Category Archives: Student News

Field trip to Greenheck Fan gives HVAC students a taste of life in industry

Photo of Dunwoody HVAC students visiting Greenheck Fan.Heating & Air Conditioning Engineering Technology and HVAC Installation & Residential Service students recently ventured out to Schofield, WI, for a day-long visit to Greenheck Fan, the leading supplier of air movement and control equipment, including fans, dampers, louvers, and kitchen ventilation.

During the visit, students were able to tour the new Innovation Center, where fans are tested for noise and durability. Students were also able to see how a fan is assembled as well as learn the role engineering plays in fan selection and performance.

Photo of Dunwoody HVAC students looking at machinery at Greenheck Fan. “The students were impressed with the quality control measures Greenheck uses when manufacturing their equipment—and the large volume of fans and equipment being produced,” HVAC Program Manager Chuck Taft said. “This demonstrated how busy the HVAC industry is right now.”

Taft said students also met with Greenheck employees, who seemed “very proud to work at Greenheck.”

“You could tell the employees liked their jobs,” he said.

Photo of Dunwoody HVAC students listening to Greenheck Fan employee.Dunwoody’s HVAC programs have been invited to the Greenheck headquarters every two years since the 1990’s. The tour plays an important role in helping students see the types of jobs and working environments they could be in upon graduation.

Learn more about Heating & Air Conditioning Engineering Technology and HVAC Installation & Residential Service.

Dunwoody student awards announced

Each year, Dunwoody College of Technology recognizes high-achieving students at the annual Student Award Dinner. This year’s group of outstanding students was recognized at the Minneapolis Club on Wednesday, April 13, and presented with an award by the College’s President Rich Wagner.

Student Leadership Award

Congratulations to this year’s Student Leadership Award recipient Collin Ripley.

Since 2004, the College’s Alumni Association has presented this award annually to a student who exemplifies leadership, scholastic excellence, community service and school spirit. Nominees are required to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and must be nominated by a faculty member in their area of study.

Global Citizen Award

Congratulations to this year’s Global Citizen Award recipient Donavan Sullivan.

Since 2013, the Dunwoody Diversity Council has presented a Student Global Citizen Award to a student whose accomplishments exemplify an enthusiastic awareness of issues related to working and living successfully in our diverse society.

Academic Excellence Awards

Congratulations to the following recipients of the Academic Excellence Award:

Applied Management: Anthony Swanberg
Automotive: Michael Jindra
Computer Technology: Justin Wenz
Construction Sciences & Building Technology: Jacob Blue
Design & Graphics Technology: Pierce Stavish
Radiologic Technology: Laila Merten
Robotics & Manufacturing: Anthony Laylon and Micah Thorson

The Academic Excellence Award is given to one graduating student from each academic area at Dunwoody. Nominees are selected by faculty members and must have a 90% attendance or higher and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Additional criteria include: a solid work ethic, extra-curricular participation, collegiate camaraderie, and pursuit of excellence and self-awareness.

Dunwoody student testifies in MN Legislature on behalf of College’s YCAP program

YCAP student Tiara Hill

Pictured: YCAP student Tiara Hill

On Friday, April 15, Dunwoody College of Technology student Tiara Hill testified before a Minnesota State Senate committee on behalf of the College’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) to provide background on a bill that would give grants to pilot programs in Ramsey County focused on serving girls of color.

The awarded grants would be used to:

  • Increase the academic success of girls of color.
  • Reduce suspensions in public elementary and secondary schools.
  • Increase on-time high school graduation rates.
  • Encourage their pursuit of a postsecondary education program.

If awarded the grant, the recipient organization would develop a model program that other counties in the Twin Cities metropolitan area can replicate and use.

YCAP: a model for success

Since 1988, Dunwoody’s YCAP program has been a model for enhancing career opportunities for under-represented youth by empowering them to graduate from high school. Its goal is to provide more females and students of color who come from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to attend college. Since its start, YCAP has assisted more than 1,250 students.

YCAP begins with a six-week summer camp where high school juniors and seniors get the chance to explore technical career opportunities and take college-readiness courses.

After the summer camp, YCAP offers a supplemental scholarship to assist with tuition, books, supplies, and technology fees for students choosing to attend Dunwoody.

Ninety six percent of YCAP students graduate from high school and 85% go on to a post-secondary education at Dunwoody. With these success rates, it’s no wonder the Legislature was interested in learning more about it to help form their upcoming decision.

Hill testifies in state Senate

Hill was excited to speak on behalf of YCAP to support this bill because she felt that without the YCAP scholarship, she wouldn’t have been able to attend college.

Hill was accepted into Dunwoody’s YCAP program in 2015 and will earn her Welding Technology certificate in May 2016.

“I didn’t have the option to go to college due to my finances,” Hill said. “[YCAP] gave me that chance, and I think that this bill will give a lot of other women in my situation a chance, too.”

Of the opportunity to testify before the Senate committee, Hill said: “It was amazing! I think that was the first time I had ever been scared, happy and excited all at once!”

After graduation, Tiara plans to come back to Dunwoody to complete a degree in Machine Tool Technology and get more involved in her field of study.

“But my huge goal is to give back to Dunwoody,” Tiara said. “I want to provide people with scholarships to attend school here. I truly enjoyed every moment here, and I am looking forward to next year.”

Find more information about the YCAP program on Dunwoody’s website or contact YCAP program coordinator Peggy Quam at pquam@dunwoody.edu.

International, local Architects donate napkin sketches to scholarship auction

Dunwoody Architecture students and American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) chapter members have spent the last few months asking established architects for sketches of buildings—on paper napkins.

Kyle Huberty, James Matthes, Taylor Parker-Greene, Nick Schurhammer, Brenda Pliego-Geniz, Ryan Kelly, Devyn Smoter, Chris Eklund, Charles Evans  Bille (L to R) and Aaron McCauly-Aburto (not pictured)

Kyle Huberty, James Matthes, Taylor Parker-Greene, Nick Schurhammer, Brenda Pliego-Geniz, Ryan Kelly, Devyn Smoter, Chris Eklund, Charles Evans Bille (L to R) and Aaron McCauly-Aburto (not pictured)

The group of students voluntarily sent out more than 170 letters—reaching 25 different countries and 6 continents—to well-known architectural firms asking for architects to participate in their June 9 fundraiser: a silent auction event where attendees can bid on the one-of-a-kind sketches.

Proceeds from the event, which is titled “Process: Sketches from Masters to Students”, will fund study abroad scholarships for the Architecture students.

Why napkin art?

But, why sketches on napkins?

Well, according to AIAS Treasurer Taylor Parker-Greene and AIAS Chapter President Kyle Huberty, napkin art actually dates back many years, evolving from the notion that writers, artists and architects can’t help but sketch ideas on any form of medium within reach—many times napkins.

“There’s an age-long history to the concept,” Huberty said. “It’s the excessively creative person that just can’t stop. They’re in a restaurant talking–but still drawing something.”

The students explained they were further inspired by the idea of a napkin sketch auction after learning that a few other colleges have held similar, successful fundraisers.

The process

The group began their request earlier last year by first compiling a list of architects to approach for the project—many of whom included students’ inspirations and personal favorites. The students then worked to draft their initial “ask” letter.

However, Huberty and Parker-Greene said their main concern was having the bustling architects even notice—let alone open—the letter.

“We didn’t want it to be just another plain envelope asking for something,” Huberty said.

“We wanted to catch their eye,” Parker-Greene agreed.

So, on each envelope the students sketched a famous building designed by the architect, hoping the personal touch would pique their interest.

Examples of the student-drawn envelopes can be found below.

The student’s approach appears to have worked, as the group has since received 25 sketches back—including art from big names like Renzo Piano (Italy), Tom Wright (United Kingdom), Christopher Charles Benninger (India), and Cesar Pelli (United States). The students are also in the process of contacting local architects in the Twin Cities area.

Parker-Greene and Huberty say they are very excited for the event and the funds it could bring to their program.

To be able to “go to a new place, take tours, meet other architects—it really enriches the student experience,” Huberty said.

About the auction

The auction is scheduled for Thursday, June 9, from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Independent Filmmaker Project: 550 Vandalia St #120, St. Paul. Tickets are $40.

For questions on the event, or to RSVP, please contact arch@dunwoody.edu.

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.

Two Interior Design students design show sets for Northwest Community Television

Photo of Angelica Sedano and Alyx Paschke

L to R: Angelica Sedano and Alyx Paschke

Late last year, Northwest Community Television (NWCT)—a non-profit organization that offers free production classes, equipment use, and channel time to those in the northwestern suburbs of the Twin Cities—realized they needed a change.

“Our current TV sets were outdated, falling apart, and overdue for an overhaul,” Studio Manager Nikki Jackett said.

And as the 2015 fiscal year was coming to a close, Jackett realized they had some dollars left in their budget. So, she chose to put that money towards set renovation.

A perfect match

“We only had six weeks to get ideas together and the money spent,” Jackett said.

Photo of existing NWCT set

NWCT set prior to remodel.

“Knowing design is not in my wheelhouse and having a limited budget, I asked my boss if I could reach out to students to work with. I’ve had good experiences working with students in the past. I love their energy and eagerness.”

When searching for the students, Jackett said she “never looked beyond Dunwoody.”

“I’ve always heard good things about the school, so it was the first and only one I emailed,” she said.

And when senior Interior Design students Alyx Paschke and Angelica Sedano learned of the project, they knew they had to be involved.

“Set design is something that has always interested me,” Paschke said. “I’m going to grad school for themed entertainment design so this project was very closely aligned with what I am hoping to do.”

The design process

Due to the wide variety of shows offered by NWCT—which includes talk shows, sports shows, children shows, cooking lessons and craft demonstrations—Paschke said, “versatility was a major aspect in the design concept.”

Photo of existing NWCT sets and photo of what they would like after the remodel.

Paschke and Sedano used SketchUp—3D modeling software they use for class projects at Dunwoody— to generate ideas for the new sets.

“We decided it would give us the most for our budget to repurpose and reuse many of the existing sets and set elements,” she said.

And while the students did have complete design freedom, there were some limitations.

“The sets had to be mobile, lightweight, and easily assembled and deconstructed for transportation to and from the set storage warehouse,” Paschke said. “We also had an extremely small budget for all of the sets, construction supplies, finishes, furniture and décor, which allowed us to get creative.”

Paschke and Sedano used SketchUp—3D modeling software they use for class projects at Dunwoody—to design the sets. Here they finalized the set colors, furniture pieces and design budget. Then, they set out to purchase the supplies.

“It felt a little bit like an HGTV show,” Paschke laughed as she described their overflowing carts at Ikea.

In an effort to keep the costs down, the students also approached several industry partners for help—and were successful in doing so.

Example of what a set would look like after the remodelSherwin-Williams agreed to donate the paint for the sets, and representatives from Shakopee Lowes Home Improvement provided budget guidance. Prime General Contractors also helped with transportation.

Thanks to their generosity, the two students were able to stay under-budget and upgrade six existing sets and the station’s kitchen.

The final product

Photo of one of the final sets

One of the final sets designed by Paschke and Sedano.

For Paschke and Sedano, however, the best part of the process was actually seeing the project come to life.

Paschke explained: “As students, a lot of the time we design and we do the 3D renderings—but that’s as far as we get. So it was really fun to see our work actually constructed.”

“It was our first real project like this so it was a little intimidating,” Sedano said. “But we worked together with everyone really well. It was nice to have our first project be with great people.”

Photo of Paschke and Sedano

Paschke and Sedano at the NWCT Open House.

Jackett agreed: “Throughout the entire process, Alyx and Angelica demonstrated an unbelievable passion for design and a keen understanding of what it means to meet the expectations laid forth while also looking outside of the box in exuding their own creativity. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to work with them and recommend them to others.”

According to NWCT’s latest newsletter, this is the Station’s first remodel since the media center opened in 1998. NWCT displayed the newly renovated sets at an Open House event late last month.

Paschke and Sedano will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Interior Design program.

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.

Auto industry has the need, Dunwoody has the grads

Industry speaks at March open house

Photo of Auto Open House eventDunwoody Automotive invited representatives from Luther Automotive Group, Walser Automotive Group, and Alliance of Automotive Service Providers-Minnesota (AASP) to speak at the College’s open house event this month, which was held Tuesday, March 15.

Steve Reinarts, Automotive Dean, said the goal of the event was to help organizations find potential hires as well as provide students and their guests with a better understanding of what the automotive job market looks like right now.

And what does it look like?

According to Judell Anderson, Executive Director of AASP: “Desperate.”

All three organizations confirmed that automotive job opportunities are skyrocketing—and shops and dealerships across the nation are in need of technicians.

“When I left my office, we had 43 openings,” said Meg Miller, HR Recruiter for Luther Automotive Group. “The opportunities are endless.”

In fact, auto mechanics are in such demand, many automotive organizations are hiring recent graduates—and even current students—to work. And for organizations like Walser Automotive, Dunwoody College is one of the first places they look.

Why a Dunwoody student?

“For years, we have all gone out and simply tried to steal one another’s technicians,” said Walser Automotive Corporate Service Director Jeff Lamott. “But as a business model, it doesn’t make sense to put an ad in the paper and hope you can get someone from another store.

Photo of students talking at Auto Open House event“Maybe that’s a short term solution for now, but probably a better solution would be to hire people at an entry level—student graduates for an example—bring them in, provide them with mentorship, and then grow them into a technician from the ground up,” he said.

“And to do that, we immediately look for organizations that provide students like that, or we look around and ask where we have gotten people from before…and Dunwoody would be the answer to both of those.”

Luther Automotive also has a long history of hiring Dunwoody graduates.

“Several of our managers and technicians have come from Dunwoody,” Miller said. “We always look for a well-rounded individual–someone who has the skill but also has the drive to learn more.

“We definitely find that in a Dunwoody student.”

Industry reps to return May 24

A first-time event for the department, Reinarts couldn’t be more pleased with the end result.

“I think the most beneficial part of the event—for both prospective students and their parents/guardians and guests—was being able to talk directly with industry,” he said.

“When parents come to an open house, they’ll often ask ‘will my son or daughter be able to get a job, and if so how much will they be able to make?’ Those answers, coming from me or one of our other instructors, could be perceived as self-serving.

“But by having industry there, we direct those questions to them and they’ll tell the parents and the students exactly how much they will be able to make and what the job market and career outlook looks like right now.

“That is why we wanted them there. So prospective students can get the story first-hand and hopefully consider choosing automotive as a future career,” he said.

Photo of guests talking at Auto Open House eventDue to the success of this month’s event, Dunwoody Automotive plans to host industry partners again at the College’s May open house, which takes place on Tuesday, May 24, from 3 to 7 p.m.

Prospective students can RSVP here.

If you are interested in speaking about your organization at the upcoming event, or becoming more involved with Dunwoody Automotive, please contact Reinarts at sreinarts@dunwoody.edu.