Foundry experience returns to Dunwoody

Mechanical Engineering students create aluminum wrenches

With the precision of a surgeon, Angela Freeland lifts a 3D printed wrench from a wooden box, packed tightly with a mixture of damp sand and clay.  She cracks a wide smile before leaning in to watch her classmate, Daniel Hurd, tap lightly on the white plastic to loosen it – ever-so slightly – so he can remove his mold.

“Boom,” Freeland says. “I’ll take it,” Hurd said.

The two Dunwoody Mechanical Engineering students are spending the afternoon with their instructor and classmates in the Foundry, learning how to sandcast and make their own aluminum wrenches.

It is a pain-staking process.

Mechanical Engineering Student Angela Freeland

The sand and clay mixture has to have the right amount of moisture, the plastic pattern cannot have any rough or sharp edges, and the sand must be packed tight around the pattern.  The temperature of the molten aluminum must be precise and poured quickly into the molds. If anything is slightly off, the wrench might not turn out, sending students back to square one.

3D Printing brings changes to the 21st century foundry

Dunwoody has not had a working foundry in decades.  Historically, the foundry was used in limited capacity to cast dead blow hammers and other tools used in the machine shop. With the support from the American Foundry Society and Engineering Drafting & Design Assistant Professor Alex Wong, this technology is returning to Dunwoody.

“The ability to 3D print patterns has completely changed the industry. A pattern that took days or weeks to build in the past can now be printed in a few hours and prepped for casting the same day,” said E.J. Daigle, Ph.D., Dean of Robotics & Manufacturing.

The United States ranks third in global casting production, trailing behind China and India. Foundries are struggling to find the next generation of workers.

Dunwoody is racing to help fill that need.

Students studying Engineering Drafting & Design, Mechanical Engineering, Machine Tool Technology, Welding & Metal Fabrication, and Design for Manufacturing: 3D Printing, will all use the foundry as part of their course work.

Engineering Drafting & Design students sand cast molds for putters they designed in class with Alex Wong.

Each year Wong has his students design a golf putter for casting as a class assignment. They use Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software to design their putters.

Before this year the castings were sent to area foundries. Today, students send their designs to one of the 3D printers in the Metrology lab. Hours later, they have a pattern ready to use in the foundry.

“I like the hands-on process a little bit better because the students see what is involved with making their molds,” Wong said.

They learn even more when something doesn’t work.

“When you have to sit down and scratch your head a little bit from those tough lessons, it’s frustrating, but the lessons stick a little better,” Wong said.

Alireza Razavi, Mechanical Engineering Instructor at Dunwoody, says that it is important for a mechanical engineer, who may be involved in manufacturing, to experience casting and be able to observe hardships or defects in the manufacturing processes.

“The most important objectives of doing a casting is to see its difficulties and approaches on how to make a better pattern and mold for a better casting,” he said.

Hands on approach solidifies training

Mechanical Engineering student Angela Freeland frees her aluminum wrench, made in the foundry.

Freeland’s brother and father are both graduates of Dunwoody programs and encouraged her to attend.  Initially a Graphic Design major, she switched to Mechanical Engineering, a decision that allows her to better utilize her math skills.

In the Foundry she is eager to put on the protective suit and get close to the crucible for a front row seat. The thick reflective jacket, chaps, gloves, and helmet will protect her from any molten aluminum that might splatter as it is poured.

She said it is one thing to have her instructors talk about something during a lecture. “But actually getting out there and doing the hands-on work and viewing this technology is a real eye-opener,” Freeland said.

“Being able to put the suit on, look in there, and have [my instructors] explain it, helps solidify everything I’ve learned over the past few years,” she said.

Dunwoody announces 2018 Crosby Fellowship Awards to support faculty development

Grants help advance technical education and promote faculty collaboration and growth

Dunwoody College’s Office of the Provost recently announced its 2018 Crosby Fellowships for Learning Excellence and Innovation. The fellowships provide grant funding to Dunwoody faculty and allow them to research, design, test, and implement projects that improve teaching and learning at the College.

“Because of the generous funding, faculty are given a chance to take learning to a new level, leading to more prepared and competent graduates who are ready for the industry,” said Associate Provost Ann Iverson.

The Provost’s Office awarded the 2018 fellowships to the following projects:

Improving Distance Learning, Hybrid, and Online Course Delivery

Objective: increase faculty members’ knowledge and skills to support online teaching and learning and train other faculty to create online courses

  • Karie Johnson, Assistant Professor, Construction Project Management
  • Bridget Reynolds, Dean, Construction Sciences & Building Technology
  • Janet Nurnberg, Program Manager, Industrial Engineering Technology
  • Brad Miller, Associate Professor, Arts & Sciences
Curriculum and Teaching Lab Development for VRF Energy Systems Controls

Objective: increase the College’s capacity to teach Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) technology

  • Derek Hillestad, Senior Instructor, Construction Project Management
  • Jonathan Aurand, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Jimmy Manteuffel, Instructor, HVACR Systems Servicing
Identify Learning Challenges in the Classroom for Non–Native English Speakers

Objective: conduct a study of the classroom experience of non-native English speakers enrolled in technical degree programs

  • Reem El-Radi, Associate Professor, Arts & Sciences
Crosby Showcase of Creative Excellence

Objective: establish a permanent, secured area to showcase original art created by Dunwoody students

  • Arlinda Henderson, Associate Professor, Arts & Sciences

Faculty will report back on the progress of their projects this coming spring.

“These grants cause a domino effect,” Iverson said. “When the recipients give their Progress Presentations, the audience is inspired, and the wheels of the imagination start spinning. Since these fellowships do not have to be completed in a year’s time, long term relationships can be developed between departments, strengthening the fabric of our college.”

Iverson also hopes that faculty who submitted a proposal that was not selected will refine their proposals and re-submit next year. She also would like to see more proposals that include travel opportunities for students.

“When students experience another country or even another part of this country, their vision changes for good—especially for students who have had little opportunity to travel,” she said. “I can only imagine the varied and plentiful technical experiences that are taking place around the country and around the world that could challenge and inspire our students.”

Finding her stride: Nakesha Caldwell, CCP Scholarship Recipient

Scholarship Spotlight: Nakesha Caldwell, ’19 Construction Project Management

Construction Project Management student Nakesha Caldwell now knows what she wants out of her career. And Dunwoody’s Construction Career Pathways (CCP) Scholarship is helping her get there.

A mother of two, Caldwell decided to attend Dunwoody in hopes of finding a deeper knowledge of building.

“I have always had an interest in construction and real estate,” Caldwell said. “I have been a realtor since 2005, but I decided that I would like to be much more involved in the construction field.”

But the decision to change careers wouldn’t be easy. Not only would it require Caldwell to start over and earn a second degree — while in her final trimester of pregnancy — it would also require a large financial commitment — one that wouldn’t be possible without assistance.

That’s when Caldwell learned about CCP, a Dunwoody scholarship designed to prepare high potential but underserved individuals for lifelong careers in the construction industry.

“Without the CCP scholarship, I would not be attending Dunwoody,” she said. “School is very expensive, and I am a single mother of two small children. This scholarship means everything to me.”

CCP has also provided much more than just financial help for Caldwell. She has also enjoyed the scholarship’s mentorship program.

“My mentor has been so helpful with my school work and has helped keep me motivated and headed in the right direction,” she said.

Her mentor also played a key role in helping Caldwell secure her dream internship. Caldwell is currently a Project Engineer Intern at Ryan Companies and is quickly finding her stride.

“With my internship, I know that I can go far and that I am doing exactly what I want to do,” she said. “I love getting to explore the different areas and tasks that construction has to offer. It is a wonderful company with a great culture and reputation.”

Now in her second and final year, Caldwell is confident that making a career change was the right choice.

“Had I not attended Dunwoody – I don’t know where my life would be at this moment, but I’m sure I would be struggling,” she said.

Caldwell is set to graduate this May. Upon graduation, she hopes to be hired on full-time with Ryan Companies.

To learn more about CCP, contact Peggy Quam at

Employee Spotlight: Peggy Quam, Associate Director of Special Initiatives

Where did you grow up? 

In a small town in Southwest Minnesota called Avoca.

Where did you attend college? What is your degree in? 

I have two degrees from the University of St. Catherine. I majored in both history and education.

How long have you been working at Dunwoody? 

10 years!

What is your favorite part about working at Dunwoody? 

I love the students I work with in the Youth Career Awareness Program, Women in Technical Careers scholarship, Construction Career Pathways scholarship, WEM Scholarship, and the people I work with.

What is your favorite part about your job?  

I feel that all of the scholarship programs (including all the faculty and staff members who help out with them) provides hope and kindness to the students.

What is the one thing in the world you are most proud of? 

My son, Dan.

What are a few of your hobbies? 

Reading and cooking.

What is your favorite movie genre? Any all-time favorite movies? 

I love murder mysteries. My favorite movie is “The Fugitive.”

What is the luckiest thing that’s ever happened to you? 

Meeting my husband, Doug.

What is the single best day on the calendar? 

Sunday. I enjoy family and church time.

What is the best dish you know how to cook/make? 


Fun facts:
  1. My car was picked up by a tornado when I was 16.
  2. I used to work at the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Dunwoody celebrates women pursuing technical careers at annual Kate Dunwoody Luncheon

Sell-out event raises money for women scholarships

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, more than 300 people came out to celebrate the vision and generosity of Kate L. Dunwoody at an annual event that raises scholarship dollars for women students at Dunwoody College.

This year’s sold-out event highlighted the accomplishments of women who are blazing a trail in career fields that have traditionally been male-dominated. It was also a celebration of Dunwoody’s commitment to continuing the progress.

The luncheon included a keynote address from Kimberly Randolph, Vice President of Energy Supply Engineering & Construction at Xcel Energy.

Randolph is a mechanical engineer who has spent 25-years working in the petrochemical, natural gas, and power generation industries. She also serves on the Dunwoody Board of Trustees and is on the Executive Steering Committee of the Women’s Energy Network.

Kim Randolph, Vice President of Energy Supply Engineering & Construction at Xcel Energy

“Thirteen percent of engineers in the workplace are women,” Randolph said, adding that women also tend to the leave the profession at a higher rate than men. “So educators and employers, let’s make meaningful change and create sustaining opportunities to increase representation of women in non-traditional careers. Your support here today, by supporting the legacy of Kate Dunwoody and the hardworking people who have come after her, will make that happen.”

College makes strides in growing women-population at Dunwoody

This fall, 217 women are enrolled at Dunwoody and represent 17 percent of the total student population. And that number has been increasing since 2013. In fact, during the past five years, there has been a 60 percent increase in women students at Dunwoody.

Increasing the number of women choosing high-demand, technical careers has been an area of focus for Dunwoody. Targeted recruitment, retention efforts, and scholarship dollars are some of the ways the College is working to attract and retain more women students.

Dunwoody’s commitment also includes hiring more women in the classroom. Today, 45 faculty members, program managers, and deans are women.

Partner support makes Luncheon possible

The annual Kate L. Dunwoody Society Luncheon is made possible through the generous donations of many table, scholarship, and lead sponsors. This year’s Silver Sponsor was Talla Skogmo Interior Design. Bronze Sponsors were Parsons Electric and Cindy Wagener Robin and Morrie Wagener of Morrie’s Classic Cars.

“Their generous support of this event makes it possible for the money we raise to go directly to women student scholarships at Dunwoody,” said event committee chair Claire Ferrara, ’11 Heating & Air Conditioning Systems. “This work started many years ago with Kate Dunwoody, a remarkable woman who, in addition to being a part of founding Dunwoody, was a huge supporter of women and women’s empowerment.”

Student speaker’s message leaves lasting impression on guests

Radiologic Technology student and scholarship recipient Mariah Rohm

Also part of the luncheon was a message from one of the students who received a Kate Dunwoody Scholarship. Radiologic Technology student and scholarship recipient Mariah Rohm thanked the attendees and sponsors for helping and encouraging students like herself.

“This College has helped me continue to work towards becoming my best self and has helped me determine my purpose in life, which I truly believe is serving others,” Rohm told the crowd during her speech. “The gratitude and life satisfaction I acquire while giving is truly unexplainable.

“As a woman my work is far from over, it’s not about what I can accomplish with the help of this scholarship but what ALL of the women in this room will accomplish with the aid and assistance for the future of technology. I stand before you as a proud student of Dunwoody College. I am immensely grateful for the privilege to be receiving this scholarship as it not only helps me financially, but more importantly allows me to continue dedicating important time towards my priorities in this career, my goals of serving others, and my dream of one day being able to give back just as this program and experience has given to me.”

Engineering Drafting & Design students reengineer string trimmers

Class brings prototypes to life using 3D printers

Engineering Drafting & Design students recently redesigned and reengineered a string trimmer during their Product Design Lab.

Students began the project by looking at a cordless string weed trimmer found at any hardware or home improvement store.

“The idea was to benchmark the current design and then look for where we could make improvements for design change and functionality,” said Engineering Drafting & Design student Rio Duran.

The students worked in groups using Computer-Aided Design to manufacture and design a new housing for the motor, circuit board, and other interior parts to make sure the new trimmer would be operational. This included utilizing injection molding to make certain pieces would fasten together.

“We had to manufacture and machine this to make a prototype,” Duran explained. “We used 3D printers for the plastic.”

Students also had to work within a budget to keep costs under control.

“We had to think about the cost of the fasteners, the cost of 3D printed plastic, and the other parts such as straps,” Duran said.

The students presented their portfolio-ready designs to their peers in class then put them to the test outdoors on the campus lawn.

With the buzzing sounds of multiple trimmers going, Duran added, “It’s really cool to see something that we put together with our minds operate in real life.”

Dunwoody Football Club offers camaraderie and competition

Co-ed recreational soccer team completes first season

A group of Dunwoody students have spent their fall Sundays organizing and playing in one of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board’s co-ed, open soccer leagues. Dubbed Dunwoody F.C. (Football Club), the team wrapped up its season on Sunday, Oct. 21, with a 5-4 loss to Ball Kickers FC in the first round of the playoffs.

The idea for the team came when Bachelor of Architecture students Nathaniel Nelson and Nicholas Schurhammer and Software Engineering student Kai Negaard worked together over the summer at the engineering and design firm VAA. The three students talked about how they wanted to socialize more with other students.

“The main goal was to network among programs,” Schurhammer said. “It also gives students a better idea of what Dunwoody offers as a school.”

Of Dunwoody’s 22 student clubs and organizations, most are based around professional organizations or hobbies that directly relate to students’ academic programs. By choosing a non-program-specific, team sport like soccer, Schurhammer, Nelson, and Negaard figured they’d be able to bring together a diverse group of students.

They were right.

So far 29 students have participated in the team as has Architecture Senior Instructor Pablo Villamil. And because it’s a recreational open league, players from a large mix of skill levels are welcome.

Another advantage of the rec league is that most of the team’s games are played at Parade Stadium, which is right across the street from Dunwoody.

Building skills together

Schurhammer has been impressed by both the level of participation and the willingness of players to work with each other, even though their skill levels range from novice to former high school varsity players.

“We had a voluntary practice on labor day weekend because there were no games,” he said. “About a dozen people showed up. It was just cool to see people express that level of interest.”

The team went 1-7 in league play, but Schurhammer is pleased with the season. The point, after all, is to have fun, get to know other students, and get better as soccer players.

“The team slowly came together,” he said. “The level of enthusiasm that our players showed and the level of commitment to each other is great. People were 100% behind the other players. There was no condescension or negativity.”

The future of Dunwoody F.C.

Although they would have liked to have progressed further in the playoffs, the team is proud that they almost pulled off a win in the first round.

And they’ll be back next year. The plan is for Dunwoody F.C. to return and compete in the Minneapolis Rec League for the fall 2019 season. They are also exploring the possibility of participating in an indoor league this spring.

Students and employees who are interested in joining Dunwoody F.C. should contact Nicholas Schurhammer at

Dunwoody takes 1st at 2018 Intercollegiate Construction Management Quiz Bowl

Construction Project Management students make waves at annual competition

Construction Project Management students (from L to R) Tyler Fish, Matt Dahlseng, Dan Stenzel, and Shantel Volker joined forces earlier this month to create a Dunwoody team for the annual Intercollegiate Construction Management Quiz Bowl.

The Bowl, created in 2012, is an annual event held by CONSTRUCT*IUM, a subcommittee of the Minnesota Construction Association. The competition is open to all Upper Midwest schools that offer degrees in Construction Management.

The Dunwoody group made quite the impression at the 2018 competition, placing first overall. A total of eight colleges participated in the Bowl.

“The students had a lot of fun and did a great job representing Dunwoody,” Construction Project Management Senior Instructor and team coordinator Matt Durand said. “I was very proud of their accomplishment, and it was great to see their hard work pay off.”

Students go head-to-head in knowledge bowl

The Bowl rules, while simple, are fierce.

Conducted in a format modeled after the World Cup, the competition allows each team (of up to four members) to participate in three preliminary round games. Teams race to buzz in and answer questions specifically around Construction Management. The responses are then assessed by industry representatives who act as judges. Points are awarded for correct answers.

After the preliminaries, the four remaining teams participate in a single-elimination competition. The last team standing earns bragging rights and a traveling trophy.

“The students were very excited to bring home the trophy to Dunwoody,” Durand said. “And they now know what to expect next year to defend the title.”

Following the competition, students were able to attend a career fair featuring companies in construction and facilities management.

Durand said he hopes to make attending the competition and fair an annual tradition.