Alicia Duo Named to YCC National Honor Roll

Alicia Duo
Alicia Duo

Biomedical Equipment Technology student benefits from E³ STEM program

Alicia Duo, a sophomore in the Biomedical Equipment Technology (BMET) program at Dakota County Technical College (DCTC), was named to the Youth CareerConnect National Honor Roll. A 2016 graduate of Apple Valley High School in Apple Valley, Minnesota, Alicia just completed her final year as a student in the E³ STEM program she joined as a junior at AVHS.

Alicia has a 4.0 GPA through two semesters at DCTC. She was honored Wednesday, May 24, 2017, during an E³ STEM recognition event in the AVHS theatre. Jim Ingham, an Emergency Medical Systems instructor at Inver Hills, was also recognized at the event.

YCC National Honor RollIn 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded a $2.98 million Youth CareerConnect (YCC) grant to a partnership between Independent School District 196, DCTC, Inver Hills Community College, the Dakota-Scott Workforce Investment Board and several top area employers, including Thomson Reuters, Emerson, Uponor and Augustana Regent.

ISD 196, in conjunction with Apple Valley High School, is the lead on the funded program: E³ STEM, or Exploration, Education, Employment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Kristy Kellogg, Post-Secondary E³ STEM program manager at DCTC and Inver Hills, has worked with Alicia for the past two years and has been impressed by her talent and determination as a STEM scholar.

“Alicia is working hard to achieve her goals,” Kristy said. “She was nominated for this award because of her dedication and positive attitude. She is well deserving and I am very proud of her and happy she received the award. I am excited to see where her pathway leads her.”

Youth CareerConnect and E³ STEM

The E³ STEM program targets occupations in computer science, information technology (IT), engineering and healthcare as well as technologies related to the biomedical, energy and nanoscience industries. The program serves students in grades 10 through their first year in college.

Learn more about E³ STEM…

The Youth CareerConnect program strengthens college and career readiness by redesigning the high school experience to focus on providing students with challenging and relevant learning opportunities while enabling schools to develop new partnerships with colleges and employers to support instruction and help students develop the skills they need prepare for current and emerging career paths. In April 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded $107 million to 24 YCC grantees across 18 states and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about YCC…

E³ STEM recognition event at AVHS

Alicia Duo: E³ STEM success story

Kristy and Alicia at E3 STEM event

Kristy and Alicia at E³ STEM recognition event

Below is an excerpt from a letter of support for Alicia written by Kristy Kellogg:

Youth CareerConnect (YCC) came up with the YCC National Honor Roll to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of students who are currently in or have successfully completed a YCC program. One of the students whose name the E³ STEM submitted was Alicia Duo.

During her time at Apple Valley High School, Alicia participated in different opportunities offered by E³ STEM, e.g., employer engagement field trips, mentoring, service-learning, college coursework and career counseling. Through her experiences in the program, she became interested in the biomedical equipment technician pathway—a career choice she might not have encountered, much less considered, had she not become an E³ STEM student.

Alicia elected to attend Dakota County Technical College (DCTC), one of the YCC grant partners, for her post-secondary education. Alicia’s family supported her decision to attend college, but pressed her to pursue other degree options, expressing concern that a two-year degree would not be sufficient. After numerous meetings with E³ STEM high school and post-secondary staff as well as college career counselors, Alicia and her family learned that a two- year Biomedical Equipment Technology (BMET) Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) is a terminal degree with the opportunity to earn between $24 and $37 an hour working as a technician in Minnesota.

Alicia at event

With the support of her family and E³ STEM staff and partners, Alicia is continuing to excel in college. She is working toward her BMET degree and is on track to become a biomedical equipment technician. Her instructors have commented that she is a hard-working and thoughtful student. Alicia’s perseverance shows she is dedicated and a good role model.

I have worked with Alicia throughout her time in the E³ STEM program. I first met her when we were working together in the AVHS Fab Lab, creating name tags that featured QR codes to our website promoting an open house event. After that, we began to discuss her future after high school. We met several times that spring and summer to decide what she wanted to study. She is a positive, kind young woman who seems to blossom a little more every time we meet.

Alicia just finished her first year at DCTC and I am pleased to announce she received straight A’s in every class. She is very deserving of this award and I wish her all the best as she continues down her chosen pathway.

— Kristy Kellogg, Post-Secondary E³ STEM Program Manager, Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College

More about Alicia Duo…

Alicia Duo

Alicia Duo

Originally from Monrovia, Liberia, Alicia Duo, 19, moved with her family to the U.S. in 2010. English is the official language of Liberia, a country of 4.5 million people on the Atlantic coast in West Africa, so Alicia did not encounter a language barrier in her new home, but she remembers that she spoke English with a strong Liberian accent. Her hometown, Monrovia, is Liberia’s capital city. Liberia is one of two countries in Africa (the other is Ethiopia) never officially colonized by a foreign power.

While earning her A.A.S. degree in the Biomedical Equipment Technology (BMET) program at DCTC, Alicia works at Augustana Regent at Burnsville, assisting nurses with housekeeping duties. She is looking at joining Phi Theta Kappa and has attended meetings of the Multicultural Student Leadership Association (MSLA).

Three words that describe you as a person:

A resident of Burnsville, Minnesota, Alicia is on schedule to graduate from DCTC in spring 2018. She wants to work as a biomedical equipment technician for some time to gain experience and earn money to attend a four-year college or university, double-majoring in psychology and accounting (she loves math). She’s considering Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and her long-range career plans are leaning toward becoming a psychologist.

When she’s not studying and working, Alicia enjoys spending time with family and friends. She likes reading romance novels and she babysits—a lot. She’s the youngest of nine children and has five brothers and three sisters, and that makes for four nieces and two nephews. She sings in her church and reads scripture in her free time.

Alicia Q & A

Why did you choose your career field?
I originally wanted to go into a medical field, but I soon decided that wasn’t for me. Through E³ STEM career exploration, I discovered that I liked engineering. When I learned about BMET at DCTC, I thought this was a perfect merging of healthcare and engineering. I could help people using my engineering skills.

What do you like best about the BMET program?
Most high school courses are about reading textbooks and then taking tests. In BMET, you study course material in a textbook, but then you immediately apply that knowledge through hands-on exercises. I love that about the program. I learn so much more that way.

What has been your toughest challenge in life?
Moving to the United States when I was 12. I spoke English, but I had a strong accent. School is a lot different in the U.S. In Liberia, your parents start you in school at whatever age they think you’re ready. That meant I started younger than I would have had here—and that put me back a grade from where I was. It worked out okay, though. Seasons are different, too. We have two in Liberia, rainy and dry. Here you have four, including winter.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
I would say graduating from high school. I also sang first and second soprano in the Valley Select Chorale at AVHS. We went to New York City and performed at Carnegie Hall. That was something.

What person has influenced you the most in life?
My mom, Alice. I was named for her.

Alicia and her mom, Alice

Alicia and her mom, Alice

How have you benefited from the E³ STEM program?
E³ STEM changed my life completely. I wouldn’t know what I would be doing in college without the program.

What’s your favorite of the four STEM fields and why?
Math. You can do whatever you want in math. There are so many ways to solve the same problem. That’s what works for me. You’re not restricted in math.

What would you tell someone who is considering BMET as a career path?
Totally go for it. The BMET instructors are super-helpful. They are so on your side. They always take the time to make sure you understand the material. You get to learn how things fit together. As a biomedical equipment technician, you’ll be doing what you do best and also helping doctors save lives. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Medical Equipment Repairers

Adjust or fix medical equipment.

Above the statewide median of $18.88/hour


Median: $27.29/hour
High: $33.72/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $26.21/hour
High: $31.72/hour


This career is seeing high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 7.7 percent, or above the statewide average. There will be a need for about 290 new Medical Equipment Repairers to meet market demand between 2014–2024. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

— Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

Alicia Duo | 21 Answers

  1. Polar bearFavorite season: Autumn
  2. Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): Oceans
  3. Favorite sport or physical activity: Tennis
  4. Your national bird if you could have one: Parrot
  5. Place you would most like to visit: India
  6. Favorite holiday: Christmas
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: Polar bear
  8. Favorite actor or actress: Wentworth Miller
  9. The FlashFavorite band or performing artist: Pentatonix
  10. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “Never give up.”
  11. Coolest thing in the world: Family. I love spending time with my nieces and nephews. I’m the youngest child in my family and I like how they look up to me.
  12. Scariest thing in the world: Losing my family.
  13. Favorite all-time TV show: The Flash
  14. Favorite all-time movie: Akeelah and the Bee
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Reach my highest limit in education.
  16. MLKMost precious material possession: My gold bracelet; I wear it all the time.
  17. First thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: Mansion for my mom
  18. Person you would most like to meet: Martin Luther King Jr.
  19. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Playing piano and guitar
  20. Humankind’s greatest challenge: Overcoming peer pressure; be your own person and don’t try to fit some perfect image; don’t worry about what other people think; what you believe is what matters.
To learn more about the E³ STEM program, contact:

Kristy Kellogg
Post-Secondary E³ STEM Program Manager
Dakota County Technical College and Inver Hills Community College

To learn more about Biomedical Equipment Technology at DCTC, contact:

Travis Ahlquist
BMET Faculty