Essential Worker Spotlight: Dorothy Vogel

Dorothy "Dot" Vogel

IT specialist manages college’s IT Help Desk

Dorothy “Dot” Vogel started her career at Inver Hills Community College as a student worker in 1976 shortly after graduating from high school in Luck, Wisconsin. Dot earned her Associate of Arts (A.A.) from Inver Hills and went on to become a permanent employee in 1978.

During her more than four decades of service at Inver Hills, Dot excelled in a number of positions, including audio visual aide, audio visual technician and instructional communications technician before taking on her current role as an IT specialist overseeing the IT Help Desk.

“Managing the IT Help Desk involves responding to technology requests from the campus community,” Dot explained. “Requests arrive via JIRA tickets, phone calls, email or in person.”

2018 Inver Hills Employee Recognition

Dot added that before the COVID-19 pandemic, she also trained, supervised and collaborated with student workers. “It is a privilege to have worked with many students from various cultures, countries and backgrounds,” she said.

In addition to her decades of experience in the information technology field, Dot has held a variety of part-time positions. “I enjoyed working with young kids in the South St. Paul Youth Recreation program,” she said. “I also worked as a business office agent at a local car dealership and spent a summer working at a wood manufacturing plant.”

Student workers outside Inver Hills IT Center getting ready for finals in 2018

Heritage Hall groundbreaking circa 2002

Todd Jagerson: CIO perspective…

The work Dorothy does for the Inver Hills I.T. department sets the tone for customer services, support, feedback and follow through. Her approach and demeanor make the work and educational experience for all employees and students much better. She makes everyone around her better.
Todd Jagerson
Chief Information Officer
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College

More about Dot…

Born in St. Paul, Dot resided in Inver Grove Heights until she was 11 years old when her family relocated to a dairy farm outside of Cushing, Wisconsin.

“Fun facts—my mom, Mabel Sunquist, was on the original Simley High School Board back when the school was built,” Dot said. “My dad worked for the IGH School District. And both of my older siblings graduated from Simley.”

Dot has been married 24 years and has two children. “I have a wonderful family!” she related. “Mike is my awesome husband. He’s retired, but keeps busy restoring antique cars and keeping everything running smoothly at home.”

Dot and Mike’s son Cory is married, and he and his wife, Robyn, are both working professionals based in the Twin Cities. Cory and Robyn have two children, a daughter named Paige, and a son named Peyton.

“Our daughter, Samantha, is getting married this fall to her fiancé, Austin,” Dot said. “Samantha works for a law firm. We have a very supportive extended family as well. We don’t have any pets, but we have fun with our daughter’s cat, Mylo, and our son’s dog, Libby.”

In her free time, Dot enjoys spending time at Balsam Lake, fishing, boating and sharing lots of laughter. Before the pandemic, she also appreciated opportunities to travel with her family.

Dot and Mike reside in St. Paul Park, Minnesota.

Dot Vogel family gallery

One word that best describes your time at Inver Hills:


Dot Vogel Q & A

What do you like most about your job at Inver Hills?

Interactions with all of our customers—students, faculty, staff, administration and community partners. I think it’s a “plus” that the time spent at Inver Hills has been ever-changing and enriched by our campus community.

Why did you choose information technology as your career field?

I would not say I actually “chose” IT as a career, but it evolved over time into a career in IT.

For example, when I first started at Inver Hills, the word, technology, might mean a “reel-to-reel” audio tape player or plugging in a television (pushed around campus on very tall carts). Electric typewriters, mimeograph paper were used before the first Mac computers were deployed sparingly across campus.

Video productions evolved with writing scripts, collaborating with faculty, gathering props, and recording with studio cameras and video cassette tape. Sometimes this was done on campus or at the local cable company or at Henry Sibley High School studio.

Left to right: Wes Lines, TBD, Jerry Jacobsen, Rosie Giefer, Dot Vogel
Dot with Inver coworkers late 1970s or early 1980s. Learn more about Inver Hills history at In Memory of Gerald Jacobsen: 1941 – 2020.

“Many years ago, we used to have staff picnics with softball or volleyball at the end of spring semester,” Dot recalled.

“Online learning” meant we either produced or purchased video programming, which was then duplicated (yes, with copyright permission) and then the tapes were distributed (by me) to eight different area cable companies.

I started out in basic audio visual assistance—the office was within the Library. I learned how to produce campus signs, provided assistance at the Learning Resources Center (LRC) helped test GED students and jumped into video production.

When my first boss, Wes, took a sabbatical leave, I served as the audiovisual director for one year. Eventually, I was responsible for arranging campus classroom technology installation. I met with vendors, gathered multiple quotes, entered purchase orders, tested/inventoried new equipment and approved payment.

When the college’s director of operations was out, I had to write the specs for classroom technology needs in the Fine Arts building addition.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your life on the job?

Although, it seems strange to work remotely, our department has bi-monthly meetings to ensure we are kept abreast of upcoming projects or current issues. Even though technology is not always reliable or easy to understand, I have been so impressed with the ways the college administration shifted plans, faculty re-imagined their courses, staff figured out how to provide service no matter where they were physically, and students adapted.

Three words that describe you as an IT professional:

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job?

Challenging: I prefer thoughtful, timely actions for issues that arise. That can’t always happen.

Rewarding: I like seeing how happy a student employee is when they share how well a particularly challenging class is now going, or if they received a scholarship to help them afford college, or reached their graduation or transfer educational goals.

What is one thing every IT specialist needs to know?

Is there really just one thing? Ha! Seriously, I would say “patience.”

What person has influenced you the most in life?

My mom—she worked hard, believed in community, had strong faith and was joyous.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Okay…this “must” be a standard question. Remember the movie, The Intern? Retired, healthy, and having lots of fun with family and friends.

More about Technology Services at Inver Hills…

Technology Services provides a comprehensive system of technology devices and technical support services to help students learn, instructors teach, and staff and administrators work productively.

As the college moves classes to alternative modes of learning, this information will help you access helpful technology.

Inver Hills Tech Support Services

Provides assistance in the following areas:

  • Checking out a Chromebook
  • D2L Brightspace
  • Zoom
  • Email
  • Technology resources
  • StarID
  • On-campus and additional technology services
  • What We Do
  • Free Online Learning

Dot Vogel 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Volleyball or long walks
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Sweden or New Zealand
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Travel across U.S. and other places like the Panama Canal
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Help family/friends 2) Figure out a way to help end homelessness 3) Seek a cure for cancer
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Rebel and The Equalizer
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Have not been out to see a movie in a long time
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Do my best and be happy
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Great horned owl
  9. Dream occupation: Celebration event coordinator
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Amelia Earhart
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Sewing
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Hopelessness
Learn more about Technology Services at Inver Hills by contacting:

Todd Jagerson
Chief Information Officer
Inver Hills Community College
Dakota County Technical College

What else was happening in 1976?

  • Average cost of new house: $43,400
  • Average annual income: $16,000
  • Super Bowl X: Pittsburgh Steelers edge out Dallas Cowboys 21–17
  • Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria
  • Dorothy Hamill wins gold medal in figure skating
  • Patty Hearst found guilty of armed bank robbery
  • Star Wars begins filming in Tunisia
  • Howard Hughs dies at age 70
  • Apple Computer formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
  • First class of women inducted at U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis
  • Mao Zedong dies at age 82
  • Summer Olympics Montreal, Canada
  • Nadia Comăneci delivers seven perfect 10s in gymnastics
  • Viking 1 lander touches down on Mars
  • The Seychelles join the United Nations
  • Irish rock band U2 forms
  • First megamouth shark encountered off Hawaiian island Oahu
  • The Band holds farewell concert in San Francisco
  • Microsoft officially registers with New Mexico secretary of state
  • Cillian Murphy, ANZA, Peyton Manning, Reese Witherspoon, Collin Farrell, Alexei Navalny, Ryan Reynolds, Chadwick Boseman, Isla Fisher, David Oyelowo, Melissa Joan Hart and Paz Vega are born

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