Dr. Croom with student on computerDoctor Turnera Croom is the founder of Vets in 3D, a start-up offering 3D printing classes with a focus on Veterinary Medicine and animals.

Doctor, could you let us know about your background and what brought you into 3D printing in the first place? 

My background professionally has always been Veterinary Medicine. I graduated from historic Tuskegee School of Vet Med, went straight into the Army Veterinary Corps and never looked back. But when I looked forward, I saw entrepreneurialism in my future. So really it’s the entrepreneurial spirit that brought me into 3D Printing—self-study into this technology, and the willpower to attempt a startup with it.

Could you detail your first experience with 3D Printing?

My first experience with 3D Printing was in my house by myself—exciting right? It wasn’t another person who showed me or suggested it. I was online just looking at how this 3D industry is expanding, and I thought, “I want to do that!” I was so excited when I received my printer. I think I stayed in all weekend.

frogDo you remember your first 3D printed design?

My first actual 3D Printed design was a Dissected Frog model. While I did not design it, I downloaded it from a site and attempted to print it. It came out great, and is one the lynchpins of my 3D Print/ Pre-Vet courses, where I show kids that using fewer live animals for Veterinary training is possible with 3D Printing.

You are the founder of Vets in 3D.  I understand Vets in 3D is focusing on providing pets-related designs to Veterans and Veterinarians. Could you explain furthermore what Vets in 3D is and the services that you are providing?

Vets In 3D provides 3D Printing courses with a focus on Veterinary Medicine. Kids love animals. Kids love 3D Printing. No brainer there. My fellow Veterans come into play when I start the hiring process. I plan to train, hire, and send them in a positive small business direction. In addition to the courses, I provide 3D printed promotional and marketing items for other small businesses. This includes business cards, keychains, name tags, etc.—all with the company’s logo, name, or slogan on them.

Who are your customers and what are they printing?

These days, my customers are other small businesses who need promotion, and want to have some items that are unique and conversation starters.

How did you come up with this idea in the first place?

People come up with ideas all the time. I am blessed and fortunate to have a full time job as a USDA Veterinarian while I am fleshing out the business. I became interested in the 3D Print industry, decided to invest in myself by purchasing my first printer, a MakerGear M2. Once I got that printer, I fell in love—and the printer is now jokingly my boyfriend. I work all day and come right home to printing.

What do you think of the 3D printing industry today? And how would you like to see it evolve?

The 3D Printing industry today is moving so very fast. If you allow yourself to get sucked into what everyone else is doing, you can get discouraged. This is why I am driven to introducing this technology to the youngsters here in Kalamazoo, MI. They have access to the Kalamazoo Promise, which provides tuition and fees for kids to attend MI colleges after they’ve matriculated through Kalamazoo Public Schools. While the statistics are promising, and more kids are definitely going to college, at Vets In 3D, we focus on the kids that come back without a degree. So even though more students are entering Michigan colleges, only 21 % of kids who attend two year colleges earned a post-secondary credential. Often these students are from families of color. These are the students I want in my Vets In 3D MakerSpace. 

If I can get to Kalamazoo kids prior to entering college, I plan to inspire them to move into any number of STEM careers coming out of Veterinary Medicine, 3D Printing, or some combination of the two.

Some Kzoo kids are the first in their family to even think about being able to afford college, so the college mentality that families need is sometimes lacking. This simply means that some pre-college etiquette items as well as those soft skills in communication, empathy, and teamwork are needed, and we provide those at Vets In 3D as well.

In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?

We can encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing by them SEEING more women in 3D Printing. My focus, as a woman of African descent is to make sure that young Black girls SEE this doctor, CHAT with this veteran, and GET A RECOMMENDATION from this Black female entrepreneur. Then they can carry on the tradition of giving back as they mature.

Also I think that as more of my fellow female Veterans learn about, and are trained in this technology, you’ll see many more females in this industry.

You can follow Turnera and Vets in 3D through the company’s website.

And don’t forget to join the Women in 3D Printing group on LinkedIn and Facebook.

You can also show your support by donating – Your support will help maintaining the activities of this blog and building more events for the community.

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Nora is a 3D Printing expert since 2010, particularly skilled at building strategic alliances and strong business relationships.
Named among the 20 most influential women in Additive Manufacturing every year since 2015, Nora also received the Certificate of Honor in Manufacturing by the City of San Francisco in 2017 for her work with Women in 3D Printing, and was awarded Community Advocate of the year 2018 by her peers.

She started her career in Additive Manufacturing in 2010 by joining 3D Printing service leader, Sculpteo.

Nora joined Ivaldi Group in 2018. Ivaldi Group leverages cutting-edge additive manufacturing solutions to provide on-site parts on demand services for various industries. Drawing on a breadth of additive manufacturing industry experience, Ivaldi Group works across a range of stakeholders to digitize product portfolios and improve cost, risk and delivery for all parties, providing a Part Replacement as a Service solution.
As the VP of Strategy, Nora works closely with the CEO to build and implement the company's strategies in various segments: from core business value to customer relationship and parts production and delivery.

Nora founded Women in 3D Printing in 2014 to promote women leaders in the Additive Manufacturing industry. She also co-initiated and co-organizes #3DTalk, an industry-specific and educational event series featuring women in the 3D Printing and related industries. #3DTalks are global events hosted in various cities across the USA and Europe.

Pursuing her vision for more social inclusion, she joined 3D Africa as Board Advisor. 3D Africa is a youth and women economic empowerment program developed by the Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), a nonprofit organization with years of experience combining education, technology, and economic development to transform economically challenged populations into self-sustainable communities. 3D Africa is part of the YTF’s Clinton Global Initiative 2016 Commitment to Action.

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