Category Archives: Student News

3D printing: more than just modeling

3D Printing at Dunwoody is more than just prototyping of parts.

Engineering Drafting & Design students were recently tasked with creating their own golf putters. Students designed putter heads in SolidWorks and printed prototypes using the College’s Stratasys 3D Printers. But they didn’t stop there. Students then took their models to Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center to make metal castings of their designs before machining and refining them into polished, ready-to-use golf putters.

Dunwoody Architecture students visit the Delos-Mayo Clinic Well Living Lab

Latest Architecture studio shows students how the design of a building can influence the health of the people in it.  

Photo of Well Living Lab Door21 hours a day. According to the Well Living Lab, that is the amount of time the average American spends inside a building. For Dunwoody Architecture students, that brings up a whole lot of questions:

How does being indoors affect our health and well-being? Can alterations to a building or structure improve that experience? How can we change the way most people think and feel about indoor spaces?

The Dunwoody Architecture Studio 7 class chose to tackle these questions head-on by touring the Well Living Lab, a Delos-Mayo Clinic Well collaboration focused exclusively on human health and the built environment.

 Well Living Lab research inspires latest Architecture studio

“I always feel that it is important to introduce students to contemporary ideas that push them out of their comfort zone. We have been discussing many design issues in class and how our environment can impact human health in both positive and negative ways. Learning how researchers are measuring our built environment and its users could help students get a better understanding of how their design decisions impact health,” said Architecture Principal Instructor Stephen Knowles.

Dunwoody Architecture students tour Well Living LabDuring the tour, students were exposed to the many different ways researchers study and alter the interior of a room. The lab has 5,500 square feet of configurable space dedicated to researching how the indoor environment impacts our comfort, health, and productivity.

And this left quite the impression on Architecture student Roman Zastavskiy:

“[The tour] helped me realize how often buildings are being repurposed,” Zastavskiy said. “Usually when you design a building you design it for a specific use. So, it’s comfortable when you’re using it for that case, but then if it’s reused, things are completely different.”

And changing the actual building is not as easy as changing the building’s purpose. The fixtures, lights, floors, and vents are for the most part rooted in place, which can be challenging for those remodeling and those who will use the building after the remodel. Zastavskiy explained that the Well Living Lab recognizes these difficulties and incorporates potential solutions into their space:

Photo of tinted lights at Well Living Lab

An example of how lighting within a room at the Well Living Lab can change colors and brightness.

“At the Lab, it was a very dynamic system,” Zastavskiy continued. “The lights change tints, the floors are retractable, so you can move it to re-plumb or re-do electrical work, etc. It is kind of a one-building fits all approach, which allows you to say ‘okay, this space doesn’t work for this reason anymore. So let’s change it.’” 

In an effort to make the studio more hands-on, a tour of the Lab wasn’t the only thing required of the students. They were also asked to find a specific aspect of indoor living they would like to help improve.

Throughout the semester, students studied and researched their topics, and later this year will present architectural drawings that show how a structural change could potentially fix that very problem.

Project focuses include sound acoustics (interior and exterior); active design (a planning approach to creating buildings that promote physical activity); biophilia (the study of interior and exterior foliage impacts), and for fourth-year Architecture student Gianna Madison: individual thermal control by way of heating and cooling:

Photo of Well Living Lab showcasing a wall of indoor plants/greenery

This particular Well Living Lab room has an entire wall of indoor plants and greenery.

“The focus of my project is individual thermal control,” Madison said. “I chose this particular subject because this is a real life problem that is encountered, within most buildings, and it remains one of the most difficult things to regulate. Most often someone is always going to be too hot or too cold, rarely is there a happy medium.”

“And when you have someone in an office that is freezing, there are statistics that say they’re less likely to be productive because they’re so busy trying to keep warm. The same is true if they are too hot; it’s difficult to focus,” she explained.

Studio encourages new thoughts, ways of designing

Both Zastavskiy and Madison shared that focusing on a singular topic—and how it can affect someone’s well-being—requires a completely different way of thinking; something that they haven’t quite done before.

A wall of computers that control the Lab’s rooms and features

Students were also able to see how many of the Lab’s rooms and features are controlled.

As Zastavskiy explained: “[In prior projects] it has been all fun and games. You can design whatever you want. Usually it looks nice but does it actually make sense? Well, probably not. Because you didn’t really think it through and you didn’t really research these different aspects. You could design a building that looks nice, but then after building realize it’s freezing cold because you loved windows so much you built the whole thing out of glass.

“Where as now, even just focusing on my project focus, which is sound—you start to pay attention. How will people feel in this building? If I walk into this space, will it be loud? Will it be quiet? I never really thought about that. Now I approach [designing] completely differently. A project like this forces you to start thinking about that kind of stuff. That’s what I really like about this studio.”

Learn more

The Studio 7 students will present their findings and recommended building designs during their final project presentation in mid-December.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.

Learn about previous Dunwoody Architecture studios with Will Steger and Minnesota’s Independent Filmmaker Project.

A growing enterprise

Engineering Drafting & Design student Aaron Rasmussen is finding success in business and at Dunwoody.

Not many 19-year-olds can say they own a business. Even fewer can say they started that business when they were 12. But Dunwoody Engineering Drafting & Design student Aaron Rasmussen can.

Photo of Dunwoody Engineering Drafting & Design student Aaron Rasmussen

First-year Engineering Drafting & Design student Aaron Rasmussen

Rasmussen is the sole owner of Rasmussen and Associates, a lawn care, cleaning and moving service in Winsted, Minnesota. Despite being just out of high school, Rasmussen has upwards of 30 seasonal employees as well as some major customers. And the client list keeps growing.

Recently Rasmussen & Associates was hired on by several local banks to help clean out and spruce up foreclosed properties all over the state, including towns like Bemidji and Detroit Lakes.

What started out as a friendly favor quickly evolved into a large, successful business; and likely no one is more surprised by that than Rasmussen himself.

Starting Rasmussen & Associates

Rasmussen has always had an interest in managing. From high school clubs to part-time jobs, Rasmussen has consistently found himself in leadership positions.

But when it came to starting his own lawn care business? Well, according to Rasmussen, that venture began almost unintentionally.

It all started when Rasmussen’s neighbor asked him to cut her grass. He agreed, not anticipating how much his neighbor would like the end result. Word traveled quickly, and soon Rasmussen was working all over the neighborhood.

It didn’t take long before Rasmussen had more requests than he could handle. He needed help. So, he asked a few of his friends to join him, splitting the payment.

“I realized I could make money doing that,” he said. And just like that Rasmussen and Associates was born.

Finding success in 3-D Printing
Photo of Dunwoody College's 3-D Printers

A couple of Stratasys 3-D printers in Dunwoody College’s newly renovated Metrology Lab

As if balancing high school, his lawn care business, and his part-time job wasn’t enough, Rasmussen also had a second part-time job working at Lester Building Systems, a leading pole barn manufacturer. 

Here Rasmussen managed the company’s 3-D printing activity, specifically designing products to improve the day-to-day activities of residential construction workers.

Several of Rasmussen’s ideas have been adopted and mass-produced by the organization. In fact, next summer Rasmussen will visit Lester’s corporate headquarters in South Carolina to see a machine he designed become a reality.

Rasmussen said it was during his time at Lester Building Systems that he realized his love for designing and 3-D printing. And despite owning a successful business, Rasmussen knew he was ready for something more. So, when he saw that Dunwoody had a degree in Engineering Drafting & Design — and access to some of the most advanced 3-D printers in the world — Rasmussen was sold.

Despite only being a few weeks in, Rasmussen has already founded a Combat Robots club and was elected Treasurer of Student Government.

Moving toward the dream job
Photo of Dunwoody College's 3-D Printers

A student project being printed inside Dunwoody’s 3-D printer

After college, Rasmussen wants to continue with product development, specifically in 3-D printing for the construction industry. A Dunwoody degree will help with that, he said. And one day owning his own 3-D printing company? Well, that would be the dream job.

His advice for young entrepreneurs out there is to just do it. But make sure you’re a personable boss and you’re okay with putting in long days.

“I don’t sleep much,” he laughed. “But, other than that, it’s pretty good.”

Dunwoody opens new Veteran and Military Student Center

Dunwoody’s new Veteran and Military Student Center is a central point for veterans and military students to study, find resources, and socialize.

Dean of Students Kelli Sattler began her work at Dunwoody College of Technology in July 2015 with a clear vision for creating a well-rounded student experience.

“Another important part of my role is to step back and think big picture about what our College is doing to support and empower students to be at their best,” Sattler wrote in a letter to students and parents. “In doing so, I collaborate with faculty, academic support, student services, and colleagues across campus. I also listen to students and lead the way in implementing their vision for the future.”

So when veterans and military students spoke up last spring about their need for a bigger space with more resources on campus, Sattler put a focus group together, listened to their needs, and got to work on a plan for a new Veteran and Military Student Center.

The Center opened earlier this fall.

Dunwoody students build a new center

New Veteran & Military Student CenterDanial Hannover is a Construction Management student and President of the Student Government Association (SGA). He also served in the United States Marine Corps from 2008 to 2016. In that time, Hannover was deployed to Afghanistan twice. When he was honorably discharged in 2016, he was a Staff Sergeant (E-6).

Hannover has been working with Sattler to ensure that the new space offers the right kind of environment for veterans and military students to thrive.

New Veteran & Military Student Center“It’s a complete 180 from the last Veterans Center,” Hannover said. “Whenever I come in here there are at least four or five people studying, doing homework. And you see people talking and connecting with each other, which is cool.”

Donavan Sullivan also played a vital role in building the new Center. In addition to his four years of service in the Marine Corps, Sullivan was the Student President of the College’s honor society – Phi Theta Kappa – and the Multi-Cultural Student Union. Since graduating in May 2016, Sullivan has stayed with the College as an Admissions Counselor.

New Veteran & Military Student CenterWith his experience as a veteran, student, and employee, Sullivan offered a unique point of view.

“Some of the things that I suggested were moving it to a bigger space and updating the materials and resources in the Center,” Sullivan said. “We’re also working to get some TVs in there. One of them will play a PowerPoint presentation to show resources for students like the VA number and the suicide hotline. Suicide is a big issue in the veteran community. So I want that hotline number to just be out there constantly.”

Dunwoody establishes new programs to support veterans

In addition to building the new space, Sattler has been working with veterans on campus to establish Warrior Wednesdays and the Veteran and Military Student Organization.

Comcast talks to students at first Warrior WednesdaySattler’s goal for Warrior Wednesdays is to invite veteran-friendly employers in to talk to veteran students, giving students a chance to network with companies who are interested in hiring veterans. Comcast was the first company to participate in October.

“This will be sort of a one-company career fair,” Sullivan said. “Just to get them to come and meet with students about job opportunities for veterans.”

The Veteran and Military Student Organization had its first meeting in early November with plans to customize their agenda based on the needs of the group. Their goal is to become another resource of information and support for students on campus.

The effects of a new space
President Rich Wagner speaks to a veteran student during the Grand Opening of the new Center

President Rich Wagner speaks to a veteran student during the Grand Opening of the new Center

Hannover is already seeing what he had hoped the Center would do for veterans on campus.

“It’s bringing students together talking and connecting with each other. That’s one of the biggest things that veterans have an issue with.” Hannover said. “They’re not around the people that they’ve been around for the past four to 20 years of their life. And they all have the same mentality. So it’s good to see people connect and create a support system for each other.”

Sattler is hoping that this new Center will encourage other students to speak up about their own experiences on campus as well.

“If students see that we listen as an institution and that we care about the things that are working and the things that aren’t, and that we’re willing to make improvements based on that feedback, I think that goes a long way,” Sattler said.

Dunwoody celebrates Veterans Day

Dunwoody will be celebrating Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 11, with a flag raising ceremony at 10:45 a.m. followed by a presentation featuring Lorne Brunner at 11:30 a.m. in the McNamara Center.

Brunner served in the U.S Navy for 20 years. His military career encompassed six tours of duty in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Japan, and the Bering Sea. He was a chief petty officer and cryptologist assigned TAD with two SEAL teams. He will share his journey from leaving a Navy career after significant combat injuries and rehabilitation, to a successful occupation as a licensed private investigator and certified forensic fire and explosion expert.

A look inside Dunwoody’s Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

The first cohort of Mechanical Engineering students began in August 2016, pioneering one of the College’s latest bachelor’s degree offerings.

When Dunwoody College of Technology announced the launch of its Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering last year, it did not want to ignore its hands-on, project-based, and industry-driven educational heritage.

Instead, Mechanical Engineering students were given an experienced instructor from industry; access to state-of-the-art technologies from companies like Carl Zeiss, Haas, MTS, and Stratasys; and a curriculum chalk-full of hands-on learning.

Dunwoody hires from industry for a hands-on education
Mechanical Engineering Instructor Jonathan Aurand works with a student in the Metrology Lab.

Mechanical Engineering Instructor Jonathan Aurand works with a student in the College’s Metrology Lab

The College has always developed its programs with the needs of industry in mind–and the Mechanical Engineering degree was no different.

So when it came time to hire an instructor for the program, Dunwoody looked for someone with robust industry experience to design a curriculum that could encourage students to translate theoretical knowledge into real-world practice.

Jonathan Aurand–Dunwoody’s Mechanical Engineering Instructor–fit the bill.

Aurand comes to Dunwoody with an experienced engineering background. He holds a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering. He also worked as an Analysis Manager at HRST, Inc.–an engineering consulting firm providing service and products to the combined cycle and cogeneration industry–for nearly seven years, inspecting units, and creating solutions for design problems.

Aurand has always had an interest in teaching, and Dunwoody’s hands-on approach attracted him to the position.

“Some people are more research-based and don’t have any interest in actually building something,” said Aurand. “And if that’s you, then Dunwoody probably isn’t the best fit.”

The Dunwoody Difference

At Dunwoody, Mechanical Engineering students are not taking two years of general classes before applying to the engineering program. These students are registered for Mechanical Engineering from day one. And all their general theory classes are held alongside their hands-on labs, allowing students to see theory applied in action.

First-year Mechanical Engineering students complete an in-class, impromptu design challenge

Mechanical Engineering students complete an in-class, impromptu design challenge

During the first semester, Aurand has prepared in-class, impromptu design challenges for the students.

“I break the students up into three to four groups and lay out an engineering problem. They have to solve the problem using certain design requirements in a certain amount of time,” Aurand said. “They compete against one another to see whose design works best with a specific application in mind.”

The first of these design challenges was just two weeks into the first class. Teams of students were asked to improve on the simple paperclip design to see which group could successfully hold the most sheets of paper together.

“I’m really excited for these challenges,” Sierra Oden, first-year Mechanical Engineering student, said. “We’re doing something besides staring at a whiteboard and listening to a lecture.”

In addition to these smaller design challenges, Aurand will assign a larger project for the end of the semester. He will ask students to design a bridge in SolidWorks and actually build a prototype in the College’s Engineering Materials, Mechanics, and Metrology (M3) Lab. The objective of the project will be to support the greatest load while meeting Aurand’s design specifications.

Aurand’s first-semester curriculum also features field trips to engineering firms around the Twin Cities. And as the program progresses, he will assign collaborative projects that will require Mechanical Engineering students to work with students from other programs from across the College.

Pioneers of the program

The first Mechanical Engineering cohort is made up of 10 students. Four of those students are first-year college students, three transferred in from other colleges or universities, and the remaining three were previous Dunwoody students returning for a bachelor’s degree.

Mechanical Engineering student Sierra Oden

First-year Mechanical Engineering student Sierra Oden

Oden, a 2016 graduate of Park High School in Cottage Grove, wanted to become a pilot until she started working on cars and building ham radios out in the garage with her dad. That’s when she realized she liked to take things apart, learn how they work, and put them back together.

“When I first walked in [Dunwoody’s] machine shop, I was like, ‘Alright, I’m going here’” Oden said. “When I visited other colleges, they maybe had one mill, one CNC machine–just one of everything. And then I walked in here, and there was a class set of mills. And that’s not a thing anywhere else.”

Oden was also the captain of her high school’s robotics build team, where she met Edina High School alum and robotics team member Phoebe Sanders.

First-year Mechanical Engineering student Phoebe Sanders

First-year Mechanical Engineering student Phoebe Sanders

Sanders became interested in Mechanical Engineering during her senior year on Edina’s robotics team. She started looking for colleges outside of Minnesota with a goal to get as far away as possible.

In that year, Sanders’s parents encouraged her to attend Dunwoody’s Mechanical Engineering launch event at Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology to get her to start thinking about a backup school closer to home.

“At the launch event, I heard E.J. speak about the program, and I realized that this is all hands-on,” Sanders said. “I’m not going to have to take two years of generals before getting into my major. Why is this not at every school? Why isn’t this part of every program?”

Dunwoody’s School of Engineering

The launch of the bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering was just the first step towards building the College’s School of Engineering.

The Higher Learning Commission recently approved a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering, launching in fall 2017. This degree is also being built with the College’s life-long values of hands-on learning, problem-solving, teamwork, and professionalism.

The Mechanical Engineering and Software Engineering degrees will be featured at Dunwoody’s next Open House from 3 to 7 p.m. on November 15, 2016. The $50 application fee is waived for students who decide to apply during the Open House. RSVP to this event at dunwoody.edu/admissions/open-house-rsvp/.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s School of Engineering.

Dunwoody College of Technology building

IISE Student Chapter holds industry panel

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

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

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

IISE hosts panel of engineers

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

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

The panel consisted of:

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

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

Industrial Engineering Technology at Dunwoody

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

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

Learn more about Industrial Engineering Technology.

Radiologic Technology student wins Third Place in state-wide knowledge bowl

First-year Radiologic Technology student Julie VanderWal recently won Third Place at the Minnesota Society of Radiologic Technologists’ (MSRT) annual Knowledge Bowl.

Every year, the Minnesota Association of Radiologic Students (MARS)–a subcommittee of the Minnesota Society of Radiologic Technologists (MSRT) made up of twelve rad tech programs throughout the state of Minnesota–holds three events to encourage students to network with one another and stay up-to-date on the current issues facing the rad tech industry.

One of those meetings is the annual MARS Knowledge Bowl.

Dunwoody student wins Third Place at 2016 MARS Knowledge Bowl

First-year Radiologic Technology student Julie VanderWal with Dunwoody Radiologic Technology Program Manager David Blake

First-year Radiologic Technology student Julie VanderWal with Dunwoody Radiologic Technology Program Manager David Blake

The 2016 MARS Knowledge Bowl attracted 130 students from eight schools across Minnesota to compete on Thursday, Sept. 29, at Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch, MN.

Dunwoody student Julie VanderWal won third place in the overall competition—earning the title for highest-performing first-year student—bested only by students from Lake Superior College and the Mayo Clinic Rad Tech program.

In addition to a cash prize, VanderWal will receive free MSRT membership after graduation.

Radiologic Technology at Dunwoody
Dunwoody’s Rad Tech program offers small class sizes and robust clinical rotation experiences. The College 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.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Radiologic Technology program.

Architecture students to design dining hall for Steger Wilderness Center

Renowned adventurer Will Steger to play key role in the design process.
Photo of Steger Wilderness Center

The Steger Wilderness Center, located in Ely, MN.

Architecture Instructor Molly Reichert had quite a surprise for third year Architecture students this fall semester: a chance to work with prominent wilderness adventurer and conservationist Will Steger.

Students were asked to help design and build a brand new dining hall for the Steger Wilderness Center, an earth-friendly building devoted to sustainability education and climate change solution. The dining hall, the latest step in the completion of the Center, will serve as a gathering place where center guests can eat, read, study, socialize, and meet. The dining space will be solar-powered and feature a full kitchen and rotating chefs.

Week-long studio prepares students for project

Students began the semester-long project earlier this year by spending a week up in Ely, MN, home of the Center. Completely “off the grid”, students spent their time touring the space, meeting with Will and Center staff, and fleshing out design ideas for the project.

Photo of Dunwoody students camping at the Steger Wilderness Center

Dunwoody students camping on the site of the proposed dining hall

The Dunwoody group even camped out on the site where the dining hall will be built to gain a better understanding of how the land worked in relation to the rest of the Center.

At the end of the studio, Reichert said it became very clear to her that the students were not only impressed with the space, but also with their client.

“It was very interesting and eye-opening for students to see the capacity that Will—just one person—has,” Reichert said. “From going on arctic expeditions, to designing buildings, building buildings, working on policy work and educating—I think they were all very inspired by him.”

“Many of the students described the experience as broadening, which I think is such a beautiful way to think about something.”

Final building designs to be presented in December
Photo of where the dining hall will be built in relation to the rest of the Center

Proposed dining hall program diagram

Since the studio, students have primarily been working on documentation, including gathering information on Will’s vision, zoning constraints, building codes for the area, kitchen requirements, etc. But now, Reichert said, they are ready enter the schematic design portion of the project.

“It was quite funny because everyone was so inspired and interested in Will and this project that it was hard keeping everyone at bay and to not get into design and to just focus on research and documentation. So, I think everyone is really chomping at the bit to just dig in. They can’t wait to get started.”

Reichert explained that students will have to learn how to design to the constraints and mission of the Center. This means taking into account the harsh winters and freezing temperatures of northern MN. The design of the building must also reflect the local ecosystem and speak to the other structures that are part of the Steger Wilderness Center. The entire design process is expected to take several weeks.

Photo of Will Steger at Dunwoody College working with students on design possibilities for the dining hall

Will Steger at Dunwoody College working with students on design possibilities for the dining hall

At the end of the semester, students will present their final designs to Will, who will then choose several designs, or portions of those designs, to move forward with. The final building design will be dependent on funding and community support.

The hope is to break ground as early as 2018.

Learn more  

This is the first design studio in the 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree at Dunwoody. The course aims to introduce students to the importance of site and precedent in relationship to architecture.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.

Monitor the project’s progress.