Meet the students participating in the 2016 MSP Home & Design Show

Dunwoody is pleased to introduce Maggie Ellsworth, Alex Lord, Lise Hanley, Megan Augustine, and Lydia Faison, the five interior design seniors participating in the MSP Home & Design Show, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2016.

The show—a first for Minneapolis—will allow attendees to learn of upcoming trends, meet with design professionals, and participate in interactive demonstrations. The Dunwoody group will manage a feature booth at the event, where they will present their take on a modern home office. Hand-crafted furniture and additional design work created by the students will also be on display and available for bidding/purchase.

Meet the seniors

Photo of Maggie EllsworthName: Maggie Ellsworth
Hometown: Saint Paul, MN
Passions Related to Interior Design: Space planning, sustainability, rendering, and lighting.
Hobbies Outside of Work: biking, camping, art/film, geography, and history.
Why Interior Design? “I believe as interior designers, we have the ability to make an impact on consumers. I want that impact to be a positive one.”


Photo of Alex LordName: Alex Lord
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Passions Related to Interior Design: Art and sculpture.
Hobbies Outside of Work: Sculpting, and designing and painting custom automobiles.
Plans After Graduation: To start a business and possibly design furniture/lighting on spec.


Photo of Lise HanleyName: Lise Hanley
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
Passions Related to Interior Design: Minimalism.
Hobbies Outside of Work: The local music and art scene; real estate.
Most Excited About: “Exploring my strong interest in furniture design and hopefully meeting Keith Wyman, the owner and designer behind Concrete Pig.”


Photo of Megan AustineName: Megan Augustine
Hometown: Wyoming, MN
Passions Related to Interior Design: Home design and remodeling.
Hobbies Outside of Work: Building and racing mopeds; flying.
Plans After Graduation: To work in commercial/hospitality at an architecture firm. 


Photo of Lydia FaisonName: Lydia Faison
Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN
Passions Related to Interior Design: Rendering and furniture design.
Hobbies Outside of Work: Cross-stiching, wood-working, riding motorcycles, camping, traveling, and hiking with her dog.
Why Interior Design? “I notice and appreciation functional art above others. I think it’s amazing when a space can transport you somewhere else.”

Learn more

Get your tickets for the 2016 MSP Home & Design Show.

Learn more about Interior Design.

Dunwoody’s Haas Education Center grows

Dunwoody College of Technology’s Haas Education Center recently added a new Haas VF-2 vertical milling machine to its collection.

This state-of-the-art machine will expose second-year Machine Tool Technology students to multi-axis machining, tool probing, and part probing functions–giving these students experience with the latest tools in their industry. But it’s not just the machining students who will be working with this new equipment.

New equipment promotes hands-on collaboration

“One of the main reasons we got this machine was to support special projects and program collaboration,” said Brian Nelsen, Machine Tool Technology Senior Instructor.

The Haas Center has become an important space for all students to bring their hands-on assignments to life – like the electronic bikes designed and built by the Engineering Drafting & Design students. And with the growing number of students enrolled in programs like Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering Technology where hands-on projects are key, the addition of this machine will help support a higher volume of work.

Watch the machine in action:

Pre-Media Technology student wins First Place in cardboard as art competition

Student Karen West wins National Corrugated as Art Competition with a life-size concert harp made completely out of corrugated cardboard.
Graphic Design student Karen West

Graphic Design student Karen West

Second-year Pre-Media Technology student Karen West put in over 40 hours designing and producing a full-sized concert harp, standing five to six feet tall. What’s more impressive? The harp is made completely out of cardboard. And her hard work recently paid off.

The Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC) named West the First Place winner in the Corrugated as Art category of the 2016 Student Packaging Design Competition.

Along with the First Place title, West also won a $500 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to Orlando, Florida, to attend the AICC/TAPPI SuperCorrExpo Conference in October.

Harp built by student Karen WestAICC Corrugated as Art Competition

The annual AICC Student Packaging Design Competition honors the best student designs entered in three distinct categories. This year’s Corrugated as Art category asked students to design a musical instrument of their choosing and build it completely out of corrugated cardboard. The final product needed to be one-of-a-kind and not commercially reproducible.

By entering into the competition, students have the opportunity to showcase their talent and creativity to corrugated packaging and display professionals from around the world.

Harp, deconstructedWest designs and builds life-size harp

West used ArtiosCAD to design each piece of the harp individually. West then cut the pieces on the College’s Esko Kongsberg V20 CAD cutting table and assembled them by hand to form the harp.

To figure out proportions and how the harp should be put together, West started with a 6-inch model and scaled up for size. Each week, for three weeks, she built a new harp a size larger than the last.

Karen West with the full-sized concert harp made from corrugated cardboard.

Karen West with the full-sized concert harp made from corrugated cardboard.

“I learned that it’s a good idea to do steps,” West said. “There are certain things you can’t do because of size. So each week, not only was I blowing it up and adjusting it, I was also adding more to it. It was a great learning process.”

West was also happy to participate in the competition because it gave her hands-on experience that she can take with her after she graduates in spring 2017.

“This competition gave me a glimpse at what’s out there in industry,” West said. “It was cool to see just how creative I could get with only corrugated cardboard.”

Learn more about Dunwoody’s Design & Graphics Technology department.

Dunwoody takes 2nd in 2016 American Solar Challenge

The Dunwoody/Buhler Team

The Dunwoody/Buhler Team

Dunwoody/Buhler Apprenticeship program allows students to work at Buhler, attend classes at Dunwoody, and even race solar-powered cars.

Dunwoody students/Buhler Apprentices have spent the last few weeks traveling the country with a solar-powered car they helped to build. The students competed in the 2016 American Solar Challenge (ASC) July 22 – Aug. 6, earning second place.

8 days; 1,971 miles

The Challenge—which began in 1990—consists of a three-day track race and an eight-day, 1,975 mile road race through seven states. Students began in Brecksville, OH and travel to Hot Springs, SD, stopping at several checkpoints along the way.

Solar car on the roadThis year, checkpoints were located at nine national parks and historic sites—including the Ulysses S Grant National Historic Site (St Louis, MO), Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site (Topeka, KS) and Scotts Bluff National Monument (Gering, NE)—helping to celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial.

Students taking a break from traveling to charge the car

Students taking a break from traveling to charge the car

The 2016 Dunwoody/Buhler team consisted of Electrical Construction & Maintenance Principal Instructor and Dunwoody team coordinator Steven Lee; Buhler Apprenticeship Training Coordinator Daniel Roth; Adjunct Instructor Gary Reiman; as well as members of Dunwoody and Buhler’s American Apprenticeship program, including Michael Klaas; Andrew Hohn; Alex Peden; Austin Carline; MacKenzie Ritchie; Nate Sharp; Justin Mestler; Vlad Lelyukh; Dominic Lemke; Michael Cenin; Marc Guillet; Sam Nogosek; and Isa Brady.

Several members of Buhler’s Swiss Apprenticeship program also joined.

“Buhler has been involved in other solar races around the world and the solar car that we used was actually originally built by them for one of those races,” Lee explained. “The apprentice students made modifications to the car so it met requirements for the 2016 American Solar Challenge.”

Together, the Dunwoody/Buhler team traveled a total of 1,971.5 miles in 59 hours, 30 minutes, and 22 seconds.

Students with their solar carBuhler/Dunwoody partnership

Dunwoody and Buhler’s American Apprenticeship program helps supply well-trained grads to Buhler, a global market leader in mechanical and thermal process engineering technologies.

The program allows students to attend Dunwoody classes, while also working at Buhler’s Plymouth, MN, location.

Final results

1: Michigan
2: Dunwoody
3: Toronto
4: Missouri S&T
5: Principia
6: Appalachian State
7: Iowa State
8: ETS Quebec
9: Berkeley
10: Minnesota and Poly Montreal
11: Illinois State
12: Kentucky

See final times. 

Photo Credit: Samuel Rhyner

Student-designed furniture, home office to be displayed at 2016 MSP Home & Design Show

Dunwoody partnership sparks scholarship, real-world experience for five Interior Design students.

Interior Design Students Maggie Ellsworth, Alex Lord, Lise Hanley, Lydia Faison, and Megan Augustine have been quite busy this summer—building their skills, their portfolio, and their own furniture.

Photo of Home & Design Show Logo

The five senior students will present design ideas and several work samples at the very first MSP Home & Design Show, a new event where attendees can learn of the latest trends in interior design and home improvement.

The Dunwoody group will manage a feature booth during the show, where they will demonstrate how they would design a modern home office. Hand-crafted furniture and additional design work created by the students will also be on display and available for bidding/purchase.

Photo of Alex Lord presenting on a final project

Alex Lord presenting design solutions to faculty and industry professionals during Fall 2015 finals week

“The show is a wonderful opportunity for the future graduates because it gives them a great deal of exposure,” Interior Design Principal Instructor Sarraf-Knowles said. “It’s an opportunity to show off their talents and the skills that they’ve learned. It will also add a great component to their portfolio, which will really assist them when they go out and interview.” 

In addition to the professional exposure, the five participating students will also receive a scholarship from the MSP Home & Design Show.

“We wanted to partner with a reputable organization in the community that we feel could also offer something unique to the MSP Home & Design Show,” said Bruce Evans, Show Manager.

“We are committed to giving back…The scholarship is something we see being a staple within the show for years to come and hopefully [so will] the recipients,” he said.

Show promises networking, demonstrations, and celebrity guests

A first-time event for the students and the community, the show promises attendees a unique setting where they can:

  • Photo of Celebrity Guest Speaker John Gidding (photo courtesy of MSP Home & Design Show)

    Celebrity Guest Speaker John Gidding (photo courtesy of MSP Home & Design Show)

    Learn of upcoming interior design trends

  • Meet with design professionals
  • See guest celebrity John Gidding, HGTV Architect and Interior Designer
  • Become inspired by household décor items
  • Participate in interactive and educational demonstrations
  • Support Dunwoody’s Interior Design program and its future graduates

In addition to these fun events, the Dunwoody students will also be presenting on the evolution of a home office—a popular topic in the industry right now.

Student’s take on a home office might surprise guests

“We are doing research on the impacts of home offices nowadays. Currently, there are a lot of traditional companies that are eliminating the desks and telling their employees to actually work offsite at their home. This saves the company money on real estate, but also allows the employee a lot more flexibility.”

Photo of student-designed floor lamp

A student-designed floor lamp presented during Fall 2015 finals week

Because of these changes, Sarraf-Knowles said the feature home office will “look different than the standard or typical home office.” Instead, students will consider furniture flexibility (changing one piece of furniture into another); technology changes; and the various types of home office uses, workers, and needs.

The office will tentatively feature a student-built desk, light fixture, lounge chair, storage device, and coffee table. Students will also explore aesthetic pieces like backdrops and ceiling elements.

Learn more

The MSP Home & Design show takes place Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2016, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Learn more about Interior Design.

Radiologic Technology students honored at Pinning Ceremony

Spring 2016 Radiologic Technology cohort

Back row from right to left: Paul Sieckert, Alyson Stumbo, Eryn Kivo, Miranda Butler, Katie Welle, and Laila Merten. Front Row from right to left: Autumn Walbridge, Ashley Newstrom, Kristi Nelson

Nine Dunwoody College of Technology Radiologic Technology students officially graduated on Thursday, July 11, at a Pinning Ceremony where they were honored for the successful completion of the program.

Program graduates must take and pass the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam later this month in order to secure employment. The current five-year average pass rate for Dunwoody is 90%.

Laila Merten and Eryn Kivo receive pins during Pinning Ceremony

Laila Merten and Eryn Kivo receive pins during Pinning Ceremony.

The College’s Rad Tech graduates earn an Associate of Applied Science degree over two years (four semesters and two summer sessions). During this time, students rotate between 10-15 different clinics and hospitals 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 graduating. There are two graduating cohorts per year–one in July and one in December.

Students graduate with honors

During the Pinning Ceremony, Rad Tech faculty and staff also recognized students with various awards. Congratulations to the following graduates:

Dunwoody Clinical Excellence Award: Katie Welle
This award is given to a student who exemplifies the ideal behavior in a clinical environment. This student works well with students, staff technologists, and other clinical instructors in their clinical setting. The student receiving the Clinical Excellence Award personifies the type of student that Dunwoody and the Radiologic Technology Program would want every student to strive to be in their clinical setting.

Laila Merten receives Academic Achievement Award.

Laila Merten receives Academic Achievement Award.

Academic Achievement Award: Laila Merten
This award is given to one graduating student from each of the academic platforms at Dunwoody. The nominees for the award have a high attendance rate and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Other considerations for the award are based on work ethic, extra-curricular participation, pursuit of excellence, self-awareness, and leadership.

Best Team Player Award: Paul Sieckert
This award is given to a student who exemplifies the meaning of the phrase “team player.” This student takes it upon themselves to seek out work and help out in all areas in the Radiology Department, and also works well with other students, department technologists, and clinical instructors. They are the first person to lend a willing hand when help is needed.

Most Improved Award: Ashley Newstrom
This award is given to the student who exemplifies the most improvement from day one through their graduation—not only in the classroom setting but in the clinical setting as well.

Best Patient Care Award: Eryn Kivo
This award is given to a student who demonstrates superior care to the patients that they work with during their clinical rotations. The student selected for this award ensures that the patient comes first and that all the needs and concerns that a patient may have are taken care of.

Visit Dunwoody’s Radiologic Technology web page for more information about this program.

Interior Design Summer Camp challenges perceptions of profession

Dunwoody Interior Design opened its classrooms to 11 high school students at the College’s first-ever Interior Design Summer Camp late last month.

Photo of Interior Design campers

Sarraf-Knowles, Interior Design Principal Instructor and Camp Coordinator, said the camp was created to help challenge students’ assumptions of what an Interior Designer actually does.

“I wanted people to understand that it takes a lot to actually do a project. It’s not just moving furniture around or choosing some colors,” she said. “It’s way more than that. There’s a lot of gathering information, connecting and interviewing with a client, and developing an actual design solution.”

To better show this to the students, Sarraf-Knowles developed a hands-on, interactive project that would allow them to actually experience the creative design process—something Interior Designers typically do when given a project.

Interior Design is more than one might expect

Photo of a "brainstorming wall" where campers posted ideas, graphics, notes for design inspiration. On day one of the camp, campers were asked to create a hypothetical exhibit space for a real-life fashion designer. The exhibit had to be realistic, original but practical, and incorporate the designer’s actual branding.

Students began the project by researching the designer and working on an overall design concept. This required the campers to experiment with colors, patterns, materials, technology, and lighting. The students then created a 3-D protoype of the room, and presented their final project and design solution to Dunwooody faculty and industry professionals.

“The project was very similar to what our students would be expected to do here on campus,” Sarraf-Knowles said.

Exploring Interior Design career paths, employers

Photo of campers listening to a lecture at Dunwoody.When students weren’t working on their displays, they were out exploring possible education and career paths. Campers toured Dunwoody’s Interior Design classrooms, experimented with materials in the Design Library, and explored the College’s fabrication lab and print and packaging lab.

Students were also given the opportunity to tour and meet with professionals from HDR Architecture, a local Architecture firm, and Fluid Interiors, a furniture design shop and dealership.

While touring HDR Architecture, campers met with HDR’s Interior Designer and learned how Architects and Interior Designers work together—particularly at an Architectural firm.

At Fluid Interiors, students learned how Interior Designers work with companies to simplify and customize their workspaces. Campers were able to explore the organization’s many showrooms, giving them an inside look at the types of furniture and light structures designers create and use.

Both visits illustrated the day-to-day responsibilities, projects, and work spaces of an Interior Designer.

Photo of campers by their finished 3D prototype of a fashion boutique. “I hope campers ultimately learned what the profession of Interior Design actually is, including what an Interior Design degree is, what can you do with that degree, and what that degree is like here at Dunwoody,” Sarraf-Knowles said.

Learn more

This is the first time the College has offered an Interior Design summer camp. Sarraf-Knowles plans to run a similar camp again next summer. To be notified of the 2017 camp, please contact Sarraf-Knowles at

Learn more about Interior Design.

Need for women in trade careers inspires Rosie’s Girls Summer Camp

Middle-school girls explore STEM programs, professions with Dunwoody instructors.

Rosie’s Girls— a summer day-camp inspired by a program started by Vermont Works for Women and Girl Scout camp programming—launched its first-ever Minnesota camp at Dunwoody College late last month. The camp was held in partnership with Girl Scouts River Valleys.

Photo of all of Rosie's Girls

More than 40 middle-school girls attended, building their awareness of—and their experience with—STEM-related higher education programs and careers. The camp comes at a time when skilled trade jobs, especially those within the construction industry, are in need of more women workers.

Building trades need more women workers

Photo of girl building in the construction lab

Photo Credit: Girl Scouts River Valleys

“Our demographic is nine percent women and 91 percent men, so we need to make that change,” said Heather Gay, Construction Management Program Manager, in a recent Kare 11 interview.

Electrical Construction & Maintenance Principal Instructor Polly Friendshuh attributes those low numbers to a lack of exposure of STEM programs and careers to young students—especially women.

“By high school, most students have already chosen or have some idea of the direction they are going upon graduation—and most of those students never have any exposure to the construction trades,” she said.

“This camp provides that before they have a pre-conceived idea of what they want to go into and perhaps will spark the idea that there are many pathways available to them.”

Girls learn to build, weld, and wire at Rosie’s Girls

Photo of girls holding their Little Free Library

Photo Credit: Girl Scouts River Valleys

During the camp, the girls were able to participate in a wide array of hands-on, STEM-related projects, including building Little Free Libraries; welding sculptures; and wiring a switch, light and receptacle. For two weeks, campers were able to accurately see what a career in carpentry, welding, electrical wiring, drafting and design, or surveying could be like.

“It’s important for young girls to get exposed to the trades and skills early on so that they know it’s a career path,” Gay said in a KARE 11 interview.

Rosie’s Girls sparks confidence

When girls weren’t exploring Dunwoody labs and equipment, they were participating in other physical activities like rock climbing, archery, and team building games. Campers also worked on their leadership skills, participated in arts activities, and learned how to successfully work and communicate as a group.

Photo of girls holding power tools

Photo Credit: Girl Scouts River Valleys

Girl Scouts River Valleys’ staff noted that “by offering girls a chance to ‘do things’—particularly things they or the adults in their lives may not have believed were appropriate for girls to do—the Rosie’s Girls Program seeks to reverse the downward trajectory in girls’ self confidence.”

Friendshuh, who led a number of camp activities, said that not surprisingly not every girl identified with every activity and career—but it was an incredible feeling seeing those who did connect with an activity succeed and have fun.

Photo of girl welding in welding lab.“The trades can provide a career option that not only pays well but can be obtained without a four-year degree. I hope the camp helped them to gain a better idea of what a technical college is and what it can mean for them as they move on into high school and beyond.”

And while college plans and the girl’s professional lives might still be a ways off, Friendshuh said above all, she hoped the camp gave the girls “a sense of accomplishment, empowerment, and the realization that they can be anything they want.”

Photo Credit: Girl Scouts River Valley