Category Archives: Student News

Dunwoody makes debut in BWBR Prize competition, student Celina Nelson wins prize

Dunwoody Architecture students enter their semester final projects at 2017 BWBR competition.

Six Dunwoody Architecture students participated in the 2017 BWBR Prize for the first time last month, each leaving the competition with real-world experience, improved final projects, and some extra cash.

Celina Nelson took home one of the competition’s first-place prizes and a $1,500 check, while the remaining Dunwoody contestants received $250 for participating.

Dunwoody Architecture Student Celina Nelson

Dunwoody Architecture Student Celina Nelson

“I feel a new sense of confidence that I haven’t had before,” said Nelson.

Dunwoody eligible to compete in BWBR Prize for the first time

St. Paul architecture firm BWBR hosts the competition each year as a way for architecture and interior design students entering their final year of schooling to meet, network, and prepare for their careers.

Nelson's final, sketched site plan

Nelson’s final sketched site plan

With Dunwoody Architecture’s first cohort set to graduate next year, this was the very first year Dunwoody has been eligible to compete in the annual event.

“I was nervous [to compete], because this would be the first time that our final presentation would be for a prize, and not a grade,” Nelson said. “The stakes were definitely high.”

Each participating college was judged separately at the event, with students typically competing with projects or finals they had already created for school. Students presented their projects to a panel of BWBR employees who then critiqued them on their designs, presentation, and public speaking skills.

Students present to BWBR employees
Exterior rendering of the front side of the house

Exterior rendering of the front side of the house

Dunwoody student submissions consisted of their final projects for an Architecture Studio class. This was one of the first classes where students had the freedom to create their own client as well as independently design a building from start to finish.

Nelson—whose project was a single-family residential home—said the entire process provided her with a new way of thinking and working.

“It was nice to create the parameters of the client first and then design for the client,” Nelson said. “Instead of just being willy nilly like, ‘I want a fireplace here’, ‘I want a door here.’

Interior rendering of the kitchen/dining area

Interior rendering of the kitchen/dining area

“Because when you have a real client, you have to have empathy and have to understand where they’re coming from and design for them, not for yourself. That was a really important lesson that I took away from this: learning how to say ‘their house’, ‘they wanted this’, instead of ‘I wanted this.’”

The first round of Architecture graduates are set to graduate in May of 2018.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.

Architecture students install functional ceramic art in Loring Corners

Students merge the art of digital fabrication and ceramics in semester studio.

Architecture Students spent their spring semester merging the modern art of digital fabrication with the age-old art of ceramics. The result was the installation of two beautiful ceramic displays in Loring Corners near Loring Park.

The first installation, titled “Bird-Planters”, includes a wall of small ceramic planters and birdhouses. Planted foliage includes Japanese spurge and ferns, Sweet Woodruff, Blue Moon Woodland Phlox, Tiarella, and other plants that thrive in full shade, while the birdhouses were specifically designed for house sparrows—the most common bird found near the installation site.

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“Bird-Planters” by Hannah Biros, Josiah Hanka, James Matthes, Aaron McCauley, Ben Sherman, Kevin Xiong

The second installation, titled “Lumivine”, is a tessellating light fixture that will serve as both art and a source of light. The design, which resembles a long vine, was inspired by both natural patterns and the traditional architecture of Loring Corners. The purchased light string should last around 12 years.

“Lumivine” by Guyon Brenna, Kyle Huberty, Ryan Kelly, and Marcos Villalobos

“Lumivine” by Guyon Brenna, Kyle Huberty, Ryan Kelly, and Marcos Villalobos

Both pieces were part of a final project for a semester-long studio. The course, titled Digital Ceramics, addressed the issues architects face when introducing variation of building systems and materials. Students learned new ways of making, including 3d modeling and parametric design as well as digital fabrication with the use of a laser cutter and CNC router. The learned techniques were then applied to the ceramic reproductive process of slip casting.

Stroll down the alleyway in Loring Corners near Maple St. in downtown Minneapolis to see the projects for yourself. Be sure to tag Dunwoody in any photos you take on Instagram or Facebook!

Tiara Hill named YCAP Leon Rankin Award recipient at year-end celebration

Hill is also the recipient of the 2017 Academic Excellence Award for the Robotics & Manufacturing Department and the Alumni Board of Managers 2017 Leadership Award.

Tiara Hill with YCAP's Associate Director of Special Initiatives Peggy Quam

Tiara Hill with YCAP’s Associate Director of Special Initiatives Peggy Quam

Earlier this month, Tiara Hill was named the recipient of the 2017 Dunwoody College of Technology Leon Rankin Award at the year-end YCAP graduation reception. Hill recently graduated with an associate’s degree in Welding & Metal Fabrication.

The Leon Rankin Award is given to a Dunwoody Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) student who shows academic excellence by maintaining a GPA of 2.5 or higher, has a 100% attendance record at all YCAP events, and acts as a mentor to their fellow students both in YCAP and in the classroom.

The award is named in honor of Leon Adam Rankin, Jr. After moving to Minnesota in 1958, Rankin attended Dunwoody College, earning an Electrician Journeyman License. He became a Master Electrician and contractor in 1968. He was a respected citizen, civil rights activist, businessman, teacher, family and marriage counselor, and one of two African-American Master Electricians in Minnesota. Rankin and former Dunwoody President Warren Phillips co-created YCAP in 1988 to provide enhanced career opportunities for under-represented youth by empowering them to graduate from high school and obtain a degree from Dunwoody.

A graduate of Park Center Senior High School, Hill wasn’t sure if she would be able to attend college. She had applied for a number of scholarships, but none of them had worked out. So when a case manager at a local non-profit suggested Hill apply for the YCAP scholarship at Dunwoody, she was skeptical.

“Before Dunwoody, college was nothing but a dream for me,” Hill said. “I really think this was the best decision I ever made.”

As a first-generation college student, Hill has made great strides in her education, now serving as a mentor to other YCAP members. Hill was also a student worker in the Welding Shop and testified before the Minnesota Legislature on behalf of YCAP to provide background on a bill that would give grants to pilot programs in Ramsey County focused on serving girls of color.

Hill is also the recipient of the 2017 Academic Excellence Award for the Robotics & Manufacturing Department and the Alumni Board of Managers 2017 Leadership Award.

Former YCAP student and program manager speaks at celebration

In addition to awarding the Leon Rankin Award, the year-end YCAP celebration is a time for students to reflect on their success and gear up for their future. So it was fitting that the guest speaker for the event was YCAP alum and former YCAP Program Manager Benito Matias.

From left to right: Vice President of Enrollment Management Cindy Olson, Principal of Ascension Catholic School Benito Matias, and Associate Director of Special Initiatives Peggy Quam

From left to right: Vice President of Enrollment Management Cindy Olson, Principal of Ascension Catholic School Benito Matias, and YCAP’s Associate Director of Special Initiatives Peggy Quam

Matias graduated from Patrick Henry High School and came to Dunwoody on a YCAP scholarship. After graduating from Dunwoody, Matias went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology from Bemidji State University.

Although his studies are in technology, Matias has spent the last 25 years in the field of education.

Matias’s educational work has included being a Dunwoody Instructor, a Minneapolis Public School District teacher, the YCAP program manager, and the Executive Director of MetroTech Career Academy. He currently serves as the Principal of Ascension Catholic School in Minneapolis.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s YCAP program at dunwoody.edu.

Academic Excellence Award: Justin Larson

Justin Larson

Justin Larson
Radiologic Technology ’17
Plymouth, MN

Justin Larson spent time exploring career options at Normandale Community College before finding a passion for radiology when he decided to transfer to Anthem College’s Radiologic Technology program in 2014.

“I really enjoyed the job I was training for at Anthem, and I wanted to go the next level up,” Larson said. “Dunwoody’s program seemed to be the best in the area with the smallest classes and great placement rates. It was better located for me, too.”

After applying for admission, Larson enrolled in Dunwoody’s Radiologic Technology program in fall 2015 and will graduate in August 2017. He is this year’s Academic Excellence Award recipient for the Radiologic Technology department.

“Justin has never missed a class or clinical,” Program Director Dave Blake said. “The program gives monthly mock exams of the national exam. He has scored the highest on these ever in the program’s history.”

Larson attributes his success in the program to his close-knit cohort and helpful instructors.

“The instructors do a great job with the small class sizes and keeping us engaged,” Larson said. “With our class in particular, there is almost like a competitive atmosphere. Not that we’re being competitive, but we’re always pushing each other to do as much as we can to improve.”

In addition to the relationships he’s forged in college, Larson feels confident in entering the workforce with his skills and experience.

“The key thing that sets Dunwoody apart in my mind is that it really prepares you for the job experience,” Larson said. “It’s not just learning the book stuff. You’re getting hands-on experience and skills that you can directly apply to your job.”

Larson will be taking the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JCERT) exam this summer. Upon successful completion of the exam, Larson will start to apply for jobs with the goal to work in a hospital doing radiology.

 

Academic Excellence Award: Peng Her

Her_Peng

Peng Her
Electrical Construction & Maintenance ’16
Fresno, California

Peng Her’s path to Dunwoody was not an easy one—but it most certainly paid off.

Growing up near Fresno, California, Her found himself living a lifestyle he didn’t want for himself anymore. Ready to make a change, he packed his bags, moved to Minnesota, and decided to apply to Dunwoody.

“When I was younger, my dad told me that I was a smart child. If I would pay attention and put my heart into what I wanted to do, I would succeed,” Her said. “As we grew up, I got distracted and was conformed to the world around me. I ended up taking the wrong roads to satisfy my needs and did not realize what my dad meant.”

“Before I started Dunwoody, my dad told me the same thing. My dad hoped that since I had grown, I would take his advice and [do] my best at Dunwoody.”

And do his best he did.

Just weeks into his first semester of Dunwoody’s Electrical Construction & Maintenance program, Her was already at the top of his class.

“Peng’s performance set the bar high for his fellow classmates,” Senior Instructor Jeff Chase said. “As a leader in the classroom, his skills created and maintained a culture that allowed students to strive for excellence.”

But Her didn’t set that bar just for himself—he wanted his classmates to reach it too.

“He never hesitated to assist his fellow classmates,” Chase said. “He always had time to explain concepts, share lecture notes, and even just give a word of encouragement to a peer.”

Her’s drive to succeed earned him a spot on the Dean’s List for every semester he attended Dunwoody. Her was also inducted into the College’s Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa, and is the 2017 Academic Excellence Award recipient for the Construction Sciences & Building Technology department.

“[Winning the award] is an honor,” Her said. “It made me recognize that hard work pays off. It does not matter who you are or what you have done. Work hard and someone will recognize you.”

Her graduated Dunwoody in December of 2016. He has since been working as the Corporate Director of Maintenance for Lancer Hospitality, a national organization that provides food and beverage services to a number of venues including corporate cafeterias, schools, and public attractions such as the Minnesota Zoo and Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.

Academic Excellence Award: Bradley Williams

IMG_1706 copy

Bradley D. Williams
Automotive Service Technology ’17
Excelsior, Minnesota

Before enrolling in the Automotive Service Technology program at Dunwoody College of Technology, Bradley Williams hadn’t really considered a career in the automotive industry. In fact, he had originally planned on becoming a high school history teacher.

He even attended Winona State University for a year, before deciding that life in a classroom just wasn’t for him.

“I liked working with my hands,” Williams, a Minnetonka High School graduate, said. “And I’ve always enjoyed taking things apart and then putting them back together again. So I thought automotive would be a good fit.”

As it turns out, it was more than just a good fit – it was the perfect fit. Williams has excelled in his courses during the past two years and received the 2017 Academic Excellence Award in Automotive.

The accomplishment is even more impressive when combined with the fact that Williams underwent brain surgery this past fall. Early in his second year, Williams started experiencing headaches. After visiting the doctor, he learned that the headaches were caused by a tumor in his brain and he would need surgery. The news was scary, but Williams was determined to not let it stop him from earning his degree.

Scheduling the surgery over Thanksgiving break, Williams worked with faculty members to stay current with his coursework during his two and a half week recovery – studying from his bed and checking-in on a daily basis. When he returned to campus, it was like he hadn’t missed a single day.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support and help of my teachers,” Williams said.

Williams said that he discovered Dunwoody after a friend from high school attended the welding program and got a great job after graduation.

Since enrolling, he has come to love spending most of his day working with the latest and greatest in automotive technology, a trait he might have inherited from his grandfather who enjoyed a career as a diesel mechanic.

Williams said the most important lessons he’s learned at Dunwoody is to take your time, be thorough and don’t be afraid to make a mistake. “Working in the automotive field requires a lot of problem-solving and creative thinking,” he said.

Automotive technicians are in high demand, so choosing the right career path has been Williams’ biggest focus. “Having a Dunwoody degree puts you ahead of other candidates,” Williams said.

Academic Excellence Award: Cecilia Oberg

Cecilia Oberg

Cecilia Oberg
Pre-Media Technologies ‘17
St. Paul, MN

Ceclia Oberg has always had the desire to do something hands-on. So when she joined the Air Force five years ago, she signed up for an HVAC installation job, learning the trade in a compact 6-month program.

Enjoying the construction industry and wanting to follow in her father’s footsteps, Oberg began classes at Dunwoody two years ago in the Surveying & Civil Engineering program.

But after one semester in the program, Oberg felt she wanted to go in a different direction. With the guidance of Student Advisor Zac Mans, Oberg found her passion when she walked into the pre-media packaging lab.

“When I came into the design lab and talked about packaging and being able to build packages, that really sparked my interested,” Oberg said. “I really wanted to get into that.”

Serving as a leader in the classroom, Oberg immediately excelled in the program. And when it came time for her cohort to prepare for the annual Intern Showcase, Oberg was chosen as the project manager for the Intern Showcase Guidebook.

Oberg will be graduating in May as the Academic Excellence Award recipient for the Design & Graphics Technology Department.

“Oberg has brought with her a background that showcases responsibility and leadership.” Principal Instructor Pete Rivard said. “She proves herself time and again to be friendly, collaborative, creative and most importantly, very reliable.”

Oberg is currently interning at Dolan Printing as a graphic designer and production artist. After graduation, Oberg will be deployed for 6 months. Upon return, she hopes to freelance with the long-term goal of starting her own shop for packaging.

Academic Excellence Award: Tiara Hill

Tiara Hill

Tiara Hill
Welding & Metal Fabrication ’17
Minneapolis, MN

Tiara Hill has never let fear stand in her way. In fact, the Minneapolis native was terrified of the sparks when she first experienced the Welding & Metal Fabrication program at Dunwoody College of Technology as a Youth Career Awareness Program student. So when it came time to choose which degree program she would enroll in, the answer was obvious – welding.

“I knew that I wanted to work with my hands, but I had no idea it would be welding,” Hill said, adding that she really enjoys the artistic side of welding.

Two years later, Hill has not only conquered her fear – she’s also excelled as a student. Hill was selected this year as both the Academic Excellence Award recipient for the Robotics & Manufacturing program area and the Student Leadership Award recipient for the Alumni Board of Managers.

A graduate of Park Center Senior High School, Hill wasn’t sure if she would be able to attend college. She had applied for a number of scholarships, but none of them had worked out. So when a case manager at a local non-profit suggested Hill apply for the YCAP scholarship at Dunwoody, she was skeptical.

“Before Dunwoody, college was nothing but a dream for me,” Hill said. “I really think this was the best decision I ever made.”

Now about to graduate with her Associate in Applied Science degree, Hill is already planning to continue her education and has enrolled in the Bachelor completion program for Industrial Engineering at Dunwoody.

“What drives me to keep going is my past and knowing that there is another part of life out there that I want a chance to see and experience,” Hill said.

Hill is motivated to succeed by the people in her life. Her mother has been an inspiration at home, always encouraging her to keep going and never give up. At school, Hill said her instructors, such as Denise Bailey, have served as an amazing support system.

One day, Hill hopes to inspire and motivate others. She already has plans to start her own business, taking on smaller welding jobs, and she hopes to encourage other youth – especially women – to take an interest in technical careers.

For now, Hill is excited about her future and all of the new opportunities awaiting her.