campers met with HDR’s Interior Designer and learned how Architects and Interior Designers work together—particularly at an Architectural firm.

At Fluid Interiors, students learned how Interior Designers work with companies to simplify and customize their workspaces. Campers were able to explore the organization’s many showrooms, giving them an inside look at the types of furniture and light structures designers create and use.

Both visits illustrated the day-to-day responsibilities, projects, and work spaces of an Interior Designer.

Photo of campers by their finished 3D prototype of a fashion boutique. “I hope campers ultimately learned what the profession of Interior Design actually is, including what an Interior Design degree is, what can you do with that degree, and what that degree is like here at Dunwoody,” Sarraf-Knowles said.

Learn more

This is the first time the College has offered an Interior Design summer camp. Sarraf-Knowles plans to run a similar camp again next summer. To be notified of the 2017 camp, please contact Sarraf-Knowles at

Learn more about Interior Design.

Need for women in trade careers inspires Rosie’s Girls Summer Camp

Middle-school girls explore STEM programs, professions with Dunwoody instructors.

Rosie’s Girls— a summer day-camp inspired by a program started by Vermont Works for Women and Girl Scout camp programming—launched its first-ever Minnesota camp at Dunwoody College late last month. The camp was held in partnership with Girl Scouts River Valleys.

Photo of all of Rosie's Girls

More than 40 middle-school girls attended, building their awareness of—and their experience with—STEM-related higher education programs and careers. The camp comes at a time when skilled trade jobs, especially those within the construction industry, are in need of more women workers.

Building trades need more women workers

Photo of girl building in the construction lab

Photo Credit: Girl Scouts River Valleys

“Our demographic is nine percent women and 91 percent men, so we need to make that change,” said Heather Gay, Construction Management Program Manager, in a recent Kare 11 interview.

Electrical Construction & Maintenance Principal Instructor Polly Friendshuh attributes those low numbers to a lack of exposure of STEM programs and careers to young students—especially women.

“By high school, most students have already chosen or have some idea of the direction they are going upon graduation—and most of those students never have any exposure to the construction trades,” she said.

“This camp provides that before they have a pre-conceived idea of what they want to go into and perhaps will spark the idea that there are many pathways available to them.”

Girls learn to build, weld, and wire at Rosie’s Girls

Photo of girls holding their Little Free Library

Photo Credit: Girl Scouts River Valleys

During the camp, the girls were able to participate in a wide array of hands-on, STEM-related projects, including building Little Free Libraries; welding sculptures; and wiring a switch, light and receptacle. For two weeks, campers were able to accurately see what a career in carpentry, welding, electrical wiring, drafting and design, or surveying could be like.

“It’s important for young girls to get exposed to the trades and skills early on so that they know it’s a career path,” Gay said in a KARE 11 interview.

Rosie’s Girls sparks confidence

When girls weren’t exploring Dunwoody labs and equipment, they were participating in other physical activities like rock climbing, archery, and team building games. Campers also worked on their leadership skills, participated in arts activities, and learned how to successfully work and communicate as a group.

Photo of girls holding power tools

Photo Credit: Girl Scouts River Valleys

Girl Scouts River Valleys’ staff noted that “by offering girls a chance to ‘do things’—particularly things they or the adults in their lives may not have believed were appropriate for girls to do—the Rosie’s Girls Program seeks to reverse the downward trajectory in girls’ self confidence.”

Friendshuh, who led a number of camp activities, said that not surprisingly not every girl identified with every activity and career—but it was an incredible feeling seeing those who did connect with an activity succeed and have fun.

Photo of girl welding in welding lab.“The trades can provide a career option that not only pays well but can be obtained without a four-year degree. I hope the camp helped them to gain a better idea of what a technical college is and what it can mean for them as they move on into high school and beyond.”

And while college plans and the girl’s professional lives might still be a ways off, Friendshuh said above all, she hoped the camp gave the girls “a sense of accomplishment, empowerment, and the realization that they can be anything they want.”

Photo Credit: Girl Scouts River Valley


From Manager to Owner: Lessons Learned

President and Owner of Delkor Systems Dale Andersen shared the lessons he learned during his transition from sales manager to company owner

When Dale Andersen made the decision in 1999 to purchase Delkor Systems he went from being the Sales Manager to the company’s President and Owner. At the time, the company had sold off its main product lines and was a small company of about 10 employees.

The transition from employee to owner was more difficult than Andersen imagined, but he learned quickly that losing money was a great motivator for innovation. That innovative spirit has allowed Delkor to not only transform into one of the leading U.S. manufactures of case packing and robotic packaging machinery, but revolutionize the way many products are packaged and sold. Today, Delkor employs nearly 200 people.

Andersen shared several leadership tips that he learned along the way:

  • Put Communication First – From public speaking to the written word, good communication has become a never-ending, lifelong pursuit for Andersen. And how the message gets delivered is just as important. Andersen stressed that e-mail is not always the best method and when it comes to delivering difficult news, a phone-call or a face-to-face meeting can prevent a lot of miscommunication.
  • Lead with Humility & Understanding – Listening to employees has always been an important part of Andersen’s job. He recently asked employees what changes they would make if they owned the company and is now in the process of implementing many of those suggestions.
  • Lead with Grace – Leaders should be direct, thoughtful and accept responsibility.
  • Focus on Culture – Hiring the right employees is critical the success and growth of a company. Employees need to not only have the technical knowledge, but they need to be a good fit with the company’s culture.
  • Think Strategically & Write It Down – Andersen said when he first bought the company in 1999 he didn’t have a written plan. By taking the time to define how the company should allocate its resources, it enables you to use those resources more effectively.
  • Build Creativity – A creative culture is a benefit to any organization and one of the best ways to stifle creativity is to come down hard on mistakes.

Watch the video of Andersen’s Leadership Lecture:

Dunwoody College STEM camp opens doors to science-related careers

Minnesota high school juniors and seniors explore STEM-related career opportunities they didn’t know were available.
STEM camp students and Dunwoody instructors outside the College's main entrance.

STEM camp students and Dunwoody instructors outside the College’s main entrance.

When Marissa Owens, a senior-to-be from Rosemount High School, started STEM camp, she knew she enjoyed science and math but wasn’t sure how to make a career of it.

“I hadn’t really figured anything out about engineering yet,” Owens said. “So it was interesting finding a new field that had both science and math combined.”

Dunwoody STEM camp fills the need for more science camps in Minnesota

Janet Nurnberg, Dunwoody Industrial Engineering Technology Program Manager, started STEM camp in 2015 after working with the advisory board for St. Paul Public Schools Project Lead the Way.

“In working with some of the local high school teachers the comment was that there’s just not enough STEM camps or opportunities for the students to be exposed to STEM topics in the summertime,” Nurnberg said.

Nurnberg attended a STEM camp while she was in high school, and it helped inform her decision for college. She wanted to give local high school students a similar opportunity.

And what better way to expose the students the career paths available to them than by introducing them to an on-the-job visit?

Boston Scientific offers students a look into life in industry

Boston Scientific engineers help students solve real-world industrial engineering problems.

Boston Scientific engineers help students solve real-world industrial engineering problems.

In addition to sponsoring the event, Boston Scientific hosted students on the first day of camp.

After touring the facilities and hearing from a panel of Boston Scientific employees about careers in industrial engineering, students were split into groups and tasked with solving real-world engineering problems.

In the first activity, students were asked to save the world from toxic waste by finding new and creative ways to transport the waste safely.

“It was fun to get the students thinking and trying to think outside the box,” Nurnberg said.

The second activity exposed the students to an age-old industrial engineering issue–process improvement. Students needed to find a way to speed up the food production of a small burger joint in order to keep up with a large fast food restaurant that had just opened up across the street.

“I really liked the Boston Scientific activities,” Owens said. “It gave me more insight on what industrial workers and engineers do on a daily basis.”

After a day at Boston Scientific, students spent the rest of camp in Dunwoody’s state-of-the-art labs for more hands-on activities.

Students manufacture a flashlight

For the remaining three days, students built a flashlight from the ground up, learning about all the people and technology involved in moving a product from design to production–and finally to sitting on display on store shelves.

The body of the flashlight was 3D-printed in the College’s Engineering Materials, Mechanics, and Metrology Lab. From there, students spent time in the Electronics Lab soldering the flashlight’s electrical components–made up of a small Arduino PLC. The students learned to program that PLC and also designed a custom battery cap in SolidWorks to hold the flashlight together.

Pre-Media Technologies Principal Instructor Pete Rivard shows the students how package design works on the College's digital press.

Pre-Media Technologies Principal Instructor Pete Rivard shows the students how package design works on the College’s digital press.

Once the flashlight was manufactured and functioning, the students headed for the College’s packaging design facility to learn how to make a carton for their product using an Esko Kongsgerg V20 cutting table.

“My favorite part of the camp was the whole hands-on approach we took,” Mahtomedi High School student Brock Halverson said. “It was cool that we got to sit down and actually use some of the equipment that we would use later on.”

In addition to this flashlight project, students also learned about other opportunities in STEM like architecture, surveying, civil engineering, and software design.

Visit us on the web for more information about STEM camp and other summer activities for middle and high school students.