Alumni Spotlight: Erica Gibson
Erica Gibson grew up wanting to help others and planned to attend Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center to study Health Dimensions. In 10th grade, she toured the campus where she felt her career dreams change to Graphic Arts. She was immediately intrigued by all of the Mac computers and wanted to learn more about the design process.
When it came down to it, she chose the graphic arts program because she wanted to take outside-of-the-ordinary classes, and learn more about adobe applications and photography. She attended Batavia CTE Center from 2014-2016 and graduated from Oakfield-Alabama Central Schools.
After graduation, Gibson continued her education and attended Monroe Community College, where she studied visual communications. During her senior year at Batavia CTE Center, she received a paid internship and continued to work there throughout college. While attending MCC, she received a call from her former teacher, Doug Russo, who asked her to be a part of the Graphic Arts Advisory Committee. She served on this committee until she moved. Gibson spent the next few years after graduation traveling around the United States capturing the beautiful places she encountered.
A few years passed and Mr.Russo called again to tell her Batavia CTE Center had a graphic arts teaching position open, and to see if she would be interested in teaching. “Becoming a graphic arts teacher has been a dream of mine that I did not think was possible, '' said Gibson. Gibson started her new career as the graphic arts teacher in September. She is excited about helping students the way she feels Mr.Russo helped her. She wants students to look back on her class and have nothing but positive and impactful memories. A goal of hers is to teach them motion graphics as well as video editing.
As a teacher, her priority is making a difference in her students' lives. She wants them to experience as much as they can, and plans to add field trips and fun projects for them to participate in. These types of activities are things she fondly remembers as a student and wants her students to have the same experience. “BOCES has changed my life for the better, so I hope I can have the chance to help other students’ lives and encourage them to go further in their education and career,” explained Gibson.
One of the biggest lessons she learned as a student was to step out of her comfort zone and try new things. Before attending the Batavia CTE Center she had only taken a few art classes. She didn’t feel art was something she excelled in but graphic arts taught her that practice makes perfect. She continued to work on her art skills and stepped outside her comfort zone to perfect the skills she needed to succeed in the design world.
Another lesson she learned as a student that she has taken with her was the time management skills she learned. In the design profession, deadlines and preparation is crucial to being successful. Time management skills help you achieve your goals, and prioritize your work to ensure you accomplish what you need to be successful.
Her advice for current and future students is to use your time in school wisely. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity, and you don’t want to miss out on any opportunities given to you. By working hard and proving yourself to your teachers and internship leaders, you can have a job offer right out of school. Not everyone is given these opportunities, so don’t waste it. She also wants students to know that word of mouth and connections are very important and will help shape your future.
Gibson has a lot of fond memories of being a graphic arts student. She enjoyed exploring different versions of designs and having creative freedom. In her free time, she used her camera to take photos of her classmates and capture the fun adventures she experienced. One of her favorite projects was creating fathead designs for her friends during their senior sports nights.
As a student, she was most proud of being the Student of the Year and the National Technical Honor Society President. Now, as an adult, she is most proud of becoming the new graphic arts teacher. If she hadn’t attended the graphic arts program, she feels she would not have had the chance to become a teacher in the field she loves. She is living out her dreams of helping people and teaching her love for graphic design.