AlumKnights Newsletter January 2022

DCTC campus community looking forward to the new year

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Susan Sorensen Langer

Susan Sorenson Langer

Former DCTC business student donates $2,500 to Alumni Fund Drive

Susan Sorensen Langer attended Dakota County Technical College in the early 1980s. Susan studied business administration and management at DCTC. She later earned a Strategic Planning certificate from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management as a prelude to a career as an exceptionally successful businesswoman, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and fundraiser.

Today, Susan is the CEO of Spave, a financial technology startup that provides the world’s first and only wholeness app that helps people save while they spend. Supported by cutting-edge technology, the Spave® app empowers users to harness routine, daily purchases to boost their savings and contribute to charities and organizations that inspire them—all while managing their finances with more control and confidence.

“Spave is committed to making the world a better place by improving the economic well-being of individuals and communities,” Susan said. “With the Spave® app, you can track and analyze your purchases, set goals, and donate to causes you care about. You’ll even get tips on how to improve your financial health.”

Susan’s experience in the world of fundraising and philanthropy galvanized her to contribute $2,500 to the 2021 DCTC Alumni Fund Drive—Making Dreams a Reality, which began Wednesday, December 1, 2021, and ran until New Year’s Eve with the goal of raising $7,500 to support student scholarships and other financial resources.

Susan reported that she set up DCTC as one of her charities of choice on her personal Spave® app. “Now every time I spend on myself, I donate to DCTC,” she said with a smile.


2021 Alumni Fund Drive a Huge Success

by Amy Eppen
DCTC Foundation Development Director

2021 marked the fifth year of DCTC’s annual Alumni Fund Drive. Former business and management student, Susan Sorensen Langer [see above], provided a lead gift of $2,500 toward this year’s drive, Making Dreams a Reality, advancing us one-third of the way toward raising $7,500!

In addition, the Werner Family Foundation generously donated $5,000 toward the campaign. DCTC is extremely grateful to Susan, the Werner family, and fellow graduates who provided $9,480 for scholarship awards, emergency funds for crisis situations, and support for academic programs.

Each and every gift is instrumental in enabling students to reach their goals of becoming business professionals, electricians, graphic and interior designers, mechanics, medical assistants, software developers, welders, and more. Thank you, graduates, for your incredible support!

Still interested in making a tax-deductible donation? Do so anytime at:

Send checks to:

DCTC Foundation
1300 145th Street East
Rosemount, MN 55068

Or download and use the Spave® app to give.

Student Spotlight: Jose Pagan

Jose Pagan

Architectural technology major has roots in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Jose Pagan, 19, is majoring in Architectural Technology at Dakota County Technical College. Jose also works on campus as a student ambassador, a role that offers him opportunities to assist college staff, faculty and other students with Student Life programming, recruitment, retention and community relations.

Along with his ambassador duties, Jose participates in TRIO/Student Support Services and is a member of the Student Senate. He is on track to graduate from DCTC with his Architectural Technology Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in May 2022.

“After graduating from DCTC, I plan to transfer to either Dunwoody or the University of Minnesota to get my Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) degree,” Jose said. “My goal is to become a licensed architectural drafter.”


$25,000 Rajasekhar Anumalachetty Endowment

Uday Anumalachetty with his father, Rajasekhar Anumalachetty

New endowment supports DCTC students in business programs

Uday Anumalachetty honored his father’s legacy by donating $25,000 to the Dakota County Technical College Foundation to create the Rajasekhar Anumalachetty Endowment, which supports DCTC students majoring in Business programs. Uday’s father, Mr. Rajasekhar, was a gifted and benevolent banking executive primarily based in Chennai, India, but who lived and worked all over India and Southeast Asia.

Uday serves as divisional vice president of FitnessOnDemand, a global leader in the collection, curation, and provision of premium, personalized digital fitness content.  He was inspired to create the endowment by both his father’s compassionate business acumen and the college mission: Learn, discover, and build a better future: DCTC is dedicated to education for employment and lifelong growth.

“What I liked about DCTC was the mission and emphasis on making students employable by focusing on skills that they can use to market themselves,” Uday said. “I think that academic research has its place in the world, but it cannot come at the expense of focusing on employable real-life skills that have a commercial impact. This is why DCTC mission speaks to me.”

Kim Shaff serves as the executive director of the DCTC Foundation. Kim was moved by Mr. Rajasekhar’s story.

“As Uday shared with me his father’s love for his career as well as his passion for philanthropy and education, it was clear why Uday chose to honor his father with an endowed scholarship for business students,” Kim said. “We are honored that Uday chose to memorialize his father through supporting students at DCTC. Mr. Rajasekhar Anumalachetty’s legacy of helping others will live on for many years to come.”


PPL Pharmacy Technician Program

DCTC, Minneapolis College, healthcare companies, and Minneapolis partner with Project for Pride in Living

Dakota County Technical College (DCTC), Minneapolis College, the city of Minneapolis, and five healthcare companies are partnering to support the Project for Pride in Living (PPL) Pharmacy Technician program, which launched in June 2019.

“We are aiming to run cohort number four in July 2022,” reported Madeline Miller, PPL employment specialist. “This program can support a class of twenty.”

Semira Salihovic

Semira Salihovic is the PPL Pharmacy Technician program’s instructor. Semira also teaches the Pharm Tech curriculum at Minneapolis College. She is excited to train students to earn the PTCB certification they need to assist licensed pharmacists with dispensing prescription medications at hospitals, drugstores, grocery stores, and other pharmacy settings.

“This is a wonderful program that gets students a step closer to a healthcare career without the cost associated with for-credit coursework,” Semira said. “I am honored to be a part of this program. Each student has a personal story that tugs at my heart. I am looking forward to our future cohorts.”

Students who qualify for the PPL Pharmacy Technician program have their educational expenses covered. They also complete a paid pharmacy technician externship with pharmacy industry partners, including CVS Health, Walgreens, Hennepin Health, and Allina Health. Children’s Minnesota will be involved with the July 2022 cohort.

“Partners facilitate 60 hours of an engaging learning experience that allows students to gain exposure to the various job duties and expectations of a pharmacy technician,” Madeline added.


Alumni Advisory Board Update

Brandon Folson and Michaela Holman-Schmidt

Meet President Brandon Folson & Member Michaela Holman-Schmidt

The Alumni Advisory Board at Dakota County Technical College has welcomed two alumni as new members, Brandon Folson, Class of 2020, and Michaela Holman-Schmidt, Class of 2019. Brandon serves as board president; Michaela is a board member who also works at the college.

The DCTC Alumni Advisory Board offers advice, insights, strategies, and guidance to help support the college mission: Learn, discover, and build a better future: DCTC is dedicated to education for employment and lifelong growth.

The board also works to establish enduring connections between the college’s graduates and our campus community of students, staff, faculty, administrators, and patrons.

“Brandon has been an excellent addition to the board—he is exceptionally driven and sets high standards both for himself and the board. He is analytical and genuinely wants to promote progress at DCTC making him a wonderful president.

“Michaela’s energy and warmth make her a great asset to the board! As a recent graduate who now works full-time at DCTC, she brings several key perspectives to her role. We are happy to have both of them serving on the board.”

Amy Eppen
Foundation Development Director
Alumni Advisory Board Member
Dakota County Technical College

Brandon Folson: Board president perspective

Brandon Folson

Brandon Folson recently accepted the role of Alumni Advisory Board president at Dakota County Technical College. Brandon was a highly motivated student at DCTC and Inver Hills Community College. He earned an Automotive Technician diploma and studied business management at DCTC and liberal arts at Inver Hills.

Brandon graduated from DCTC in fall 2020. He was an exceptionally engaged student at both schools, serving on the DCTC and Inver Hills American Indian Advisory Committees. He served as Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) president at DCTC and was a PTK member at Inver Hills. He also served on the Inver Hills Diversity Council. He completed Heart of a Leader training at DCTC.

After graduating from DCTC, Brandon transferred to Loyola University Chicago. He’s attending Loyola full-time, majoring in Economics and Pre-Law. He is continuing his passion for student engagement at Loyola. He is an Achieving College Excellence (ACE) Scholar and serves as a Cura Scholar research fellow on tribal economies.

“I am a member of the Loyola University Chicago chapters of the Golden Key International Honor Society, and a member of the LUC Economics Forum,” Brandon related, “and also the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.”

Brandon is excited about his role as Alumni Advisory Board president.

“I joined the board because I want to contribute to DCTC’s institutional growth and student achievement by supporting programs that engage K–12 schools,” he said, “as well as organizations that help retrain adult workers by placing DCTC in their pathway.”

Brandon added that giving back to the DCTC and Inver Hills communities is important to him because faculty and staff at both colleges have played a vital role in his continued success.

“I had a thriving private-sector career before deciding to return to school to pursue new challenges,” he said. “In all my years of working for local and national firms, I have not come across finer people than at DCTC and Inver Hills.”

DCTC Alumni Advisory Board


Michaela Holman-Schmidt: Board member perspective

Michaela at 2019 DCTC Commencement

Michaela Holman-Schmidt, 24, is a new member of the DCTC Alumni Advisory Board. Michaela brings a valuable outlook to the board because she is a DCTC alumna and also works for the college as an administrative assistant with responsibilities across several departments.

“I was inspired to join the Alumni Advisory Board by a colleague of mine who is also an alumni of DCTC,” Michaela said. “She thought that the board would be a good fit for me and a good way to boost my resume. I really wanted a way to join in the community because as a student I did not participate as much as I wish I had.”

Michaela graduated from DCTC with her Accounting Clerk diploma in spring 2019. She is on track to earn her Associate of Arts (A.A.) from Inver Hills Community College in spring 2022. She’s also earning a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Individualized Studies at Metropolitan State University.

“My academic goal is to obtain a bachelor’s degree as soon as possible,” Michaela said. “I have had a difficult journey deciding what I want to do with my life. Working here at DCTC has helped me realize I love working in education and want to pursue a position in the field.”

Michaela started working at DCTC in November 2017 while she was still a student. During her time as a student, she served as a TRIO/Upward Bound tutor, helping her fellow students with homework, problem-solving, test preparation, and more.

She is centering her current career goals on becoming an advisor for TRIO/Student Support Services or the McNair Scholars program.

“I have participated in TRIO programs myself, and I really believe in the work that these programs do,” Michaela said. “I want to make a positive impact on people, and I want to help underrepresented students achieve their academic goals.”

Her duties as an administrative assistant include event planning, project management, and purchasing for Student Life, Blue Knights Athletics, Customized Training, Student Services, Academic Affairs, TRIO, and the Minnesota Transportation Center of Excellence.

“The best thing I like about my job are the people,” Michaela said. “I work with faculty, staff, and students. I love helping people in any way that I can, so this position helps fill that passion. DCTC faculty are amazing! They care so much about their students and for each other.”


IT Staff Awarded Certificates of Appreciation from White House

Shaun Burg, Tom Kennedy, Timothy Bohanon, Curtis Wilcutt, Christine Reinhold

Certificate presented by White House Communications Agency (WHCA)

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. visited the Rosemount campus of Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) Tuesday afternoon, November 30, 2021. The U.S. president spoke for about 30 minutes in the college’s Heavy Duty Truck Technology (HDTT) area, focusing on the benefits of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The college’s Technology Services department took on a major role in making sure the visit proceeded smoothly in the areas communications and information systems. The White House Communications Agency (WHCA), which provides assured global information services to the nation’s Executive Branch, recognized five Technology Services staff members, Tom Kennedy, Shaun Burg, Christine Reinhold, Timothy Bohanon, and Curtis Willcutt, for their exemplary work during the historic event.

All five staff members were awarded WHCA Certificates of Appreciation by the WHCA lead communications officer during a Zoom meeting on campus December 9, 2021.

“I cannot thank Mr. Todd Jagerson, his team, and the DCTC staff enough,” the senior leader said. “Their direct support enabled our team to provide the critical resources to the President and his staff. We could not have made this a successful trip without their contributions.”

Todd Jagerson serves as the chief information officer (CIO) at DCTC and Inver Hills Community College. CIO Jagerson reported that his team handled their unanticipated responsibilities with confidence and professionalism.

“The DCTC IT staff make me proud daily to be associated with them,” he said. “This group is not afraid to step up, step in, and look for successful outcomes to any task presented to them. I am fortunate to work with such a great group of persons.”

DCTC President Michael Berndt was on hand at the presentation to congratulate the Technology Services staff members.

“I was pleased to see our IT staff recognized by the White House,” President Berndt said. “There are so many times when our IT and Operations staff tackle challenges of which other departments are not even aware. Preparing campus for the President’s visit was just a more intense example of the minor miracles they perform every day.”


Learn more about the the Alumni Advisory Board and Alumni Association by contacting:

Amy Eppen
DCTC Foundation Development Director
DCTC Alumni Association on Facebook
DCTC Alumni on LinkedIn