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Employee Spotlight: Steve Cunningham, Automotive Service Technology Senior Instructor

Where did you grow up?

The Minneapolis area.

Where did you attend college?

Dunwoody College of Technology. 

What is your degree in?

My field of study was Automotive Service Technology—the same program I teach now.

How long have you been working at Dunwoody?

17 years!

What is your favorite part about working at Dunwoody?

Forming and strengthening departmental relationships.

Where did you work prior to Dunwoody? For how long?

My background ranges from working for automotive franchises to obtaining a tech position at a dealership. I have over 20 years of industry experience in multiple segments of automotive.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Students’ interaction with all of Dunwoody’s advanced automotive diagnostic equipment.

What are you determined to do?

Continue to work for Dunwoody College of Technology until I choose to retire.

What do you enjoy most about Dunwoody’s labs/shops/equipment?

Our Automotive department continues to invest in the technology necessary to provide students with an excellent opportunity to learn. Students are exposed not only to the latest industry vehicles, but also to the tools and equipment needed to make repairs.

Dunwoody to offer five summer camps in 2018

Searching for something to do this summer? Interested in exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) careers and Dunwoody programs? Look no further.

Dunwoody is excited to offer five different summer camp opportunities in 2018:

Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) College Prep Summer Camp: June 11-July 21, 2018
For students completing their junior or senior year in Spring 2018.

YCAP Summer Camp is a six-week camp that helps prepare high school juniors and seniors for college.

Campers will:

  • Explore technical degrees and career opportunities at Dunwoody
  • Take college-readiness courses
  • Participate in field trips and visits to job sites

Those who are accepted into a Dunwoody program after the camp will be eligible to receive a scholarship of up to $10,000/year for two years.

Questions? Contact Peggy Quam, Assistant Director of Special Initiatives, at or 612.381.3067.

Register for YCAP College Prep Summer Camp.

Stem Camp: June 18-21, 2018
For students entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school in Fall 2018. 

STEM Camp is a four-day camp that allows high schoolers to explore topics in STEM-related fields.

Campers will:

  • Design and build projects
  • Experience 3D printing, electronics, code writing, CAD modeling, and manufacturing
  • Take a tour of Boston Scientific

Questions? Contact Janet Nurnberg, Industrial Engineering Technology Program Manager, at or 612.381.3351.

Register for Stem Camp.

Power Girls: June 24-29, 2018
For girls entering grades 6-12 in Fall 2018.

Power Girls is a 6-day camp, hosted at Girl Scouts River Valleys’  Camp Lakamaga in partnership with Dunwoody women staff and faculty.

Campers will:

  • Create hands-on projects
  • Practice construction and welding
  • Build a Tiny House

Register for Power Girls.

 Discover Interior Design Camp: June 25-28, 2018
For students entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school in Fall 2018.

Held in partnership with RSP Architects, Discover Interior Design is a four-day camp that introduces high schoolers to the world of interior design.

Campers will:

  • Study color, materials, architectural drawing, and digital media
  • Work with established, professional designers
  • Visit local design firms

Questions? Contact Nada Sarraf-Knowles, Interior Design Assistant Professor, at or 612.381.3352.

Register for Discover Interior Design Camp.

Arts-N-Crafts, Robots & Computing Camp: July 16-20, 2018
For students entering grades 6-8 in Fall 2018. 

Arts-N-Crafts, Robots & Computing Camp is a five-day camp that allows middle schoolers to explore the basics of computing through arts and crafts projects.

Campers will:

  • Build and program robots
  • Learn about Artbotics
  • Program with Scratch

Questions? Contact Rob Bentz, Dean of Computer Technology, at or 612.381.8117.

Register for Arts-N-Crafts, Robots & Computing Camp.

Dunwoody celebrates new creative campaign

Campus community celebrates the makers, fixers, doers, builders, and designers of the world.

Dunwoody College of Technology kicked off its new creative campaign the week of March 19, which aims to celebrate the Dunwoody student—who they are and how they learn.

The campaign, which will continue to be rolled out in the coming weeks, will feature new billboard designs, bus wraps, digital streaming and social spots, campus signage, and a new website.

The goal of the campaign is to illustrate Dunwoody’s educational philosophy as well as the valuable and unifying qualities of Dunwoody students and alumni.

Campaign concepts highlight Dunwoody’s differentiators, which include:

  • An active, experiential learning model that is “A Little Less Talk, and A Lot More Action.”
  • A collaborative and practical environment that allows students to “Explore, Design, Create, Refine. Repeat.”
  • Curriculum and projects that prove “Teamwork Isn’t Taught By A Book.”
  • An educational institution for those who are
    determined and “Born to Do.”
  • Because, Dunwoody believes “Your Degree Should Work ForYou.”

The College is encouraging prospective students, current students, employees, alumni, donors, and friends to participate in the campaign by sharing photos of projects, job sites, or personal and professional accomplishments using the hashtags #MakeYourFuture, #BornToDo, and #DunwoodyDetermined.

Dunwoody student credits YCAP for his bright future

Aneyso Tahir will graduate with an Automated Systems & Robotics degree in May and keep the job he landed earlier this year at Honeywell.

Aneyso Tahir won’t receive his degree until May, but his Dunwoody education has already landed him a career in the tactical guidance arena.

Tahir, who is finishing up his Associate of Applied Science degree in Automated Systems & Robotics this spring, was recently hired as an electro-mechanical technician for Honeywell.

In his new position, Tahir is working with gyroscopes, which are used in navigation systems for manned and unmanned aircrafts.

“It’s really interesting,” Tahir said, adding that Honeywell was one of his top two picks for employers.

It’s also an opportunity he credits YCAP—Dunwoody’s Youth Career Awareness Program—in helping him find.

Deciding Dunwoody

A hands-on learner, Tahir became interested in electronics after taking a class in high school, but it wasn’t until his senior year that Dunwoody became an option.

Tahir learned about YCAP after attending a Dunwoody’s Open House. And the program—which included a 6-week summer college prep camp that introduced students to different technical career paths— was exactly what Tahir was looking for.

“When I got accepted into YCAP, it was a turning point for me,” Tahir said.

Born in Kenya, Tahir moved to America with his family when he was in the second grade. He explained his family came to this Country for more opportunities and a better life. They also stressed the importance of education and encouraged Tahir to earn a college degree.

Tahir had always been a good student and after attending the college prep camp, he knew that Dunwoody’s focused and active learning environment was right for him.

The right fit

“What I’ve liked about Dunwoody is how they prepare you for your career,” he said. “And once you graduate, you are ready to start working.”

Tahir also appreciates the college’s rigorous curriculum.

“While I was in high school some of my older friends were attending college and taking their generals,” Tahir recalls. “They had so much time on their hands. I thought, you shouldn’t have this much free time if you are in college!”

To his enjoyment, free time is something Tahir doesn’t have much of these days. But when he isn’t attending class or working fulltime, you can find Tahir playing soccer with his friends.

Tahir believes that YCAP helped give him the tools he needed to succeed during his college career at Dunwoody. Not only did the Camp allow him to get acquainted with his instructors and other students, he explained, but it also helped him find a career path that fit his skills and passions.

“This is my chance, and I’ve been given a head start,” Tahir said about his Dunwoody education.

YCAP is still accepting applications for Summer 2018. Learn more.

Architecture students head to Spain for unique Study Abroad opportunity

For the next ten weeks, a group of Dunwoody Architecture students will be experiencing architecture in a whole new environment.

The students are part of the program’s first-ever study abroad program and are traveling to Barcelona, Spain to immerse themselves in design and urbanism.

Dunwoody Architecture students celebrate upcoming trip at a tapas send-off party.

An immersive learning experience

Led by Molly Reichert, Senior Instructor, the students will be staying with host families and continuing their studies at a maker’s space called Atta33.

To prepare for the trip, the students have been studying the history of Barcelona as it relates to design and recently held an event on campus to celebrate their work.

In addition to designing and producing a book that encompasses their research and findings, the students also completed a set of Dérives: an unplanned journey through a landscape, usually urban, in which participants drop their everyday relations and “let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.”

The students will be using their Dérives as a way to explore Barcelona during their study abroad trip.

“I want to be present in the moment and live life like I live it here,” said Celina Nelson, a fifth-year Bachelor of Architecture student who will be part of the program’s first graduating class this May. “I don’t want to be a tourist.”

In addition to taking classes at the maker’s space, the students will also be blogging about their experiences as part of the study abroad experience.

The College will be following their journey and sharing photos on Facebook and Twitter.

Employee Spotlight: Sharon Jirak, Computer Networking Assistant Professor

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the small town of New Haven, Iowa.

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

I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Industrial Technology. Later, I graduated from Dunwoody’s ELNS program.

How long have you been working at Dunwoody? 

15 years!

What is your favorite part about working at Dunwoody? 

My favorite part about working at Dunwoody is being a part of hands-on learning. I have so many opportunities to see the look of accomplishment on a student’s face after a good day in the lab.

What is your favorite memory at Dunwoody? 

One of my favorite memories at Dunwoody was watching one of my students receive the Student Leadership Award at the end of the year. He was with his parents, and he looked so proud. That was an award that was highly deserved.

Have you seen Dunwoody’s “project-focused, real-world learning” educational philosophy work? How?

Yes. Graduates have told me that many of the projects they did in class have been directly applicable to their job, and that having done those projects helped them tremendously.

For example, a former student in Web Programming & Database Development told me about a very helpful project she did while in the program. Her group met with an actual company, got requirements and use cases from them, planned and proposed a site idea, and then built it. She said that the site is still active today and that it was a very realistic and helpful lesson!

What are a few of your hobbies?
  1. Doing anything with my family
  2. Gardening
  3. Editing family videos (at a very amateur-level!)
  4. Genealogy
Do you have any pets? 

Yes. Three cats.

What skill would you like to master?

Video editing.

What books or TV shows are you enjoying right now?

I’m enjoying re-runs of older shows I used to watch like “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”, “Coach”, and “Hogan’s Heroes”.

What three things could you not live without?
  1. My wonderful family.
  2. A place outside where I could plant tomatoes.
  3. Internet access. I get antsy when I’m on idle time and go too long without it.
Please provide 2-3  fun facts about yourself.
  1. Before I started teaching here, I had such terrible stage fright. It was to the point that I would get sick thinking about having to get up and speak in front of people! I thank Toastmasters and “falling on my face” several times in the beginning for turning that around.
  2. I was a student in the first class Rob Bentz (current Dean of Computer Technology) taught here at Dunwoody.

Employee Spotlight: Dawn Fish, Director of Development

Where did you grow up?


What is your educational background?

I am a non-traditional college graduate. I graduated and passed my cosmetology school license exam while still in high school. Several years later, I was fortunate to work for a woman in the marketing function of AgriBank, who encouraged me to get my bachelor’s degree, which I completed between St. Kate’s and Metropolitan State University. I later completed two master’s degrees: a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from St. Kate’s and a Master of Science in Legal Studies from Kaplan University. I’m the first in my family to have completed a bachelor’s degree and the only one to complete a master’s degree.

I’m now embarking on a Certified Financial Planner program. This will help me better explore gifts of non-cash assets, like real estate, business ownership, and stocks with our Dunwoody donors.

How long have you been working at Dunwoody?

Two years.

Why did you decide to work at Dunwoody?

Before being hired at Dunwoody, I was employed as a senior major gift officer at Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation. I was smitten when I learned more about Dunwoody. In addition to its academic strengths, Dunwoody is an icon in Minneapolis history and philanthropy.

What is your favorite memory at Dunwoody?

It is every moment when a non-donor becomes a donor and realizes they want to benefit Dunwoody. Being a part of a donor’s decision to make a gift is a privilege. From the recent $1.5 million endowment gift to support women students, to an alumnus who made a provision in his estate for a $2.5 million gift, to a small gift from someone who just loves Dunwoody—it’s great to be involved in these conversations and decisions.

What are a few of your hobbies?

Home renovation and improvement projects, landscaping, gardening, reading, and exercising—my husband and I have to keep up with our 8-year-old German Shepherd, Maximus.

Who are some of your favorite musicians? Do you have any favorite concerts?

I have a diverse Spotify play list. My all-time favorite concert was sitting in Northrop Auditorium on stage behind Gordon Lightfoot.

What are three of your favorite snacks?

Potato chips, almonds, and popcorn. I try to substitute a good apple for potato chips, but sometimes the chips win out.

What are you most proud of?

My daughter, Holly. She lives in Chicago now, where she co-manages a privately owned restaurant.

Fun facts:
  • In my work as a professional fundraiser, I’ve had the great opportunity to travel the country and meet people like Lee Iacocca, Mrs. Currier & Ives, Smokey Robinson, and Tommy Lee Jones.
  • In the less sophisticated days of fundraising, I once carried a plain brown paper bag holding $50,000 in cash from an event across the U of M East Bank campus.
  • Two of my three brothers are NEI (which later merged with Dunwoody) grads.
  • I am a survivor of a rare skeletal Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which was originally misdiagnosed four days before Christmas 2010 as secondary bone cancer that would take my life.

Fall 2017 Graduates Announced

Dunwoody College of Technology is delighted to recognize the following Fall 2017 graduates. The individuals listed below completed their Dunwoody degree in December 2017.

The Commencement Ceremony for Fall 2017 and Spring/Summer 2018 graduates will take place Thursday, May 17, 2018, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. More details can be found at the Registrar Office’s Commencement Page.

For questions about the list of Fall 2017 graduates, please contact the Registrar’s Office at

Albrecht Alexander
Andersen Benjamin
Andersen Matthew
Anderson Peter
Anderson Trevor
Beck Tylor
Beery Grant
Benson-Devine Jacob
Billmeyer Kirsten
Bloom Corey
Brown Joseph
Campbell Matthew
Carlin Samuel
Caza Chad
Chang Ma
Dahlquist Aaron
Dallman James
Davis Michael
Dobson Sean
Eisele Dylon
El Hmamsi Adam
Elrod Jay
Evans Dustin
Fahey Kaela
Fanslow Jared
Faraone Dale
Gagnon Sarah
Grauf Ryan
Gretz Jacob
Grzeskowiak Jason
Hajlo Nicholas
Hanscom Marc
Hibbs Andrew
Hiniker William
Holt Dustin
Humann Andrew
Ibiyemi Victor
Janiak Jordan
Jeske John
Jocelyn Jeremy
Jordan Tyler
Jurgens Joshua
Kallies Brandon
Kelliher John
Kloos Brian
Koerner Megan
Kohman Steven
Kragt Saige
Krause Glenn
Kretsch Tyler
Kritz Brigitte
Kuchta Benjamin
Lambert Derek
Langford William
Levine Charles
Lofgren Chad
Lutz Ashley
Madden Daniel
Magnuson Scott
Maupin Erik
McLaury Lacy
McNamer Patrick
Meier Shane
Miller Charles
Miner Marcus
Molenaar Michael
Moryn Jacob
Muckala Jonathan
Negasi Dawit
Nguyen Michael
Nodes Cameron
Novellino Peter
O’Brien Brandon
Ostwald Mitchell
Petersen Andrew
Peterson Ben
Peterson Nolan
Quasabart Grant
Rachor Paul
Reese-Carriger Geoffrey
Rodewald Madelyn
Rodriguez Roberto
Roeun Saray
Rosckes Justin
Rynda Daniel
Sager Amber
Salazar Alonso
Schafer Taylor
Schneider Lucas
Smith Cody
Smith Jacob
Smith Luke
Snyder Matthew
Steelman Joshua
Stoffels Karl
Stuhr Haylee
Thomson Steven
Townsend Xavier
Valley Jesse
VanderWal Julie
Vang Ba
Vang Brian
Vath Rachel
Walczak Joel
West Karen
Wilson Arthur
Wollschlager Gavin
Wright Molly
Xiong Khue
Xiong Pang
Yu Wei
Zentner Ryan
Zmuda Charles