Bob Distelberg, MSIT
Keeping his tech skills sharp
Bob was an IBM software engineer for most of his life, until he and his wife decided they were ready for "something different." They moved to Vermont and purchased the Newfane Country Store, but Bob was restless for something more...technical.
"I was sort of amazed to find something like the Marlboro College Graduate Center available just down the road in Brattleboro," said Bob. "I read about this program called MSIT (Master of Science in Information Technology) that sounded like just what I wanted. A program where I could pick and choose the courses I wanted: some technical courses to keep my tech skills sharp; some business related courses to help me run our retail business."
Bob found the flexibility of the program, and its convenient location, crucial to fitting around his full-time job. "First of all, the class meetings every other week work out really well for anyone with a busy schedule," said Bob. "I completed my degree in two years, rather than doing it full-time, which again was a tremendous benefit to me, given my personal schedule."
"The faculty and staff are just amazingly supportive. It's a lot of work, of course, particularly towards the end. I basically went into seclusion the last month or so, finishing up my capstone. But, it was all worth it, and the sense of accomplishment at graduation was tremendous."
Bob's capstone project was a redesign of the website for his store, focusing on the usability aspects of the site. "In many ways, it's still a work in progress, but the skills I learned at the graduate center have been invaluable."
Marilyn Distelberg, Bob's wife and business partner at the Newfane Country Store concurs. "The course work at MCGC enhanced Bob's skills in web design and development, which had a direct impact on our store's website. Bob also used his time at the grad center to network with people and learn more about activities and opportunities in the area."
In addition to enhancing his retail business, Bob is fulfilling a lifelong dream as an adjunct professor at both the graduate center and the Community College of Vermont, as well as doing consulting work on a variety of web-related projects.
"I've essentially realized the goals that I had when I started the program, and the graduate center has had a profound impact on all of those activities," said Bob. "It's allowed me to keep my skills current; it's given me those academic credentials that make it much easier to find teaching assignments in the college environment; and, it's provided a network of contacts to find consulting work."