Category Archives: Student Competitions

Architecture students place 2nd, 3rd in 2016 Skills USA State Competition

Photo of Eli Abnet

Eli Abnet at 2016 SkillsUSA Minnesota

Architecture students Eli Abnet and Charles Evans Bille placed 2nd and 3rd respectively at the 2016 SkillsUSA Minnesota Competition, which was held earlier this month at various locations throughout the Twin Cities including Dunwoody campus.

SkillsUSA—a national organization made of students, educators and industry representatives working to provide America with skilled workers—regulates the competitions, which are held annually at the local/state, national and global level.

Photo of Charles Evans

Charles Evans Bille at 2016 SkillsUSA Minnesota

During the contest, Abnet and Bille participated in a short written exam, a hand drafting exercise, and a computer-drafting project. The competition aims to test students’ problem-solving abilities as well as their drafting techniques.

Get involved

The College has been participating and placing in SkillsUSA competitions for many years, with students earning gold in 2015 and 2013.

If you are interested in joining the 2017 SkillsUSA team, please contact Associate Director of Career Services Rob Borchardt at 612.381.3322 or rborchardt@dunwoody.edu.

About SkillsUSA

According to mnskillsusa.org: SkillsUSA Minnesota is part of a national organization that serves over a quarter million student members annually, organized into more than 14,700 chapters and 54 state and territorial associations (including Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands). The Minnesota Association has offered leadership opportunities to over 200,000 student members since 1967, with a current annual membership of over 3,000. There are chapters in 29 technical colleges and 50 high schools or cooperative centers, with potential to serve many more. SkillsUSA is governed by a Board of Directors, elected from teachers that advise local chapters, and representing both the high school and college divisions and industry representatives. All programs are offered as integral to the curriculum.

Dunwoody Surveying students place 1st in 2016 NSPS Student Competition

Second-year students Wyatt Spencer, BJ Klenke, Doug Pouliot, Joe Irey, Brandon Davis, Jake Blue and team observer Patrick Kowal took first place in the two-year degree program category of the 2016 National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) Student Competition earlier this month.

Photo of Wyatt Spencer, BJ Klenke, Doug Pouliot, Joe Irey, Brandon Davis, and Jake Blue.

L to R: Wyatt Spencer, BJ Klenke, Doug Pouliot, Joe Irey, Brandon Davis, and Jake Blue.

The annual event—which was held in conjunction with the 2016 Surveying & Mapping Conference—was held in Crystal City (Arlington), VA, and was open to all two- and four-year colleges across the country.

New event, new skills

To enter the competition, the Dunwoody team—advised by Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology Principal Instructor Kelly Ness—had to complete a boundary and topographic survey of a parcel of land, approximately 10 acres in size, for a hypothetical land development project.

The team was then required to create a “metes and bounds legal description” of the land lot (i.e., a description of the land and its boundaries) and construct a plot map of the surveyed area.

This information—along with a safety plan, field notes and data calculations—was compiled into a final project binder and then presented to a panel of industry experts and competition judges.

“In order to complete the project, we had to develop the types of skills that are used everyday in the industry,” Ness said. “That was the most beneficial piece for the students—the knowledge and skills obtained throughout the competition.”

A welcome win

A first-time event for Dunwoody and the students, Ness said he couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.

“Winning the competition is a huge achievement and one that will be recognized by future employers and peers in the surveying community.”

Spencer, Klenke, Irey, Davis, and Blue will graduate with an associate’s degree in Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology this May. Pouliot will follow in Fall 2016. Kowal hopes to participate in the 2017 NSPS Student Competition next Spring.

The College would like to thank industry partner Westwood Professional Services for their generous donation, which allowed the students to travel toand participate inthe competition.

Learn more about Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology.

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”

Dunwoody places second at NAHB Residential Construction Management Competition

Photo of Dunwoody Construction Project Management team members at 2016 NAHB Residential Construction Management Competition.

Photo courtesy of NAHB Student Chapter’s Facebook page

Congratulations to Construction Management students AJ Flagg; Brett Broekema; Andrew Hoogenakker; Tyler LaBeaux; and Joe Myhre on their second place win at the 2016 National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) Residential Construction Management Competition (RCMC). Hoogenakker also received an “NAHB Outstanding Student” award at the event.

The annual competition—part of NAHB’s International Builders’ Show (IBS) —required students to solve real-life construction management problems and present their solutions to a panel of industry representatives.

Fifty-three teams from various universities, technical schools, community colleges and high schools across the nation participated in the competition, which was held in Las Vegas, NV, January 18-20.

Preparing for the competition

Construction Management Program Manager Heather Gay said preparation for the competition began at the start of the 2015 fall semester when the team received basic floor and elevation plans for a single-family residential home. The students’ task was to bring the plans to life through the creation of working construction drawings; labor and materials estimates; a project schedule; and a value engineering option (a detailed plan on ways to reduce construction costs during building).

The goal of the project was for the students to create a full and persuasive proposal on why homebuilders should choose their construction team for the build. The submission was due in late December 2015. Students then presented their proposal to a panel of residential construction experts in Las Vegas at the IBS.

 Students learn valuable, real-world skills

“The entire project really gave the students an overall snapshot of what their job is going to be like when they start their careers as project managers,” said Construction Project Management Instructor Jon Hassenfritz, who also served as the competition coach. “They got to see what all goes into creating the entire package for a client—from concept all the way to the building stages.”

Gay agreed with Jon: “It’s the best method for simulating a real-world experience. Students learn to work with teams, deal with conflicts, meet deadlines, and practice time management; they learn to balance all of those components to create a good end product.”

The College received second place in the Two-Year College category of the competition.

Dunwoody Construction Sciences students have been participating in the competition since 2005, and this is the highest award they have received since 2010.

Full results:

First place: Brigham Young University-Idaho (Rexburg, ID)

Second place: Dunwoody College of Technology (Minneapolis, MN)

Third place: State University of NY at Delhi (Delhi, NY)

Minnesota Multi Housing Association awards Construction Project Management student with MADACS Award

Construction Project Management student and WITC Scholarship recipient Marydithe Edgerton holding MADACS awardCongratulations to Construction Project Management student and WITC Scholarship recipient Marydithe Edgerton, who was recently awarded with a Multi housing Achievement in Design, Advertising and Community Support (MADACS) Award in Individual Maintenance.

The Award—given annually by the Minnesota Multi Housing Association (MHA)—recognizes an individual who independently manages the maintenance of an apartment building while also making significant contributions to the progression of the multi housing industry.

The MHA is a state-wide, non profit organization with over 2,000 members representing more than 250,000 housing units.

A better life

Earlier this year, Edgerton applied for Dunwoody’s Women in Technical Careers Scholarship, which provides financial, academic and personal support to women pursuing a non-traditional career.

Edgerton, who graduated high school in 2010, said it was a “no-brainer” to go back to school—the difficult part was figuring out how to balance five days of work and four nights of class each week.

But, “I knew I had to go to college to make a living,” she said.

So, a few months later, when Edgeton learned she was not only accepted into Dunwoody but had also received the scholarship, she knew it was time to go back.

Edgerton is now halfway through her first semester in the Construction Project Management program.

Despite now being a full-time student, Edgerton still helps manage The Lamoreaux apartment complex, an affordable housing building in Minneapolis. Her responsibilities range from replacing drywall, to fixing a leaky faucet, to helping set up cable TV. Edgerton also confirms that the apartment’s lights work, doors lock, and the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are on—ensuring the building is a clean and safe place to live. 

The nomination process
The Lamoreaux Apartments. Photo credit to www.aeonmn.org/properites/lamoreaux

The Lamoreaux Apartments. Photo credit to www.aeonmn.org/properites/lamoreaux

Edgerton’s supervisors nominated her for the award this past spring, impressed by her consistent dedication to the building. Over the summer, MHA Judges visited the apartment complex where Edgerton showed them the building, explained her responsibilities, and participated in a formal Q&A. Edgerton discovered she won the award in late September.

“Winning this award means a lot to me,” Edgerton said. “Especially because I have only been in maintenance for about a year and a half.”

“Since then, I have put so much of myself into this building. Not only in the pride I take in it, but also on behalf of all the residents that live here. They know that I am here to help them. I don’t ignore them or discount their opinions. I work with them as much as I can because, after all, this is their home.”

Edgerton will graduate with an associate’s degree in Construction Project Management in Spring of 2017. She hopes to continue her career in affordable housing as a Project Manager—preferably at Aeon, the company she currently works for.

Learn more about Construction Project Management or Women in Technical Careers.

Dunwoody & Mortenson Construction Win “Best Meal Award” at 2015 CANstruction

Team Donates 6,000 + Canned Goods to Second Harvest Heartland

IMG_2033-smallDunwoody’s Construction Sciences & Building Technology Department teamed up with Mortenson Construction for the 2015 Minneapolis CANstruction fundraiser—an annual event where participating teams build colossal structres made entirely out of cans of food.

The CANstruction team earned the “Best Meal” Award at the event, which was held at the Mall of America last month. The award is given annually to the team that uses the most nourishing, protein-packed food items.

Proceeds from the Minneapolis event were given to Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger-relief organization.

There are over 150 CANstruction events held throughout the world each year.

Minnesota History Inspires 2015 CANstruction Sculpture Theme

IMG_8751-smallThe 2015 sculpture—designed and built by Interior Design and Construction Management students–was themed “Feast Like a Viking.” Cans of beans, tomatoes, vegetables and coconut milk made up the ship—complete with oars, a mast, sail and dragon head—while cans of tuna were used to represent ocean waves.

The CANstruction team chose the Viking theme because it represents the rich history of Minnesota. The voyage of Leif Erikson—who is often considered to be the first European to discover America—was recreated in 1927, with a final landed in Duluth, Minnesota. Journal entries from that expedition were kept and often detailed the crew’s difficulty in finding fresh fish and ripe vegetables.

This inspired the CANstruction team’s motto, which is “no-one’s ‘voyage through life’ should be limited by hunger”…especially today.

CANstruction Provides Students with Beneficial, Real World Experience

The entire project lasted about five weeks. During that time, Mortenson Construction and Dunwoody students not only designed the sculpture but also collected more than 6,000 cans of food.

Interior Design Principal Instructor and CANstruction Coordinator Cindy Martimo said that although the students were working with canned goods, the project did require students to use skills and best practices they would also perform on a real job.

“It required two very different departments to work together—especially on build day,” said Martimo. “Only five people could build at a time. So those who weren’t building had to provide various levels of support to the builders by unpacking boxes, passing cans, etc. The team had to practice time management, communicate with one another, follow a set of plans, and ultimately create the structure they designed.”

Click below to view a timelapse video of the CANstruction team assembling the sculpture at the event.

This is the fourth year the Construction Sciences & Building Technology Department has participated in a CANstruction event, and, according to Martimo, the students support and dollars raised grow each time.

“The event has really become a great opportunity for our students,” she said. “They get to be creative, design something and raise money for charity. In addition, their creations are judged by the very people who might someday offer them a job. The other teams out on the floor are all architecture and engineering firms. These are people that the students will be working with –or be hired by–one day. To have that kind of industry presence and to be able to add the CANstruction event to their resumes is very beneficial.”

Get Involved in CANstruction 2016

The Construction Sciences & Building Technology Department plans to continue the event next year. The project is open to all students in the Department. 

To get involved in CANstruction 2016, contact Cindy Martimo at cmartimo@dunwoody.edu.

 

A big thank you to this year’s sponsors: Mortenson Construction, Parsons Electric, Custom Drywall, and Ames Construction

Dunwoody’s Midwest Robotics League Team Takes 1st in Regionals, 5th in Nationals

Dunwoody College of Technology students and faculty are celebrating the recent victories of the College’s Midwest Robotics League Team. The Dunwoody team participated in both a regional competition in late April, and a national competition in May, bringing home a consecutive first and two fifth place prizes.

Group shot of Dunwoody's Midwest Robotics Team League

The 2015 team (pictured above) is advised by former Dunwoody student and league participant–now Instructor and League Executive Director–Alex Wong and coaches Beth Spicer; Al Jaedike (Engineering Drafting & Design Adjunct Instructor); and James Jorgenson (Workforce Training & Continuing Education Adjunct Instructor).

The team includes students Chris Spicer (Electrical Construction & Maintenance); Andy Haug (Electronics Engineering Technology); Ken Weis (Machine Tool Technology); Tony Laylon (Engineering Drafting & Design); Kyle Dumas; and 2007 Dunwoody graduate Mike Rhode (Engineering Drafting & Design).

This year’s regional competition was held at the Mall of America and featured twelve competing teams and hundreds of spectators. The national competition followed just a few weeks later in Cleveland, Ohio, where 64 teams participated.

Crowd at Mall of America watching robot battles

Midwest Robotics League’s regional competition at Mall of America

Both the regional and national competitions are held annually and are open to middle school, high school and collegiate teams. Each year, the competing teams are able to enter as many robots as they want under the condition that the robots have been designed and assembled by students. Teams can also use a robot for multiple years until the group decides to retire it or until that robot wins the regional or national competition two times.

This year, Dunwoody entered two robots into both competitions— “Wedgey” the wedge robot and “Reburn,” a robot that deploys a horizontal spinner.

Robot Wedgey

“Wedgey” the wedge robot

Both Wedgey and Reburn were designed and built by the Dunwoody team and have already competed and placed in several regional and national competitions.

“Wedgey has been running for about 3 years, competing in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 events,” said League Executive Director Alex Wong. “Reburn has also been running for about 3 years, but we have been running variations on this design since the start of the League.”

Robot Reburn

“Reburn”

The League is open to all Dunwoody students, creating a unique opportunity for students in various programs to work together–each bringing  their own area of expertise to the process. And while the students enjoy the collaboration in designing and creating the robots, perhaps the most fun is had during the combat competitions.

The combat rules are similar for both regionals and nationals—the best robot wins.

“The robots are limited to 15 pounds each, and it is up to the students to design those robots,” said Alex. “A lot of them will have some sort of spinning weapon or use bigger motors so it can drive faster.”

Each robot is then entered into a randomly determined double elimination bracket where they participate in 3-minute rounds.

“The winner,” said Alex “is whichever robot can either “knock out”the other robot by disabling it, or pushes it onto a wall or other position where it can no longer drive. If both robots are still standing after the three-minute match, the winner is determined by whichever robot has the most points. The judges award points based on three categories: aggression—the moves you make when attacking the other robot; damage—the damage caused to the other robot; and control—how well the robot can maneuver.”

Action shot of robots combatting

In addition to combat points, the national judges also evaluate the team’s presentation skills. Prior to the competition, each team must also present their robot to the panel of judges by sharing drawings, describing the design process and explaining why they chose the materials they did.

Regional final award/trophyDunwoody’s students and robots performed well at both competitions ending their season with  several wins and awards. Wedgey scored the team a 1st place prize at the regional competition for the second time in its career. It also tied with Reburn for the fifth overall spot at the national competition. Wedgey was also named one of the “Best Engineered Robots” at the national competition.

The Dunwoody Midwest Robotics League will continue next Fall during the 2015-2016 academic year. Alex says the team has plans to retire Wedgey (as this was its second regional win) and is looking to redesign the current robots as well as build entirely new ones.

If you are interested in joining the Midwest Robotics League for 2015-2016 season, please contact Alex Wong at awong@dunwoody.edu.

Two Dunwoody 2015 Graduates are Finalists in Sherwin-Williams STIR Student Design Challenge

Two 2015 Interior Design graduates—Andrea Mbali and Jessica Curtis—are among the ten finalists in the Sherwin-Williams STIR Student Design Challenge.

Mbali and Curtis standing by their designs The challenge—open to all students in the United States, the District of Columbia and Canada—provides applicants with an opportunity to create and submit a color rendering of an interior space for a residential and/or a commercial design. The submission requires the use of at least three Sherwin-Williams paint colors in addition to a project statement describing the project and explaining how color was essential in creating the design.

Each submission undergoes two rounds of judging and is scored on originality (30%); overall design aesthetics (30%); best use of color palette (30%); and the overall project statement (10%).

“We always let students know about all competitions that are open to them,” Interior Design Principal Instructor Colleen Schmaltz said, “and we particularly encourage them to enter since we know that our students consistently show strong work. The students also know that winning a national competition is a significant addition to their professional resume and portfolio, and in some cases a great source of prize cash and scholarships. This is the first year two of our students have chosen to enter this particular competition—and now both are national finalists!”

Both Andrea and Jessica used part of their mini-capstone project—created in the Fall semester of their senior year at Dunwoody—in their submission. The capstone project requires students to learn and become fluent in design programs such as REVIT and the Adobe Creative Suite including InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator—programs widely used in the Interior Design profession.

“All of the studio classes and building technology courses have taught me how to design creatively and utilize real practices,” says finalist Jessica Curtis, “and [Principal Instructor] Nada Sarraff-Knoweles really challenged me to create a unique design.”

Andrea Mbali also paid tribute to her instructors saying, “Colleen Schmaltz really inspired me to enter my project. Without her encouragement, I probably would have ben consumed with day-to-day projects and schoolwork and not have applied. Nada Sarraff-Knoweles also helped me during the design process. Nada pushed me to push myself creatively and was able to tell me when things were or were not working.”

Practice made perfect for Andrea when it came to designing. “Throughout class projects, my rendering skills in REVIT have developed tremendously,” she said, ”and I now typically build all of my own furniture, lighting and other necessary structures instead of using online prebuilt models. I feel this gives me an edge because I am not limited to what the internet provides.”

Andrea—who hopes to specialize in Hospitality design—took the idea of a traditional spa in a whole new direction in her STIR competition submission titled “Felicity Day Spa.”

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa

“My inspiration was drawn from my own experiences of going to spas and not feeling like they were cool enough for younger generations. Not everyone always wants zen,” Andrea said, “I was also inspired by my travels and seeing what the world has to offer outside of the Midwest. Everything here is so safe, and I love the unexpected and daring in design and fashion.”

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa Locker Room

Andrea Mbali: Felicity Day Spa Locker Room

Jessica’s submission—titled Flex Art Gallery and Studios—takes a more commercial design approach, inspired by real Minneapolis structures and landmarks.

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery and Studios Entry

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery and Studios Entry

“My project is a flexible art gallery and studio space,” says Jessica, “It started with being an adaptive reuse space utilizing the Bauhaus (Tap room) in Northeast Minneapolis. It incorporated different spaces where local artists could come and work and for the public to take classes. An expansion was then ‘built’ onto that to create an art gallery. The Art Gallery is an all-encompassing glass box façade offering a spectacular view of the Mississippi River and the Minneapolis skyline.”

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Gallery

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Studio

Jessica Curtis: Flex Art Studio

Both projects are currently being reviewed and judged by Sherwin-Williams Director of Color Marketing Jackie Jordan as well as two celebrity judges.

A first place prize in both the residential design category and the commercial design category will be announced in early June. Winners will have their work featured in the 2015 edition of STIR magazine and receive $2,500 in cash.