Category Archives: Industry Partners

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

 

Dunwoody-built Little Free Libraries coming to a community near you

Student clubs and organizations provide undergrads with unique volunteer and professional development opportunities.

One of the many perks of a Dunwoody education is the abundance of professional clubs and student organizations on campus. With over 20 to choose from, these clubs are more than just extra-curriculars. They serve as valuable ways for students to meet industry professionals, participate in community outreach, and build their résumés and portfolios.

And the College’s National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) student chapter, led by Construction Project Management Instructor Jon Hassenfritz, is no exception.

Photo of one of the student-built Little Free Libraries.Students build Little Free Libraries for BATC

Earlier this semester, the NAHB student chapter was approached with a unique volunteer opportunity: to help build three Little Free Libraries for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC).

The libraries resemble small houses and operate as a free book exchange for anyone interested. Once constructed, the student-built libraries would be put on display—and to work—in the towns of Oakdale (near Cardinal Place neighborhood), Apple Valley (near the Government Center and the city library and park) and Anoka (near Walker Methodist senior living community).

“The goal is to encourage reading at home as studies have shown that having more books at home improves literacy levels and school-readiness among children,” said Heather Griffis, BATC Office Manager and project coordinator.

Photo of Dunwoody students working on the Little Free Library

Photo Credit: Builders Association of Twin Cities

“BATC’s relationship with Dunwoody and the Construction department at Dunwoody has always been good. It’s important to us to work with our members. We thought this was a good opportunity for the students at Dunwoody to do something fun while working on their degree.”

NAHB members and project volunteers John Jeske, John Bautch and Bradley Toenges agreed, jumping right in to the project.

Student activities promote professional development

Hassenfritz said that throughout the project Jeske, Bautch, and Toenges were able to enhance their building and project management skills.

“We were provided with two designs for the libraries and then were able to design the third one ourselves,” Hassenfritz explained. “Students had to learn to read and understand the build plans so that they could cut and assemble the houses.”

The students were also able expand their knowledge of a variety of different hand and power tools.

Photo of one of the Little Free Libraries.“Participating in the student chapter of the NAHB has a lot of benefits for students,” Hassenfritz said. “Through the club they have access to networking events, trade shows and many other experiences that other students don’t.”

“This gives them the opportunity to meet and talk with people in the residential construction field. These connections they make can open up opportunities for internships and full-time employment,” he said.

Learn more

The libraries are currently in their final building stages. Upon completion, the finished houses will be sent back to the BATC for painting and decorating. The finished products are expected to be installed by the end of the summer.

Learn more about where these libraries can be found.

Learn more about Construction Management.

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.

Most of Dunwoody’s Class of 2016 already employed

With Commencement right around the corner, the question of “what now?” might be in full effect for some students—but it isn’t for many upcoming Dunwoody grads.

According to the latest from the College’s Ferrara Career Services Center, 85% of Dunwoody students are leaving campus already employed.

Micah Thorson presenting his capstone project for his bachelor of science in Industrial Engineering.

Micah Thorson presenting his capstone project for his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering.

Associate Director of Career Services Rob Borchardt says this trend is consistent with last year’s Employment Report, which shows that 98.5 percent of the 2014-15 graduating class found jobs in their field within six months of leaving campus.

Employers turn to Dunwoody for new hires

“The state of the economy right now really favors job seekers,” Borchardt said. “Industries we support are in high need for talented graduates and those companies regularly turn to Dunwoody to fill that need.”

And many companies are finding value in engaging with Dunwoody students and faculty before their final semester.

From L to R: College President Rich Wagner, Lakeram Seriram, and YCAP Manager Peggy Quam shortly after Seriram was named the Youth Career Awareness Program Leon Rankin Award recipient.

From L to R: College President Rich Wagner, Lakeram Seriram, and YCAP Manager Peggy Quam shortly after Seriram was named the Youth Career Awareness Program Leon Rankin Award recipient.

This proved to be true for soon-to-be-grads Micah Thorson (Industrial Engineering Technology), Stevie Nguyen, (Engineering Drafting & Design) and Lakeram Seriram (Toyota Technician Training & Education Network):

Thorson found out about his recently accepted position at Andersen Windows and Doors through his Dunwoody instructor; Nguyen developed rapport with her employer, Permasteelia, after they presented to one of her classes back in 2015; and Seriram, who will be joining the automotive team at Lexus of Wayzata full-time, toured his future place of employment nearly two years ago during his summer with the YCAP program.

All three students will walk across the stage tomorrow already employed.

Degree, future brings excitement to students

Stevie Nguyen with the bicycle she helped design and build with her group The Hacks as a capstone project for their degree.

Stevie Nguyen with the bicycle she helped design and build with her group The Hacks as a capstone project for their degree.

“I am excited about everything,” Nguyen said. “I finally completed my first degree and am now off to start my life. I know that this degree will open so many doors for me.”

Thorson, who previously completed an associate’s degree in Engineering Drafting & Design at Dunwoody, agreed: “The part that excites me the most is the opportunities to continue to learn and develop. I hit the ceiling with my associate’s degree and with my bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering I will have the chance to keep growing in my career and continue on with my education if desired.”

Seriram said he too is excited for the opportunity to continue his education.

“It’s only the beginning for me,” he said. “Now that I have my two-year degree, maybe down the road I can get my four-year degree—and even open up my own [automotive] shop.” 

2015-2016 Commencement

Dunwoody College’s Commencement ceremony will be held Saturday, May 21, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The Ceremony begins at 11 a.m.

Learn more about Commencement.

Field trip to Greenheck Fan gives HVAC students a taste of life in industry

Photo of Dunwoody HVAC students visiting Greenheck Fan.Heating & Air Conditioning Engineering Technology and HVAC Installation & Residential Service students recently ventured out to Schofield, WI, for a day-long visit to Greenheck Fan, the leading supplier of air movement and control equipment, including fans, dampers, louvers, and kitchen ventilation.

During the visit, students were able to tour the new Innovation Center, where fans are tested for noise and durability. Students were also able to see how a fan is assembled as well as learn the role engineering plays in fan selection and performance.

Photo of Dunwoody HVAC students looking at machinery at Greenheck Fan. “The students were impressed with the quality control measures Greenheck uses when manufacturing their equipment—and the large volume of fans and equipment being produced,” HVAC Program Manager Chuck Taft said. “This demonstrated how busy the HVAC industry is right now.”

Taft said students also met with Greenheck employees, who seemed “very proud to work at Greenheck.”

“You could tell the employees liked their jobs,” he said.

Photo of Dunwoody HVAC students listening to Greenheck Fan employee.Dunwoody’s HVAC programs have been invited to the Greenheck headquarters every two years since the 1990’s. The tour plays an important role in helping students see the types of jobs and working environments they could be in upon graduation.

Learn more about Heating & Air Conditioning Engineering Technology and HVAC Installation & Residential Service.

Stratasys Co-Founder S. Scott Crump to Keynote Dunwoody College 2016 Commencement

Photo of Scott CrumpDunwoody College of Technology is pleased to announce that S. Scott Crump, Co-Founder of Stratasys, Ltd, the leading organization for 3D printing innovation, will be the keynote speaker at the College’s Commencement on Saturday, May 21, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

About S. Scott Crump

Scott Crump is the Chief Innovation Officer of Stratasys, focused on leading and managing innovation by originating and encouraging new ideas, which will result in new solutions and products to market.

Mr. Crump is the inventor of Fused Deposition Technology (FDM) and a co-founder of Stratasys, which began in his home garage along with his wife Lisa Crump. They shipped one system in the first commercial year and now Stratasys has over 150,000 3D Printers with customers.

He served as the CEO, Chairman, and Treasurer of Stratasys from the 1988 start up through 2012.

In addition, he is on the Board of Directors and is currently serving as Chairman of the Executive Committee since February 2015. Prior to that, he served as the Chairman of the Board since inception in 1988.

From 1982 to 1988, Mr. Crump was co-founder and Vice President of Sales of IDEA, Inc. They were a premier brand manufacturer of load and pressure transducers. Mr. Crump continued as a director and shareholder until its sale to Vishay Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: VSH) in April 2005.

Mr. Crump holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Washington State University and attended UCLA’s Business Management Development for Entrepreneurs. Mr. Crump is a registered professional engineer.

Two Interior Design students design show sets for Northwest Community Television

Photo of Angelica Sedano and Alyx Paschke

L to R: Angelica Sedano and Alyx Paschke

Late last year, Northwest Community Television (NWCT)—a non-profit organization that offers free production classes, equipment use, and channel time to those in the northwestern suburbs of the Twin Cities—realized they needed a change.

“Our current TV sets were outdated, falling apart, and overdue for an overhaul,” Studio Manager Nikki Jackett said.

And as the 2015 fiscal year was coming to a close, Jackett realized they had some dollars left in their budget. So, she chose to put that money towards set renovation.

A perfect match

“We only had six weeks to get ideas together and the money spent,” Jackett said.

Photo of existing NWCT set

NWCT set prior to remodel.

“Knowing design is not in my wheelhouse and having a limited budget, I asked my boss if I could reach out to students to work with. I’ve had good experiences working with students in the past. I love their energy and eagerness.”

When searching for the students, Jackett said she “never looked beyond Dunwoody.”

“I’ve always heard good things about the school, so it was the first and only one I emailed,” she said.

And when senior Interior Design students Alyx Paschke and Angelica Sedano learned of the project, they knew they had to be involved.

“Set design is something that has always interested me,” Paschke said. “I’m going to grad school for themed entertainment design so this project was very closely aligned with what I am hoping to do.”

The design process

Due to the wide variety of shows offered by NWCT—which includes talk shows, sports shows, children shows, cooking lessons and craft demonstrations—Paschke said, “versatility was a major aspect in the design concept.”

Photo of existing NWCT sets and photo of what they would like after the remodel.

Paschke and Sedano used SketchUp—3D modeling software they use for class projects at Dunwoody— to generate ideas for the new sets.

“We decided it would give us the most for our budget to repurpose and reuse many of the existing sets and set elements,” she said.

And while the students did have complete design freedom, there were some limitations.

“The sets had to be mobile, lightweight, and easily assembled and deconstructed for transportation to and from the set storage warehouse,” Paschke said. “We also had an extremely small budget for all of the sets, construction supplies, finishes, furniture and décor, which allowed us to get creative.”

Paschke and Sedano used SketchUp—3D modeling software they use for class projects at Dunwoody—to design the sets. Here they finalized the set colors, furniture pieces and design budget. Then, they set out to purchase the supplies.

“It felt a little bit like an HGTV show,” Paschke laughed as she described their overflowing carts at Ikea.

In an effort to keep the costs down, the students also approached several industry partners for help—and were successful in doing so.

Example of what a set would look like after the remodelSherwin-Williams agreed to donate the paint for the sets, and representatives from Shakopee Lowes Home Improvement provided budget guidance. Prime General Contractors also helped with transportation.

Thanks to their generosity, the two students were able to stay under-budget and upgrade six existing sets and the station’s kitchen.

The final product

Photo of one of the final sets

One of the final sets designed by Paschke and Sedano.

For Paschke and Sedano, however, the best part of the process was actually seeing the project come to life.

Paschke explained: “As students, a lot of the time we design and we do the 3D renderings—but that’s as far as we get. So it was really fun to see our work actually constructed.”

“It was our first real project like this so it was a little intimidating,” Sedano said. “But we worked together with everyone really well. It was nice to have our first project be with great people.”

Photo of Paschke and Sedano

Paschke and Sedano at the NWCT Open House.

Jackett agreed: “Throughout the entire process, Alyx and Angelica demonstrated an unbelievable passion for design and a keen understanding of what it means to meet the expectations laid forth while also looking outside of the box in exuding their own creativity. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to work with them and recommend them to others.”

According to NWCT’s latest newsletter, this is the Station’s first remodel since the media center opened in 1998. NWCT displayed the newly renovated sets at an Open House event late last month.

Paschke and Sedano will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Interior Design program.

Auto industry has the need, Dunwoody has the grads

Industry speaks at March open house

Photo of Auto Open House eventDunwoody Automotive invited representatives from Luther Automotive Group, Walser Automotive Group, and Alliance of Automotive Service Providers-Minnesota (AASP) to speak at the College’s open house event this month, which was held Tuesday, March 15.

Steve Reinarts, Automotive Dean, said the goal of the event was to help organizations find potential hires as well as provide students and their guests with a better understanding of what the automotive job market looks like right now.

And what does it look like?

According to Judell Anderson, Executive Director of AASP: “Desperate.”

All three organizations confirmed that automotive job opportunities are skyrocketing—and shops and dealerships across the nation are in need of technicians.

“When I left my office, we had 43 openings,” said Meg Miller, HR Recruiter for Luther Automotive Group. “The opportunities are endless.”

In fact, auto mechanics are in such demand, many automotive organizations are hiring recent graduates—and even current students—to work. And for organizations like Walser Automotive, Dunwoody College is one of the first places they look.

Why a Dunwoody student?

“For years, we have all gone out and simply tried to steal one another’s technicians,” said Walser Automotive Corporate Service Director Jeff Lamott. “But as a business model, it doesn’t make sense to put an ad in the paper and hope you can get someone from another store.

Photo of students talking at Auto Open House event“Maybe that’s a short term solution for now, but probably a better solution would be to hire people at an entry level—student graduates for an example—bring them in, provide them with mentorship, and then grow them into a technician from the ground up,” he said.

“And to do that, we immediately look for organizations that provide students like that, or we look around and ask where we have gotten people from before…and Dunwoody would be the answer to both of those.”

Luther Automotive also has a long history of hiring Dunwoody graduates.

“Several of our managers and technicians have come from Dunwoody,” Miller said. “We always look for a well-rounded individual–someone who has the skill but also has the drive to learn more.

“We definitely find that in a Dunwoody student.”

Industry reps to return May 24

A first-time event for the department, Reinarts couldn’t be more pleased with the end result.

“I think the most beneficial part of the event—for both prospective students and their parents/guardians and guests—was being able to talk directly with industry,” he said.

“When parents come to an open house, they’ll often ask ‘will my son or daughter be able to get a job, and if so how much will they be able to make?’ Those answers, coming from me or one of our other instructors, could be perceived as self-serving.

“But by having industry there, we direct those questions to them and they’ll tell the parents and the students exactly how much they will be able to make and what the job market and career outlook looks like right now.

“That is why we wanted them there. So prospective students can get the story first-hand and hopefully consider choosing automotive as a future career,” he said.

Photo of guests talking at Auto Open House eventDue to the success of this month’s event, Dunwoody Automotive plans to host industry partners again at the College’s May open house, which takes place on Tuesday, May 24, from 3 to 7 p.m.

Prospective students can RSVP here.

If you are interested in speaking about your organization at the upcoming event, or becoming more involved with Dunwoody Automotive, please contact Reinarts at sreinarts@dunwoody.edu.