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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.


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.

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

Bridget Reynolds Inducted into International Fraternal Organization

International Order of Hoo-Hoo LogoBridget Reynolds, Dean of Construction Sciences & Building Technology, was concatenated (inducted) into the International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo at the 123rd International Hoo-Hoo convention, which was held in Minneapolis earlier this month.

The International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo, Inc. is a fraternal and service organization whose members are dedicated to the progression and welfare of forest-based industry. Members include individuals from professions like forestry, education, research and manufacturing who work closely with wood-based products and/or the lumber industry.

Reynolds was welcomed by Snark of the Universe—and the fraternity’s first female Snark since it’s founding in 1892—Mary Beth Moynihan from J.B. O’Meara, Inc.

Reynolds will now serve on the education board of the Twin Cities Hoo-Hoo Chapter #12.

Construction Project Management students Melysia Cha and Andrew Hoogenakker also attended the convention. Cha and Hoogenakker supported the convection’s logistics by welcoming members and assisting with registration setup.

Cha and Hoogenakker said the most enjoyable part of the day was listening to stories from attending members – some of who had traveled from Australia and Malaysia to be there.

For more information on Hoo-Hoo, visit

Sewing Program Featured on PBS Documentary Series Dropping Back In

Dunwoody College’s partnership with the Makers Coalition will again be featured on the PBS documentary series Dropping Back In.

ThSewing students at work.e five-episode series illustrates the enormous personal and societal costs to students who drop out of high school, and how successful training-based programs—such as those offered by Dunwoody—can help counter those losses.

Dunwoody’s Dean of Workforce Training & Continuing Education Debra Hanson (Kerrigan) as well as two sewing program graduates are featured in the fifth episode of the series “Building A Better Future.”

Two sewing students examining project.

“Building A Better Future” will air Sunday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 p.m. on Twin Cities Public Televison (tpt), with repeats on October 3 and 4. Pioneer Public Television (KWCM) will run the show on September 27 and 29.

If you can’t catch the documentary those evenings, the full show can also be found here:

Elftmann Student Success Center Receives 1st Place Website Excellence Award

WEA1-2015_NCLCA-LSCHEThe Elftmann Student Success Center (ESSC) received first place in the 2015 NCLCA/LSCHE Website Excellence Awards competition, which was announced earlier this month.

The Website Excellence Award is awarded annually to  a postsecondary learning support center that’s website exhibits accuracy, support and strong student engagement.

Elftmann Student Success Center staff left to right: Teresa Milligan, Ross Brower, Eeris Fritz

Elftmann Student Success Center staff left to right: Teresa Milligan, Ross Brower, Eeris Fritz

The competition–co-sponsored by the Learning Support Centers in Higher Education (LSCHE) and the National College Learning Center Association (NCLCA)– is open to all college and university learning center websites. This is Dunwoody’s second time entering and placing in the competition. The ESSC also received third place in 2012.

The Elftmann Student Success Center’s mission is to provide quality academic support and development to all Dunwoody students. Currently, the center includes support services such as tutoring, Guided Study Recitations, tip sheets, a technical video library, a Math Center, and a Writing Center.

“The changes in learning support within higher education have made it necessary for centers such as ours to get creative about how to support academics, and how to be responsive to changing student needs,” said Teresa Milligan, Senior Instructor and website manager. “Winning this award means we’ve made great strides toward providing that support.”

Students studying in the Elftmann Student Success Center

Elftmann Student Success Center

Websites qualified for the NCLCA/LSCHE Website Excellence Award must meet nearly 30 different set criteria, including an up-to-date announcements section; working alt labels on all graphics; a detailed history of the center; and recent photos of both students and faculty active in the center. All website content must meet the standards of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS).

“In the higher education landscape, this award has really allowed Dunwoody—a non-profit, private, technical college—to act as an exemplar and represent a sector of higher education that is often overlooked. This award has given us a chance to be recognized and promote positive changes,” said Milligan.

Milligan will accept the NCLCA/LSCHE Website Excellence Award on the center’s behalf October 6, at the NCLCA Conference in Milwaukee, WI.

Learn more about the support services the Elftmann Student Success Center provides.

Alumni Brick Installation Holds Great Meaning to Dunwoody Employee

Axel Jr. holding brickPrincipal Math Instructor Eeris Fritz and her 90-year-old father Axel M. Fritz Jr. placed a memorial brick in honor of Eeris’ grandfather, Axel M. Fritz Sr., earlier this summer.
Axel Sr. was a 1920 welding graduate from Dunwoody Industrial Institute. His diploma–which hangs in Eeris’ office–was signed by Charles A. Prosser, a pioneer in vocational education and Dunwoody’s director at that time.

Axel Jr. proudly shared that his father’s success was attributed to hisAxel Jr. placing brick into walkway training at Dunwoody. Axel Sr. went on to becoming an executive at Union Brass and Metal. Axel Sr. died in 1963 but his legacy lives on.

Axel Sr.’s memorial brick is part of the alumni walkway outside of Carlson Commons.

For more information on alumni bricks, please contact our Alumni Department at or 612-381-3064.

Computer Technology Department Hosts Summer Arts-n-Crafts, Robots and Computing Camp

Dunwoody’s Computer Technology Department recently hosted an Arts-n-Crafts, Robots and Computing Summer Camp–a weeklong educational camp for junior high school students ranging in grades from 5th – 8th.

Student examining Lego robot

The camp brought 20 students to Dunwoody’s campus where they learned the basics of computing through multiple arts and crafts projects–including the assembly of Lego robots and the creation of their very own interactive, electronic game or phone app.

The games/phone applications, created by either Scratch (a programming language and online community) or App Inventor (a program used to create apps specific for Android phones and tablets,) provided campers with an opportunity to enhance their programming and creativity skills, while experiencing first hand what a career in programming or web development might look likeTwo students working on computers .

“One of the students created a virtual paper doll with changeable outfits,” said Web Programming & Database Development Instructor Paula Merns. “Another created a game where a skydiver caught money as he fell. The logic used in creative ways exactly mimics what programmers do when they get onto a job.”

Student holding Lego robotMerns says the student-designed Lego robot sculptures were also highly interactive. “One team created a ‘Tunneling Robot’ that started upon touch, and then changed lights when it reached the back of a dark space. Another created a robot cat that wagged it’s tail when petted (see picture to the left).”

The campers were also able to explore—and even test—many of Dunwoody’s robotic machines as well as participate in an interactive, electronic scavenger hunt in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Students watching a robotic demonstration

Dunwoody’s Arts-n-Crafts, Robots and Computing Camp is not only the first of it’s kind for Dunwoody, but also a first for many of the campers, as it combines the world of arts into science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines…turning the popular STEM acronym into STEAM.

“Technology and art work together all around us. This camp gave the campers a chance to play with that intersection,” said Merns.

RStudents outside on a scavenger huntob Bentz, Program Manager of Computer Technology, said, “Ultimately, we chose to run the camp to introduce junior high level kids to technology. There is research, for girls in particular, that shows junior high is where decisions are made to pursue technical or engineering type jobs in the future. We hoped we could persuade a few of our campers to consider just that.”

The camp is expected to run again in summer 2016.

For additional photos of the 2015 camp, visit our Facebook page.