Category Archives: Events

Dunwoody teams win Third and Fifth at 7th Annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition

Dunwoody teams also received the Dr. Nattu Natarajan Best Sportsmanship Award

Autonomous_Snowplow_Competition_2017

Dunwoody College of Technology recently competed in the Institute of Navigation (ION)’s Autonomous Snowplow Competition held during the St. Paul Winter Carnival in Rice Park January 26-29. The College entered two robotic snowplows–the Snow Devil and the Wendigo.

The Snow Devils earned fifth place and a $700 prize, while Team Wendigo placed third, earning a $2000 prize and the Bronze Snow Globe Award.

The College, as a whole, also brought home a $500 prize for the Dr. Nattu Natarajan Golden Smile Award for best sportsmanship. The Award is named after University of Michigan-Dearborn professor Dr. Narasimhamurthi Natarajan (often called “Nattu”) who was known for his quick, insightful analysis followed by a joke and a smile.

Nattu passed away from a lung illness on the Saturday morning of the 2016 competition while his two teams were competing. ION renamed its team sportsmanship award in honor of his leadership.

This year, thirteen teams from the top engineering universities in the Upper Midwest participated. Dunwoody is one of just two schools that have been competing in the annual event since it first began in 2011. The College has since taken home several awards, including a third place prize in 2016.

Dunwoody adds new robot to roster

This year, Dunwoody decided to try something new by adding a second robot to its snowplow roster.

“With the new engineering programs coming online, we had a lot of interest from our Mechanical Engineering students,” Dean of Robotics & Manufacturing E.J. Daigle said. “We always have interest from our Automated Systems & Robotics students. We even had a welder interested in it this year. So we had a lot more interest up front.”

From To to Bottom: Team Wendigo, Snow Devils

From To to Bottom: Team Wendigo, Snow Devils

 The Snow Devil was built to compete in the first year of the competition. Since then, students have refined and added to this original design. The robot functions by following magnetic strips that can be installed on any sidewalk or driveway.

The new Wendigo machine was created to complement the Snow Devil.

“When I found out they were letting us build a whole new robot, I thought, okay, we need to make this separate from the Snow Devil,” Automated Systems & Robotics student William Hiniker said. “Wendigo sounded cool and scary, so we went with Wendigo. Hopefully, you know, people see it move snow and they say, ‘wow that looks cool’”

The Wendigo uses a combination of a machine vision system and an inertial measurement unit to navigate up and down sidewalks and driveways.

The teams presented their designs to a panel of judges on Thursday evening at the Minnesota Science Museum. After safety checks on Friday night, the teams competed on the sidewalk-clearing course on Saturday and then took on the driveway course on Sunday.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s School of Engineering and Robotics & Manufacturing Department.

Students compete in Autonomous Snowplow Competition at St. Paul Winter Carnival

This weekend, two teams of students will be competing in the 7th Annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition in Rice Park, St. Paul.

Come support Dunwoody College of Technology students at the 7th Annual ION Snowplow Competition during the St. Paul Winter Carnival in Rice Park this weekend! Snowplows will be competing from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

Dunwoody students have competed in the Institute of Navigation (ION) Autonomous Snow Plow Competition every year for the last six years. The competition challenges college students to design and build a robotic snowplow that can clear both a sidewalk and a driveway without any human interaction.

“This competition gives us a good chance to apply what we’ve learned in our courses,” said Automated Systems & Robotics student Nick Hajlo.

From To to Bottom: Team Wendigo, Snow Devils

From Top to Bottom: Team Wendigo, Snow Devils

This year, Dunwoody will compete with two robots – the Snow Devil and the Wendigo.

The Snow Devil was built to compete in the first year of the competition. Since then, students have refined and added to this original design. The robot earned Third Place in last year’s competition and students hope their design improvements will place them in the top two this year. The robot follows magnetic strips that can be installed on any sidewalk or driveway.

The Wendigo; however, was designed and built just this year. Students from Welding, Automated Systems & Robotics, and Electronics Engineering Technology collaborated to bring this robot to life from the ground up. The Wendigo uses a combination of a machine vision system and an inertial measurement unit to navigate up and down sidewalks and driveways.

Dunwoody students will be competing alongside teams from Case Western Reserve University, Iowa State University, Michigan Technological University, North Dakota State University, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of St. Thomas, and Wayne State University.

The teams will present their designs to a panel of judges on Thursday evening at the Minnesota Science Museum. On Friday night, they’ll go through final safety checks before competing on Saturday and Sunday.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Robotics & Manufacturing Department.

Dunwoody students give back for the holidays

This holiday season, Dunwoody’s Student Government Association is focusing on giving back to the community and families in need.

IMG_9312 copyIn addition to overseeing clubs and organizations on campus, Dunwoody College of Technology’s Student Government Association (SGA) focuses much of its efforts on volunteerism and giving back to the community.

In September, SGA volunteered with Feed My Starving Children. The students packed 136 boxes of food that would provide 29,376 meals to children in Haiti. And in November, the students spent time at Ebenezer Care Center where they played bingo with the residents of the nursing home.

“We’re representing the student body and being in a leadership role, I think it’s crucial to give back to the community,” SGA President Danial Hannover said. “Volunteering and doing a little extra is all a part of being a leader.”

SGA hosts holiday drives for families in need

In addition to volunteering their time, SGA organized several drives to benefit families in need this holiday season.

With Thanksgiving in mind, SGA held a food drive throughout the month of November. The drive benefitted The Food Group, a full-service food bank with over 200 hunger relief partners throughout Minnesota. The Food Group provides free food, access to bulk food purchasing, and food drive programs to communities throughout the state.

By the end of the drive, SGA collected enough food items from the Dunwoody community to fill a 55-gallon barrel.

This month, SGA is focusing on the winter holidays by collecting winter clothing and gear donations for the Salvation Army. They’re also holding a competition to see which academic department can raise the most toys to benefit Toys for Tots.

The Association will be collecting winter clothing and gear until Friday, Dec. 23. Academic departments will be collecting toys for Toys for Tots until Friday, Dec. 16. Winners of the Toys for Tots drive will be announced on Monday, Dec. 19.

“There’s a lot of families out there in need – especially during the holiday season,” SGA member Tommy Dao said. “We take a lot of things for granted, and we want to give a helping hand whenever we can.”

Learn more about SGA.

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. 

IISE Student Chapter holds industry panel

Dunwoody College of Technology’s Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) Student Chapter recently held a panel to discuss career paths and experiences in the engineering field.

IISE meeting in Holden CenterDunwoody’s IISE Student Chapter started in March 2015 with a goal to connect students with professionals in the industry and expose them to hands-on experiences.

As a part of this initiative, the Chapter holds two to three events a year to help Industrial Engineering Technology students network with industry professionals and learn how to do things like write a rèsumè, interview for jobs, and more.

IISE hosts panel of engineers

In addition to learning about how to get a job in industry, IISE also works to give students an idea of what to expect on the job after graduation.

IISE holds industry panel in Holden CenterTo do this, the Chapter recently invited a panel of five engineering professionals to speak during their meeting. These working engineers – made up of two engineers involved with the IISE Twin Cities Professional Chapter and three Dunwoody graduates – spoke about their career paths and experiences.

The panel consisted of:

  • Nate Andrican, Boston Scientific, IISE Twin Cities Professional Chapter
  • Chris Heinze, UTC Aerospace Systems, IISE Twin Cities Professional Chapter
  • Dan Burns, St. Jude Medical, Dunwoody graduate
  • Mandi Drevlow, Design Ready Controls, Dunwoody graduate
  • Chai Thao, Minnetronix, Dunwoody graduate

“The coolest part was hearing five different people that all graduated with the same or similar degrees that do completely different things in industry,” Dustin Szumowski, IISE Student Chapter President, said. “What I took from it is that if you get a job in industry that you don’t like, there’s a lot of options out there, and you can keep searching.”

Industrial Engineering Technology at Dunwoody

Industrial Engineering Technology allows students with associate’s degrees in manufacturing-related fields to earn an ABET-accredited Bachelor of Science and grow in their fields as engineers.

This program offers course instruction at night, allowing students to work full-time while completing their degree.

Learn more about Industrial Engineering Technology.

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 lparvis@dunwoody.edu. Dr. Parvis is a Principal Instructor and Diversity Programs & Education Coordinator at Dunwoody College of Technology.