Campus Grad Celebration Supports Tour de Cure

Ocho de Mayo presented by Student Senate

Ocho de Mayo

DCTC Campus Lions sell nonalcoholic margaritas to support Tour de Cure

The Student Senate at Dakota County Technical College hosted Ocho de Mayo on the college’s main campus in Rosemount, Minn., Wednesday, May 8, as a way for students to begin celebrating their upcoming graduations. The event included a four-way bungee tug, a track to race remote-controlled cars, a photo booth and free nachos.

The DCTC Campus Lions Club participated in Ocho de Mayo through the club’s support for the Tour de Cure, a series of cycling fundraisers across 44 states benefiting the American Diabetes Association. Cary Truman and Melanie Benitez, two DCTC students and Lions Club officers, are riding in the Twin Cities Tour de Cure Saturday, June 1, 2013. The Lions sold nonalcoholic margaritas during Ocho de Mayo for $1 each to support Cary and Melanie’s efforts. Donations of $10 or more were rewarded with a souvenir margarita glass.

Brett Kolles | DCTC English Instructor and Campus Lions Club Advisor“DCTC Lions are big on projects and small on meetings.” — Brett Kolles, Campus Lions Club Advisor

Brett Kolles, an English instructor at the college, serves as a Campus Lions Club advisor. He is excited by the enthusiasm Lions Club members bring to community involvement. “I would love to clone this team,” Brett said. “During this past semester, we have grown and laughed and been amazingly productive while having a great time. Our motto is ‘Rock and Roar’ and our theme is ‘fun with a purpose.’ I like to say that DCTC Lions are big on projects and small on meetings.”

Cary Truman | DCTC Campus Lions Club President

Cary Truman | Campus Lions Club President

A native of Red Wing, Minn., Cary Truman, 37, is majoring in Heavy Construction Equipment Technology with plans to graduate in May 2015. Cary learned he had type 2 diabetes in May of last year. His father-in-law also has type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disorder. People with type 2 diabetes have bodies that do not produce enough insulin or cells that ignore insulin, a hormone needed by the body to process glucose for energy. Cary’s grandmother has type 1 diabetes, which is typically diagnosed in children and young adults. The bodies of people with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin at all. According to the International Diabetes Federation, diabetes affects at least 285 million people around the world. That number is expected to reach 438 million by the year 2030.

Cary noted that he manages his type 2 diabetes through exercise and modifying his diet. He checks his glucose levels twice a day. “My wife, Lisa, has supported me all the way,” he said. “She exercises with me and changed her diet to match mine.”

Cary is looking forward to his 18-mile Scenic Sampler ride for the Tour de Cure, a ride that will begin at Minnehaha Falls Park at 10 a.m. June 1. “I’m happy the Lions are involved in the search to find a cure for diabetes,” he said. “Since joining the Lions, I have met other club members with type 2 diabetes. We are excited to be part of this national effort.”

Melanie Benitez | DCTC Campus Lions Club Marketing Director

Melanie Benitez | Campus Lions Club Marketing Director

A 1994 graduate of Lakeville High School, Melanie Benitez, 37, is majoring in Practical Nursing. Melanie has always wanted to be a nurse. At the age of 18, she enrolled in the very same program at DCTC, but the demands of motherhood changed her plans. She raised three children while pursuing a career in finance. Ramiro, 19, is in the Minnesota National Guard and enrolling at St. Cloud State in the fall. Isiaha, 17, is graduating from Lakeville South in May 2014. Gabriela, 14, is in the 7th grade.

After her finance job was shipped overseas, Melanie, a single parent, became eligible for dislocated worker and TAA funding to go back to college. She took full advantage the opportunity and will be graduating with her A.A.S. degree in spring 2014. She is a part-time certified nursing assistant at Cerenity Senior Care. Already qualified to pass medications, she looks forward to serving as an LPN with the ultimate goal to become an RN.

Melanie is the marketing director for the Campus Lions Club. “I joined for the activities,” she said. “Through the Lions, I’ve been involved in Habitat for Humanity and One Rosemount. Both events were great because I really enjoy helping people. I plan to do the 18-mile ride for the Tour de Cure.”

As of May 8, 151 teams with 1,703 riders are participating in the Twin Cities Tour de Cure. To register to ride or donate to a rider or team (including Cary and Melanie), click the image below:

Tour de Cure

Student Senate connection

Ben Jackson, vice president of the DCTC Student Senate, reported that Ocho de Mayo was created and planned by the Student Senate Activities Committee as a continuation of the popular Grad Blast. Committee members besides Ben include:

  • Emma Fisher
  • Kendra Drew
  • Carissa Allen
  • Trevor Henderson

Other Student Senate members who helped with Ocho de Mayo are Sergio Garcia, Nanci Al-Kordi, Jocelyn Vergara and Miriam Vergara. Ben pointed out that Jocelyn and Miriam volunteered to show up at 7 a.m. the day of the event.

A Landscape Horticulture major with only one class to go before he graduates, Ben encouraged other DCTC students to join the Student Senate. “You get the chance to meet people from other academic programs—something you might not do otherwise,” he said. “You also get to travel around the state once a month to attend Minnesota State College Student Association events and meet students from many different colleges. As a student senator, you work to improve the college experience for all students.”

For more information about the DCTC Campus Lions Club or Tour de Cure, contact:
  • Brett Kolles
    English Instructor
    DCTC Campus Lions Club Advisor
  • Laura Gardner
    TRiO Tutor
    DCTC Campus Lions Club Advisor
To learn more about Student Life or Student Senate at DCTC, contact:

2013 Spring Plant Sale

May 9 & 10 at DCTC greenhouse on Rosemount campus

DCTC Hort Club Plant Sale

The DCTC Landscape Horticulture Club is hosting a plant sale on Dakota County Technical College’s main campus in Rosemount, Minn., Thursday and Friday, May 9 and 10, 2013. The sale runs from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days. Signs are up to direct customers to the DCTC greenhouse.

Landscape Horticulture students will be available all day both days for plant consultation and selection assistance. All proceeds from the plant sale support DCTC Hort Club student activities.

Some quick prices:
  • 6-pack $3
  • Flat of 6-packs (36 plants) $16
  • 3-inch insert & 3.5-inch pot $1.50
  • 4.5-inch pot $4
  • 6.5-inch pot $5
  • 10-inch hanging basket $20
    • Ivy geranium
    • Fuchsia
    • Begonia
  • 12-inch mixed bowls $10
  • 18-inch patio pot $55
For more information about the Landscape Hort Club 2013 Plant Sale, contact:
  • Catherine Grant
    Landscape Horticulture Instructor
    Landscape Horticulture Club Advisor

Click the image below to download the full 2013 Plant Sale List.2013 Plant Sale List

Mobile Pantry Arrives at DCTC

Partnership with Eagan Resource Center offers food support for students

Mobile Pantry @DCTC

Dakota County Technical College has recently partnered with the Eagan and Lakeville Resource centers to bring the Mobile Pantry to the college’s main campus in Rosemount, Minn. Beginning Thursday, June 6, 2013, the Mobile Pantry will be available to any DCTC student in need of food support. Students become eligible upon completing an intake done by trained DCTC staff. Mobile Pantry participation has no income requirements or residency restrictions. The program is free to all students.

Students and their families can receive food from the Mobile Pantry every 30 days. At each visit, participants will receive on average enough food to last 2.5 weeks. Seventy percent of the food is both wholesome and perishable, including:

  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Bakery goods
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

The Mobile Pantry will be on the DCTC main campus in Rosemount at the northeast entrance by the Card Lot every Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. starting on June 6, 2013. Monthly appointments must be arranged in advance at mobile.pantry@dctc.edu.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to send interested students to the Learning Center, Student Life or an academic advisor. The following DCTC staff members are trained to complete Mobile Pantry intakes:

To learn more about Student Life or the Mobile Pantry at DCTC, contact:

DCTC Softball Advances to District Championship

Blue Knights comeback in final game to win NJCAA Region 13 Championship

DCTC Fastpitch Softball

The DCTC women’s fastpitch softball team played in the NJCAA Region 13 Tournament May 4–5, 2013, at Williston, N.D. The Blue Knights opened the tournament with a 11–0 win over Bismarck State College. The team then defeated Williston State College 2–1.

The next day, DCTC lost their first game against Williston by a score of 0–4. In the second game, the Knights scored six runs in the top of the sixth to post a 7–2 victory to win the tournament.

“Beating the Tetons was a fantastic comeback game,” said Head Fastpitch Softball Coach Tom Cross. “We are very excited about advancing to the district level.”

Next weekend, May 9–10, the Blue Knights head to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the District F Championship, a three-team double elimination tournament hosted by Region 11 champion, Kirkwood Community College. The district winner advances to the NJCAA 2013 Division II Softball National Championship May 15–18, 2013, at Traceway Park in Clinton, Miss.

Top photo: Blue Knights in Clermont, Fla., March 2013 (left to right: Amanda Orell, Kayla Frandrup, Robyn Rohr, Jordan Tuma, Kendall Palfi, Samantha Harrity, Janna Hall, Bethani Athey, Cassie Lavalle; not pictured: Nikki Tiedeman, Brooklyn Searles, Trena Larson, Alyssa Kaiswatum, Kelly Barta)

DCTC Blue Knights vs. University of St. Thomas JV

(4–5 loss at home April 30, 2013)


For more information about Blue Knights fastpitch softball, contact:
Visit their Facebook page, Dakota County Technical College Softball

2013 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student Awards

Jill Surine and Andrew Chernisky personify student success

Dave Schroeder

Former DCTC President Dave Schroeder

Each year Dakota County Technical College recognizes outstanding graduates in honor of the college’s former president, Dave Schroeder, who served from 1970–1999. Students are nominated by faculty and staff for their involvement in college initiatives and activities, academic performance and service to the community. This year’s winners are Jill Surine, a 2013 graduate of the Interior Design program, and Andrew Chernisky, a 2013 graduate of the Photographic Imaging Technology program. Jill and Andy’s hard work and dedication are an inspiration to their classmates and future DCTC students.

Andrew Chernisky | 2013 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student Award Winner
Andy Chernisky

Andy Chernisky

Andrew Chernisky came to Dakota County Technical College to study photography and digital imaging technology. He knew college would be difficult because he suffers from a severe writing and reading disability. To help overcome this challenge, Andy set long- and short-term goals for himself. He worked hard to achieve his goals and was not afraid to ask for help when he needed it. He believes setting goals is what allowed him to succeed at college.

DCTC Student Senate Executive Board during American Red Cross Blood Drive (left to right) Assistant Student Life Director Anna Voight, Student Life Director Nicole Meulemans, Sergio Garcia, Andy Chernisky, Jocelyn Vergara, Benjamin Jackson, Nancy Al-KordiWhen he enrolled at DCTC, Andy knew he wanted to be engaged beyond the classroom and his studies. He is a member of the Campus Lions Club and the Gay Straight Alliance. He got involved in Student Senate, where he participated in many activities such as rallies and conferences as well as personal development, not only for himself, but also for his fellow students. He is the current Student Senate president.

Outside DCTC, he worked to help improve his community through his talent as a photographer. (Andy is a member of the Professional Photographers of America.) He had experience working for a small business in historic downtown Hastings and knew photography could help encourage growth in this area. He covered various events, including Small Business Saturday and photo ops with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

DCTC Student Senators involved in Minnesota State College Student Association (MSCSA) (left to right) Stephanie Serres, Lina Bajiba, Ben Jackson, Andy Chernisky, Michael DoyleAs an Eagle Scout, Andy understands the importance of community service. He participated in the Hastings Family Services Walk/Run, the Healthy Knight 5K at DCTC, and as a mock evacuee for a Minnesota Department of Human Services Radiological Emergency Preparedness Drill. As the elongate advisor in charge of work crews and clans, he planned, coordinated and helped conduct a Fall Ordeal for 200 members of the Boy Scouts of America Order of the Arrow. He served on the planning committee and as a co-conductor of a winter banquet for 500 members of the BSA Order of the Arrow. He is an assistant scoutmaster to Boy Scout Troop 503. He also prepared holiday trees at a Lions Club tree lot.

An active member of Hastings United Methodist Church, Andy uses his skills as a professional photographer to assist with the promotion and presentation of Vacation Bible School as well as events such as his church’s burning of the mortgage ceremony. He has served as an assistant for Awana, an organization that helps churches and parents work together to develop spiritually strong children and youth.

Andy Chernisky is committed to making a difference in the world around him. He knows getting involved is the first step to making his community a better place and encourages other students to follow his lead. He has learned to set goals that not only advance his career as a photographer, but also improve the lives of the people in his life.

For more information about Photography and Photographic Imaging Technology at DCTC, contact:
For more information about Student Senate at DCTC, contact:
Jill Surine | 2013 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student Award Winner
Jill Surine

Jill Surine

A native of Belview, a small rural community in southwestern Minnesota, Jill Surine, 34, has wonderful memories of growing up on a farm. Jill graduated from Renville High School in 1997 and went on to college, attending the University of Minnesota, Morris, for two years before graduating from Concordia College in Moorhead with a B.A. in studio art and a minor in psychology. She briefly considered a career in art therapy, but decided against pursuing the field’s rigid science requirements.

Jill Surine from her video about what's next in the interior design industry | video created by Jill Surine and Amber Frandrup.Jill was the waterfront director at the Green Lake Bible Camp in Spicer, Minn., when she met her future husband, Brian, who worked at the camp as a counselor. They were married in the camp chapel. Jill worked for three years in customer service at Uline, a North American distributor of shipping, industrial, and packing materials for businesses. Brian also worked at Uline—and Jill remembers how they lived for 10 months in an efficiency motel in New Jersery during a Uline facility opening. The upside was they got to travel the east coast on weekends, visiting such places as New York City and Washington, D.C.

Jill next spent three years at the National Arbitration Forum in St. Louis Park, Minn., working as a case coordinator/supervisor. From there, she served as a high school mock trial coordinator for the Minnesota State Bar Association. She also earned her producer license at Northwestern Mutual as an assistant to two financial representatives.

PTK Advisor Anne Farniok (left) and PTK Secretary/Treasurer Jill SurineBy 2011, she was settled in Rosemount, Minn., with Brian and their two children, Katy and Jack, having moved into a brand-new town home seven years earlier. She happened across the DCTC Interior Design program on the Web on a Monday, attended the next Tuesday Campus Visit and two weeks later found herself enrolled in the college, majoring in interior design.

Jill loves how interior design is a blend of the analytical and the creative. She gets to use both sides of her brain. She has always been interested in color theory and artistic design. She enjoys abstract oil painting and scrapbooking in her spare time. She mentioned that her daughter, Katy, now 8, is constantly drawing. Her son, Jack, is 6 years old and big into Star Wars and Lego construction toys.

Jill immersed herself in the world of interior design while at DCTC. She has done her networking homework and belongs to the International Interior Design Association, or IIDA, the National Kitchen & Bath Association, or NKBA, and NEWH, the hospitality industry network. She is also the secretary and treasurer of Phi Theta Kappa and the event coordinator for Design Connexion, an interior design student club. She started interning at ESG Architects in Minneapolis in February of this year. She enjoys life at the firm, interacting with people and creative problem solving. She especially enjoys working in the hospitality sector of interior design—ESG is focused on restaurants and hotels as well as multifamily housing. Jill loves the position and has high hopes of turning her internship into a permanent career.

For more information about Interior Design at DCTC, contact:
For more information about Phi Theta Kappa at DCTC, contact:
  • Carrie Schneider
    Director of Institutional Research and Planning
    PTK Advisor
  • Anne Farniok
    Interior Design Instructor