From France to Boise - The Many Paths to Learning

BLOG POST

by Matt Roesch, PTECH Coach

Moving is tough! And I should know, I’ve done it enough in my life. The first time I remember moving was in high school when my parents decided to move our family across town during the first big snow storm of the season. The power went out all over town, including in our new home, so as a family we made the best of it by lighting candles and unpacking the board games first. The physical aspect of the move was complicated by the snow and the lack of power, but we all knew that moving to a bigger house with more space was for the best.

Other moves followed similar storylines: physically demanding moments giving way to formative adventures. I moved across the state of Ohio for university, then moved to the big city of Chicago. Another return to school took me to Athens, Georgia, and yet another move gave me the chance to live in the eastern part of France for a year (Vagney, France, in the Lorraine region). After that adventure, I moved back to Ohio to pursue a PhD (where once again I moved to France – this time Rennes, in the Brittany region – late in my studies for research); and with the purchase of a house, a union with my beautiful wife, the acquisition of a dog, and the culmination of years of study, I assumed that I had learned enough and matured enough and that settling down in Columbus, OH was a foregone conclusion.

Matt and his wife, Annagiulia

Matt and his wife, Annagiulia

And I didn’t think that was unreasonable. Previous moves had the intention of helping me grow as an individual and as a professional, and so the short-lived physical demands of packing and transporting were dissipated by the reward for my personal wellbeing. Moreover, I believed that years of study, dedication, and hard work in a doctoral program had put an end to displacement and continual learning and growth – but life is funny.

This latest move from Ohio to Idaho was the most physically-demanding yet and it required the most patience, calm, and reflection of any move in my life. My whole being was affected: my body was sore, my spirit was tired, my emotions were spent, and my mind was overwhelmed. What pushed me through that trying time, and what still keeps me motivated to this day, was the goal that I kept in mind – having a direct impact on students’ lives – and the knowledge that I was joining a wonderful team – Idaho PTECH – who understood how to make that happen.

Only a unique organization like Idaho PTECH could have enticed me to further change my situational comfort and better comprehend that life is one continuous learning adventure.

As a Coach, I will bring an understanding of life’s complexities, an appreciation for the student’s viewpoint, a diverse cultural perspective, as well as years of actual experience teaching and advising students to the team, and I will put that knowledge to immediate use by helping students develop their soft skills (time management, effective communication, adaptability, teamwork) and by helping them explore their career options in an open and accepting atmosphere.

If moving across the country was the only obstacle to having an impact, then I’m glad I moved and can now call Boise, Idaho my home.

Matt Roesch
Life After PTECH: "I Love My Job"

Blog Post

by Hayla Evans

Before Idaho PTECH was a part of my life, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after high school. I had tossed around the idea of doing IT after learning about it from my school’s system administrator, but I had no real reason or money to pursue it. I had thought about being a prison guard, a public defender, a prosecuting attorney, and a whole slew of other legal-themed careers, but none of them really connected for me. I was very lost, and the thought of choosing my major was one that sat dauntingly in the back of my mind. I had only taken English 102 from NIC, and that class was both terrifying and expensive for me.

 
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Then, almost as a personal answer to my prayers, PTECH was born. Through my school I learned of this great opportunity where students interested in high-demand industries like healthcare, aerospace, and IT fields would be supported through their whole one- to two-year degree and provided with both financial and coaching support. I had the opportunity to be “patient zero” in PTECH, which definitely was up my alley.

My decision was immediately made. I already was thinking about Information Technology, and while my family wasn’t poor, we couldn’t afford to send me to college at that time. Thus, I began my dual credit college coursework through NIC with PTECH’s support, and was able to finish taking traditional high school courses in the beginning of my junior year.

Through that entire time, I had not only financial support, but the support of a coach, who helped me identify personal goals and set an agenda to help me achieve them. My coach was Hayley, and I am pleased to say that even though I am not technically a PTECH student anymore, she still is reaching out to me to see how I’m doing, and asking if there’s anything she can do to help me achieve my goals. That’s commitment right there, and something PTECH does wonderfully. I wasn’t made to feel like “just a number,” I was made to feel that I was special and really had a lot of positives to contribute.

Fast forward to now. PTECH was responsible for my completion of my A.A.S.; they allowed me so many opportunities to achieve technical certifications, and helped me develop employable soft skills. Guess where I am now? In downtown Boise, Idaho, sitting behind a convertible desk with a brand new iMac, my Cisco books carefully arranged, and a picture of my puppy and Isaac, my soon-to-be fiancé that I met in PTECH, doing network and software support engineering for a startup called Pingman Tools. I love my job. Every day, I get to touch networks and help people all across the world understand their computer networking operation. In fact, just today, the COO of our company asked me if I would begin mapping out our current network, which is the first step in allowing me to begin taking on the role of Network Engineer, my dream role.

If I could look five years from now, I think I will still be with Pingman Tools. This is such a great company, and I want to be with them for a long time, growing as a person and a professional. After I finish my Bachelor’s degree in spring 2020, I envision myself moving to western Oregon with my husband, pursuing yet another network engineering role. However, I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing; the only thing I know is that I will be happy.

Gina Borud
Rural Teens Get Dirty with Tractors

NEWS ARTICLE

by Andrew Reed, Idaho Ed News

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Meridian — Ethan Bingham is getting his hands dirty while learning the ins and outs of tractor operations and diesel mechanics. The 18-year-old wants to run his own mechanic shop someday in his hometown of Bruneau.

“I’d rather have a job where I can play, than go to work and be miserable,” said the Rimrock High School senior.

He has been driving tractors since the age of 8 on his family farm, but couldn’t turn down an opportunity recommended by his high school counselor — a Western States CAT Diesel Tech Boot Camp. A three-day camp that allows students to learn and explore career paths through company tours and hands-on learning opportunities.

The camp is hosted by the Pathways To Early Career High School program (or PTECH).

“At PTECH we want to show students opportunities outside from what they know,” said Noe Zepeda, a coordinator for Idaho PTECH. “
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Ethan is among seven teens from Bruneau and Jerome who participated in the camp. Students explore different types of machinery, wired light bulbs and maneuvered a hydraulic system.

“I’m a boy in a candy shop with all the machinery around me,” Ethan said. “I have a passion for the industry.”

Ethan plans to study at the College of Southern Idaho in the diesel technology program after high school.

Gina Borud