Saturday, February 21, 2015

RCS Grad Turns Love of Digital Creations into 3D Systems Career

Wearing a college hoodie paired with jeans and tennis shoes, Ben Dibble looks like your average 18 year old. But, the recent Richmond Early College graduate is anything but ordinary.

Instead of making Spring Break plans like most college freshmen, Dibble is settling into his new role as a 3D Printing Technician for Rock Hill, South Carolina based 3D Systems.

     Here, he runs a lab of 3D printers making models for the consumer market. But, Dibble explains it was his time with Richmond County Schools that turned his love of digital creations into an actual post-graduate position.

     “It all started at Rohanen Middle School; my friend and I would stay late every day to use the computers because they had video game design software,” said Dibble.
And, from there it took off.

     Under the guidance of Jeff Epps and Chad Osborne, Dibble entered the G.R.E.A.T.-Globally Ready Engineering and Technology-Academy in the eighth grade, where he was first exposed to coding, 3D modeling and 3D simulations.

     The Academy began as a free two week class called Summer of Kainotomoia, but Epps and Osborne soon decided they wanted to reach more students. So, in addition to the summer intensive, they added a monthly four hour class.

     “Saturdays are about failing to fail through failure,” said Epps. “Because students have seen what happens when the 3D printer jams, they instantly go into troubleshooting mode. By the time they graduate, they’ll know what to do.”

     Fast forward five years, and it’s now Dibble who, although once a student, now aids in teaching coding and 3D basics.

     3D technology is the skill of the future. Effortlessly marrying math and science, it exposes students to engineering and critical thinking skills while they’re still in elementary school. It helps them now in their academics and in the future with their job prospects.

     It was knowing “errors are just pitfalls; they aren’t mountains you can’t climb” that ultimately set Dibble apart from the other, older candidates up for the job.

     “I was taught real life skills instead of just being on a degree path,” said Dibble. “I gained the experience needed to do this job, and it actually culminated into me receiving this position.”

     But don’t think Dibble’s stopping his education now that he’s got his own apartment, insurance and 401k.

     Thanks to 3D Systems’ tuition assistance, he plans to continue with his long-term education goal of gaining skills, as opposed to diplomas, that apply to on the job training.

     Additionally, Dibble hopes to bring industry and high tech jobs back to Richmond County.

     “It’s like a supply and demand chain,” said Dibble. “If there are technically skilled employees here who would know how to do this job, it just makes since for companies to come here and set up shop where they can take students directly from high school to being their employee.”

     “The 3D printing industry is going to happen somewhere,” added Osborne. “It’s our choice whether or not it happens in Richmond County.

     Michael Chapman, the principal at Richmond Early College, called Dibble the epitome of what the Early College is about.

     “He benefited from having this small environment where he could sport his strength...and now realizes he has the potential to change our community.”

     Dibble claims “not to be super special.” He took the normal Early College path and earned an Associates Degree in Arts. He said he was just at the right place, at the right time, with the right interests.

     “This is possible for every student in Richmond County,” said Dibble. “This program is what made me the person I am today, and I really want more kids to have that same opportunity.”

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I'm NOT a fan of transitions!

Call me crazy, but I'm really not too great when it comes to change.  Blame it on the fact that I lived in the same house for most of my life, or maybe it has something to do with the whole not knowing anyone thing?  But, this first week at the new job's been a bit tough.  

I can't tell you how many times Jeremiah 29:11 has run through my brain.  Don't get me wrong; I really do believe this is exactly where He wants me to be.  The school district's great, and all the people that I have met are amazing.  But, I'm seriously NOT a fan of transitioning!  

I know; like with any new job, there's going to be a few weeks where everything's new.  I can't beat myself up about being an hour late for a meeting I didn't know about.  And really, who's to say purple pants aren't appropriate for board meetings?  But, more than that, I'm just so ready to know all my schools.  Plus, I really miss having my elementary kiddos give me hugs whenever they spot me in the grocery store. 

The good news is my first week is officially behind me!  I've experienced my first K-12 Principals Meeting, designed a new teacher recruitment banner, been hit with a  couple of basketballs and taken more than 2,000 pictures.  Add in a new Instagram and Twitter, and if that's not a warm welcome, what is?  Plus, it's like I said before; I love that Richmond County Schools' colors are green and gold.  It makes me feel like I've got a piece of Dublin, GA with me here in North Carolina.  

Sunday, February 1, 2015

New Year. New Job. New Dress.

Way back when, my 7th Grade English Teacher said, "to be a great writer, you have to write everyday."  Well, I've been a bit neglectful of my blog these past few months, instead trading in reviews and recipes for press releases and Facebook updates.  But, now that I'm starting a new job and have  moved 5+ hours away from all my loved, I figured now's as good a time as any to get back at it.  Plus, having an outlet to go to will force me from spending all my free time nestled on the couch watching Netflix.  

Roo and I have been North Carolina gals for a full week now.  Most of it's been spent unpacking boxes and waiting on technicians, but thank goodness we're all settled in.  She's anxiously awaiting our next walk to Downtown Rockingham, while I'm a bit nervous about my first day at the new job.

For as long as I can remember, I've always had it in my mind that 24 to 27 would just be "The Perfect Age."  It'd be the time in my life that I'd look back at 50 years from now and say, "wow; now that's when life really got started."  Why? I'm done with school, work in a profession that's applicable to my degree and have enough money in my back account to buy a new pair of boots.  Call me crazy, but if that's not living, what is?  So, I think it's a bit fortuitous that I'm starting a new job in a new state on my 24th Birthday.

Thank you GAP for always
providing me with the perfect
red and navy dresses. 
Not only am I trading in my #FightingIrish to #RichmondRaiders but also attempting to sort through the whole having 16 schools as opposed to six.  Throw in the fact that I know a grand total of three local folks, and I'm sure my first day's going to be interesting.  Thank goodness I at least have a new outfit. 

So, here's to you 24, with all awkward handshakes and get to know you name games, I'm sure it's going to be great!