Category Archives: Student News

CFMA continues history of Dunwoody-giving, awards Construction Management student with scholarship

Construction Management student and CFMA scholarship winner Justin Brastad The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA)—a nonprofit organization devoted to enhancing the education of today’s construction financial professionals—has awarded its fourth Dunwoody scholarship to Construction Management student Justin Brastad.

The CFMA has a long history of giving to the College, awarding Dunwoody with multiple student scholarships and a generous endowed scholarship over the last several years.

CFMA’s support goes beyond financial assistance

“The goal of the scholarship program is to promote accounting, finance and management careers in the construction industry,” CFMA Scholarship Chairperson Michael Michelsen said. “It is our intent to improve the perception of the value and impact that a career in construction can have for both the industry and the individual.”

The giving doesn’t stop there: members of the CFMA Twin Cities have also joined the College’s Program Advisory Committee; participated in student capstone presentations; and have conducted several presentations to Dunwoody classes, focusing on topics like construction risk management and cash flow management.

Scholarship provides tuition relief for Justin

Justin, a Junior this year, says receiving this scholarship means a great deal to him.

“Being a college student and full-time employee is a huge task in itself,” he said. “On top of that, trying to pay for college and books can be overwhelming. I am very grateful for this scholarship and am honored to have been the one selected to receive it.”

The award will be put towards Justin’s remaining tuition at Dunwoody. Upon graduation, Justin hopes to become a Construction Estimator.

“I am on the right path to do so, but have a lot of learning to do,” he said. “I want to continue to grow and see how far I can push myself in industry. Wherever that takes me, I will be happy. I just want to be able to make a difference.”

Automotive Dean’s service celebrated at annual potluck, department continues Toys for Tots donation

Dunwoody Automotive students loading up their lunch plates at the annual holiday potluck event in the Warren buildingFor the past two decades or so, Dunwoody’s Automotive Department has celebrated the holiday season in a memorable way. The Warren Building is festively decorated; long banquet tables are packed with crock-pot treats; Toys for Tots donations are collected; and students celebrate the end of their final exams and presentations.

This year, however, the annual holiday potluck was even more special than usual as students, staff and faculty bid farewell to Automotive Dean Jon Kukachka who is set to retire January 15.

Kukachka leaves Dunwoody with fond memories

Dunwoody Automotive students loading up their lunch plates at the annual holiday potluck event in the Warren building

“The holiday potlucks are definitely something that Automotive graduates remember about their time here,” Kukachka said. “I am going to miss events like these. The students have always been very special to me.”

Kukachka–who has provided the College with over 30 years of service–has been the program’s dean since 2010.

Retiring Dunwoody Automotive Dean Jon Kukachka speaking to Automotive students at the annual holiday potluck event “I have tried to be the kind of dean that students would not be afraid to talk to,” he said. “I wanted students to know that they could come to me about anything—good or bad—whatever was on their mind,” he said.

Faculty applaud student’s Toys for Tots donation

While the farewell was bittersweet, Kukachka was pleased to learn that the Automotive department did well in another  Toys for Tots fundraiser.

“The department has been donating to Toys for Tots ever since Dunwoody got involved with the program in the late ‘80s or early ‘90s,” Kukachka said. “It has become a tradition that the Auto Department does well so every year we try to instill that drive into our students.”

This year a friendly competition was implemented throughout the College with a first place prize of $150 awarded to the department who raised the most dollars and/or collected the most toys.

During the potluck, Automotive donations were totaled, revealing a grand total of about $2,000 in cash and toys—more than any other department.

Dunwoody Automotive students standing next to toys being donated to Toys for Tots

Program faculty decided to continue the season of giving by also donating their $150 winnings to the toy drive.

Kukachka says that this is the most the Automotive department has ever raised, making it a department—and quite possibly a Dunwoody—record.

Dunwoody College wishes Kukachka all the best

“This year’s potluck was very special to me,” Kukachka said.

“I will miss the people—both students and coworkers. I came here in 1980 wondering if I had made the right decision to change occupations. I know now that yes, I made the right decision to work at Dunwoody.”

On behalf of Dunwoody’s students, faculty and staff, the College wishes Kukachka all the best on his retirement.

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

Women in Technical Careers Scholarship Provides More Than Financial Support

Women in Technical Careers (WITC) is Dunwoody’s new scholarship program designed to help women students succeed in technical degree programs at Dunwoody. Recipients of the scholarship receive $20,000 in scholarship funding and childcare assistance if needed.

IMG_0581

However, WITC is much more than just financial assistance. It also serves as a series of support services and networks–all designed to remove barriers that often prevent women from seeking non-traditional professions.

“Throughout their time at Dunwoody, WITC students participate in a cohort program, a mentorship program and monthly professional development workshops. They also have direct, one-on-one support from an advisor,” said Women’s Enrollment Coordinator Maggie Whitman. “While the scholarship funding helps, it’s these support services that really make a difference.”

IMG_1692Perhaps one of the most successful support services offered is the mentorship program. Modeled after research findings on the best way to support women students in a technical career, the program pairs each student with a local, successful woman in the same profession.

Mentors include women such as Claire Ferrara, Interim Executive Director of MEDICO; Cathy Heying, Founder of The Lift Garage; Karin McCabe, Workforce and Vendor Outreach Coordinator from McGough Construction; and many more.

“The mentorship program is important because it connects our students with women who are experienced at navigating workplacesIMG_1747 where few women work,” Whitman said. “Mentors can share job searching advice, industry information, and personal experiences that will prepare our students for their lives after graduation. It’s important for our students to hear this type of feedback and advice from women who have had similar life experiences. A simple, ‘I’ve been there, and I made it through…’ can go a long way.”

The mentorship program officially kicked off last month at a social event on campus. Students and their mentors were able to meet in person for the first time and get to know one another over appetizers and beverages.

“The students were very excited to meet so many professional women in their chosen careers,” Whitman said. “I also heard from the mentors that they appreciated the opportunity to network with other professional women. I think this program will be beneficial for everyone involved.”

IMG_1750Mentors and students will meet in person several more times throughout the next two years. They will also communicate regularly online.

The WITC scholarship was awarded to 22 women in 2015. The students are currently enrolled in programs like Automotive, Computer Technology, Robotics & Manufacturing and Construction Sciences & Building Technology.

The WITC students are expected to graduate in Spring of 2017.

Learn more about Women in Technical Careers.

Surly Brewing Company Provides Electrical Construction Design & Management Students with Electrical Tour

Second year Electrical Construction Design & Management students were provided with a behind-the-scenes tour of Surly Brewing Company earlier last month.

Electrical Construction Design & Management students smiling while on an electrical tour of Surly Brewing Company.

Students were able to see the many different electrical uses throughout Surly’s facility, from the industrial motors and sensors involved in the brewing lab to the various light fixtures inside the restaurant.

“Surly was a great building to tour simply because they do so much there,” Senior Instructor Nick Bohl said. “They of course have their brewery operations, but they also manage a restaurant with a kitchen; an event center; and space for kegging and canning. It was a great opportunity for students to see the many different aspects of construction, design and maintenance that go into a building like that–especially from an electrical standpoint.”

Tour guide referencing large machine to Electrical Construction Design & Management students while visiting Surly Brewing Company.This was just one of many site visits Bohl has planned for his students. Earlier this year, students also toured an electrical substation operated by Excel Energy. A trip to Monticello to visit a nuclear generating plant is also planned for later this semester. Towards the end of the program, students will even visit locations that directly pertain to their capstone projects.

“Each building we tour has a unique story and provides students with opportunities to ask questions and learn from an experienced professional in the industry,” said Bohl. “It’s an excellent way of showing students all that they’ll be capable of doing by the end of their program.”

Learn more about the Electrical Construction Design & Management program.

Students Design and Build Weed Whip Prototypes Using Stratasys 3D Printers

Students pose with their weed whip prototypesOn Wednesday, Sept. 30, six groups of second-year Mechanical Design students presented their custom-designed weed whip projects and demonstrated their prototypes on Dunwoody’s lawn. Instructor Alex Wong gave each group the motor and wiring from a standard Black and Decker weed whip, a budget of $200, and about five weeks to make design improvements on the store-bought Black and Decker weed whip model.

“In addition to the professional skills required for the 3D modeling and documentation, the students also had to do a lot of problem-solving,” Alex said. The students were required to do research and develop sketches of their own weed whip concept. When this initial design process was complete, students brought their sketches to life using parts they made with the Stratasys 3D printers in the College’s Metrology Lab.Student tests weed whip prototype

Mac Cameron – an Applications Engineer at Stratasys – came to watch the demonstrations of the students’ projects. “I travel all over the place to see what people are doing with our printers,” he said, “but this is one of the cooler projects I’ve seen on a college campus.”

In addition to the project guidelines, Alex also graded students on criteria like teamwork, decision-making skills, and quality of the documentation.

Click here for more information on the Engineering Drafting & Design program.

Dunwoody-Built Fish House To Be Raffled at Rebuilding Together Twin Cities Fundraiser

Exterior photo of Dunwoody College student-built fish house.Over the last seven months, Dunwoody students and faculty have been building a one-of-a-kind, luxury fish house. The house is part of a fundraising project for Rebuilding Together Twin Cities, which makes critical home repairs for Twin Cities’ homeowners in need.

The 128 square-foot house was designed and built by Dunwoody students and faculty from Construction Management, Interior Design, Welding, and HVAC Installation & Residential Service programs.

The fish house will be raffled at Rebuilding Together Twin Cities’ Flannel Fling event on Friday, Oct. 30, at Nicollet Island Pavilion. The fundraiser begins at 6 p.m. and will also include a live and silent auction; local craft beer; dinner; live entertainment; games and much more.

Raffle tickets for the fish house are $20 each with proceeds benefiting Rebuilding Together Twin Cities and Dunwoody College of Technology.

To purchase tickets, or for more information, contact Heather Gay at hgay@dunwoody.edu.