2024 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student Award Winners

Alexis Nordling and Bailey Humphries-Gustafson
Alexis Nordling and Bailey Humphries-Gustafson recognized with prestigious collegiate honor

Two upcoming Dakota County Technical College graduates, Alexis Nordling, 40, a sophomore in the Medical Coding Specialist program, and Bailey Humphries-Gustafson, 26, a sophomore in the Architectural Technology program, have been recognized as the college’s 2024 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Students.

This award is given in honor and memory of Dave Schroeder, the college’s first president, who served from 1970 to 1999. Alexis and Bailey will be formally recognized during the 2024 DCTC Commencement Ceremony May 10, 2024, at 7 p.m. at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood, Minnesota.

2024 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student: Alexis Nordling

Alexis Nordling

Alexis Nordling earned a Medical Coding Specialist A.A.S. degree at DCTC. In addition to receiving the college’s 2024 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student Award, Alexis was selected as a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society 2024 New Century Workforce Scholar.

Alexis participated in a wide variety of extracurricular activities as a DCTC student. She served as Student Senate vice president and a DCTC Food Pantry leader. She belonged to PTK, Business Professionals of America (BPA), Rotoract Club, We:LEAD Women’s Leadership Club, and the Creative Writing & Arts Club.

“I’m honored! Thanks is in no small part is due to a great student life community, a supportive and knowledgeable advisor in the medical coding program, and engaging faculty and staff. I look forward to returning as one of the alumni medical coding tutors after graduating and staying engaged with DCTC’s Phi Theta Kappa and Rotaract chapters, too.

“As a virtual student, I still found college can be a great place to make friends; community engagement was the key to unlocking my potential!”

Alexis Nordling
2024 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student
Medical Coding Specialist Major
Dakota County Technical College

Dedicated to giving back to her community, Alexis volunteers with Loaves and Fishes, Little Earth Boy and Girls Club, and CAIR (Council for American Islamic Relations). She’s a student member of ERA Minnesota and a Red Cross blood program leader; she also serves on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Community Advisory Committee.

Alexis has completed Mental Health First Aid training, CPR training, and Heart of a Leader training. She volunteers as a homework tutor at the Burnsville Burnhaven Public Library, a role she first took on in 2019.

She represented DCTC at the BPA 2023 National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California, placing second in the nation in the Fundamental Word Processing competition and finished in the Top 10 in the Ethics and Professionalism and Contemporary Issues competitions.

Born in Minneapolis and raised in San Francisco, Alex resided in Chicago for seven years and then Colorado for a time before moving back to Minnesota. She is an avid aficionada of holography, both the art and the science.

2024 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student: Bailey Humphries-Gustafson

Bailey Humphries-Gustafson

Bailey Humphries-Gustafson earned an Architectural Technology A.A.S. degree at DCTC. Bailey was an exceptionally engaged student at the college. They served as Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapter president, a lead student ambassador, and an AutoCad peer tutor. They were also an active member of SAGA, LeadMN, WeLead, and Student Senate.

Bailey greatly appreciated the numerous times at events when they worked to help out the campus community while spending time with their friends. That feeling of really making a positive impact on students is one of their favorite DCTC memories.

“I never really felt that I did more than the next person on campus. I definitely tried my best in class and help out when it was needed, but it felt and still feels like so many people around me were also giving it their all.

“It wasn’t until I read the amazing things people said about me in the award nomination that I realized how much impact I actually had made on people’s lives. The award is amazing, and I’m honored, of course, but I’ll really cherish all the amazing people I’ve met at DCTC who made it possible for me to attain it.”

Bailey Humphries-Gustafson
2024 Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student
Architectural Technology Major
Dakota County Technical College

Bailey’s inspiration to pursue a career in architectural technology was partially based on how much they really like building games such as The Sims and Dragon Quest Builders. They also greatly enjoy modeling and drafting, with 3D printing being one of their main hobbies. Architecture is a perfect blend of creativity and problem-solving for Bailey.

When asked what advice they would give students thinking about attending a technical college, Bailey said, “I can’t speak for all technical colleges, but at DCTC all of your teachers are professionals in their fields—and they absolutely know what they’re talking about. Take the opportunity to sponge up every little bit of their expertise you can. Come to class ready to engage, and your professors will teach you practical skill that go far beyond the text book.”

After DCTC, Bailey is heading to the Dunwoody College of Technology to earn a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.). Their career plans are centered on obtaining their architecture license and specializing in sustainable construction.

More about the Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student Award

Dave Schroeder, former DCTC president

Dave Schroeder

Dave Schroeder
First DCTC president: 1970 – 1999

When he took over as the first director of the Dakota County Area Vocational-Technical Institute in October of 1970, David L. Schroeder brought a philosophy for technical education focused on providing incoming students with effective pathways to rewarding, secure careers.

President Schroeder was taking the helm of a school whose main campus building wouldn’t be completed for three years. Classes ran all year and tuition was free. The first students attended class in rented space across an archipelago of buildings. Enrollment was three shy of 50.

Working three years straight with no time off, President Schroeder put in 60-hour weeks creating programs, hiring faculty and staff, buying equipment and coordinating everything on the fly. When the main building opened in Rosemount, Minnesota, in 1973, enrollment had reached 700 students in some 30 programs.

“We started with nothing and created programs that changed people’s lives.”
David L. Schroeder
Dakota County Technical College President
1970 – 1999

“By the time I finally took a vacation, I was totally wiped out. I went up north to our family cabin and sat in the woods for two weeks,” President Schroeder remembered with a smile. “But it was a fun time and everyone was up to the task.”

After two name changes, the tech institute, as it was nicknamed, became Dakota County Technical College in 1989. Six years later, when DCTC merged with other higher education institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, Dave Schroeder assumed the role of president of the college.

“From the very beginning, our mission was Education for Employment,” said President Schroeder, who retired in 1999 and passed away in 2011. “When I look back on my career, I feel the strongest about serving students and getting them jobs.

“We started with nothing and created programs that changed people’s lives. It was hard to leave, but after thirty years it was time. I loved the place.”

Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student Award nominations are based on the following criteria:

— College involvement and participation
— Academic performance
— Service to community
— Other considerations, including perseverance in the face of adversity or unique challenges

Learn more about Student Life and the Dave Schroeder Outstanding Student Award by contacting:
Associate Director of Student Life
Neurodiverse ERG Chair
Dakota County Technical College

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