Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Northland Community & Technical College is proud to announce the Student of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year. The Student of the Year is Phillip Burda, of Middle River, Minn. The Alumnus of the Year is Aaron Dahlen, of Mankato, Minn.
Philip is a 2010 graduate of Greenbush-Middle River High school. While in high school, he managed volleyball and softball, was a part of Close Up in which he traveled to Washington D.C. and New York City, and was an active member in Art Club. While at Northland he has participated in the Northland Chamber Choir, has served as Vice President of the Student Senate, and was involved in volleyball, both on-campus in the intramural program and the Thief River Falls City League.
Philip credits his parents and their influence in helping him to grow into the individual he is today. He is also very thankful to his fellow students and the Northland staff who have made his education possibilities at Northland extraordinary.
Philip will graduate with an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts. He plans to attend the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND where he will pursue a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. He is the son of Anthony Burda and Audrey Beito, both of Middle River, Minn.
In 1991 Aaron Dahlen graduated from Northland Community College with an Associate in Arts degree. His heavy course load focused on science and math in preparation for a career in electrical engineering. Dahlen started his first NCC class in 1988 while still a junior at Goodridge High School, under the Minnesota Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program (PSEO). He spent his entire senior high school year (1989 - 1990) at NCC and graduated one year later.
After graduating from NCC, Dahlen enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) as a Seaman Apprentice. This was a life changing decision that Dahlen made with assistance of NCC instructors – Jack Kramer was particularly helpful. After boot camp Dahlen attended Class “A” school and earned the rating of Electronic Technician. For the next 10 years he served in a variety of locations servicing high power radio navigation systems, including Kodiak Island, AK, LaMoure, ND, Petaluma, CA, and St. Paul Island, AK. Dahlen thrived in this environment and rose to the rank of Chief Petty
Officer. At this point he applied for and was accepted into a program whereby the USCG sends high performing individuals to college. Dahlen attended school in Mankato, MN where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering Technology.
As a Chief Electronics Technician he then served on the USCG’s heavy icebreakers POLAR STAR and HEALY. His team worked to maintain the radar, navigation suite, radio, and sonar systems on board these powerful ships. Dahlen enjoyed sailing to remote regions of the earth, including McMurdo Station (Antarctica) and Barrow, AK (the northernmost community in the United States). Later Dahlen applied for a direct commission into the USCG Officer Corps. He was accepted and commissioned as a Lieutenant (junior Grade). His first officer tour was in Cape May, NJ at the Long
Range Navigation (Loran) Support Unit. Here he served as division officer for the system configuration branch responsible for the technical support of a nationwide radio navigation system supporting Marine, Aviation and timing communities. Near the end of this assignment Dahlen applied for and was again accepted to an advanced education program. He returned to Mankato and obtained a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering.
Dahlen and his wife Mary have two children, Daniel and Jacob. They are currently in the process of moving from Mankato, Minn. to New London, CT where Dahlen will serve as an instructor in the Coast Guard Academy’s Electrical Engineering department.
Northland Community and Technical College (Northland College .edu) is a comprehensive college with campuses in Thief River Falls, MN and East Grand Forks, MN. Northland also has a separate aerospace campus in Thief River Falls, MN and a satellite site in Roseau, MN. Northland offers certificates, diplomas, transfer courses, two-year AAS degrees in more than 60 areas of study, workforce training and education programs. Northland is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. Visit Northland online at www.northlandcollege.edu. Northland is an equal opportunity educator and employer.