Dunwoody welcomes more than 400 alumni to proud tradition

This weekend, Dunwoody welcomed over 400 new alumni to its long history of outstanding graduates. The College’s Commencement Ceremony took place at the Minneapolis Convention Center at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 21.

Photo of Scott Crump

S. Scott Crump, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Stratasys Ltd.

In his keynote speech, S. Scott Crump, co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Stratasys Ltd., shared the experiences, personal habits and attributes that led to his success as an inventor and innovator, including the invention of the first 3D printer with FDM, which revolutionized the product process by automating prototyping. He discussed the importance of creative, free thinking and the ability to follow through with the ideas that arrive through such thinking:

When you have a great idea, you need to create a clear vision of your new idea and have the persistence to prove its feasibility and then eventually convince others that new is possible. However, as a heads up, you should expect resistance to new.

We are all curious but generally, we resist change. So: most people are too afraid of the risk of social criticism and ridicule to take the chance of sharing inventions and innovations.

In fact, I believe this is the single biggest barrier to invention, because it actually threatens your comfort zone. To counter that fear, I always try to operate out of my comfort zone.

Mr. Crump also gave a challenge to the graduates:

Learn to use your creative zone, and make sure that you have a lot of fun along the way, which gives you the passion to make a difference; because it’s not just about a job.

Dream and follow your dreams; I challenge you to make a difference in this world. Solve big problems and don’t conform, be a non-conformist.

Alex Mars, who served as the Class of 2016’s student speaker, shared the impact an applied education at Dunwoody has made on her life:

Photo of Alex Mars

Alex Mars, Dunwoody Class of 2016 student speaker

We often hear the clichéd phrase “the sky is the limit”. I finished my last semester of the Welding program at Dunwoody in December. I took a welding position at an Aerospace company in Eagan. I build helicopter frames and airplane engine mounts for a living. The phrase “the sky is the limit” has taken on a literal meaning for me. Using the skills I have earned at Dunwoody, I build aircraft and send my dreams up into the sky.

In his concluding remarks, President Rich Wagner reminded the graduates:

Photo of Dunwoody College of Technology President Rich Wagner

Dunwoody College of Technology President Rich Wagner

The Dunwoody legacy is evident around our city, from the buildings Dunwoody alumni have designed and built, to the companies they’ve started, to the products they manufacture, to the designs they’ve created, and the projects they’ve managed. It is humbling and overwhelming to look at the impact Dunwoody alumni have had and continue to have on our neighborhoods, on our communities, on our state and on our nation.

And now, you carry a responsibility to hold fast to the values a Dunwoody education represents and to take with you the challenge of perpetuating Dunwoody’s great legacy through your actions and accomplishments.

Additional photos from Commencement can be found on the College’s Facebook page.

Photo credit: Stan Waldhauser Photo/Design

Dunwoody students to study abroad in Spain

12 Dunwoody students are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime as they head off for a 12-day study abroad trip to Spain.

A panorama of the Toledo Skyline, one of the cities that the Dunwoody Study Abroad group will vista. Image credit: Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

A panorama of the Toledo Skyline, one of the cities that the Dunwoody Study Abroad group will vista. Image credit: Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

The study abroad group consists of six Interior Design students, four Design & Graphics Technology students, and two Construction Management students.

Interior Design Principal Instructor Nada Sarraf-Knowles and Pre-Media Technologies Principal Instructor Pete Rivard will lead the trip.

The itinerary

 During their trip, students will have the opportunity to:

Through journal entries, group projects, guest speakers, and in-depth discussions, students will study contemporary and traditional design (both interior and exterior) as well as enhance analytic note taking and sketching capabilities.

Why traveling matters

When asked why studying abroad is important for students, Rivard said he believes “travel—especially global travel—is important for anybody.”

“It broadens your mind and it puts you in a spot where you are the stranger. I think it helps students understand and be more empathetic to people who aren’t from here,” he said.

Sarraf-Knowles agreed saying studying abroad is an excellent way for students to develop both professionally and personally.

“In addition to it being a resume-booster, students are also able to become more independent, learn about themselves, make new friends and ultimately change the way they see the world,” she said.

“They are about to learn the culture and history of one of the most fascinating countries in the world. I know they are very excited.”

The study abroad group departs for Spain May 23 and returns June 3.

Experience Spain from home

You can catch all the action of the trip by searching the hashtag #DunwoodyInSpain on Twitter and on Instagram.

Dunwoody will also be featuring several student photos and journal entries throughout the next two-weeks on the College’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Most of Dunwoody’s Class of 2016 already employed

With Commencement right around the corner, the question of “what now?” might be in full effect for some students—but it isn’t for many upcoming Dunwoody grads.

According to the latest from the College’s Ferrara Career Services Center, 85% of Dunwoody students are leaving campus already employed.

Micah Thorson presenting his capstone project for his bachelor of science in Industrial Engineering.

Micah Thorson presenting his capstone project for his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering.

Associate Director of Career Services Rob Borchardt says this trend is consistent with last year’s Employment Report, which shows that 98.5 percent of the 2014-15 graduating class found jobs in their field within six months of leaving campus.

Employers turn to Dunwoody for new hires

“The state of the economy right now really favors job seekers,” Borchardt said. “Industries we support are in high need for talented graduates and those companies regularly turn to Dunwoody to fill that need.”

And many companies are finding value in engaging with Dunwoody students and faculty before their final semester.

From L to R: College President Rich Wagner, Lakeram Seriram, and YCAP Manager Peggy Quam shortly after Seriram was named the Youth Career Awareness Program Leon Rankin Award recipient.

From L to R: College President Rich Wagner, Lakeram Seriram, and YCAP Manager Peggy Quam shortly after Seriram was named the Youth Career Awareness Program Leon Rankin Award recipient.

This proved to be true for soon-to-be-grads Micah Thorson (Industrial Engineering Technology), Stevie Nguyen, (Engineering Drafting & Design) and Lakeram Seriram (Toyota Technician Training & Education Network):

Thorson found out about his recently accepted position at Andersen Windows and Doors through his Dunwoody instructor; Nguyen developed rapport with her employer, Permasteelia, after they presented to one of her classes back in 2015; and Seriram, who will be joining the automotive team at Lexus of Wayzata full-time, toured his future place of employment nearly two years ago during his summer with the YCAP program.

All three students will walk across the stage tomorrow already employed.

Degree, future brings excitement to students

Stevie Nguyen with the bicycle she helped design and build with her group The Hacks as a capstone project for their degree.

Stevie Nguyen with the bicycle she helped design and build with her group The Hacks as a capstone project for their degree.

“I am excited about everything,” Nguyen said. “I finally completed my first degree and am now off to start my life. I know that this degree will open so many doors for me.”

Thorson, who previously completed an associate’s degree in Engineering Drafting & Design at Dunwoody, agreed: “The part that excites me the most is the opportunities to continue to learn and develop. I hit the ceiling with my associate’s degree and with my bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering I will have the chance to keep growing in my career and continue on with my education if desired.”

Seriram said he too is excited for the opportunity to continue his education.

“It’s only the beginning for me,” he said. “Now that I have my two-year degree, maybe down the road I can get my four-year degree—and even open up my own [automotive] shop.” 

2015-2016 Commencement

Dunwoody College’s Commencement ceremony will be held Saturday, May 21, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The Ceremony begins at 11 a.m.

Learn more about Commencement.

Engineering Drafting & Design students prepare for industry with a hands-on capstone project

Students prepare to test their electric bikes.

Students prepare to test their electric bikes.

While many recent college graduates spent hours writing their final capstone papers, Dunwoody’s Engineering Drafting & Design students were busy with a more hands-on project. The assignment? To design and build a custom electric bicycle using as many of the skills they acquired from the last two years of their educational experience as possible.

Armed with the electronic components from a Razor scooter, five teams were given a budget of $150 to fabricate a bicycle that could hold a minimum of 160 pounds and make it up the inclined road outside the north entrance of Dunwoody.

“By having a real build with functional requirements, the students are exposed to some of the demands expected in industry as opposed to just a computer model,” Instructor Alex Wong explained.

Open guidelines lead to innovative problem-solving

Because the guidelines for the assignment were relatively open, each team came up with something different. But not without some problem solving along the way.

“In addition to reinforcing skills the students learned in the program – from modeling and drawing to time management and teamwork – all of the teams ran into some issues and had to troubleshoot or adapt to it, “ Wong said. “The real world will always have unexpected situations, and the students were able to think on their feet and overcome these obstacles.”

The Hacks pictured from L to R: Instructor Alex Wong, Hunter Thome, Stevie Nguyen, Ryan Fales and Aaron Abbot

The Hacks pictured from L to R: Instructor Alex Wong, Hunter Thome, Stevie Nguyen, Ryan Fales and Aaron Abbot

Student Ryan Fales – a team member of The Hacks who produced a 1906 Harley-inspired bike – described how their team pushed the limits of their design by using aluminum to produce a curved main frame. He explained that even though aluminum is a brittle material and hard to bend, they needed a light-weight metal in order to get the bicycle to work.

“We wanted to push ourselves and take the risk to see what we could do and what we could handle,” Fales said.

Stevie Nguyen – also a member of The Hacks – said she spent hours researching bendable aluminum tubing, only to find out that the tubing her team already purchased wasn’t supposed to bend.

“We decided, you know what, ‘screw the internet, let’s just try it’” Nguyen said. “It ended up working. And with no fracturing either.”

Killin It Kustomz team pictured from L to R: Austin Zimmermann, Pierre Yang, Grady O’Gorman, and Brady Hansen

Killin It Kustomz team pictured from L to R: Austin Zimmermann, Pierre Yang, Grady O’Gorman, and Brady Hansen

Another team – Killin It Kustomz – was strapped for time when the rear wheel they ordered for their Chopper-style bike was the wrong size. To finish the project on time, within budget and to their aesthetic standard, the team designed a wheel in SolidWorks. They printed the wheel on one of the College’s Stratasys 3D printers and the bicycle was ready to go.

“We put a bike inner tube on the inside [of the wheel] so it doesn’t hold air itself,” student Pierre Yang said during his presentation. “And it works perfect.”

A lesson in teamwork

Engineering Drafting & Design students collaborate with Welding students to fabricate custom bike frames.

Engineering Drafting & Design students collaborate with Welding students to fabricate custom bike frames.

The Engineering Drafting & Design students were also given the opportunity to pair with Dunwoody’s Welding students to fabricate their bike frames.

The welding students made suggestions for ways to simplify the frame to make manufacturing easier and Engineering Drafting & Design students, in turn, gained insight on how to make a more successful prototype.

While presenting Whisp, Team Two’s bike, Cam Treebly explained, “we had a couple points of contention and [the welders] inspired confidence in us probably two or three times. They were very proactive; we really can’t say enough about them.

Instructor Alex Wong believes collaboration between multiple departments is a key piece in developing the soft skills needed out in industry. Recently awarded Dunwoody’s Outstanding Academic Innovation Award, Wong has a passion for creative curriculum that pushes his students to work with other departments to solve problems.

“I think it’s really important for the designers to get to know what goes on in their manufacturing departments,” Wong said. “Especially when they are designing computer models of products.”

Find more information about Dunwoody’s Engineering Drafting & Design degree here.

Surveying & Civil Engineering students apply GIS to deliver geospatial Solutions on Smart Devices

Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology students presented their final projects earlier this week, demonstrating the unique ways Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can help people make location-based decisions.

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Simply speaking, a GIS is a computer system that allows users to overlay different layers of information on a map to better see patterns and relationships at a given location.

Instructor and Ramsey County GIS System Administrator Jessica Fendos helped develop Dunwoody’s first Geospatial Technology curriculum, which teaches students how to make maps and publish GIS content to the cloud.

Students were able to use this technology in their final projects to compile themed layers from a variety of sources, including U.S. census statistics, CAD drawings, GPS coordinates, satellite images, and multimedia data.

Each group tackled a real-world problem using GIS technologies. Some teams took their projects a step further and also turned their maps into interactive web and mobile GIS applications.

Here are their use case scenarios: 

“Nice Ride Route Analysis”
Brandon Davis, BJ Klenke, Briana Johnson

Photo of Brandon Davis, BJ Klenke, and Briana JohnsonThe Nice Ride application helps visitors and residents using Minneapolis/St Paul’s bike share system, Nice Ride, quickly and easily identify the cities’ 190 different “check-in” spots, which users are required to visit every 30 minutes to avoid surcharges.

Users simply plug in their destination, and the program automatically generates a map showing riders fun destinations (e.g. museums, parks, pubs, bus stops) they can ride to—while also indicating which stations they should check-in at along the way.

“Dinner-Out Application”
Doug Pouliot, Francis Omwoyo, Sean Wadman

Photo of Doug Pouliot, Francis Omwoyo, and Sean Wadman.“A person has to eventually eat.” That’s the reasoning behind the Minneapolis Dinner-Out app, which provides users with a live communication hub where consumers can submit reviews of local restaurants via their mobile devices.

The application also maps out where each restaurant is as well as the various forms of transportation that can get you there.

“Home Sweet Home”
Jake Blue, James Dallman, Patrick Kowal

Photo of Jake Blue, James Dallman, and Patrick Kowal. The “Home Sweet Home” project is designed to help families—specifically those moving cross-country—quickly and easily identify the best places to live in Minneapolis, Minn.

Members from this group began their search by mapping neighborhoods that are suitable based on a number of common house-hunting criteria, including lot size; price range; allowed crime rate; scarcity of nearby condemned properties; location preferences (i.e., proximity to schools, parks, hospitals, etc.); and preferred transportation routes (i.e., bus, light-rail, bike).

The group then identified the top five Minneapolis neighborhoods—using a choropleth map—to showcase areas that could potentially be a good fit for families.

“Do Demographics Influence Elections?”
Stan Silverberg and Chris Johnson

Photo of Stan Silverberg and Chris Johnson.This project aims to identify political trends for the state of Minnesota—with a specific emphasis on the Twin Cities metro area. Using demographics such as race, age, income, and geographic location, users will be able to view a breakdown of voting results by demographics in the rural counties and in the Twin Cities.

 Dunwoody Campus Story Map
Curtis Meriam, Wyatt Spencer, Joseph Irey, Matt Anderson

Photo of Curtis Meriam, Wyatt Spencer, Joseph Irey, and Matt Anderson.The Dunwoody Campus Map application aims to provide prospective students and their families with a better idea of what the Dunwoody campus looks like.

The app incorporates CAD drawings and geo-referenced photos at different on-campus locations to provide a virtual tour of the campus exterior. The app can also evaluate the capacity of parking lots at Dunwoody and show users where each campus entrance and exit is located.

This information is especially helpful for those who are unable to physically tour the Dunwoody campus.

Learn more

Learn more about Surveying & Civil Engineering.

Welding Technology graduate Alex Mars to speak at Dunwoody Commencement

Welding Technology graduate Alex Mars

Welding Technology graduate Alex Mars

Dunwoody College of Technology is pleased to announce that this year’s student speaker for Commencement will be Welding Technology graduate Alex Mars.

When Mars graduated from Shakopee High School in 2010, she spent time working as a manager in a restaurant and training to become a Nurse’s Aide and a Trained Medication Aide (TMA).

After earning her certifications, Mars worked for a couple of years as a Nurse’s Aide and TMA, but she knew it wasn’t what she wanted to do long-term. Mars wanted a career that provided stability and growth.

So when she had the opportunity to try her hand at welding, Mars discovered it was something she enjoyed. That interest in welding prompted Mars to sign up for the welding program at Chart Industries. The program not only provided the training, it also paid the students a salary. But shortly after starting the program, Mars found out Chart Industries had a physical lifting requirement she was unable to meet. She wouldn’t be allowed to continue.

The next day, Mars walked into Dunwoody and enrolled in the
Welding Technology program.

Mars started classes at Dunwoody in January 2015 through the Women in Technical Careers (WITC) scholarship program. She graduated in December 2015.

The mother of a three-year-old boy named Cameron, Mars knows that her Dunwoody degree will enable her to have the career and life she wants for her and her family.

“The WITC scholarship has been a huge factor in helping me accomplish my goals,” Mars said.

Since graduation, Mars has been hired at Aerospace Manufacturing as a TIG welder, building helicopter frames and airplane engine mounts.

“My main focus is to simply refine my welding skills to become a master at my craft,” Mars said. “I am leaving my vision for the future open, as my desires will develop with experience and opportunity. I plan on being thoughtful of this developing vision through my growth.”

Commencement will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 21, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Lakeram Seriram named Youth Career Awareness Program Leon Rankin Award recipient

From left to right: College President Rich Wagner, Lakeram Seriram, and YCAP  Manager Peggy Quam

From left to right: College President Rich Wagner, Lakeram Seriram, and YCAP Manager Peggy Quam

Lakeram Seriram is the recipient of the 2016 Dunwoody College of Technology Leon Rankin Award. Seriram is about to earn his associate’s degree in the Toyota Technician Training & Education Network.

The Leon Rankin Award is given to a Dunwoody Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) student who shows academic excellence by maintaining a GPA of 2.5 or higher, has a 100% attendance record at all YCAP events and acts as a mentor to their fellow students both in YCAP and in the classroom.

The award is named in honor of Leon Adam Rankin, Jr. After moving to Minnesota in 1958, Rankin attended Dunwoody College, earning an Electrician Journeyman License. He became a Master Electrician and contractor in 1968. He was a respected citizen, civil rights activist, businessman, teacher, family and marriage counselor, and one of two African-American Master Electricians in Minnesota. Rankin and President Emeritus Warren Phillips co-created YCAP in 1988 to provide enhanced career opportunities for under-represented youth by empowering them to graduate from high school and obtain a degree from Dunwoody.

Chosen for his dedication to both his classmates and his schoolwork, Seriram has been a model YCAP student throughout his time at Dunwoody.

“Lakeram is very mature, respectful, honest, sincere and hardworking,” Automotive Principal Instructor Dave DuVal said. “He’s always willing to help his fellow classmates if they need it. Students like Lakeram are why I continue to teach.”

Lakeram Seriram is a 2014 graduate of Fridley High School. After graduating from Dunwoody, he plans to work for a Lexus Dealership in Wayzata.

Dunwoody’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society welcomes 16 new members

Phi Theta Kappa logo

On the evening of May 4, 2016, the Dunwoody student chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society inducted 16 new members into its organization.

From left to right: PTK Vice President Tony Laylon, Student Service Advisor Zac Mans and PTK President Donavan Sullivan

PTK Vice President Tony Laylon, Student Service Advisor Zac Mans and PTK President Donavan Sullivan induct new members into Dunwoody’s PTK student chapter.

PTK is a national organization that seeks to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students by providing opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming.

Students inducted into PTK are recognized for outstanding academic achievement by earning a minimum GPA of 3.5. Once inducted, students must maintain a 3.25 GPA and conduct a minimum of three hours of community service each semester. Dunwoody’s PTK student chapter currently holds 113 members.

New PTK member holds candle during Induction Ceremony.

New PTK member holds candle during Induction Ceremony.

Congratulations to the newly inducted PTK members:

  • Jazmine Darden
  • Nicholas Gustafson
  • Jonathan Hansen
  • Caleb Hays
  • Tiara Hill
  • Blake Isetts
  • Justin Lehman
  • Madison Montgomery
  • Stephanie Nguyen
  • Travis Northway
  • Travis Olson
  • Ricky Perez
  • Jonathan Peter
  • Kristofer Petrie
  • Cory Roberts
  • Thomas Smith