Category Archives: Events

Dunwoody’s Snowplow earns third place in 2016 Autonomous Snowplow Competition

Photo of Dunwoody snowplow at 2016 Autonomous Snowplow CompetitionDunwoody College’s Snow Devil 01102 Snowplow earned third place—and a $2,000 prize—at the 6th annual Institute of Navigation (ION) Autonomous Snowplow Competition held January 28-31 during the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. The team also won the $500 Professor Nattu Sportsmanship Award for the second year in a row.

Dunwoody’s 2016 team—coached by faculty members E.J. Daigle, John McShannock and Alex Wong— included Electronics Engineering Technology students Alan Stafford, Matt Herrick, and Andy Haug; and Automated Systems & Robotics students Ryan Dailey and Dustin Forcier.

Competition aligns with Dunwoody’s approach to education

Photo of Dunwoody snowplow at 2016 Autonomous Snowplow CompetitionAccording to the ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition website: “The purpose of this competition is to challenge university and college students as well as the general public, to design, build, and operate a fully autonomous snowplow to remove snow from a designated path.”

This year, eleven teams from the top engineering universities in the Upper Midwest and Canada participated. Dunwoody’s Robotics & Manufacturing Department is one of just two teams 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 2015.

“The competition provides great credit to the application-based engineering culture here at Dunwoody,” Daigle said. “Especially as we prepare to launch new engineering programs over the next 5 years.”

Photo of Dunwoody snowplow at 2016 Autonomous Snowplow CompetitionThe team’s knowledge and experience with the competition appeared to be evident to other teams as well. Daigle said that at one point during the competition, a team announced they were going to quit due to technical difficulties when another team suggested they, “find the Dunwoody guys–they can fix anything.”

Daigle said that the cooperative competition displayed by his team was one of the best parts of this year’s contest.

Final results:

1st place: University of Michigan “Yeti 6.0”

2nd place: Case Western Reserve University “Otto X”

3rd place: Dunwoody College of Technology “Snow Devil 01102

4th place: University of Michigan “Zenith 2.1”

5th place: Case Western Reserve University “Snow Joke”

6th place: North Dakota State University “Thundar 2.0”

7th place: University of St. Thomas “John Snow”

8th place: University of Minnesota “Ground Squirrel”

9th place: University of British Columbia “Snow Flake”

10th place: North Dakota State University “Snow Blight”

11th place: Bemidji State University “BeaverBot”

Kate’s Club on the rise

Karen Schmitt talks to women at a Kate's Club meeting.

Karen Schmitt talks to women at a Kate’s Club meeting.

Electrical Construction & Maintenance Senior Instructor Karen Schmitt began working in a non-traditional career in 1978 and has since been looking for ways to help other women in technical fields. With this in mind, Schmitt started Kate’s Club to give female students a space to find mentorship and network with other women in non-traditional careers.

“What good is it if I don’t share my experience with someone and bring some awareness to how hard women have worked to get to this point?” Schmitt said, noting how difficult it was for her as a woman working on various construction sites.

Kate’s Club on the rise

Since the beginning, women at Dunwoody have been drawn to Kate’s Club for its supportive and empowering atmosphere. For this reason, membership has grown and Karen has passed the Club leadership onto the students.

“I enjoy being able to network with other women and collaborate with them,” said Construction Management student Melysia Cha. “We have such great faculty mentors with valuable stories and experiences to share.”

Cha serves as the Secretary of Kate’s Club and has high hopes for its future. Her goal for this semester is to find more members from both day and night classes and to host more meetings and events for women on campus to get involved in.

Leadership also includes President Kayle Moss, who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Management & Leadership, and Vice President Megan Swanson, a Graphic Design & Packaging student.

To kick off the semester, the Club will be hosting a “Souperbowl” Chili Cook-Off to raise funds for future events.

The 2nd Annual “Souperbowl” Chili Cook-Off

The 2nd Annual “Souperbowl” Chili Cook-Off fundraiser takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, in the McNamara Center.

Karen Schmitt and members of Kate's Club

Karen Schmitt and members of Kate’s Club

Proceeds from this cook-off will benefit Kate’s Club by funding events like last year’s trip to Iron Maiden Metal Fabrication, a woman-owned blacksmithing and metalwork shop in Minneapolis. Trips like these allow the women of Dunwoody to network with other women in technical careers and learn about opportunities available to them.

To learn more about events and opportunities at Kate’s Club, email Karen Schmitt at katesclub@dunwoody.edu

Automotive Dean’s service celebrated at annual potluck, department continues Toys for Tots donation

Dunwoody Automotive students loading up their lunch plates at the annual holiday potluck event in the Warren buildingFor the past two decades or so, Dunwoody’s Automotive Department has celebrated the holiday season in a memorable way. The Warren Building is festively decorated; long banquet tables are packed with crock-pot treats; Toys for Tots donations are collected; and students celebrate the end of their final exams and presentations.

This year, however, the annual holiday potluck was even more special than usual as students, staff and faculty bid farewell to Automotive Dean Jon Kukachka who is set to retire January 15.

Kukachka leaves Dunwoody with fond memories

Dunwoody Automotive students loading up their lunch plates at the annual holiday potluck event in the Warren building

“The holiday potlucks are definitely something that Automotive graduates remember about their time here,” Kukachka said. “I am going to miss events like these. The students have always been very special to me.”

Kukachka–who has provided the College with over 30 years of service–has been the program’s dean since 2010.

Retiring Dunwoody Automotive Dean Jon Kukachka speaking to Automotive students at the annual holiday potluck event “I have tried to be the kind of dean that students would not be afraid to talk to,” he said. “I wanted students to know that they could come to me about anything—good or bad—whatever was on their mind,” he said.

Faculty applaud student’s Toys for Tots donation

While the farewell was bittersweet, Kukachka was pleased to learn that the Automotive department did well in another  Toys for Tots fundraiser.

“The department has been donating to Toys for Tots ever since Dunwoody got involved with the program in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s,” Kukachka said. “It has become a tradition that the Auto Department does well so every year we try to instill that drive into our students.”

This year a friendly competition was implemented throughout the College with a first place prize of $150 awarded to the department who raised the most dollars and/or collected the most toys.

During the potluck, Automotive donations were totaled, revealing a grand total of about $2,000 in cash and toys—more than any other department.

Dunwoody Automotive students standing next to toys being donated to Toys for Tots

Program faculty decided to continue the season of giving by also donating their $150 winnings to the toy drive.

Kukachka says that this is the most the Automotive department has ever raised, making it a department—and quite possibly a Dunwoody—record.

Dunwoody College wishes Kukachka all the best

“This year’s potluck was very special to me,” Kukachka said.

“I will miss the people—both students and coworkers. I came here in 1980 wondering if I had made the right decision to change occupations. I know now that yes, I made the right decision to work at Dunwoody.”

On behalf of Dunwoody’s students, faculty and staff, the College wishes Kukachka all the best on his retirement.

“40 Under 40” recipient Trista Harris to speak at Dunwoody College’s 75th Diversity Forum

Trista Harris, President of Minnesota Council on Foundations

Trista Harris, President of Minnesota Council on Foundations

Join us for our 75th Diversity Forum at 12 p.m. on Jan. 14, 2016, in the Holden Center at Dunwoody College of Technology in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This Forum will feature philanthropic futurist Trista Harris.

Harris, president of the Minnesota Council on Foundations, was recently named to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of “40 under 40.”

A passionate advocate for new leaders in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, Harris’s work has been covered by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, CNN, The New York Times and numerous social sector blogs.

Harris is also the co-author of the book How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar and speaks internationally about using the tools of futurism in the social sector.

For questions or to RSVP, contact Dr. Leo Parvis via email at lparvis@dunwoody.edu. Dr. Parvis is a Principal Instructor and the Diversity Programs and Education Coordinator at Dunwoody College of Technology.

HR professionals give students an inside look at the hiring process

Micah Thorson has been the President of Dunwoody’s Institute of HR professionals and hiring managers speak to students about the hiring process at large companies.Industrial Engineers (IIE) student chapter since it started about a year ago with a goal to connect students with professionals in the industry and expose them to hands-on experience.

As part of this initiative, IIE hosted a panel of HR professionals  from Liberty Carton, and 3M and a hiring manager from Target Corp. to help students understand what these hiring managers look for in successful candidates.

“The interview process can be a little more rigorous for large companies,” said Thorson, “we wanted to invite them to campus to find out what they look for so we could be better prepared.”

Writing a successful resume

Allie Rikke–an HR Generalist at Liberty Carton–mentioned that the first thing she looks for on a resume is metrics. She said, “once you start talking money, people start paying attention.” Rikke suggested that applicants applying for industrial engineer positions should translate their projects into dollars and cents to illustrate the impact of their work.

3M Sourcing Agent Amelia Simonet explained that she pays attention to leadership roles. “Stay away from words like ‘assisted’ or ‘helped,'” Simonet advised. She said she prefers to hear what the applicant took the lead on—not what the applicant helped with.

Doug Meldrum, Group Manager at Target Corp., suggested students should get involved in organizations and clubs on campus, explaining it was a great way to highlight leadership skills on a resume.

There are many clubs and organizations like IIE available to students in different program areas. Thorson encouraged participation in clubs because they “give students practical experience and build their skills to be successful in their industry,” noting that IIE is hoping to offer a six-sigma training next semester.

Preparing for behavior-based interviews

In addition to resume advice, the panel highlighted the importance of behavior-based interviewing skills, particularly for people applying for technical careers. In order to be effective in a technical position, you’ll need to be able to communicate with your team successfully, they explained.

Behavior-based interviews include questions that allow hiring professionals to learn more about an applicant’s behavior and soft skills in a work environment. This helps them understand how the applicant will work with a team.

Associate Director of Career Services Rob Borchardt is available to help students prepare for these interviews by conducting mock interviews and providing feedback on performance.

“Landing the job is all about your interview prep. There are some tricks I can give to help figure out what questions you might be asked in an interview in addition to some of the standard questions,” Borchardt said, “Practice is key, especially for those harder to answer questions.”

Learn more about the services available to students on the Career Services webpage.

To learn more about upcoming events in the Institute of Industrial Engineers organization, contact Faculty Advisor Janet Nurnberg at jnurnberg@dunwoody.edu.

Dunwoody celebrates National Rad Tech Week

Clinical Instructor Amanda Barker works with Rad Tech students on site at North Memorial Hospital.

Clinical Instructor Amanda Barker works with Rad Tech students on site at North Memorial Hospital.

National Rad Tech Week is celebrated each year by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) to recognize the important role medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals play in patient care across the nation. The celebration takes place annually during the week that includes Nov. 8 to commemorate the discovery of the x-ray by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen on Nov. 8, 1895.

Since the discovery of the x-ray, the Radiologic Technology field has played a key role in lowering the amount of unnecessary and exploratory surgeries and avoiding inappropriate treatments that inflate the costs of patient care.

Dunwoody offers a hands-on degree

Rad Tech students learn during their clinical rotation at North Memorial Hospital.

Rad Tech students learn during their clinical rotation at North Memorial Hospital.

Dunwoody applies its hands-on approach to the Associate of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology by providing smaller class sizes and offering a variety of clinical settings.

“The instructors care about how you are doing and are more than willing to take time out of their day to go over anything that you are struggling with,” said second-year student Eryn Kivo.

Radiologic Technology Program Manager Dave Blake explains that class sizes typically stay around 10 students. This allows each student one-on-one time with clinical instructors and equipment, gaining hands-on knowledge of radiologic technology’s best practices.

Dunwoody’s clinical partnerships

Rad Tech students work with industry standard equipment during their clinical rotations.

Rad Tech students work with industry standard equipment during their clinical rotations.

Dunwoody maintains partnerships with 10-15 different hospitals and clinics 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 they graduate.

During the clinical rotations, students scrub in and work with real patients alongside Radiologic Technologists and Medical Doctors for an eight hour shift. Graduates leave Dunwoody well-prepared, knowing exactly what to expect in their field.

“Getting to learn and apply concepts to the real world in the same week is a great learning experience,” said second-year student Alyson Stumbo. “The teachers and instructors we have are amazing and very encouraging.”

Dunwoody graduates have recently been hired by top hospitals in Minnesota like Hennepin County Medical Center, Methodist Hospital, Park Nicollet Clinics, and Fairview Southdale Hospital.

To celebrate, students will be recognized for their hard work and dedication to the field with free lunches at clinical sites this week.

 Visit the program page to learn more about the College’s Rad Tech program.

Learning the “look” of confidence, turning perception into reality

When Twanya Hood Hill was in elementary school she was painfully shy and her mother would often tell people “She’s bashful, but she’s smart.” From those early experiences, Hood Hill discovered that by adopting “the look” of confidence she could change the way people viewed her – and eventually how she viewed herself.

Twanya Hood Hill speaks at Dunwoody College of Technology for the C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series

Twanya Hood Hill, Vice President of Leadership Development for Ameriprise Financial Services, shared how self-confidence can be the key to success during the Nov. 5 C. Charles Jackson Leadership Lecture Series.

The Vice-President of Leadership Development for Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., Hood Hill now helps others unlock their own leadership potential by learning the skill of self-confidence. Hood Hill is also an adjunct faculty member in the Master of Arts and Organizational Leadership program at St. Catherine University.

“Confidence is not about how you feel about yourself, it’s how others see you,” Hood Hill explained during the Nov. 5 Jackson Leadership Lecture, held at Dunwoody College of Technology. The lecture series features key executives from the business community, who speak on a range of leadership topics.

During her talk entitled “Self-Confidence: The Key to Success,” Hood Hill provided several strategies for building self-confidence:

  • Fail fast – Put your ideas out there and then learn to adjust
  • Avoid negative thoughts
  • Manage Perceptions – Beware and be aware of how others perceive you
  • Learn the “Charisma Formula” – Strength + Likeability = Charisma

“Eventually people will start to see you differently, and you will see yourself differently,” Hood Hill said.

The breakfast lecture series is held the first Thursday of every month. The next event will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 3 and will feature Nancy Dahl, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Tastefully Simple, a national home tasting company. For more information, or to view past events, visit www.dunwoody.edu/alumni/jackson.

Dunwoody celebrates the launch of its Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Zeiss

On Wednesday, Oct. 21, Dunwoody held an event at Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology in Maple Grove to celebrate the launch of the College’s new Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering beginning Fall 2016. Attendees included the program Steering Committee members, prospective students, and industry leaders.

Building the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the ground up

Dunwoody strives to provide students with a valuable, hands-on education with the needs of industry in mind. With guidance from a Steering Committee made up of working engineering professionals and educators, the four-year bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering is no exception.

“Dunwoody’s Mechanical Engineering curriculum was built from the ground up by engineering professionals working in the industry,” Dean of Robotics and Manufacturing E.J. Daigle said, “They know exactly what they’re looking for when they hire engineers and they’ve tailored our new program to give students the skills they will need to be successful in the workforce.”

The following steering committee members were awarded at the Launch Event in recognition of their contributions to the program:Marcin Bauza accepts award at the Mechanical Engineering Launch Event

Bob Bach, Dunwoody alumnus and current Mechanical Engineering faculty member at St. Thomas University

Greg Barlow, Vice President of Human Relations at TKDA Engineering

Marcin Bauza, Director of New Technology and Innovation at Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology

John Callahan, Director of Engineering at Polaris

Brian Sheposh, Principle Engineer at Johnstech Engineering

Rusty Steitz, Engineering Group Manager at TKDA Engineering

Scott Tolson, Engineer Manager at General Mills

Charlie Wennen, Manufacturing Engineer/Business Unit Lead at Wilson Tool

Dunwoody provides Degrees of Difference

The Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering is a traditional four-year engineering degree but with an additional emphasis on hands-on experiences, including time in the College’s Engineering Materials, Mechanics and Metrology Lab that houses state-of-the-art technologies from companies like Carl Zeiss, Haas, MTS and Stratasys.

“This experience won’t be like a traditional university engineering program,” E.J. said, “instead of learning theory in a large lecture hall with hundreds of students, our cohort class size will be no larger than 24 students and about one third of our curriculum is focused on hands-on experimentation in the lab.”

 Click here for more information on the College’s new Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.