Category Archives: Events

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 nsarrafknowles@dunwoody.edu.

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.

Three high school robotics teams earn Dunwoody Engineering & Design Award at State Robotics Tournament

MSHSL Robotics Competition at Mariucci sponsored by Dunwoody College of Technology. On Saturday, May 21, Dunwoody gave out three Outstanding Engineering & Design Awards at the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) Robotics Championship at Mariucci Arena. Dunwoody Engineering Drafting & Design Adjunct Instructor Al Jaedike judged each of the state’s top 30 FIRST Robotics teams competing in the tournament and made selections based on unique engineering design solutions to robotic challenges.

FRC Team 4539 from Frazee-Vergas

FRC Team 4539 from Frazee-Vergas

The award acknowledges that while winning the tournament is a major achievement, innovation can come from creative thinking, experimentation, failure and budgetary and/or engineering constraints. Each of the winning teams took home a trophy and a check for $500.

FRC Team 4009 from Duluth-Denfield

FRC Team 4009 from Duluth-Denfield

Congratulations to the following high school FIRST robotics teams for earning the Outstanding Engineering & Design Award:

• Team 4009 Duluth-Denfield
• Team 4539 Frazee-Vergas
• Team 5172 Greenbush-Middle River

FRC Team 5172 from Greenbush-Middle River

FRC Team 5172 from Greenbush-Middle River

Dunwoody has been a friend and sponsor of the Minnesota State High School League’s FIRST Robotics competition for several years. This is the second year that Dunwoody has given out the Outstanding Engineering & Design Awards.

Dunwoody welcomes more than 400 alumni to proud tradition

This weekend, Dunwoody welcomed over 400 new alumni to its long history of outstanding graduates. The College’s Commencement Ceremony took place at the Minneapolis Convention Center at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 21.

Photo of Scott Crump

S. Scott Crump, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Stratasys Ltd.

In his keynote speech, S. Scott Crump, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Stratasys Ltd., shared the experiences, personal habits and attributes that led to his success as an inventor and innovator, including the invention of the first 3D printer with FDM, which revolutionized the product process by automating prototyping. He discussed the importance of creative, free thinking and the ability to follow through with the ideas that arrive through such thinking:

When you have a great idea, you need to create a clear vision of your new idea and have the persistence to prove its feasibility and then eventually convince others that new is possible. However, as a heads up, you should expect resistance to new.

We are all curious but generally, we resist change. So: most people are too afraid of the risk of social criticism and ridicule to take the chance of sharing inventions and innovations.

In fact, I believe this is the single biggest barrier to invention, because it actually threatens your comfort zone. To counter that fear, I always try to operate out of my comfort zone.

Mr. Crump also gave a challenge to the graduates:

Learn to use your creative zone, and make sure that you have a lot of fun along the way, which gives you the passion to make a difference; because it’s not just about a job.

Dream and follow your dreams; I challenge you to make a difference in this world. Solve big problems and don’t conform, be a non-conformist.

Alex Mars, who served as the Class of 2016’s student speaker, shared the impact an applied education at Dunwoody has made on her life:

Photo of Alex Mars

Alex Mars, Dunwoody Class of 2016 student speaker

We often hear the clichéd phrase “the sky is the limit”. I finished my last semester of the Welding program at Dunwoody in December. I took a welding position at an Aerospace company in Eagan. I build helicopter frames and airplane engine mounts for a living. The phrase “the sky is the limit” has taken on a literal meaning for me. Using the skills I have earned at Dunwoody, I build aircraft and send my dreams up into the sky.

In his concluding remarks, President Rich Wagner reminded the graduates:

Photo of Dunwoody College of Technology President Rich Wagner

Dunwoody College of Technology President Rich Wagner

The Dunwoody legacy is evident around our city, from the buildings Dunwoody alumni have designed and built, to the companies they’ve started, to the products they manufacture, to the designs they’ve created, and the projects they’ve managed. It is humbling and overwhelming to look at the impact Dunwoody alumni have had and continue to have on our neighborhoods, on our communities, on our state and on our nation.

And now, you carry a responsibility to hold fast to the values a Dunwoody education represents and to take with you the challenge of perpetuating Dunwoody’s great legacy through your actions and accomplishments.

Additional photos from Commencement can be found on the College’s Facebook page.

Photo credit: Stan Waldhauser Photo/Design

Welding Technology graduate Alex Mars to speak at Dunwoody Commencement

Welding Technology graduate Alex Mars

Welding Technology graduate Alex Mars

Dunwoody College of Technology is pleased to announce that this year’s student speaker for Commencement will be Welding Technology graduate Alex Mars.

When Mars graduated from Shakopee High School in 2010, she spent time working as a manager in a restaurant and training to become a Nurse’s Aide and a Trained Medication Aide (TMA).

After earning her certifications, Mars worked for a couple of years as a Nurse’s Aide and TMA, but she knew it wasn’t what she wanted to do long-term. Mars wanted a career that provided stability and growth.

So when she had the opportunity to try her hand at welding, Mars discovered it was something she enjoyed. That interest in welding prompted Mars to sign up for the welding program at Chart Industries. The program not only provided the training, it also paid the students a salary. But shortly after starting the program, Mars found out Chart Industries had a physical lifting requirement she was unable to meet. She wouldn’t be allowed to continue.

The next day, Mars walked into Dunwoody and enrolled in the
Welding Technology program.

Mars started classes at Dunwoody in January 2015 through the Women in Technical Careers (WITC) scholarship program. She graduated in December 2015.

The mother of a three-year-old boy named Cameron, Mars knows that her Dunwoody degree will enable her to have the career and life she wants for her and her family.

“The WITC scholarship has been a huge factor in helping me accomplish my goals,” Mars said.

Since graduation, Mars has been hired at Aerospace Manufacturing as a TIG welder, building helicopter frames and airplane engine mounts.

“My main focus is to simply refine my welding skills to become a master at my craft,” Mars said. “I am leaving my vision for the future open, as my desires will develop with experience and opportunity. I plan on being thoughtful of this developing vision through my growth.”

Commencement will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 21, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Dunwoody’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society welcomes 16 new members

Phi Theta Kappa logo

On the evening of May 4, 2016, the Dunwoody student chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society inducted 16 new members into its organization.

From left to right: PTK Vice President Tony Laylon, Student Service Advisor Zac Mans and PTK President Donavan Sullivan

PTK Vice President Tony Laylon, Student Service Advisor Zac Mans and PTK President Donavan Sullivan induct new members into Dunwoody’s PTK student chapter.

PTK is a national organization that seeks to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students by providing opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming.

Students inducted into PTK are recognized for outstanding academic achievement by earning a minimum GPA of 3.5. Once inducted, students must maintain a 3.25 GPA and conduct a minimum of three hours of community service each semester. Dunwoody’s PTK student chapter currently holds 113 members.

New PTK member holds candle during Induction Ceremony.

New PTK member holds candle during Induction Ceremony.

Congratulations to the newly inducted PTK members:

  • Jazmine Darden
  • Nicholas Gustafson
  • Jonathan Hansen
  • Caleb Hays
  • Tiara Hill
  • Blake Isetts
  • Justin Lehman
  • Madison Montgomery
  • Stephanie Nguyen
  • Travis Northway
  • Travis Olson
  • Ricky Perez
  • Jonathan Peter
  • Kristofer Petrie
  • Cory Roberts
  • Thomas Smith