Krystal Dunn is an Army National Guard veteran and first-generation college student with a dream of working in an engineering department at a company while breaking down barriers for her fellow female engineers. This quality inspector student discovered the certificate program via a pamphlet through the mail and was drawn to the hands-on approach to learning within the field and the world of manufacturing.
Krystal moved to Isanti six years ago after an injury from her time in the National Guard and a divorce. After she began at Anoka Technical College she was able to work on her generals and decided to continue pursuing her education in engineering after investigating the program. She was able to start off on the floor running CNC machines, inspecting parts for quality, and ultimately to be put through an engineering internship within a company.
“I can only account for the manufacturing aspect, but the instructors are well educated and skill in what they are teaching their students. If they do come across something they feel they need to question, they direct us to someone or where to help if need be,” she said.
Krystal believes in building up her female cohorts and coworkers by working to create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere that encourages all ideas.
“I would not mind being the first female engineer at the company I am with. You do not see many female engineers, try and break barriers and show others they can achieve and work along with the boys.”
She lets women know that it does not hurt to try in fields that are male dominated and hopes to see more women move into manufacturing.
Outside of encouraging current and prospective female engineers, some advice Krystal would offer to all is to always ask questions and dive deeper into what you know or don’t know.
“The stupid question is the one that is not asked,” Krystal said. “So do not be afraid to ask your instructor questions. They are there to help you if you are confused and do not understand something. Take notes, especially involving learning how to operate or program a machine. You never know when you may forget and need to look back on ‘how-to’.”
In her free time Krystal finds joy in spending time with her husband, reading a book, or sitting for hours working on a puzzle. Finding a work/life/school balance is important when juggling so many different things at once.
Krystal has a bright future with plans of finishing school to receive her Quality Inspector certificate and achieving her Quality Technician Associate Degree in the coming year. Her goal is to start a family and ultimately give them as good of a life as possible using her education.
“I would also say having my husband supporting me in wanting to achieve my goals and dreams always help. When you are able to have the support and showing interest in what you are passionate about, it gives you a push and extra oomph in your step,” Krystal said.