Month: February 2019


Alumni Spotlight – A Love for Foreign Languages Leads to an Adventure Abroad

February 26, 2019 | Alumni Spotlight Campus News

This winter, we’ve seen snow, sleet, hail, and ice in the Midwest. It’s enough to make a person want to travel somewhere warm, which is exactly what Brandon Gassei did.

“I decided to go to Costa Rica this semester,” he explained. “I wanted to go to a country filled with beautiful nature.”

The Marthasville native is staying with a host family and studying at the Latin-American University of Science and Technology.

“My host family is amazing,” he said. “Their knowledge of the local culture is so helpful. They know what places are best and which are not recommended. Additionally, they are more than willing to help me with my Spanish skills.”

East Central College Spanish Instructor Ellen Aramburu is not surprised Gassei decided to immerse himself in Latin American culture.

“Brandon always demonstrated a genuine interest in the Spanish language and travel for as long as I have known him,” she said. “I am very happy that he is taking this opportunity.”

Gassei attended East Central College from 2015-2017, transferring to Southeast Missouri State University shortly after to pursue a degree in international business.

“My experience at ECC was really amazing,” he said. “The professors were always willing to help students who were struggling. They do not take their curriculum work lightly and loved to challenge students.”

“Brandon was a very responsible and conscientious person,” Aramburu said. “He was a hardworking and dedicated student who always stayed on task and asked good questions. He shows a genuine concern for other people and his generosity of spirit makes him a pleasure to be around.”

For now, Brandon is enjoying his time in the tropics, but the future is still very much on his mind.

“I am still deciding on the next step to take,” he said, “but I do know that many companies and employers need individuals who are bilingual. Continuing with this skill that I started at East Central College opens up more opportunities for me.”


2019 Summer and Fall Class Schedule Now Live!

February 25, 2019 | Campus News

The wait is over! Students can now check out the 2019 Summer and Fall Class Schedule!

Registration for current East Central College students starts on March 11. Students are encouraged to make an appointment with their advisor to sign up during the first week of registration.

Registration for future East Central College students starts on March 25.

Check out the schedule!


#InspiringExcellence – Alumni, Faculty Honored at Union Chamber Distinguished Alumni Banquet

February 19, 2019 | Campus News Inspiring Excellence

Since 1968, the Distinguished Service Awards Banquet has recognized outstanding individuals in the Union area community. Sponsored by the Union Area Chamber of Commerce, only six people are chosen each year in six categories.

This year, East Central College had ties to half of the award recipients! Board of Trustees President Ann Hartley received the Distinguished Service Award, presented to a man or woman over the age of 41 who has made a true impact in the community. Journalism instructor Leigh Kolb was honored with the Outstanding Educator Award, presented to an educator who teaches school at any age level in the city of Union. Former EMT Instructor Ken Koch received the Shield Award for First Responders, presented to a member of a Union-based first responder agency.

“During the opening remarks, East Central College was also singled out for our 50th Anniversary and the impact the college has had on the region,” said President Dr. Jon Bauer. “It was truly a special and humbling night for ECC.”

According to the Union Chamber of Commerce, Distinguished Service Award winners are chosen based on achievements or contributions in three or more of the following areas: Personal improvements or accomplishments, social improvement to major contemporary problems, philanthropic contribution or voluntary service, politics or government service, scientific or technological contributions, cultural achievement (including contributions in literature, history, education, or art), academic leadership or accomplishments, moral and religious leadership, any other important contributions to the community, state, or nation and professional achievement.


Friends of the Foundation Gala Raises More than $30,000 for Scholarships

February 14, 2019 | Campus News

Each year, the East Central College Foundation hosts its largest fundraiser to provide scholarships for students. In honor of East Central College’s 50th Anniversary, the 2019 Friends of the Foundation event was held at the Union City Auditorium on Friday, February 1.

“The auditorium is special place for the college,” said President Dr. Jon Bauer. “East Central College got its start in that building. Our first classes were held there back in 1969 before we had a campus to call home.”

History was a dominant theme at the Friends of the Foundation Gala.

“We had several interactive displays at the event,” said Angie Siebert. “It’s always enjoyable to see an old photo of someone you know or of an event that sparks a good memory.”

More than 200 people attended the annual gala, raising $32,150 for student scholarships.

“Every dollar committed to the Foundation helps strengthen our communities for all of us,” said Dr. Bauer, “and enhances the lives of our students forever. It is an economic and a human investment.”

The East Central College Foundation solicits and receives tax deductible gifts which are managed for the benefit of the college and its students. It is chartered as a non-profit 501 (c)3 organization for educational purposes.

Photo: Dr. Raymond and Brenda Ker, supporters of the East Central College Foundation, at the Friends of the Foundation Gala.


Make an Impact and Join a Student Focus Group

February 13, 2019 | Campus News

As part of the strategic planning process, East Central College will be holding a series of student focus groups at its Union and Rolla locations.

“The purpose of the student focus groups is to gather information that will be helpful in developing strategies for ECC’s future,” said faculty member Wendy Pecka. She is one of three strategic planning committee chairs. “We want to hear about the student experience – what works, what doesn’t work and how we can grow East Central College as an institution.”

Students will have three opportunities to provide input and ideas in February:


Thursday, February 21
2:00 – 3:15 p.m.
HH 286
Lunch Provided!

Wednesday, February 27
9:40 – 10:55 a.m.
HH 286
Breakfast Provided!


Monday, February 25
8:25 – 9:30 a.m.
RTC 139 (Rolla Main)
Breakfast Provided!

Please RSVP to Megan Elbert if you would like to make an impact and join one of the sessions! Each participant will be provided a free meal and walk away with exclusive ECC gear!



Valentine’s Day Dinner Ideas and Recipes from Chef Mike

February 11, 2019 | Campus News

Are you looking to impress someone special on Valentine’s Day? Chef Mike Palazzola is here to help! He’s offered up his expertise to create an unforgettable meal for the occasion.

“I am a big fan of ‘less is more,’ said Chef Mike. “I have a three-course meal that is somewhat ‘foolproof’ and is guaranteed to make most people happy.”


Course One: Caesar Salad with Parmesan Basket

Parmesan Basket: Preheat broiler to high, then scatter a thin layer of fresh Parmesan on a sil-pat (a silicone cooking mat). Cook until golden brown, which should only take about three minutes. Remove the warm Parmesan and put it on the back of an everyday bowl to allow it to form. Allow it to cool before removing it.

Caesar Salad: Cut romaine into half-inch cubes and wash. Be sure the lettuce gets dry!

Toss Romaine, dressing, and croutons in small bowl. Dressing should lightly coat all ingredients.

Serve in Parmesan crisp bowl and top with shaved/shredded Parmesan and croutons.

For the dressing, you can buy it at the store or make it yourself. Here is a recipe I like: Caesar Dressing


Course Two: Surf and Turf with Roasted Asparagus and Twice-Baked Potatoes

You can’t go wrong with a little steak and shrimp! For the steak, I like 12-ounce New York Strips or 6-ounce Filet Mignons.

Rub the steaks with ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce. You’ll also want to sprinkle salt and pepper on the steaks (to taste). Let them sit for about ten minutes. Drizzle the steaks with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil before hitting the grill or pan.

Sear the steaks in very hot pan/grill for ten minutes on each side. Remove from heat onto baking tray to rest while you finish the rest of the cooking. When you have 20 minutes left on the rest of your meal, pop the steaks in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes. The steaks should be medium-rare at this point. Put two teaspoons of butter on top of the steak and allow it to rest at room temperature for five minutes before eating.


  • 8 pieces 16-20 shrimp (raw)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of shallots and garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 cup- 40% heavy cream
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a hot Sauté pan add the olive oil and the shrimp, sear one minute on both sides. Remove from pan. In the same pan add garlic and shallots until translucent. Deglaze with wine, add cream and reduce until it coats the back of a spoon. Return shrimp to cream sauce, add juice and zest of lemon, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

Twice-Baked Potato

  • 3 medium russet potatoes
  • ¼ cup real bacon bits
  • ¼ cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Scallions or chives
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bake one large russet potato for 45 minutes on 400. Allow the potato to cool, then cut the top and bottom off. Cut it in half (longways) and scoop out the middle.

Peel and boil the remaining potatoes – cook for 45 minutes and mash. Mix with green onions, bacon bits, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Stuff scooped potato with filling and top with more shredded cheddar.

Bake for 30 minutes at 325 or until golden brown.

Roasted Asparagus

Cut ends off asparagus and toss with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper (to taste).

Put the asparagus on a baking sheet and roast at 425 for 10 minutes.

On a sheet tray roast asparagus at 425 for 10 minutes.


Course Three: Flourless Chocolate Cake, Macerated Berries, and Vanilla Ice Cream

If you aren’t too full after the first two courses, there is a Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe that is a perfect end to a perfect meal. You’ll want to serve it with macerated berries and ice cream.

Macerated Berries:

  • 4 strawberries, cut into ¼ pieces
  • 10 blueberries
  • 10 raspberries
  • 5 leaves mint, chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp triple sec, Quantro

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. You’ll watch the berries transform into a juicy sauce. Place the cake in the center of the plate, and put a small pile of berries and juices on either side of cake. Top with a scoop of ice cream.



Go ahead and get the grocery shopping out of the way as soon as you can. You can also go ahead and make the Caesar dressing and chocolate cake ahead of time. The cake can easily be warmed up in the microwave for about 20 seconds before you serve it. You’ll can also make the twice-baked potato ahead of time. This saves you some time on Valentine’s Day and a little bit of stress!

On February 13, go ahead and prepare the asparagus and scampi sauce. You’ll also want to thaw and peel the shrimp and cut and wash the lettuce.

On the day of the meal, finish what you started! Also, don’t forget to tell the person enjoying the meal with you how special they are!


East Central College Scores High on MDHE Performance Funding Measures

February 10, 2019 | Campus News Inspiring Excellence

East Central College has a strong commitment to student success, affordability and graduate outcomes. Those are the findings of the latest performance funding measures released by the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE).

Released in late January, data shows East Central College met all six categories established by MDHE in order to receive full funding from the state. In 2018, Missouri’s Coordinating Board for Higher Education dictated that 10 percent of all state money schools received be tied to their performance in educating students.

Success on each measure is defined by MDHE as “improvement over the previous year’s performance (based on a three-year rolling average), year-over-year improvement or, where applicable and appropriate, sustained performance in the top third of an established comparator group.”

“East Central College saw improvement in four of the six categories,” said Dr. Jon Bauer, President of East Central College. “In the other two categories, we scored well above the established benchmarks. These numbers truly show the dedication of our faculty and staff to student learning.”

Of the 12 Missouri community colleges, ECC had the second highest pass rates on professional licensure exams (such as the nursing NCLEX-RN exam). Additionally, ECC scored second highest in the graduate outcomes category, which measures the percentage of degree and certificate completers who are employed or continuing their education.

Learn more about the current key performance indicators.


The Restaurant at Prairie Dell Now Accepting Reservations

February 7, 2019 | Campus News

The Restaurant at Prairie Dell will once again open its doors to the public this spring. Join the East Central College Culinary Department for gourmet food, top-notch service and a small bill!

The limited-run restaurant will be open March 26 – May 2 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Reservations are required. Please email to reserve a table. They go fast!

“This is a great opportunity for our students,” said Chef Mike Palazzola, Culinary Arts Program Coordinator. “They not only get to demonstrate their skills in the kitchen but also learn how to take orders, wait tables, handle special dietary requests and, of course, practice good customer service.”

Along with cash and check, patrons can pay using a credit card.

“Our menu has something for everyone,” said Palazzola, “and our prices are meant to only cover the cost of the food. It’s the cheapest gourmet meal you’ll ever have!”

The Restaurant at Prairie Dell is located at the East Central College Training Center, 1964 Prairie Dell Road in Union.


Board of Trustees Approves Computer Upgrades, Course Fee Revisions

February 6, 2019 | Campus News

At its February 4 meeting, the East Central College Board of Trustees approved the purchase of 44 desktop computers with monitors for the nursing computer lab.

“The current computers are roughly eight years old,” said Phil Pena, Vice President of Finance and Administration. “They no longer can handle current instructional and testing software.”

The upgrade is being paid for by student technology fees and will cost around $32,000.

Also at the meeting, the Board of Trustees adopted a new schedule of course fees for the 2019-2020 academic year.

“Each year we take a close look at our course fees to make sure it accurately reflects the costs to our students and our institution,” explained Robyn Walter, Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Many course fees related to fine arts will see a decrease in fees. Course fees related to Allied Health and Nursing will increase. Overall, most course fees will remain unchanged.

The Board of Trustees also reviewed the proposal to formalize the current Behavioral Intervention Team on campus. It will be brought back to the March meeting for approval. A possible adjustment of tuition was also discussed and will also be decided at the March meeting.