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Softball Posts 2nd Consecutive 21-Win Season

Blue Knights win two in Region 13 tourney before losing to Williston State

The Blue Knights fastpitch softball team at Dakota County Technical College finished the 2013–2014 season with a 21–9 record, matching a team record for wins. The team went 21–11 last year. The Knights compete in NJCAA Division II softball.

DCTC traveled to Bismarck, N.D., for the NJCAA Region 13 Fastpitch Softball Tournament May 3–4, 2014, at the MDU Resources Community Bowl. The Knights took their first two games, downing the Lake Region State College Royals 14–4 and the Williston State College Tetons 8–1. The Tetons (29–15) went on to defeat DCTC 2–12 and 4–12 to advance to the District F Championship Series in Columbus, Neb.

DCTC Blue Knights Fastpitch Softball 2013-2014

DCTC Blue Knights Fastpitch Softball 2013-2014

In 30 games, DCTC batted .355 as a team, scoring 178 runs with a .437 on base percentage and .516 slugging percentage. Sophomore Amanda Orrell (1B, CF) led the team in batting with a .568 average. Sophomore Kendall Palfi (P,1B) went 14–5 on the season with a 3.24 ERA.

Head Coach Tom Cross was pleased with his players and their performance. “We had a terrific season,” Cross said. “Our team was mostly sophomores who enjoyed a lot of success over the course of two years. Next year will be a rebuilding process, but we do have outstanding talent coming into our program.”

DCTC vs Century College | @home April 19, 2014 | 11–1 Blue Knights

Player spotlights

Amanda Orrell

Amanda Orrell

Amanda Orrell
Age: 20
Hometown: Santa Maria, Calif.
Residence now: Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
Program area: Individualized Studies
Degree: A.S.
Year: Sophomore
Position: 1B, CF
Number: 3

A 2012 graduate of Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria, Calif., the largest city in Santa Barbara County with population topping 110,000, Amanda Orrell played fours years of varsity softball for the PVHS Panthers. Amanda was featured in the Santa Maria Times article, “Panthers’ distinguished hitter: Amanda Orrell an all-around star on the softball field,” where her coach called her “…one of the best pure hitters I’ve ever had.” She hit .529 that year was named to the First-Team All-PAC 7 League.

Amanda chose DCTC for the chance to play for the Blue Knights. She likes that DCTC is a smaller college and all her classes are in the same building. Her program, Individualized Studies, allowed her to custom-design her courses to help meet her long-term educational goal of achieving a baccalaureate degree while giving her more opportunities to explore her career options. Her first love is fastpitch softball.

“I like the hitting,” said Amanda, who made the NFCA NJCAA Division II All-Region Midwest Region Team in 2013. “I like being the lead-off power hitter. I like how softball is a team sport. Everybody’s producing and getting their job done. We are always picking each other up and staying positive.”

Amanda Orrell 2013–2014 stats

DCTC vs CenturyBatting

  • Games: 26
  • Average: .568 *
  • Runs: 37
  • Hits: 50
  • Doubles: 15
  • Triples: 2
  • HR: 4
  • RBI: 22
  • On base percentage: .500 **
  • Slugging percentage: .700 ***

* 2nd in NJCAA Region 13
** 1st in NJCAA Region 13
*** 13th in NJCAA Region 13

Head Coach Tom Cross: “Amanda Orrell was a key player in our success especially as our lead-off hitter. She is a combination of speed and power.”

For all 2013–2014 statistics, visit:
NJCAA Softball: Dakota County Technical College

Amanda’s plans for after DCTC include attending either Mayville State University in Mayville, N.D., or the University of Jamestown, in Jamestown, N.D. Her major of choice is psychology with an emphasis in social work. She would like to play NAIA softball for either the Comets or Jimmies. Amanda is looking forward to a career in social work after earning her bachelor’s degree.

Kendall Palfi

Kendall Palfi

Kendall Palfi
Age: 21
Hometown: Lakeville, Minn.
Residence now: Farmington, Minn.
Program area: Individualized Studies
Degree: A.S.
Year: Sophomore
Position: P, 1B
Number: 13

Kendall Palfi was active in a number of roles on the DCTC campus, earning recognition as the 2014 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student of the Year. Kendall served as a student ambassador and secretary of the Student Senate. She participated in Leadership from the Heart, an intense two-day leadership training seminar offered to DCTC student leaders, and attended Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) leadership conferences.

A transfer student from the University of North Dakota, Kendall chose DCTC to advance her education and play fastpitch softball. She pitched two seasons for the Blue Knights and was named team captain both years. She earned NJCAA Region 13 MVP in 2013 and also made the NJCAA All-Region 13 and All-Tournament teams.

“I really love the pressure of pitching,” Kendall said. “I enjoy the camaraderie of a team sport. We can generate hits through the entire lineup and everyone steps up when needed.”

Kendall Palfi 2013–2014 stats

DCTC vs CenturyPitching

  • Games started: 19
  • Record: 14–5
  • Innings pitched: 121
  • Strikeouts: 117
  • ERA: 3.24

Batting

  • Games: 24
  • Average: .414
  • Runs: 17
  • Hits: 29
  • Doubles: 9
  • Triples: 1
  • HR: 3
  • RBI: 16
  • On base percentage: .500
  • Slugging percentage: .700

Head Coach Tom Cross: “Kendall Palfi was the backbone of our team. She is very positive player who led us with her arm and her bat.”

For all 2013–2014 statistics, visit:
NJCAA Softball: Dakota County Technical College

A 2011 graduate of Lakeville South High School, Kendall is making plans to transfer to the University of Arizona in the fall to pursue a B.A. in Communication and the chance to play NCAA softball for the Wildcats. In her free time, she enjoys working on Plymouth muscle cars, including a 1970 Superbird, a 1967 Barracuda and a 1968 GTX convertible.

For more information about Blue Knights fastpitch softball at Dakota County Technical College, contact:
  • Tom Cross
    Fastpitch Softball Head Coach
    651-423-8677

 

Softball Posts 2nd Consecutive 21-Win Season

Blue Knights win two in Region 13 tourney before losing to Williston State

The Blue Knights fastpitch softball team at Dakota County Technical College finished the 2013–2014 season with a 21–9 record, matching a team record for wins. The team went 21–11 last year. The Knights compete in NJCAA Division II softball.

DCTC traveled to Bismarck, N.D., for the NJCAA Region 13 Fastpitch Softball Tournament May 3–4, 2014, at the MDU Resources Community Bowl. The Knights took their first two games, downing the Lake Region State College Royals 14–4 and the Williston State College Tetons 8–1. The Tetons (29–15) went on to defeat DCTC 2–12 and 4–12 to advance to the District F Championship Series in Columbus, Neb.

DCTC Blue Knights Fastpitch Softball 2013-2014

DCTC Blue Knights Fastpitch Softball 2013-2014

In 30 games, DCTC batted .355 as a team, scoring 178 runs with a .437 on base percentage and .516 slugging percentage. Sophomore Amanda Orrell (1B, CF) led the team in batting with a .568 average. Sophomore Kendall Palfi (P,1B) went 14–5 on the season with a 3.24 ERA.

Head Coach Tom Cross was pleased with his players and their performance. “We had a terrific season,” Cross said. “Our team was mostly sophomores who enjoyed a lot of success over the course of two years. Next year will be a rebuilding process, but we do have outstanding talent coming into our program.”

DCTC vs Century College | @home April 19, 2014 | 11–1 Blue Knights

 

Player spotlights

Amanda Orrell

Amanda Orrell

Amanda Orrell
Age: 20
Hometown: Santa Maria, Calif.
Residence now: Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
Program area: Individualized Studies
Degree: A.S.
Year: Sophomore
Position: 1B, CF
Number: 3

A 2012 graduate of Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria, Calif., the largest city in Santa Barbara County with population topping 110,000, Amanda Orrell played fours years of varsity softball for the PVHS Panthers. Amanda was featured in the Santa Maria Times article, “Panthers’ distinguished hitter: Amanda Orrell an all-around star on the softball field,” where her coach called her “…one of the best pure hitters I’ve ever had.” She hit .529 that year was named to the First-Team All-PAC 7 League.

Amanda chose DCTC for the chance to play for the Blue Knights. She likes that DCTC is a smaller college and all her classes are in the same building. Her program, Individualized Studies, allowed her to custom-design her courses to help meet her long-term educational goal of achieving a baccalaureate degree while giving her more opportunities to explore her career options. Her first love is fastpitch softball.

“I like the hitting,” said Amanda, who made the NFCA NJCAA Division II All-Region Midwest Region Team in 2013. “I like being the lead-off power hitter. I like how softball is a team sport. Everybody’s producing and getting their job done. We are always picking each other up and staying positive.”

 

Amanda Orrell 2013–2014 stats

DCTC vs CenturyBatting

  • Games: 26
  • Average: .568 *
  • Runs: 37
  • Hits: 50
  • Doubles: 15
  • Triples: 2
  • HR: 4
  • RBI: 22
  • On base percentage: .500 **
  • Slugging percentage: .700 ***

* 2nd in NJCAA Region 13
** 1st in NJCAA Region 13
*** 13th in NJCAA Region 13

Head Coach Tom Cross: “Amanda Orrell was a key player in our success especially as our lead-off hitter. She is a combination of speed and power.”

For all 2013–2014 statistics, visit:
NJCAA Softball: Dakota County Technical College

Amanda’s plans for after DCTC include attending either Mayville State University in Mayville, N.D., or the University of Jamestown, in Jamestown, N.D. Her major of choice is psychology with an emphasis in social work. She would like to play NAIA softball for either the Comets or Jimmies. Amanda is looking forward to a career in social work after earning her bachelor’s degree.

Kendall Palfi

Kendall Palfi

Kendall Palfi
Age: 21
Hometown: Lakeville, Minn.
Residence now: Farmington, Minn.
Program area: Individualized Studies
Degree: A.S.
Year: Sophomore
Position: P, 1B
Number: 13

Kendall Palfi was active in a number of roles on the DCTC campus, earning recognition as the 2014 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student of the Year. Kendall served as a student ambassador and secretary of the Student Senate. She participated in Leadership from the Heart, an intense two-day leadership training seminar offered to DCTC student leaders, and attended Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) leadership conferences.

A transfer student from the University of North Dakota, Kendall chose DCTC to advance her education and play fastpitch softball. She pitched two seasons for the Blue Knights and was named team captain both years. She earned NJCAA Region 13 MVP in 2013 and also made the NJCAA All-Region 13 and All-Tournament teams.

“I really love the pressure of pitching,” Kendall said. “I enjoy the camaraderie of a team sport. We can generate hits through the entire lineup and everyone steps up when needed.”

 

Kendall Palfi 2013–2014 stats

DCTC vs CenturyPitching

  • Games started: 19
  • Record: 14–5
  • Innings pitched: 121
  • Strikeouts: 117
  • ERA: 3.24

Batting

  • Games: 24
  • Average: .414
  • Runs: 17
  • Hits: 29
  • Doubles: 9
  • Triples: 1
  • HR: 3
  • RBI: 16
  • On base percentage: .500
  • Slugging percentage: .700

Head Coach Tom Cross: “Kendall Palfi was the backbone of our team. She is very positive player who led us with her arm and her bat.”

For all 2013–2014 statistics, visit:
NJCAA Softball: Dakota County Technical College

A 2011 graduate of Lakeville South High School, Kendall is making plans to transfer to the University of Arizona in the fall to pursue a B.A. in Communication and the chance to play NCAA softball for the Wildcats. In her free time, she enjoys working on Plymouth muscle cars, including a 1970 Superbird, a 1967 Barracuda and a 1968 GTX convertible.

For more information about Blue Knights fastpitch softball at Dakota County Technical College, contact:
  • Tom Cross
    Fastpitch Softball Head Coach
    651-423-8677

 

Cinco de Mayo @DCTC

MSLA celebrates historic event plus diversity on campus

The Multicultural Student Leadership Association, or MSLA, celebrated Cinco de Mayo in the Student Life Center at Dakota County Technical College May 5, 2014. The event featured live music provided by Paraguayan harpist, Nicolas Carter, and guitarist, Pedro Torres, as well as a Taco Challenge, virgin margaritas and the chance to meet students from other cultures, student clubs and academic programs. Mario Hernández, vice president of the Latino Economic Development Center, spoke about how the college and Latino communities can collaborate to expand higher education opportunities while advancing diversity on campus.

Miriam Vergara“I think everyone should join MSLA, or at least come to one committee meeting. It’s a great experience. You have a lot of connections, you have a lot of great people who are outgoing and willing to become your friend.” — Miriam Vergara

A date of great importance for the Mexican and Chicano communities, Cinco de Mayo marks the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla. Although the Mexican army was eventually defeated, la Batalla de Puebla came to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism. With this victory, Mexico demonstrated to the world that the peoples of Mexico and all Latin America were willing to defend their lives and liberty against foreign intervention.

La Batalla de Puebla

La Batalla de Puebla

Cinco de Mayo @DCTC gallery

Harold Torrence
DCTC Supervisory Management Instructor and MSLA Faculty Advisor

Harold Torrence

Harold Torrence

On building multicultural awareness on campus:

“The members of MSLA started with phase one, which is acknowledging the different groups we have here on campus. We want everyone to feel like, “This is our campus; this is our community.” It’s about integration, coming together; it’s not about differences. There are differences to a certain degree, but also similarities and ways to come together to enjoy our heritage. Later on, we will be featuring more of what Minnesota is. The state is still very diverse, but we have come together and we are all Minnesotans now. In the 1900s, many people didn’t speak English as their first language. They spoke German, Norwegian, Swedish, so we also want to involve that part of the heritage. For example, Patrick Lair, the college’s director of student success, speaking on St. Patrick’s Day. It was amazing to see him, one of ours, sharing his heritage. So we came together to celebrate and that’s phase one, just celebration, coming together.

“Phase two is getting deeper into the issues and challenges that everybody has and seeing how we can improve student retention and recruitment. Phase two is about having a place where students from here and all over the world feel like, “I belong and I can learn from the world.” I would say we are in phase one right now, in celebration. We are trying to build what I call a Beloved Community that focuses on equality and integration, mutual respect, honoring one another—and I think we are moving to that phase already.”

Miriam Vergara
DCTC Business Management Major, Student Senate President and Adjunct Member of the DCTC Foundation Board of Directors

Miriam Vergara

Miriam Vergara

On Cinco de Mayo:

“I help out at some MSLA events through planning and attending. The events are really fun; it’s nice getting to see other cultures, the dance, the design. My part was donating the drinks. I also helped with setting up and recruiting people to attend the event. It’s exciting to watch people enjoying the event and experiencing a new culture. A lot of people don’t get to listen to live music so having musicians today, especially the harp, is a good experience. I like having people know about the Latino culture. It’s not independence day for my people, but it’s nice that DCTC is bringing these kinds of events onto campus.

“I’ve seen a lot of good outcomes with other events we’ve had involving other cultures. It’s exciting that we have a diverse group of people who are willing to know more and expand their knowledge. I think everyone should join MSLA, or at least come to one committee meeting. It’s a great experience. You have a lot of connections, you have a lot of great people who are outgoing and willing to become your friend.”

For more information about the Multicultural Student Leadership Association at DCTC, contact:
  • Harold Torrence
    Supervisory Management Instructor and MSLA Faculty Advisor
    651-423-8606

Health Care Job Boom

Aging population and increasing call for trained personnel drive demand

Health Care TechnicianDakota County Technical College is helping meet the tremendous demand for qualified health care workers through the Health Care Technician program, which provides an efficient and practical pathway into a $2.8 trillion industry that ranks as the fastest-growing economic sector in the country, employing more than 18 million workers. The HCT program offers general education courses that transfer to a four-year college or university as well as professional/technical courses designed to teach the skills required to enter the health care workforce or advance a health care career. The program also prepares students wishing to pursue a future bachelor’s degree in health care.

Elective certifications are a key advantage offered by the Health Care Technician program. Students can graduate with three certificates and have the opportunity to test for the Patient Care Technician/Assistant Certification (CPCT/A) administered by the National Healthcareer Association. Certificates are offered in the following areas:

  • Health Care TechnicianElectrocardiography (EKG) Technician
    • This concentration prepares you to perform diagnostic electrocardiograms at a hospital or other medical facility.
  • Phlebotomy Technician
    • This concentration prepares you to be a specialist in obtaining blood samples at a clinic, hospital, laboratory or other medical facility.
  • Health Care TechnicianNursing Assistant
    • This concentration prepares you to assist dependent clients, home care recipients, and patients with personal care needs.
  • Trained Medication Aide (TMA)
    • This concentration prepares you to dispense patient medications under the supervision of a registered nurse.
  • Health Care TechnicianEMT Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) *
    • This concentration prepares you to provide lifesaving emergency care in a variety of settings.
  • CPCT/ACPCT/A (test preparation)
    • The Certified Patient Care Technician assists doctors, nurses and other health care professionals in providing direct patient care in a variety of health care environments.

* Offered through Inver Hills Community College

“The associate degree is emerging as a prime ticket into the healthcare workforce. Of the 20 fastest growing healthcare occupations that require a college education, 10 are at the associate level, according to data supplied by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI).

“These occupations are projected to account for 806,000 new jobs in the U.S. by 2023. At an average of 28 percent, the growth rate for these technical occupations vastly outpaces projections for the entire U.S. jobs market, which stands to grow 11 percent over the next 10 years.” — Healthcare Finance News

Bachelor’s Degree Pathways
Health Care Technician A.A.S. (60 credits)

Health Care TechnicianMetropolitan State University: Bachelor of Science in Nursing

  • As a graduate of the Health Care Technician program, you can continue coursework along a number of pathways that may include working toward your RN.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota: Bachelor of Science in Allied Healthcare Management

  • As a graduate of the Health Care Technician program, you can transfer seamlessly into this managerial program and complete your bachelor’s degree.
From the U.S. DOL Bureau of Labor Statistics

Registered Nurses

Pay: The median annual wage for registered nurses was $65,470 in May 2012. The top 10 percent earned more than $94,720.

Job Outlook: Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventative care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from the baby boomer population, as they live longer and more active lives.

Jay Reeves, an HCT instructor, spoke about the advantages of enrolling in the program. “The Health Care Technician program offers graduates a broad range of capabilities applicable to a wide spectrum of health care environments,” Reeves said. “Our graduates are ready for jobs in hospitals, physician offices, long-term care facilities and outpatient clinics to name a few. Workers in all sectors of the economy are doing more jobs with fewer resources. An employee with multiple professional competencies represents a value added in terms of human resources. A prospective employee with more than one area of preparation will be a very attractive applicant.”

Student perspectives

Julie Sonen | Health Care Technician Student

Julie Sonen

Julie Sonen
Age: 38
Hometown: Monroe, Wash.
Residence now: Burnsville, Minn.
Program area: Health Care Technician
Degree: A.A.S.

When she graduated from high school in Kaimukī, a residential area in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1994, Julie Sonen was not sure what career path she wished to follow. She had lived in both Hawaii and Washington state, including six months with her grandmother in Seattle, which meant she hadn’t established roots in either location.

“Because I moved around a lot, I found it hard to know what I really wanted to do with my life,” Julie said. She got married in 1998 to an E4 in the U.S. Army and resided at Schofield Barracks, the storied base on Oahu that Japanese warplanes strafed during the attack on Pearl Harbor and that also served as the principal setting for the novel, From Here to Eternity. A year later, she and her husband, Mike, moved to Minnesota to be closer to Mike’s family and start a family of their own.

Before they bought a house and settled in Burnsville, Julie and Mike got see other parts of the state, living in Plymouth, Crystal, and Otsego. Julie continued searching for a career path that made sense. She tried criminal justice at an area college, but was six-months pregnant with her second child, Sean, and the program wasn’t good fit.

“My son needed his mom,” remembered Julie, who also had a 4-year-old daughter at the time.

She found her passion in the health care field when her grandmother (not the one she lived with in Seattle) passed away. “She lived with my parents in Washington for a couple years before she died,” Julie said. “I wanted to be with her. Going into health care is a way to somehow make up for not being able to take care of her.”

Julie pursued Practical Nursing at DCTC before enrolling in the Health Care Technician program fall semester 2013. “My kids were older and I needed to find my place in the world,” she said. “I already have my Certified EKG Technician certificate. I will earn phlebotomy certification this summer and my CNA [Certified Nursing Assistant] next fall.”

Julie will graduate with her A.A.S. degree spring 2015 and plans to start working right away. She would like to use all her certifications in a health care occupation that assists the elderly. As an 8-year-old, she had helped her mom in the craft center of a nursing home, an experience that included adopting a grandfather. “I remember making connections—and that’s what I really want to do in health care,” she said. “I want to make personal connections so that I enrich the lives of the people I care for.”

Today, Julie’s husband, Mike, works as a security administrator. Kaylin is 14 and Sean is 10. The family has two pugs, Toby and Zoey. When she’s not taking care of her family fdor studying, Julie enjoys watching a number of TV shows, including The Walking Dead, True Blood, How I Met Your Mother and The Voice. She also enjoys decorating wedding cakes.

Albert Azinwi Acha | Health Care Technician Student

Albert Azinwi Acha

Albert Azinwi Acha
Age: 36
Hometown: Douala, Cameroon
Residence now: Brooklyn Park, Minn.
Program area: Health Care Technician
Degree: A.A.S.

Albert “Al” Azinwi Acha is originally from Douala, a prosperous port city of 2.5 million in west-central Cameroon, a nation often praised as an “Africa in Miniature” due to its impressive cultural diversity and varied ecospheres, including deserts, mountain ranges, tropical rainforests and savanna lands. After graduating from Mother Teresa, a boarding college and high school in Douala, Al went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University Douala. He worked for a time as a lab technician for a cement company in Douala before deciding to immigrate to the U.S. in 2008 with the aim to advance his education and career.

“I came to the United States to do something different,” Al said. “Job opportunities are not evenly distributed in Cameroon. I like the health care field because I want to work where I can help people.”

Al experienced considerable culture shock when he arrived in Minnesota, but he adapted quickly, taking a number of general education courses at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. He began the Health Care Technician program at DCTC to earn multiple certifications, especially the trained medication aide (TMA) and electrocardiography (EKG) technician, and to gain access to the program’s registered nursing track.

“My plan is to transfer into the RN program at Metropolitan State University after I graduate from DCTC this spring,” Al said. “My goal is to make a career of registered nursing, working in multiple roles in a hospital setting or nursing home.”

Al became a U.S. citizen in 2013 and has already been working in a CNA capacity. He is fluent in three languages, English, French and Bafut, the latter the dialect of his birth tribe in Cameroon. He has been back to Cameroon twice since arriving in the U.S. and is very excited that his wife, Vivian, and his 2-year-old daughter, Alvian (a combination of “Al” and “Vivian”) are moving to Minnesota in July 2014.

Soccer is by far the number one sport in Cameroon—and Al is a huge soccer fan. He plays midfielder for a club in the MINCAM Soccer League, which is composed of clubs from different Cameroonian tribes. He is definitely looking forward to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and plans on watching the Cameroon National Football TeamLes Lions Indomptables, compete on his big-screen TV.

For more information about the Health Care Technician program at DCTC, contact:

Health Care Technician

 

 

Truss Day

CET, Nano and Individualized Studies students test bridge models

Bridge Three Collapse

Bridge Three Collapse

Hands-on learning is a proven formula in technical education. Alan Hancock, an instructor in the Civil Engineering Technology program at Dakota County Technical College, collaborated with Larry Stone, a math instructor at the college, to apply that formula in an experiment that not only united their own two disciplines, but also Nanoscience Technology and Individualized Studies.

“The idea was to have teams of students design and construct different types of wood-lathe trusses and then test the tensile strength of their designs,” Alan said. “We had four teams, three from Civil, one from Nano and one from Individualized Studies.”

Larry enjoyed watching the concepts he teaches in trigonometry class employed in the material world. “Well, I thought it was pretty exciting to see students using the technique of truss analysis they learned in trig class,” he said. “One group developed a design [Bridge Four] that broke the all-time record for most weight held—three hundred and sixty pounds! Pretty impressive for a bunch of glued sticks.”

Bridge Four Collapse

Bridge Four Collapse

Larry pointed out that an ounce of math is sometimes worth 10 pounds of insight. He noted that one group mathematically determined that one of their truss members would not support any weight. The group removed the truss member and used the material for extra gusset plates. “Math guiding design,” Larry said. “The stuff of life.”

“It’s also fun that even though everyone was given the same materials and methods of analysis, they all came up with different designs,” he added, “emphasizing that engineering is as much an art as a science. They each had pet ideas they could nurture to reality and then put to the ultimate test. Fun, but also deeply engaging. Hands-on learning at its best.”

Truss Day Bridge Gallery

Student perspectives

Abdul Kamara

Abdul Kamara

Abdul Kamara
Age: 23
Hometown: Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa
Residence now: Eagan, Minn.
Program area: Civil Engineering Technology
Degree: A.A.S.

After graduating from his high school in Freetown in 2008, Abdul Kamara enrolled at Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa, earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Hearing good things about Minnesota from relatives living in the state, Abdul immigrated to the U.S. in 2012. His uncle suggested enrolling in the CET program at DCTC.

“I like the way my teachers present course materials through lab and field work,” Abdul said. “They are very good at bringing students to a great level of understanding. I also like how students interact with and learn from each other.”

Abdul considers the truss exercise an ideal way to combine trigonometry with the technologies taught in his civil engineering classes. “We learned how to determine the strength of a structure,” he said. “Our group built the strongest truss [Bridge Four], winning at the weight of three hundred and sixty pounds.”

Abdul’s plans for after he graduates from DCTC include attending North Dakota State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Much of his family, including his parents, two brothers and one sister, reside in Freetown. Abdul plays piano in his free time, focusing on gospel and church music.

Preston Finger

Preston Finger

Preston Finger
Age: 20
Hometown: Northfield, Minn.
Residence now: Northfield, Minn.
Program area: Nanoscience Technology
Degree: A.A.S.

A 2012 graduate of Northfield High School, Preston Finger is interested in the materials science and engineering aspects of nanotechnology. Preston likes the idea of working with substances at atomic and molecular levels to create new and unique materials. Nanoscience Technology at DCTC offers him ample opportunities to get hands-on experience working with nanoscale equipment in the program’s lab areas.

“I love the class sizes and how you really get to know your instructors,” he said, adding that the flow of ideas crosses over to his general education courses. “Concepts are connected even in classes that aren’t focused on science. You get to ask questions and throw around your own ideas.”

Preston appreciated the chance to merge mathematics with sound design in the truss exercise. “I really got into it,” he said. “We made multiple designs with multiple calculations, using pyramids and tetrahedrons. We were the only group that tilted in the sides of our structure—and we did very well.”

On track to graduate from DCTC fall 2015, Preston is aiming to earn a bachelor’s degree in an engineering-related program at the University of Minnesota, referencing the Minnesota Nano Center as a definite plus. And he’s not ruling out earning a Ph.D. “I want to an expert in a specific field, but also have a broad range of knowledge,” he said.

A year-round swimmer in high school, Preston competed in the butterfly, freestyle and independent medley. His brother, Tyler, 30, has four children, and his sister, Victoria, 16, attends Northfield High. Taking a page from a philosophy fostered by his parents, Preston has learned how to balance school with recreation, and enjoys hanging out with friends and relaxing.

For more information about Civil Engineering Technology at DCTC, contact:
  • Alan Hancock
    Civil Engineering Technology Instructor
    651-423-8308
  • Charles Hubbard
    Civil Engineering Technology Instructor
    651-423-8308
For more information about mathematics courses at DCTC, contact:
For more information about Nanoscience Technology at DCTC, contact:
  • Deb Newberry
    Nanoscience Technology Instructor
    651-423-8328

Truss Day video courtesy of Curt Smith