A look inside Dunwoody’s Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

The first cohort of Mechanical Engineering students began in August 2016, pioneering one of the College’s latest bachelor’s degree offerings.

When Dunwoody College of Technology announced the launch of its Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering last year, it did not want to ignore its hands-on, project-based, and industry-driven educational heritage.

Instead, Mechanical Engineering students were given an experienced instructor from industry; access to state-of-the-art technologies from companies like Carl Zeiss, Haas, MTS, and Stratasys; and a curriculum chalk-full of hands-on learning.

Dunwoody hires from industry for a hands-on education
Mechanical Engineering Instructor Jonathan Aurand works with a student in the Metrology Lab.

Mechanical Engineering Instructor Jonathan Aurand works with a student in the College’s Metrology Lab

The College has always developed its programs with the needs of industry in mind–and the Mechanical Engineering degree was no different.

So when it came time to hire an instructor for the program, Dunwoody looked for someone with robust industry experience to design a curriculum that could encourage students to translate theoretical knowledge into real-world practice.

Jonathan Aurand–Dunwoody’s Mechanical Engineering Instructor–fit the bill.

Aurand comes to Dunwoody with an experienced engineering background. He holds a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering. He also worked as an Analysis Manager at HRST, Inc.–an engineering consulting firm providing service and products to the combined cycle and cogeneration industry–for nearly seven years, inspecting units, and creating solutions for design problems.

Aurand has always had an interest in teaching, and Dunwoody’s hands-on approach attracted him to the position.

“Some people are more research-based and don’t have any interest in actually building something,” said Aurand. “And if that’s you, then Dunwoody probably isn’t the best fit.”

The Dunwoody Difference

At Dunwoody, Mechanical Engineering students are not taking two years of general classes before applying to the engineering program. These students are registered for Mechanical Engineering from day one. And all their general theory classes are held alongside their hands-on labs, allowing students to see theory applied in action.

First-year Mechanical Engineering students complete an in-class, impromptu design challenge

Mechanical Engineering students complete an in-class, impromptu design challenge

During the first semester, Aurand has prepared in-class, impromptu design challenges for the students.

“I break the students up into three to four groups and lay out an engineering problem. They have to solve the problem using certain design requirements in a certain amount of time,” Aurand said. “They compete against one another to see whose design works best with a specific application in mind.”

The first of these design challenges was just two weeks into the first class. Teams of students were asked to improve on the simple paperclip design to see which group could successfully hold the most sheets of paper together.

“I’m really excited for these challenges,” Sierra Oden, first-year Mechanical Engineering student, said. “We’re doing something besides staring at a whiteboard and listening to a lecture.”

In addition to these smaller design challenges, Aurand will assign a larger project for the end of the semester. He will ask students to design a bridge in SolidWorks and actually build a prototype in the College’s Engineering Materials, Mechanics, and Metrology (M3) Lab. The objective of the project will be to support the greatest load while meeting Aurand’s design specifications.

Aurand’s first-semester curriculum also features field trips to engineering firms around the Twin Cities. And as the program progresses, he will assign collaborative projects that will require Mechanical Engineering students to work with students from other programs from across the College.

Pioneers of the program

The first Mechanical Engineering cohort is made up of 10 students. Four of those students are first-year college students, three transferred in from other colleges or universities, and the remaining three were previous Dunwoody students returning for a bachelor’s degree.

Mechanical Engineering student Sierra Oden

First-year Mechanical Engineering student Sierra Oden

Oden, a 2016 graduate of Park High School in Cottage Grove, wanted to become a pilot until she started working on cars and building ham radios out in the garage with her dad. That’s when she realized she liked to take things apart, learn how they work, and put them back together.

“When I first walked in [Dunwoody’s] machine shop, I was like, ‘Alright, I’m going here’” Oden said. “When I visited other colleges, they maybe had one mill, one CNC machine–just one of everything. And then I walked in here, and there was a class set of mills. And that’s not a thing anywhere else.”

Oden was also the captain of her high school’s robotics build team, where she met Edina High School alum and robotics team member Phoebe Sanders.

First-year Mechanical Engineering student Phoebe Sanders

First-year Mechanical Engineering student Phoebe Sanders

Sanders became interested in Mechanical Engineering during her senior year on Edina’s robotics team. She started looking for colleges outside of Minnesota with a goal to get as far away as possible.

In that year, Sanders’s parents encouraged her to attend Dunwoody’s Mechanical Engineering launch event at Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology to get her to start thinking about a backup school closer to home.

“At the launch event, I heard E.J. speak about the program, and I realized that this is all hands-on,” Sanders said. “I’m not going to have to take two years of generals before getting into my major. Why is this not at every school? Why isn’t this part of every program?”

Dunwoody’s School of Engineering

The launch of the bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering was just the first step towards building the College’s School of Engineering.

The Higher Learning Commission recently approved a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering, launching in fall 2017. This degree is also being built with the College’s life-long values of hands-on learning, problem-solving, teamwork, and professionalism.

The Mechanical Engineering and Software Engineering degrees will be featured at Dunwoody’s next Open House from 3 to 7 p.m. on November 15, 2016. The $50 application fee is waived for students who decide to apply during the Open House. RSVP to this event at dunwoody.edu/admissions/open-house-rsvp/.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s School of Engineering.

Dunwoody College of Technology building

IISE Student Chapter holds industry panel

Dunwoody College of Technology’s Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) Student Chapter recently held a panel to discuss career paths and experiences in the engineering field.

IISE meeting in Holden CenterDunwoody’s IISE Student Chapter started in March 2015 with a goal to connect students with professionals in the industry and expose them to hands-on experiences.

As a part of this initiative, the Chapter holds two to three events a year to help Industrial Engineering Technology students network with industry professionals and learn how to do things like write a rèsumè, interview for jobs, and more.

IISE hosts panel of engineers

In addition to learning about how to get a job in industry, IISE also works to give students an idea of what to expect on the job after graduation.

IISE holds industry panel in Holden CenterTo do this, the Chapter recently invited a panel of five engineering professionals to speak during their meeting. These working engineers – made up of two engineers involved with the IISE Twin Cities Professional Chapter and three Dunwoody graduates – spoke about their career paths and experiences.

The panel consisted of:

  • Nate Andrican, Boston Scientific, IISE Twin Cities Professional Chapter
  • Chris Heinze, UTC Aerospace Systems, IISE Twin Cities Professional Chapter
  • Dan Burns, St. Jude Medical, Dunwoody graduate
  • Mandi Drevlow, Design Ready Controls, Dunwoody graduate
  • Chai Thao, Minnetronix, Dunwoody graduate

“The coolest part was hearing five different people that all graduated with the same or similar degrees that do completely different things in industry,” Dustin Szumowski, IISE Student Chapter President, said. “What I took from it is that if you get a job in industry that you don’t like, there’s a lot of options out there, and you can keep searching.”

Industrial Engineering Technology at Dunwoody

Industrial Engineering Technology allows students with associate’s degrees in manufacturing-related fields to earn an ABET-accredited Bachelor of Science and grow in their fields as engineers.

This program offers course instruction at night, allowing students to work full-time while completing their degree.

Learn more about Industrial Engineering Technology.

Dunwoody’s Pete Rivard becomes AIGA MN Director of Education

Dunwoody Pre-Media Principal Instructor Pete Rivard has taken on a new leadership role as the Director of Education for the Minnesota Chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design.

AIGA, the professional association for design, was founded in New York in 1914 and has since spread across the nation, boasting 70 chapters and over 25,000 members. The organization is the oldest and largest professional membership association for graphic designers and professionals in related fields like printing, prepress, photography, illustration, paper manufacturing/distribution, and writing.

AIGA Minnesota with 1,300 members ranks as the fourth largest chapter in the nation. It’s also known for being among the most active chapters, holding monthly networking events, an annual Design Camp, and more.

“During this year’s Design Camp, I met people from Connecticut and Montana,” Pre-Media Principal Instructor Pete Rivard said. “They’re designers whose chapters apparently don’t feature that ambitious of an event, so they just jump on a plane and join in on what we’ve got going on here.”

Rivard accepts AIGA MN Board of Directors position

Pre-Media Technologies Principal Instructor Pete RivardAlong with this large and active membership body, there comes a need for a strong board of directors made up of members from across the Minnesota design profession. These board members each take charge of an area specifically suited to his or her talents and interests in order to benefit the full membership.

And there’s no question why Rivard was chosen to take over as Director of Education.

Along with his 13 years working in prepress technician and management roles and five years in technical support and training, Rivard has spent the last 17 years teaching at Dunwoody. And he’s made a big impact at the College in that time. He is constantly developing the Pre-Media Technologies program curriculum to meet industry needs, training future designers and packaging technicians, and helping students build their networks and find internships.

And now Rivard hopes to bring his experience to AIGA MN.

“I feel like there’s way more opportunity for collaboration among high school and college faculty regionally,” Rivard said. “And especially in terms of getting kids from middle school and upwards aware of the thousands of jobs in the graphics industry in this state, and how much need there is for fresh talent.”

In an effort to promote this collaboration, Rivard will be responsible for organizing educational events for all three of AIGA MN’s constituencies–students, faculty, and practicing professionals–throughout the year.

Rivard raises the profile

Rivard is also excited to have the chance to get Dunwoody’s name out there.

“We have a real opportunity to raise our profile in the design community through this,” Rivard said. “Some creative studios still don’t recognize the Associate of Applied Science degree as well-rounded preparation. They’d like to see a BFA. But at the same time, our students are just killing it in terms of technical chops and landing design jobs upon graduating.”

These students are doing things like earning first place in national design competitions and designing and producing POS displays for real-world clients.

Rivard is committed to the valuable, hands-on experience and education that Dunwoody provides. And he hopes he can continue to increase the Design & Graphics Technology program’s visibility throughout his two-year term as Director of Education at AIGA MN.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s design programs.

Radiologic Technology student wins Third Place in state-wide knowledge bowl

First-year Radiologic Technology student Julie VanderWal recently won Third Place at the Minnesota Society of Radiologic Technologists’ (MSRT) annual Knowledge Bowl.

Every year, the Minnesota Association of Radiologic Students (MARS)–a subcommittee of the Minnesota Society of Radiologic Technologists (MSRT) made up of twelve rad tech programs throughout the state of Minnesota–holds three events to encourage students to network with one another and stay up-to-date on the current issues facing the rad tech industry.

One of those meetings is the annual MARS Knowledge Bowl.

Dunwoody student wins Third Place at 2016 MARS Knowledge Bowl

First-year Radiologic Technology student Julie VanderWal with Dunwoody Radiologic Technology Program Manager David Blake

First-year Radiologic Technology student Julie VanderWal with Dunwoody Radiologic Technology Program Manager David Blake

The 2016 MARS Knowledge Bowl attracted 130 students from eight schools across Minnesota to compete on Thursday, Sept. 29, at Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch, MN.

Dunwoody student Julie VanderWal won third place in the overall competition—earning the title for highest-performing first-year student—bested only by students from Lake Superior College and the Mayo Clinic Rad Tech program.

In addition to a cash prize, VanderWal will receive free MSRT membership after graduation.

Radiologic Technology at Dunwoody
Dunwoody’s Rad Tech program offers small class sizes and robust clinical rotation experiences. The College maintains partnerships with 10-15 different hospitals and clinics in the Twin Cities area, including North Memorial Hospital.

The variety of clinical sites allows students to work with real patients in every healthcare setting and situation—from level-one trauma centers to geriatric hospitals—before they graduate.

During the clinical rotations, students scrub in and work with real patients alongside Radiologic Technologists and Medical Doctors for an eight-hour shift. Graduates leave Dunwoody well-prepared, knowing exactly what to expect in their field.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Radiologic Technology program.

Dunwoody College of Technology launches Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OCTOBER 5, MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Dunwoody College of Technology is now accepting applications for its new Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering, which will begin classes August 2017. The degree will prepare students to enter the field of engineering as software engineers. Software engineers design, develop, test and improve software applications for a variety of fields, including medical, financial, manufacturing, consumer, military, enterprise and other uses.

The degree will incorporate the College’s life-long values of hands-on learning, problem-solving, teamwork and professionalism. Prospective students and others interested in learning about Software Engineering or Mechanical Engineering or both are invited to RSVP for an Oct. 25 School of Engineering Information Session to be held on the Dunwoody campus.

Other Points of Note: 

  • Software Engineering students will benefit from the lab spaces and equipment already present on campus, including networking and web development deployment environments used by Computer Technology students and automated systems and electronic controls labs used by Robotics & Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering students.
  • The decision to launch a bachelor’s degree in software engineering was made in consultation with numerous industry leaders and professionals who highlighted a need for software engineers who combine both theoretical and practical skill sets and experience.
  • Software Engineering is the second degree offering the College’s School of Engineering, which launched with its first class of Mechanical Engineering students in August 2016.
  • Dunwoody is exploring which other engineering disciplines will join software and mechanical as the core majors for the School of Engineering. Currently electrical and civil engineering are at the top of the list.
  • Dunwoody has been approved to offer the degree by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as well as the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The commission’s web address and phone number are: www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org and 312-263-0456.

Comment:

“As we explored the various options, Software Engineering made the most sense as the second major to add to our School of Engineering,” President Rich Wagner said. “The industry partners we spoke with saw a need for professionals who can design and lead complex software projects. We already supply many of the web developers and computer networking professionals hired by local industry. By adding software engineering we build on those current strengths to help address the need for IT professionals who can bring engineering thinking and skills to the field.”

More Information:

For more on Software Engineering and the School of Engineering: http://www.dunwoody.edu/engineering/

Media Contact:

William Morris, Director of Marketing & College Relations
wmorris@dunwoody.edu; 612-381-3367

For Admissions information:

dunwoody.edu/admissionsinfo@dunwoody.edu; 612-374-5800

Founded in 1914, Dunwoody College of Technology is the only private, not-for-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest. It has provided a hands-on, applied education to more than 200,000 men and women, who in turn have gone on to meaningful and rewarding careers and become outstanding technicians, successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders. Located on the western edge of downtown Minneapolis, Dunwoody offers more than 30 certificate, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs in the areas of Applied Management, Automotive, Computer Technology, Construction Sciences & Building Technology, Design & Graphics Technology, Engineering, Radiologic Technology, Robotics & Manufacturing, and Workforce Training & Continuing Education.

Architecture students to design dining hall for Steger Wilderness Center

Renowned adventurer Will Steger to play key role in the design process.
Photo of Steger Wilderness Center

The Steger Wilderness Center, located in Ely, MN.

Architecture Instructor Molly Reichert had quite a surprise for third year Architecture students this fall semester: a chance to work with prominent wilderness adventurer and conservationist Will Steger.

Students were asked to help design and build a brand new dining hall for the Steger Wilderness Center, an earth-friendly building devoted to sustainability education and climate change solution. The dining hall, the latest step in the completion of the Center, will serve as a gathering place where center guests can eat, read, study, socialize, and meet. The dining space will be solar-powered and feature a full kitchen and rotating chefs.

Week-long studio prepares students for project

Students began the semester-long project earlier this year by spending a week up in Ely, MN, home of the Center. Completely “off the grid”, students spent their time touring the space, meeting with Will and Center staff, and fleshing out design ideas for the project.

Photo of Dunwoody students camping at the Steger Wilderness Center

Dunwoody students camping on the site of the proposed dining hall

The Dunwoody group even camped out on the site where the dining hall will be built to gain a better understanding of how the land worked in relation to the rest of the Center.

At the end of the studio, Reichert said it became very clear to her that the students were not only impressed with the space, but also with their client.

“It was very interesting and eye-opening for students to see the capacity that Will—just one person—has,” Reichert said. “From going on arctic expeditions, to designing buildings, building buildings, working on policy work and educating—I think they were all very inspired by him.”

“Many of the students described the experience as broadening, which I think is such a beautiful way to think about something.”

Final building designs to be presented in December
Photo of where the dining hall will be built in relation to the rest of the Center

Proposed dining hall program diagram

Since the studio, students have primarily been working on documentation, including gathering information on Will’s vision, zoning constraints, building codes for the area, kitchen requirements, etc. But now, Reichert said, they are ready enter the schematic design portion of the project.

“It was quite funny because everyone was so inspired and interested in Will and this project that it was hard keeping everyone at bay and to not get into design and to just focus on research and documentation. So, I think everyone is really chomping at the bit to just dig in. They can’t wait to get started.”

Will Steger at Dunwoody College working with students on design possibilities for the dining hall

Will Steger at Dunwoody College working with students on design possibilities for the dining hall

Reichert explained that students will have to learn how to design to the constraints and mission of the Center. This means taking into account the harsh winters and freezing temperatures of northern MN. The design of the building must also reflect the local ecosystem and speak to the other structures that are part of the Steger Wilderness Center. The entire design process is expected to take several weeks.

At the end of the semester, students will present their final designs to Will, who will then choose several designs, or portions of those designs, to move forward with. The final building design will be dependent on funding and community support.

The hope is to break ground as early as 2018.

Learn more  

This is the first design studio in the 5-year Bachelor of Architecture degree at Dunwoody. The course aims to introduce students to the importance of site and precedent in relationship to architecture.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.

Monitor the project’s progress.

 

Dunwoody joins the Shell Eco-Marathon Challenge

First-year student Donald Posterick was part of the highest-ranking high school team in the national Shell Eco-Marathon Challenge last year. And now he’s bringing his skills to Dunwoody.

Donald Posterick with his Eco-Marathon car designsDonald Posterick joined Grand Rapids Senior High School’s Shell Eco-Marathon team–The Thunder Hawks–his senior year after being laid off from his job wiring electric harnesses. Instead of finding a new gig, Posterick decided to teach himself electronics.

“I started out with robotics and programming stuff, and then I got more into the components,” Posterick said. “I designed little circuit boards- etching them myself, doing toner transfers, all that.”

Posterick picked it up quickly and soon became in charge of the electronic components for The Thunder Hawks’ Eco-Marathon car, building the speed controller and the electrical system of the vehicle by himself.

The Thunder Hawks placed fourth in the 2016 National Shell Eco-Marathon Challenge in Michigan–the highest-ranking high school team in the competition.

Posterick brings Shell Eco-Marathon Club to Dunwoody

Donald PosterickPosterick came to Dunwoody in June through the Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) summer camp. After completing the six-week camp, he decided to enroll in the College’s Electronics Engineering Technology program where he could pursue his passions for alternative energy in the automotive industry.

In his short time at the College, he has already organized Dunwoody’s first Shell Eco-Marathon Challenge Club with a goal to design and build a battery-electric eco car during the 2017 season and enter the 2018 competition.

“I think this is something we really have the potential to do good with,” Posterick said. “Heck, the speed controller we competed with last year, I stripped the components off of a wheelchair speed controller to design and build mine. We were scrimping and we took fourth. I think with the right support and the time to do it we can do so much better and put Dunwoody’s name out there.”

Eco-marathon sketchesMembers from the Dunwoody team, including Posterick, will travel to Michigan later this year to watch the Eco-Marathon Challenge and get a better idea of the project that lies ahead of them.

The Shell Eco-Marathon Challenge

The Shell Eco-Marathon is a unique competition that challenges students to design, build, and drive the most energy-efficient car. During the event, student teams take to the track to see who can drive the furthest distance using the least amount of fuel.

The competition is split into two classes: Prototype and UrbanConcept. Prototype simply focuses on energy efficiency without taking passenger comfort into account while UrbanConcept encourages more practical designs.

Each class is divided and judged based on energy types:

  • Internal combustion engine: vehicles using fuels like petrol, diesel, liquid fuel made from natural gas and ethanol.
  • Electric mobility: vehicles using hydrogen fuel cells or lithium-based batteries.

Posterick is planning on entering the Prototype class under the electric mobility category.

A college-wide effort

Donald Posterick at the Student club and organization fairCurrently, Posterick is working on recruiting students to help with the initial planning and prototyping. He’s looking for students from across all disciplines to help bring this prototype to life.

“I’m looking for welders, robotics, manufacturing, and electronics folks,” said Posterick. “Even the graphic design students could help us with our car graphics”

Posterick has a few sketches and a small 3D prototype of an eco car he’s got in mind, but he’s interested in hearing ideas from other students. He wants the car to come to life through a college-wide collaboration.

For more information about the club or to find out how to get involved, email Donald Posterick at posdon@dunwoody.edu.

Learn more about Dunwoody’s student clubs and organizations.

Dunwoody kicks off annual Diversity Forum series with Festival of Cultures

Festival of Cultures, 2016Last week, the College kicked off its annual Diversity Forum series with a Festival of Cultures featuring musical performances from La Familia Music group and FireFlyForest.

The Festival of Cultures is an annual event that celebrates the cultures and traditions of students and staff. Students can represent their culture at a table in the College’s McNamara Center by showcasing traditional foods, art, clothing, traditions, etc.

Diversity at Dunwoody

La Familia Music Group plays a set during the 2016 Festival of Cultures.

The Festival is the first event in this year’s Diversity Forum series. Each month, Dunwoody holds a Diversity Forum centered on a new cultural topic. All Forums are free and open to students, staff, and community members.

Don’t miss upcoming events in this series! Check out the Forum calendar below:

  • October 20: Diversity Awareness Month & LGBT Forum, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • November 14: Native American Heritage Month, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • December 15: Racial Justice & Human Rights, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • January 12: King’s Birthday Celebration, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • February 14: Black History Month Celebration, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • March 23: Women’s History Month, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • April 20: Holocaust Commemoration, 12:30 p.m., Holden Center
  • May 4: Asian American Heritage Month, 12:30 p.m., McNamara Center

Interested in one of these topics? RSVP to Dr. Leo Parvis at lparvis@dunwoody.edu. Dr. Parvis is a Principal Instructor and Diversity Programs & Education Coordinator at Dunwoody College of Technology.