Category Archives: Student Competitions

Dunwoody students compete, place in 2018 Construct*ium Pentathlon event

Dunwoody Construction Management, Construction Project Management students bring home eight awards from annual competition.

Congratulations to all of the Dunwoody students who participated in the 2018 Construct*ium Pentathlon event! Sponsored by Wells Concrete, the annual competition—which just celebrated its third year—brings together Construction Management students from 10 local schools.

At the event, students refine and showcase the communication, leadership, and management skills needed to succeed in today’s built environment.
 
This year’s competitions included:
  1. Negotiations;
  2. Pecha Kucha (timed, fast-paced presentations);
  3. Toastmaster table topics (public speaking);
  4. Job interviewing; and
  5. The Pursuit (students create and present a complete proposal to win the contract for a real project).
The award standings are:
 

Negotiations: Tyler Fish, 3rd Place
 
Pecha Kucha: Dana Maier, 1st Place
Toastmaster Table Topics: Tyler Fish, 1st Place; Nathan
Swanson, 2nd Place; Dana Maier, 3rd Place
Job Interview: Melysia Cha, 1st Place
Pursuit: Matt Hackman, 5th Place
(Additional Dunwoody competitors: Matt Dahlseng, Nathan Schmidt, Dan Stenzel, Nathan Swanson, and Shantel Volker)
Overall Pentathlon Winners: Dana Maier, 3rd Place; Tyler Fish, 4th Place

Construction Project Management senior instructors Matt Durand and Karie Johnson—who helped the students prepare for the competition—said they hope to make this competition an annual Dunwoody tradition.

Machine Tool Technology students showcase their creative thinking in Rube Goldberg Machine project

Rube Gold·berg (adj.)
ingeniously or unnecessarily complicated in design or construction.


It took them weeks to build, included hundreds of parts and dozens of steps—and it was over in a matter of minutes.

But the end result couldn’t have been more perfect.

Five teams—each comprised of three Machine Tool Technology students—recently demonstrated their creative thinking and problem-solving skills when they were challenged to build a Rube Goldberg machine.

Each machine was to involve a series of devices performing simple tasks, all linked together to produce a domino effect in which activating one device would trigger the next.

A minimum of 10 steps per machine was required.

Students push project bounds further

If all of that wasn’t complicated enough, the students decided they also needed to up the ante. Part way into the project, the teams decided that every one of the machines should also be linked, and that the last step in each machine should  trigger the first step in the next team’s machine.

And it was up to each team individually to decide exactly how that would be accomplished.

The results were both creative and ingenious and included everything from balls rolling down ramps to sound activation that played “Eye of the Tiger.”

“It all worked flawlessly,” said Russ Gallaway, a Machine Tool Technology student.

From L to R: Yong Pha,  Marc Leahy, and Russ Gallaway

That “flawlessness” was the result of working one to two days a week for about a month on the project. When completed, each machine was about 4 feet deep and 5 feet tall.

“It was all about creative problem solving,” Gallaway said, adding that his team, which included Young Pha and Marc Leahy, put their machine together with spare parts they scrounged from home and found in the trash.

Learn more about Machine Tool Technology.

Five Dunwoody students place in 2018 SkillsUSA State Competition

Two students advance to SkillsUSA Nationals.

Dunwoody College students performed well at the 2018 SkillsUSA State Competition late last month, bringing home two 1st place medals, two 2nd place medals, and one 3rd place medal.

Electrical Construction & Maintenance student Matthew Longendyke placed first in the Related Technical Math competition; Architecture students Karla Schmitt, Garrett VanRoekel, and Helena Perez placed first, second, and third respectively in the Architectural Drafting competition; and Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing student Angel Paucar placed second in the Collision Repair competition.

Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing students Tyler Thompson and Cody Huset, and Electrical Construction & Maintenance students Michael Notch, Angela Arndt, and Andrew Prestegaard also competed.

“SkillsUSA competitions provide so many benefits for the students,” Polly Friendshuh, SkillsUSA Coordinator and Competition Advisor, shared. “It’s not just a resume builder, but it’s also something that gives students a sense of pride and accomplishment. It is a way for them to show off the skills they have learned.”

Dunwoody heads to Nationals

Both Longendyke and Schmitt will advance to the SkillsUSA Nationals Competition in Louisville, KY, this June. This will be Longendyke’s second time competing nationally in the Related Technical Math contest. In 2017, he placed fourth overall.

“I always enjoy watching students participate in their events,” Friendshuh said. “You can literally see the nerves disappear when they are focusing on their projects.

“I am proud of each of our competitors in all the contests—especially for just for putting themselves out there.”

SkillsUSA: a Dunwoody tradition

Dunwoody has been proudly participating in SkillsUSA Minnesota for many years.

The competition, which celebrated its 51st anniversary this year, aims to bring together students, teachers, and industry to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

The College will participate again in the 2019 competition.

If you are interested in joining the 2019 SkillsUSA team, please contact Associate Director of Career Services Rob Borchardt at 612.381.3322 or rborchardt@dunwoody.edu.

Finding the right mix

Concrete Bowling Ball Competition 1Dunwoody students designing a better concrete bowling ball

It might only be eight inches in diameter and weigh less than 12 pounds, but there is nothing simple about designing and constructing a concrete bowling ball. But two Dunwoody students are taking on the challenge and putting their creativity and ingenuity to the test at an international competition later this month.

Sponsored by the American Concrete Institute (ACI), the international FRC Bowling Ball Competition will be held on March 25 in Salt Lake City, Utah during the Concrete Convention and Exposition. The object of the competition is to demonstrate the effect of fiber reinforced concrete, to gain experience in forming and fabricating a fiber-reinforced concrete element, and to encourage creativity in engineering design and analysis.

This is the first year that Dunwoody will compete in the competition, said Ben Holbrook, Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology Senior Instructor. Holbrook was told about the competition from an industry connection and brought it forward to students in the Construction Sciences & Building Technology program areas to see if there was interest.

Construction Project Management student Nate Swanson and Surveying & Civil Engineering Technology student Hayden Swanson were immediately on board with the project.

The rules of the game

Holbrook said that engineering a perfectly round ball from concrete is difficult enough, but competition rules make it even trickier. Typically, an 8-inch diameter ball of concrete would weigh about 24 pounds, but guidelines for the event state that each bowling ball must weigh no more than 12 pounds.

N. Swanson said that each team is allowed to use two additional materials to achieve the goal. The Dunwoody team has chosen to use a Styrofoam ball inside the concrete as well as a polymer filler.

Deciding on the right mixture has taken the team hours of planning and designing, and then they still needed to fabricate it. Last week, the team moved into forming and testing their design. In order to form the 8-inch cylindrical shape, the Dunwoody team decided to use a round lighting fixture as their mold.

Getting ready for competition

The team is making multiple concrete bowling balls using their design so they can test them out before heading out to Salt Lake City. More than 50 teams from around the world will be competing in this year’s competition.

The competition includes two categories: Bowling Ball Design and Bowling Ball Analysis. Both categories require knowledge and experience about concrete, fiber reinforcement, material behavior, and bowling. Tests during the competition will include a mass test, diameter test, toughness test, and load test. In addition, each team will compete in a bowling test to see which team can score the highest in six-pin bowling.

Both N. Swanson and H. Swanson said they have enjoyed using their knowledge and skills to find innovative solutions in a hands-on competition.    

Robotics & Manufacturing students compete, help out teams at Autonomous Snowplow Competition

Dunwoody students receive sportsmanship award for fourth year in a row.

While most don’t necessarily relish the idea of snowstorms and clearing driveways…there are some folks who do. And you’ll likely find them at the annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition.

Dunwoody Robotics & Manufacturing students have competed in the Institute of Navigation (ION’s) Autonomous Snowplow Competition, since its inauguration in 2011. Held during the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the event serves as an opportunity for universities, colleges, and the general public to showcase hand-built machines that can independently clear piles of snow without any manual control.

It’s one of the Robotics & Manufacturing student’s favorite and most successful competitions, and the teams have the record to prove it.

Last year, Dunwoody placed 3rd and 5th in the competition.

And this year, Dunwoody earned its highest place to date when Team Wendigo brought home 2nd place and a $4,000 prize.

Dunwoody’s Snow Devils Team closely followed with 5th place and a $700 prize.

But for Dunwoody students, the annual event is about more than just winning. It’s also about sharing their love and knowledge of technology with the judges and spectators—and even the competition itself.

Snowplow Competition about more than just winning

“All that knowledge and experience doesn’t count for much if you don’t find ways to use it,” Automated Systems & Robotics student and Wendigo Team member Jeremy Berg said.

“This event isn’t just about who can take first place—it’s about seeing different ideas for autonomous thinking in action,” Berg added. “These people are our future coworkers and friends, and we want to be the go-to people to lend a hand or solve any issue.”

That mentality has contributed to the College earning the sportsmanship award in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, and again this year, 2018.

Sportsmanship Award has meaningful history

Created by ION in 2012, the sportsmanship award honors the team that exhibited the best sportspersonship throughout the competition.

The award was renamed the Dr. Nattu Natarajan Golden Smile Award just a few years later after University of Michigan-Dearborn professor and competition leader Dr. Narasimhamurthi (Nattu) Natarajan, who passed away from a lung illness on the Saturday morning of the 2016 competition.

The award and its significance means a great deal to Dunwoody.

“I worked with Professor Natu at the competition those first few years,” Robotics & Manufacturing Dean E.J. Daigle said. “And he loved the Dunwoody students and teamwork.

“Many of these teams are traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles to compete. As a local team, it is easy for us to pack up extra tools and supplies to help teams make repairs to their vehicles.

“We have made it our mission each year to ensure that every team competes.”

And that’s exactly what they did.

The value of teamwork

Daigle shared that one of the reasons Dunwoody received the award this year is because his students were able to help out Case Western’s Sno-Joke robot, which had completely dead batteries on the last day of the competition.

With no safe or easy way to charge it at the event, the team thought they might be out of luck.

But by using personal jumper cables from Dunwoody students’ cars, “We were able to find a way to parallel their batteries with ours and maintain running the battery chargers at full capacity,” Daigle explained. “This allowed us to charge their machines and our machines at the same time.”

Thanks to the students’ quick thinking, the team, which had originally missed their scheduled run time, was able to compete at the end of the day Sunday—even beating out Dunwoody for fourth place.

The students helped another team in a similar scenario back in 2016.

Daigle recalls that at one point during that competition, a school announced they were going to quit due to technical difficulties when another team suggested they, “find Dunwoody–they can fix anything.”

“To me, that is far more valuable than whatever place you come in,” Daigle said. “I couldn’t be any prouder.”

Learn more about Dunwoody Robotics & Manufacturing.

Dunwoody earns First Place in annual AICC Competition second year in a row

Dunwoody students earned First Place in AICC’s Annual Corrugated as Art competition along with a $500 cash prize, and an all-expense paid trip to the Association of Independent Corrugated Converters (AICC)’s Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.

AICC Competition Team 2017

From left to right: Kris Patterson, Kristin Warehime, and Brann Haugen

When Pre-Media Technologies student Kristin Warehime found out that the theme of this year’s AICC Corrugated as Art student competition was “Las Vegas,” she immediately thought of the Bellagio.

“I wanted to figure out how to get some movement in there,” Warehime said. “I liked the idea of somehow moving the water in the hotel’s front fountains.”

With this in mind, Warehime teamed up with Graphic Design students Brann Haugen and Kris Patterson to design and build a replica of the Bellagio Hotel made entirely out of corrugated cardboard – complete with its signature fountain.

Their hard work recently paid off, earning them First Place, a $500 cash prize, and an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas to attend AICC’s Annual Meeting.

Building the Bellagio

The BellagioAdding movement to the Hotel’s fountains wasn’t easy, but the team took on the challenge.

Haugen invented a pull-tab mechanism that could rotate and shift the water on a set of gears, giving the piece a dynamic user experience.

“I had to adjust the size of the teeth on the gears multiple times,” Haugen said. “It was really a trial and error process. It wasn’t like anything I had done before, so it was a good learning experience.”

The students also worked with Architecture Adjunct Instructor Stephen Knowles to learn more about the College’s Boss Laser table. With this machine, they could take their replica to the next level by refining the details in the cutouts.

“The Boss Laser worked really well for cutting the water,” Patterson said. “We wouldn’t have been able to get that much detail without it.”

In addition to designing and building the structure, the students had to submit an instruction manual and essay. All of which contributed to their First Place prize.

The team travels to the AICC Annual Meeting

The team will be traveling to Vegas for AICC’s Annual Meeting at the end of September where they will have the chance to network with professionals from the packaging industry.

In addition to networking, the students will be paired up with seasoned structural design industry professionals in a multi-day design lab where they will learn design and production tips and techniques.

“The Annual Meeting is where the leaders in the industry gather,” Principal Pre-Media Technologies Instructor Pete Rivard said. “The networking will be unbelievable.”

The Dunwoody Difference

“Our program has been evolving over the past decade toward an emphasis in packaging and retail in-store displays – which features heavy use of corrugated substrates – and reflects our geographical region’s expertise, career opportunities, and international standing in this market,” Rivard said.

In their first year of study, students in the Design & Graphics Technology department are challenged to find innovative ways to use the state-of-the-industry software and equipment in the College’s print and packaging facilities, including ArtiosCAD.

“[Building the Hotel] was a good review of the Artios program,” Warehime said. “I feel like this experience really built on the stuff I learned in the packaging class.”

“This win continues to validate our decision to concentrate our curriculum on packaging design with an emphasis in materials exploration and aesthetics,” Rivard said.

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

Dunwoody makes debut in BWBR Prize competition, student Celina Nelson wins prize

Dunwoody Architecture students enter their semester final projects at 2017 BWBR competition.

Six Dunwoody Architecture students participated in the 2017 BWBR Prize for the first time last month, each leaving the competition with real-world experience, improved final projects, and some extra cash.

Celina Nelson took home one of the competition’s first-place prizes and a $1,500 check, while the remaining Dunwoody contestants received $250 for participating.

Dunwoody Architecture Student Celina Nelson

Dunwoody Architecture Student Celina Nelson

“I feel a new sense of confidence that I haven’t had before,” said Nelson.

Dunwoody eligible to compete in BWBR Prize for the first time

St. Paul architecture firm BWBR hosts the competition each year as a way for architecture and interior design students entering their final year of schooling to meet, network, and prepare for their careers.

Nelson's final, sketched site plan

Nelson’s final sketched site plan

With Dunwoody Architecture’s first cohort set to graduate next year, this was the very first year Dunwoody has been eligible to compete in the annual event.

“I was nervous [to compete], because this would be the first time that our final presentation would be for a prize, and not a grade,” Nelson said. “The stakes were definitely high.”

Each participating college was judged separately at the event, with students typically competing with projects or finals they had already created for school. Students presented their projects to a panel of BWBR employees who then critiqued them on their designs, presentation, and public speaking skills.

Students present to BWBR employees
Exterior rendering of the front side of the house

Exterior rendering of the front side of the house

Dunwoody student submissions consisted of their final projects for an Architecture Studio class. This was one of the first classes where students had the freedom to create their own client as well as independently design a building from start to finish.

Nelson—whose project was a single-family residential home—said the entire process provided her with a new way of thinking and working.

“It was nice to create the parameters of the client first and then design for the client,” Nelson said. “Instead of just being willy nilly like, ‘I want a fireplace here’, ‘I want a door here.’

Interior rendering of the kitchen/dining area

Interior rendering of the kitchen/dining area

“Because when you have a real client, you have to have empathy and have to understand where they’re coming from and design for them, not for yourself. That was a really important lesson that I took away from this: learning how to say ‘their house’, ‘they wanted this’, instead of ‘I wanted this.’”

The first round of Architecture graduates are set to graduate in May of 2018.

Learn more about Dunwoody Architecture.

Two Dunwoody students advance to 2017 SkillsUSA National Competition

Dunwoody brings home 6 medals in 2017 State Competition.

Architectural Drafting & Design student Eli Abnet and Electrical Construction & Maintenance student Matthew Longendyke are headed to Louisville, Ky., for the National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC) thanks to their first place wins at the 2017 SkillsUSA MN Competition earlier this month.

Abnet won the Architecture portion of the competition. Longendyke took first in the Related Technical Math contest.

In addition to the two gold medals, Dunwoody students also brought home a 2nd place medal in Related Technical Math (Andrew Schmitz, Electrical Construction Design & Management), 2nd place medal in Architecture (Reid Schumacher, Architectural Drafting & Design), and two 3rd place medals in Collision and Automotive Refinishing (John Spartz, Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing).

In total, 12 Dunwoody students competed in six different areas in the 2017 competition.

Abnet and Longendyke will join more than 6,000 other technical education students—all state winners—at the National Competition Wednesday, June 21, and Thursday, June 22.

The event is open to the public and free of charge.

To get involved in SkillsUSA 2018, contact Dunwoody SkillsUSA Coordinator Polly Friendshuh at 612.381. 8107 or pfriendshuh@dunwoody.edu.