Category Archives: Student News

Dunwoody student credits YCAP for his bright future

Aneyso Tahir will graduate with an Automated Systems & Robotics degree in May and keep the job he landed earlier this year at Honeywell.

Aneyso Tahir won’t receive his degree until May, but his Dunwoody education has already landed him a career in the tactical guidance arena.

Tahir, who is finishing up his Associate of Applied Science degree in Automated Systems & Robotics this spring, was recently hired as an electro-mechanical technician for Honeywell.

In his new position, Tahir is working with gyroscopes, which are used in navigation systems for manned and unmanned aircrafts.

“It’s really interesting,” Tahir said, adding that Honeywell was one of his top two picks for employers.

It’s also an opportunity he credits YCAP—Dunwoody’s Youth Career Awareness Program—in helping him find.

Deciding Dunwoody

A hands-on learner, Tahir became interested in electronics after taking a class in high school, but it wasn’t until his senior year that Dunwoody became an option.

Tahir learned about YCAP after attending a Dunwoody’s Open House. And the program—which included a 6-week summer college prep camp that introduced students to different technical career paths— was exactly what Tahir was looking for.

“When I got accepted into YCAP, it was a turning point for me,” Tahir said.

Born in Kenya, Tahir moved to America with his family when he was in the second grade. He explained his family came to this Country for more opportunities and a better life. They also stressed the importance of education and encouraged Tahir to earn a college degree.

Tahir had always been a good student and after attending the college prep camp, he knew that Dunwoody’s focused and active learning environment was right for him.

The right fit

“What I’ve liked about Dunwoody is how they prepare you for your career,” he said. “And once you graduate, you are ready to start working.”

Tahir also appreciates the college’s rigorous curriculum.

“While I was in high school some of my older friends were attending college and taking their generals,” Tahir recalls. “They had so much time on their hands. I thought, you shouldn’t have this much free time if you are in college!”

To his enjoyment, free time is something Tahir doesn’t have much of these days. But when he isn’t attending class or working fulltime, you can find Tahir playing soccer with his friends.

Tahir believes that YCAP helped give him the tools he needed to succeed during his college career at Dunwoody. Not only did the Camp allow him to get acquainted with his instructors and other students, he explained, but it also helped him find a career path that fit his skills and passions.

“This is my chance, and I’ve been given a head start,” Tahir said about his Dunwoody education.

YCAP is still accepting applications for Summer 2018. Learn more.

Architecture students head to Spain for unique Study Abroad opportunity

For the next ten weeks, a group of Dunwoody Architecture students will be experiencing architecture in a whole new environment.

The students are part of the program’s first-ever study abroad program and are traveling to Barcelona, Spain to immerse themselves in design and urbanism.

Dunwoody Architecture students celebrate upcoming trip at a tapas send-off party.

An immersive learning experience

Led by Molly Reichert, Senior Instructor, the students will be staying with host families and continuing their studies at a maker’s space called Atta33.

To prepare for the trip, the students have been studying the history of Barcelona as it relates to design and recently held an event on campus to celebrate their work.

In addition to designing and producing a book that encompasses their research and findings, the students also completed a set of Dérives: an unplanned journey through a landscape, usually urban, in which participants drop their everyday relations and “let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.”

The students will be using their Dérives as a way to explore Barcelona during their study abroad trip.

“I want to be present in the moment and live life like I live it here,” said Celina Nelson, a fifth-year Bachelor of Architecture student who will be part of the program’s first graduating class this May. “I don’t want to be a tourist.”

In addition to taking classes at the maker’s space, the students will also be blogging about their experiences as part of the study abroad experience.

The College will be following their journey and sharing photos on Facebook and Twitter.

Finding the right mix

Concrete Bowling Ball Competition 1Dunwoody students designing a better concrete bowling ball

It might only be eight inches in diameter and weigh less than 12 pounds, but there is nothing simple about designing and constructing a concrete bowling ball. But two Dunwoody students are taking on the challenge and putting their creativity and ingenuity to the test at an international competition later this month.

Sponsored by the American Concrete Institute (ACI), the international FRC Bowling Ball Competition will be held on March 25 in Salt Lake City, Utah during the Concrete Convention and Exposition. The object of the competition is to demonstrate the effect of fiber reinforced concrete, to gain experience in forming and fabricating a fiber-reinforced concrete element, and to encourage creativity in engineering design and analysis.

This is the first year that Dunwoody will compete in the competition, said Ben Holbrook, Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology Senior Instructor. Holbrook was told about the competition from an industry connection and brought it forward to students in the Construction Sciences & Building Technology program areas to see if there was interest.

Construction Project Management student Nate Swanson and Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology student Hayden Swanson were immediately on board with the project.

The rules of the game

Holbrook said that engineering a perfectly round ball from concrete is difficult enough, but competition rules make it even trickier. Typically, an 8-inch diameter ball of concrete would weigh about 24 pounds, but guidelines for the event state that each bowling ball must weigh no more than 12 pounds.

N. Swanson said that each team is allowed to use two additional materials to achieve the goal. The Dunwoody team has chosen to use a Styrofoam ball inside the concrete as well as a polymer filler.

Deciding on the right mixture has taken the team hours of planning and designing, and then they still needed to fabricate it. Last week, the team moved into forming and testing their design. In order to form the 8-inch cylindrical shape, the Dunwoody team decided to use a round lighting fixture as their mold.

Getting ready for competition

The team is making multiple concrete bowling balls using their design so they can test them out before heading out to Salt Lake City. More than 50 teams from around the world will be competing in this year’s competition.

The competition includes two categories: Bowling Ball Design and Bowling Ball Analysis. Both categories require knowledge and experience about concrete, fiber reinforcement, material behavior, and bowling. Tests during the competition will include a mass test, diameter test, toughness test, and load test. In addition, each team will compete in a bowling test to see which team can score the highest in six-pin bowling.

Both N. Swanson and H. Swanson said they have enjoyed using their knowledge and skills to find innovative solutions in a hands-on competition.    

Fall 2017 Graduates Announced

Dunwoody College of Technology is delighted to recognize the following Fall 2017 graduates. The individuals listed below completed their Dunwoody degree in December 2017.

The Commencement Ceremony for Fall 2017 and Spring/Summer 2018 graduates will take place Thursday, May 17, 2018, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. More details can be found at the Registrar Office’s Commencement Page.

For questions about the list of Fall 2017 graduates, please contact the Registrar’s Office at

Albrecht Alexander
Andersen Benjamin
Andersen Matthew
Anderson Peter
Anderson Trevor
Beck Tylor
Beery Grant
Benson-Devine Jacob
Billmeyer Kirsten
Bloom Corey
Brown Joseph
Campbell Matthew
Carlin Samuel
Caza Chad
Chang Ma
Dahlquist Aaron
Dallman James
Davis Michael
Dobson Sean
Eisele Dylon
El Hmamsi Adam
Elrod Jay
Evans Dustin
Fahey Kaela
Fanslow Jared
Faraone Dale
Gagnon Sarah
Grauf Ryan
Gretz Jacob
Grzeskowiak Jason
Hajlo Nicholas
Hanscom Marc
Hibbs Andrew
Hiniker William
Holt Dustin
Humann Andrew
Ibiyemi Victor
Janiak Jordan
Jeske John
Jocelyn Jeremy
Jordan Tyler
Jurgens Joshua
Kallies Brandon
Kelliher John
Kloos Brian
Koerner Megan
Kohman Steven
Kragt Saige
Krause Glenn
Kretsch Tyler
Kritz Brigitte
Kuchta Benjamin
Lambert Derek
Langford William
Levine Charles
Lofgren Chad
Lutz Ashley
Madden Daniel
Magnuson Scott
Maupin Erik
McLaury Lacy
McNamer Patrick
Meier Shane
Miller Charles
Miner Marcus
Molenaar Michael
Moryn Jacob
Muckala Jonathan
Negasi Dawit
Nguyen Michael
Nodes Cameron
Novellino Peter
O’Brien Brandon
Ostwald Mitchell
Petersen Andrew
Peterson Ben
Peterson Nolan
Quasabart Grant
Rachor Paul
Reese-Carriger Geoffrey
Rodewald Madelyn
Rodriguez Roberto
Roeun Saray
Rosckes Justin
Rynda Daniel
Sager Amber
Salazar Alonso
Schafer Taylor
Schneider Lucas
Smith Cody
Smith Jacob
Smith Luke
Snyder Matthew
Steelman Joshua
Stoffels Karl
Stuhr Haylee
Thomson Steven
Townsend Xavier
Valley Jesse
VanderWal Julie
Vang Ba
Vang Brian
Vath Rachel
Walczak Joel
West Karen
Wilson Arthur
Wollschlager Gavin
Wright Molly
Xiong Khue
Xiong Pang
Yu Wei
Zentner Ryan
Zmuda Charles

Robotics & Manufacturing students compete, help out teams at Autonomous Snowplow Competition

Dunwoody students receive sportsmanship award for fourth year in a row.

While most don’t necessarily relish the idea of snowstorms and clearing driveways…there are some folks who do. And you’ll likely find them at the annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition.

Dunwoody Robotics & Manufacturing students have competed in the Institute of Navigation (ION’s) Autonomous Snowplow Competition, since its inauguration in 2011. Held during the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the event serves as an opportunity for universities, colleges, and the general public to showcase hand-built machines that can independently clear piles of snow without any manual control.

It’s one of the Robotics & Manufacturing student’s favorite and most successful competitions, and the teams have the record to prove it.

Last year, Dunwoody placed 3rd and 5th in the competition.

And this year, Dunwoody earned its highest place to date when Team Wendigo brought home 2nd place and a $4,000 prize.

Dunwoody’s Snow Devils Team closely followed with 5th place and a $700 prize.

But for Dunwoody students, the annual event is about more than just winning. It’s also about sharing their love and knowledge of technology with the judges and spectators—and even the competition itself.

Snowplow Competition about more than just winning

“All that knowledge and experience doesn’t count for much if you don’t find ways to use it,” Automated Systems & Robotics student and Wendigo Team member Jeremy Berg said.

“This event isn’t just about who can take first place—it’s about seeing different ideas for autonomous thinking in action,” Berg added. “These people are our future coworkers and friends, and we want to be the go-to people to lend a hand or solve any issue.”

That mentality has contributed to the College earning the sportsmanship award in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, and again this year, 2018.

Sportsmanship Award has meaningful history

Created by ION in 2012, the sportsmanship award honors the team that exhibited the best sportspersonship throughout the competition.

The award was renamed the Dr. Nattu Natarajan Golden Smile Award just a few years later after University of Michigan-Dearborn professor and competition leader Dr. Narasimhamurthi (Nattu) Natarajan, who passed away from a lung illness on the Saturday morning of the 2016 competition.

The award and its significance means a great deal to Dunwoody.

“I worked with Professor Natu at the competition those first few years,” Robotics & Manufacturing Dean E.J. Daigle said. “And he loved the Dunwoody students and teamwork.

“Many of these teams are traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles to compete. As a local team, it is easy for us to pack up extra tools and supplies to help teams make repairs to their vehicles.

“We have made it our mission each year to ensure that every team competes.”

And that’s exactly what they did.

The value of teamwork

Daigle shared that one of the reasons Dunwoody received the award this year is because his students were able to help out Case Western’s Sno-Joke robot, which had completely dead batteries on the last day of the competition.

With no safe or easy way to charge it at the event, the team thought they might be out of luck.

But by using personal jumper cables from Dunwoody students’ cars, “We were able to find a way to parallel their batteries with ours and maintain running the battery chargers at full capacity,” Daigle explained. “This allowed us to charge their machines and our machines at the same time.”

Thanks to the students’ quick thinking, the team, which had originally missed their scheduled run time, was able to compete at the end of the day Sunday—even beating out Dunwoody for fourth place.

The students helped another team in a similar scenario back in 2016.

Daigle recalls that at one point during that competition, a school announced they were going to quit due to technical difficulties when another team suggested they, “find Dunwoody–they can fix anything.”

“To me, that is far more valuable than whatever place you come in,” Daigle said. “I couldn’t be any prouder.”

Learn more about Dunwoody Robotics & Manufacturing.

Designs for Steger Wilderness Center forge ahead

New class of Architecture students help bring previous design proposals to life

A new group of Architecture students visited the Steger Wilderness Center in August 2017 to prepare for their semester project

In August of 2016, third-year Architecture students were challenged with one of the program’s largest and most innovative projects yet: to design a brand new dining hall for the Steger Wilderness Center.

The venture inspired the program’s first studio course, Dining Wild, led by Architecture Senior Instructor Molly Reichert and wilderness adventurer and Center founder Will Steger.

Dining Wild

Throughout the studio, students spent their semester touring the site, working with local businesses in the culinary industry, and creating design proposals. And in December of 2016, students pitched three different design ideas to Steger.

But, the project didn’t end there. Instead, those three designs were saved for the next class of Architecture students, who were charged with turning their predecessors’ proposals into one final building design.

Same project, new students

“The second semester of Dining Wild was very interesting in that we were not starting from scratch,” Reichert said. “Typically architecture studios start with a clean slate and students can let their ideas run wild over the course of the semester. This semester required a much more rigorous and focused approach to move the design forward and respond to the client’s needs.”

Students meet with Will Steger to flesh out building plans

With help from Steger, the new group of students spent their fall semester combining and refining last year’s schematic designs.

“It was good to have a starting point,” Architecture Student Jacob Larson said. “And working with Will is really interesting.

“You know what he likes and you can incorporate that into the design,” he said. “Working with your client is really helpful because you get that clear feedback.”

The process

To ensure their final design would remain environmentally friendly as well as respond to the chilly site conditions of northern Minnesota, students spent several days visiting and exploring the build site. They also received helpful information and building tips from industry professionals.

Architecture students learn from a SIPA representative in class lecture

Last semester, Marvin Windows and the Structural Insulated Panel Association (SIPA) presented on sustainable methods of building and how windows and Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) can contribute to a more efficient construction schedule.

Mechanical Engineer Craig Tarr—who specializes in alternative energy—also shared what mechanical systems and appliances were most efficient and ecologically sound.

Students even enlisted help from Dunwoody’s Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology program. Last spring, Surveying students surveyed the Center grounds to provide the Architecture students with necessary site information to help move the project forward.

The result

Using this information, students worked in separate groups, each tackling different pieces of the final building documents. Groups included a Drawing and Renderings team, a Material and Product Specifications team, and a Physical Model team.

Students present final proposal to Steger and his team

Students then combined their findings and suggestions into one ideal construction plan. This plan was then proposed to—and immediately approved by—Steger and his team late last month.

The Center is expected to break ground later this year.

“It was fun working on a project that is actually going to be built,” Larson said. “It’s an experience I won’t forget!”

Read more about the students’ semester experience by visiting their class news blog.

See the final design proposal.

Students take part in Random Act of Kindness project

As part of the Interpersonal Communications course, Assistant Professor Reem El-Radi recently gave her sections an optional assignment called the Dunwoody Random Act of Kindness project to be completed throughout the month of October.

“The objective of the assignment is to recognize kindness as a lifelong interpersonal skill that’s critical to the success and creation of caring communities,” El-Radi said.

As part of this initiative, several students banned together to do some extraordinary things in their community.

One group of students elected to clean Dunwoody’s parking lot. Prepared with their own cleaning supplies, they spent an hour collecting trash from the large lot.

Another group raised $600 for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. The funds will be donated to Direct Relief, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a stated mission to “improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations by mobilizing and providing essential medical resources needed for their care.”

And finally, first-semester Architecture students signed up to volunteer raking leaves for elderly residents in East Saint Paul on October 27. Despite the snow coming down that day, students showed up to rake leaves for two residents in the neighborhood.

Thank you to all the students who participated in this optional assignment to make your communities a better place!

Dunwoody committed to transforming lives

“I always thought that I had that creative mindset, but I was never able to bring it to reality,” Mechanical Engineering Student Tommy Dao said. “Before Dunwoody, I never touched a mill or a lathe. And so for me to grab raw material and make it into something that has value, it was very rewarding.”