Scholarship Winners Want to Use 3D Printing to Help Others

YouthQuest Co-Founder and President Lynda Mann presents scholarships to 3D ThinkLink essay contest winners Trevon Ahl and Alycia Freeman at South Carolina Youth ChalleNGE Academy

The YouthQuest Foundation has awarded scholarships to two South Carolina Youth ChalleNGe Academy graduates for their essays about how 3D ThinkLink training affected them.

Trevon Ahl and Alycia Freeman, both 17, are among the 16 students who completed the latest cycle of the 3D design and printing course YouthQuest provides at the school for at-risk teens in Eastover, South Carolina.

YouthQuest Co-Founder and President Lynda Mann presented the $500 awards to the essay competition winners during SCYCA’s graduation ceremony on June 8.

Bestselling author John Gilstrap, whose latest novel in the Jonathan Grave thriller series is Friendly Fire, has judged the semi-annual contest since 2014.

“This year’s batch of essays featured two standouts for me, both because they focused not on what the writer got from their introduction to 3D printing, but rather on how they will put their knowledge to work for others,” he said.

3D ThinkLink students from SCYCA attend Vocational Orientation at 3D Systems in Rock Hill, South Carolina on April 21, 2016
SCYCA students at 3D Systems for Vocational Orientation

In his essay, Trevon described the excitement he felt the first time he used Moment of Inspiration design software to transform a flat shape into a 3D digital model that he could print.

He also recalled the Vocational Orientation trip his class took to 3D Systems headquarters in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where he saw high-end printers that go far beyond the simple plastic-extrusion machines he learned to use in class. These professional 3D printers make objects from a variety of materials, including rubber, ceramics and metals.

“When I saw that, I was overall enthusiastic about this new wave of how to use machinery in everyday life that will help others in different ways,” Trevon wrote.

“If I had a 3D titanium printer for my personal use I would make bikes for all the children in my neighborhood,” he added “I’ve seen many kids in my community that walk everywhere and they would be grateful for a bike. I would even have them customize their own bicycle frame and then I`d print it out for them.”

Because he loves to fish, Trevon also said he wanted to 3D print a titanium fishing rod and “catch so many fish I would be able to share with the people in my community so we would all be able to enjoy a good fish fry.”

The $500 scholarship will help Trevon achieve his post-ChalleNGe goal of attending a technical college to earn a welding certificate. His fellow winner Alycia plans to study surgical technology at Savannah Technical College.

South Carolina Youth ChalleNGE Academy 3D ThinkLink students Hailey Key, Asia Grant and Alycia Freeman examine 3D printed objects during Vocational Orientation at 3D Systems in Rock Hill, South Carolina on April 21, 2016
Hailey Key, Asia Grant and Alycia Freeman examine 3D printed objects during Vocational Orientation

“Alycia’s story was quite touching,” John Gilstrap said.

Her dad was doing drugs and her parents divorced when she was 13. She moved five times and skipped school often, spending most days caring for her ailing grandmother instead of going to class.

“I then started to follow in my father’s footsteps,” Alycia wrote. “About a year later, I knew I had to be successful. I didn’t want to be a product of my environment.”

That’s when she decided to enroll in SCYCA. Being in the 3D ThinkLink class helped Alycia get re-engaged in education.

Like Trevon, Alycia said the visit to 3D Systems showed her how she can use the technology she learned about in class for the benefit of others. She was inspired to see the many ways 3D printing is used in health care.

Being that I took care of my grandmother, I want to help others live a better life in every way possible,” she explained. “3D printing encouraged me to become a surgical nurse. … I’m now motivated and determined to go to school and get into the medical field and actually complete it!”

CLICK HERE to read the complete essays

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