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.

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 pquam@dunwoody.edu 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 jnurnberg@dunwoodye.edu 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 nsarrafknowles@dunwoody.edu 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 rbentz@dunwoody.edu 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.

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.