Month: February 2021

Longtime College EMS Board Members Retire from Positions

February 22, 2021 | Campus News

Three longtime members of the East Central College EMS Advisory Board, with more than a century of combined experience in ambulatory services, recently stepped down from their volunteer posts.

Terry Buddemeyer, Ken Koch, and Tom Neurnberger attended their final EMS Advisory Board meeting late last year. Each of the three men have close ties to the college as either faculty members, students, or both.

According to Tom Fitts, Neurnberger was one of the first paramedics in Franklin County, and he helped with some of the first paramedic classes taught at East Central in the late 1970s.

Fitts added that Koch was the first full-time faculty member at ECC in the early 1980s, and Buddemeyer was in the first paramedic class taught at the College.

“All three of these men have been involved with the college in various capacities over the years,” Fitts said. “They have well over 100 years’ of combined service to the EMS community.”

Buddemeyer has been on the ECC EMS Advisory since its inception about 40 years ago.  Neurnberger served on the Board for nearly 13 years and Koch served for about three years.

Ken Koch

Koch has 45 years of experience as a first responder. From 1985-1993, he was the primary EMT and paramedic instructor at ECC.

Koch also was a student at ECC, where he received his EMT training. He did ride-alongs with the Union Ambulance in the early 1980s while training at ECC, and then he got his paramedic license in 1983 and was hired by the Warren County Ambulance District.

“I was pleased to be able to serve on the board,” he said. “It was beneficial to have people in the field look at the program to make sure it was meeting the needs of the community.”

Koch worked with both the Marthasville Fire Department and the Warren County Ambulance District while he was an instructor at ECC.

He also worked for Mercy Hospital Washington during that time because the emergency room was short of registered nurses. Koch would help with the caring and treatment of ER patients.

Koch began work at the St. Charles County Ambulance District in 1993 and later became the chief executive officer.

He came back to the Union Ambulance District in 2013 to serve as the administrator/chief. He retired from the district in 2019.

Koch said the ECC EMS program is essential to maintaining high-quality ambulance districts in the area.

“It is essential to the community,” he commented. “If an area does not have a great EMS program, the entire region suffers.”

He added that ECC’s program is held in very high regard amongst local ambulance district leaders.

“Several chiefs say when they look to make a hire, they look first at ECC,” Koch said. “They can trust that the students are well-prepared.”

Tom Neurnberger

Neurnberger has worked in the ambulatory field since the 1970s. In fact, he first attended EMT classes at ECC while a senior in high school in 1976.

That same year, he went to St. Louis University for the paramedic program and became licensed in December 1976.

In 1979, ECC sent Neurnberger and Buddemeyer to the University of Missouri-St. Louis to train at the State EMS Instructor’s Program.

Neurnberger became an instructor at ECC in 1979. He later became the assistant coordinator for the program. He held that position until 1985.

That’s when Neurnberger became the field internship coordinator for four years. After 1990, he assisted with field internships when called upon by the EMS coordinator.

“I have taught a lot of EMS students over the years,” he said.

Neurnberger explained that today things are different in the ambulance field, and for EMS education. He noted that in the 1980s and into the 1990s classes were full.

“We had to turn people away,” he said. “Times have changed.”

Neurnberger was an employee with the Union Ambulance District, from 1976-1985, and then was a volunteer from 1985-1996. He also was a firefighter with the City of Richmond Heights Fire Department from 1985-2015.

Neurnberger worked at Mercy Hospital Washington from 1988-2001 as a paramedic in the emergency department, and from 2001 to 2020 as the EMS coordinator.

Terry Buddemeyer

In January, Buddemeyer retired from the Washington Area Ambulance District where he served for 48 years, including many years as chief.

He was in the first paramedic class taught at ECC and later became an adjunct and refresher course instructor.

Buddemeyer began his career in 1973 as a volunteer in the Washington Ambulance Service. He was hired in 1978.

He became the coordinator of the district when it changed from the Washington Ambulance Service to the Washington Area Ambulance District.

According to Buddemeyer, the purpose of the EMS oversight board is to maker sure the courses are taught to the level expected by the community. He added a primary change over the years has been technology.

“Newer software and testing prep have really benefited the students,” he said.

Buddemeyer also stated that initially, students took the courses to work part-time in the industry.

“Then students started to make a career out of it,” he said. “It became necessary to change the setup.”

The EMS Advisory Board oversees the ECC Paramedic Technology program and courses, which is part of the ECC Allied Health Division. Learn more about the program here.

Students Selected to Show in Art St. Louis Exhibition

February 12, 2021 | Art Campus News

Two East Central College art students have been invited to show their works alongside regional artists at a multi-media exhibition in St. Louis.

Kate Shelton, Union, and Sara Lynn Carter, Cuba, both in their second year at ECC, have been selected by the college art department to show at the “Varsity Art XXV,” a multi-media invitational visual art exhibition.

Art Saint Louis is celebrating its 25th annual “Varsity Art” exhibit at Art Saint Louis, 1223 Pine Street in downtown St. Louis, from March 5 to April 1.

This year’s exhibit presents works in a variety of media, including ceramics, drawing, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and video. The themes represented in this show are representative of contemporary art and trends.

ECC Students

Shelton and Carter are part of 44 undergrad and grad-level art students of all ages representing 22 St. Louis regional colleges and universities from Missouri and Illinois.

Shelton’s piece is acrylic on watercolor paper called “Memento Mori.”

“Falconry has always been a big part of my life and heavily inspires me to create,” Shelton said.

“Growing up working with birds of prey with my father taught me invaluable lessons. The Red-Tailed Hawk is the most common bird of prey in Missouri, and the primary species we hunted with,” she commented, “Depicted here is the single most pregnant moment of the hunt, realizing graceful power and sheer terror had in a split-second.”

Carter’s artwork is titled, “Outsider,” and is watercolor and acrylic on a cattle skull.

“Growing up on Western (movies) as a kid, it was only a matter of time before it worked itself into my art,” Carter said.

“The majestic setting of the American cowboy inspires me the most, from the dusty cattle drives to bronco busting on a bustling ranch. Recently I have been drawn to painting on cattle skulls,” she added. “When I use a skull as a base of my work, I view it as giving it a new life.”


This annual exhibit is a collaboration between Art Saint Louis and the participating collegiate institutions, their art faculty, and students.

Art Saint Louis’ Artistic Director works closely with art Professors and faculty at the area’s colleges and universities, inviting the professors to select two outstanding art students to represent their art department and institution in our annual show.

Learn more about the annual exhibit at or on its Facebook page.

Celebrating International Women in Science Day

February 11, 2021 | Campus News

East Central College is celebrating Feb. 11 as International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and recognizing faculty members, students, and graduates in science-related fields.

ECC has many instructors who are helping students carve their way into a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related fields.

During this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, ECC is recognizing one alumna who is working toward a degree in a STEM-related field, and two alumnae who recently began promising careers in STEM fields.

Vega Hurtado

Catalina Vega Hurtado graduated from ECC in 2018 with an associate of arts degree.

Today, she is a senior research associate in the Joint Genome Institute of the Lawrence National Berkeley Laboratory in Alameda County, Calif.

“In this position, I am involved in genomic technologies creating genomic libraries,” Vega Hurtado said. “I have a career position and a bright future in front of me.”

Vega Hurtado came to the United States from her home country of Colombia for an internship at the University of California, Berkeley, in the plant and microbial biology department.

She had plans to become a microbiologist.

Vega Hurtado later moved to the area and began studying at ECC.

“Although (associate of arts) was a tough path, today I know that I was in the perfect place at the perfect time because I needed to meet Dr. (Parvi) Govindaswany to be where I am today,” she said.

“Dr. Parvi saw my passion for the STEM, for the science, and for the research, and encouraged it.”

Vega Hurtado said Dr. Govindaswany connected her with Dr. Westenberg at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla.

“Dr. Parvi gave me a huge opportunity and she pointed me in the correct direction — she always encouraged me to keep it up, not to give up, to follow my dreams, and to dream high.” Vega Hurtado said.

“She taught me that if I wanted something, I was going to be able to get it, no matter how hard or how long it might take. She showed me that being a successful professor is not just being wise, but also caring about the students, and wanting the best for them.”

Vega Hurtado earned her master’s degree in environmental biology in 2020 from Missouri S&T.

“If there is someone to recognize during International Day of Women and Girls in Science, it is Dr. Parvadha Govindaswamy,” she said. She is strong, kind, an amazing professional, and a great human being, all at the same time.”


Moriah Joyce began her college career at ECC to study music. However, she shifted focus toward engineering, and today she is a project scheduler and cost controller with Ameren Missouri.

Joyce also attended Missouri S&T where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management in 2019.

According to Joyce, she had many Influential instructors and advisors while at ECC who helped guide her to where she is today. Those include Linda Arrington, Sean Roberson, Dr. Matthew Monzyk, and Anne Estes.

“Each of these professors was influential in helping me succeed in my courses, as well as persevere through college,” she said.

“Linda (Arrington) convinced me that I could succeed in engineering, even though it was a struggle switching from the music side to train my brain to a different way of processing information,” Joyce added.” She was a tutor for all my math courses at ECC and made herself available at all times to help —I couldn’t have done it without her.”

She said Dr. Monzyk taught her that “excellence can be achieved and should be striven for every day.”

“I still recall his standard farewell after a long tutoring session on a Friday afternoon, after everyone else had deserted the campus,” Joyce said.

“ ‘Have a productive weekend!’ he’d say. I still strive to have that kind of dedication.”

She added that professor Roberson’s witty sense of humor, and willingness to walk her through mathematical proofs and processes after class, helped to not only survive Calculus courses, but truly learn and do well.

“Professor Estes was methodical in her teaching style and provided me a firm foundation with my Algebra classes that held me in good stead all the way through Differential Equations,” Joyce stated.

She noted that her many professors at ECC worked in the industry in which they taught, or had completed their teaching degrees, which was one of the things she loved about the College.

“The class sizes were small enough that each student had time for one-on-one interaction with their teacher when struggling with a difficult concept,” Joyce said. “I was completely prepared for the workload and level of course difficulty when I arrived at S&T. If anything, my grades improved at S&T after having been through the rigorous training I received in my courses at ECC. “


Jennifer Harrell is a 2020 graduate of ECC, as well as last year’s Outstanding Student award recipient. She said she always has had an affinity for science. She is now majoring in biological sciences with minors in chemistry, biomedical engineering and cognitive neuroscience at Missouri S&T.

“Since I was a little girl, I wanted to pursue a STEM-related subject,” Harrell said. “Specifically, I wanted to work with brains.  The brain has always fascinated me.”

As she grew older, she explained, that dream grew a little more complex and she wanted to fix brains as a Neurosurgeon. 

“Then I learned about mental health disorders, the stigmas associated with them, and how hard it is for people to get the right treatment for themselves,” Harrell said. “Then my dream became more focused – neuroscience, psychotropic medications, and working hard to bring awareness and remove stigmas associated with mental health disorders.

“I can happily say that I am pursuing that dream now and ECC was the catalyst that gave me the confidence to do it.”

According to Harrell, while at ECC Dr. Monzyk was instrumental in her success.

“Without his steadfast determination to help his chemistry students, I would probably have given up a long time ago,” she said.

“STEM is hard for everyone, and it takes a lot of work,” Harrell added, “Sometimes it seems impossible, but it isn’t, especially if you have a good support system.

Harrell added that Arrington was part of that support system.

“She pushed me and tutored me through my math classes, she was always a positive voice reminding me I could and would be successful,” she said.

Harrell noted that Phi Theta Kappa advisors, Dr. Wendy Pecka, Kevin Dixon, and Melanie Dixon, also were incredibly helpful.

“They all encouraged me and helped me through the disbelief in myself, the tears of calculus, and the struggles of pursuing an education while also being a mother,” she said. “There are so many more that have left an impact on me — I could go on forever.”

Now Harrell is pursuing her dream to become a research scientist focused on developing better psychotropic medications. She is working in a research lab at S&T on two separate projects and she will be presenting her project at the Missouri Academy of Science in April at Columbia College.

College Association Recognizes Mercy with Distinguished Industry Award

February 9, 2021 | Campus News

Mercy Hospital Washington has been recognized for its outstanding commitment to the community and continued support to East Central College.

Mercy was the recipient of the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) Distinguished Business/Industry Award, which was presented at the organization’s annual convention in November.

The hospital was nominated by ECC for its leadership within the Franklin County area, and throughout the region.

On Feb. 5, ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer presented Mercy Hospital Washington President and CEO Eric Eoloff with a plaque recognizing the institution for the award.

“For over 30 years, Mercy Hospital Washington has supported health care programming at ECC, including sharing qualified staff to serve as adjunct faculty,” Dr. Bauer said.

“While Eric Eoloff and his leadership team have led the hospital, ECC has expanded the scope of support and partnerships through the shared common vision of the college and hospital for healthcare in the community.”

Mercy Hospital is committed to quality health care for its service area of more than 150,000 residents. More than 800 employees and 233 physicians serve the Washington hospital.

Eoloff, began his career with Mercy Health Systems over 15 years ago and has been in his current role since August of 2016.

“East Central College is proud to nominate Mercy Hospital for the Distinguished Business/Industry Award,” Dr. Bauer added. “Mercy is an outstanding example of a corporation on a regional stage while providing outstanding local community leadership.”

Mercy Hospital Washington, founded in 1926, is an acute care hospital offering comprehensive medical, surgical, obstetric and pediatric services.

The ECC Nursing program continues to grow by sharing scarce human resources, such as adjunct instructors, with the hospital.  In addition, Mercy has made great strides in creating a student-centered approach during clinical education and externships.

Mercy has initiated a summer student nurse extern program in which nursing students can work flexible hours to maintain school, home and work balance. This paid externship program provides ECC students with additional opportunities to learn skills and excellent mentorship provided by professional nurse role models.

In the spring of 2020, Mercy Hospital Washington collaborated with ECC on the “Earn While You Learn to be a RN” model. The model is an avenue to combat the nursing shortage and new nurse turnover rates. Real world clinical immersion is the first step in this pathway.

These partnerships offer the student the opportunity to be fully immersed in the nursing culture earning full-time wages while they learn. ECC and the hospital are leaders in innovation. Mercy Hospital Washington welcomes all ECC students from a variety of health care programs.

In addition to health care programming partnerships, Eoloff and his team are truly interested in the success of the community and in ways in which the College contributes to the community.  The hospital administrative team has actively participated on advisory boards and, most recently, in ECC’s strategic planning initiative.

New Campus Life Coordinator Has Connection to ECC

February 5, 2021 | Campus News

Carson Mowrey is no stranger to East Central College, and on Feb. 1, she began a new relationship at the institution.

Mowrey was recently was hired as the ECC Campus Life and Leadership Coordinator on the Union campus.

She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO), Cape Girardeau, in December 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in small press publishing.

Prior to that, Mowrey earned an associate of arts with an emphasis in humanities from ECC in May 2019. Mowrey, who originally is from Salem, Mo., attended classes at the ECC Rolla site and she was the president of the Beta Omicron Phi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society.

“ECC did so much for me, and when I attended SEMO, I loved talking to other students about two-year colleges,” Mowrey said. “ECC is so special to me because it has prepared me for my future in many different ways.”

She said two primary goals as the campus life and leadership coordinator are to strengthen communication between the Union campus and Rolla sites and build student engagement.

“A community college is just as valid of a college experiences as a four-year school,” Mowery said. “I want students to see how valuable the experience can be.

“I want to give ECC students the experience to feel that they belong to a community and be proud to say that they graduated from ECC,” she added.

According to Mowery, a great college experience also will increase student retention.

“When they know we are concerned with their wellbeing, they are more interested in coming back,” she commented.

Family Connection

Mowery’s father, Ray Mowery, is an economics adjunct instructor at ECC Rolla and her stepmother, Tracy Mowery, is a full-time instructor who teaches biology, anatomy, and other courses at ECC Rolla.

As a child, Mowery would come to the ECC campus for events in which her father or stepmother participated.

“ECC has always been a family thing for us,” she said.

Mowery further added that she has had a lot of great experiences at ECC, including a trip to London with ECC faculty members and students, and while she was employed as a Student Success Center specialist tutoring students in English, writing and speech.

“ECC has always been something in my life,” she said, “whether as a child of an employee, an employee or as a student myself.”

As Campus Life and Leadership Coordinator, Mowery also serves as the Student Government Association advisor.

Students who would like more information about activities at ECC, or student government can contact Mowery at 636-584-6583 or, or stop by her office near Café Central in the Donald Shook Student Center

ECC Theatre to Present Filmed Play, “The Yellow Boat”

February 5, 2021 | Campus News Performing Arts Theatre

The East Central College Theatre Department will virtually present “The Yellow Boat” by David Saar.

The touching tale is about a young man and his family who are dealing with a life-changing illness. It is directed by ECC Theatre alum Jacob Schmidt, and stars Tara Steffens, CJ Satterfield, Donovan Counts, Jasmine Derhammer, Harley Vulcolo, Stephanie Landing, Logan Head and Andrew Carter.

The show is filmed and will be available to view Feb. 18, 19 and 20. Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased at

The show runs about 90 minutes. It can be viewed any time within the February 18-20 time frame once tickets are purchased.

The Stage Management team includes Shania Wilson, Dora Bell, Sam Doepker and Sebastian Montowine. Custom mask design by Eileen Engel with lighting and set design by Bess Moynihan.

According to Grace Austin, theatre director, the filmed performance is much different than past productions at ECC.

“The ECC Theater Department has faced a lot of challenges this year and we are so grateful for the support of the community and the administration,” she said.

“Producing ‘The Yellow Boat’ has given students and alumni the opportunity to safely come together and continue our tradition of theatrical work.”

She added that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the theatre department to become creative with how it presents its art, much like the fall outdoor productions in the Theatre in the Glen.

“This is a unique opportunity that we might not have had otherwise, and we’re so excited to see how the community responds,” Austin said.


Nursing Students and Employees Assist with Vaccination Event

February 4, 2021 | Campus News

For many area residents who attended a COVID-19 vaccination event Jan. 30, it was the first time they had been out in public for months.

That includes East Central College Vice President of Academic Affairs Robyn Walter’s mother. Walter inoculated her mother during the vaccination event at the Union Municipal Auditorium.

“For a lot of people, it was the first time they were out of the house in months,” Walter said. “We had husbands and wives asking us to take a picture to send to their grandchildren who they have not seen in person for months.”

There were 20 second-year ECC nursing students who volunteered to assist with the event that was hosted by the Franklin County Health Department (FCHD). Nursing program faculty members, ECC nursing graduates and Walter also were on hand to help.

“I am extremely proud of our faculty for teaching the students, and of the students’ zeal and passion,” Walter added.

According to Nancy Mitchell, director of nursing and dean of health science, there were more than 1,000 vaccinations given that day, and each of the nursing students was given a chance to administer the vaccinations.

“The Franklin County community witnessed the ECC nursing program at its finest,” Mitchell said. “Current student nurses, past graduates, faculty and administrators assisted in efforts to vaccinate 1,000 county residents.

“We felt privileged to participate and care for our community,” she added.

Mitchell said ECC students and employees will again assist with the second round of vaccinations Feb. 27.

During the Feb. 1 ECC Board of Trustees meeting, trustees who were at the event praised the ECC employees and students and noted how seamless the vaccination event was.

‘We are a community college in every sense of the word,” added ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer. “I am glad that our faculty could be there with our students.”


According to Mitchell, there were many ECC nursing program graduates who assisted as part of their current roles with health care partners in the area.

That includes registered nurses Megan Horstkamp and April Zimmermann who work as public health nurses for the FCHD and helped coordinate the event.

“The ECC Nursing program is extremely proud of these graduates who are working on the front lines as public health nurses in Franklin County. We saw them at their finest hour,” Mitchell said.

ECC Trustees Approve Tuition Bump

February 3, 2021 | Campus News

The East Central College Board of Trustees on Feb. 1 approved a bump in tuition costs beginning in the fall 2021 semester.

There will be a $5 credit hour tuition increase across the board for students who live within the district, outside the district and for international students. The amount paid in student fees will not change, but the fee schedule was reorganized to increase the amount earmarked for support services and technology.

ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer said the increase was determined by a subcommittee on tuition, which presented its findings to administration.

He added that the tuition increase places ECC in the “middle of the pack” among other community colleges in Missouri, but those schools may not have made a decision yet on 2021 tuition.

“We are early in this process,” Dr. Bauer said. “I think it better for our students to do this before they begin registering for classes.”

Registration for fall 2021 classes begins March 22 for current students and March 29 for new students.

The subcommittee on tuition has recommended smaller, incremental tuition increases in lieu of larger, sporadic increases.

Tuition Tiers

There are two tiers of tuition at ECC. Tier 1 includes most programs, as well as general education classes. Tier 2 consists of classes in culinary arts, industrial maintenance technology, nursing and precision machining programs.

The new in-district tuition rates will be $110 per credit hour for Tier 1 classes. In-district rates for Tier 2 classes will be $134 per credit hour.

The cost for dual credit in the 2020-21 academic year will be $55 per credit hour, also an increase of $2 per hour.

Out-of-district rates will be $156 and $190 per credit hour for Tier 1 and Tier 2, respectively.

The rates per credit hour for out-of-state students will be $230 for Tier 1 and $281 for Tier 2. Tuition for international students will be $236 per credit hour for Tier 1, and $301 per credit hour for Tier 2.

Student Fees

The student fees will remain $27 per credit hour; however, there are slight changes in the areas where the fees will be spent. Listed below is the fee breakdown and how it was changed:

• Student Activities $8.50 per credit hour (previously $6.50).
• Support Services $1.00 per credit hour (previously $3.50).
• Technology $3.00 per credit hour (previously $5.00).
• Facilities $7.00 per credit hour (unchanged).
• Security $7.50 per credit hour (previously $5.00).

Board Approves Naming of Library to Honor Charter Trustee

February 3, 2021 | Campus News

The East Central College Library will be named to recognize the legacy — and memorialize — a charter trustee and his family.

During a Feb. 1 meeting, the ECC Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the facility the Donald R. and Barbara D. Means Library.

Donald Means was a charter trustee, and his service goes back even further, according to ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer.  

He noted that Means was one of several people who worked diligently to bring the college into existence in the 1960s.

Means served 24 years as an ECC Trustee from 1968 to 1992. He was board secretary from 1968 until 1984, and then served four years as president of the board. Means died in August 2020.

“Over many years on the board, he provided wise counsel and steadfast leadership to the college,” Dr. Bauer said. “Naming of facilities is not something we have done often, but it is something we certainly want to do for individuals who contribute so significantly to the college — Mr. Means is certainly one of those individuals.”

Dr. Bauer and ECC Foundation Executive Director Bridgette Kelch worked closely with Means’ children to discuss a way for their father’s service to ECC and the community to be recognized.

The library is in Buescher Hall, a building that Means would have overseen the construction of during his tenure as a trustee.

“Mr. Means was a veracious reader, so the library is a natural connection,” Dr. Bauer noted.

Family Members

Means’ daughter, Charlotte Nordyke said her father was dedicated to ECC.

“Dad was so devoted to this school, learning and especially an institution for higher education in Franklin County,” she said. “This is a great tribute to him, and we are indeed honored.”

Doug Means noted that both of his parents committed a great deal of time and energy to ECC.

“I am very, very proud today and I thank the board for this consideration,” he said. “My father spent a lot of blood, sweat and tears, along with my mother, at ECC.”

Nordyke, Doug Means, Eric Means and Rhonda Lasley all attended the remote trustee meeting.

Next Steps

According to Dr. Bauer, ECC and the Foundation will plan for a ceremony at a later date, and signage will be installed.

He added that additional funds were gifted to the Foundation by family and friends of Means.

“There is more to come but this is a moment to pause and say, ‘Thank you,’“ Dr. Bauer commented.

“In a community that prides itself on civic leadership, one need not look further than Don Means for an exemplar. His life and career were marked by integrity and service.”

Nursing Students Receive Phelps Health Scholarships

February 2, 2021 | Campus News

Three second-year East Central College Rolla nursing students recently received scholarships from Phelps Health because of their dedication to their field of study.

Summer Thorp-Lancaster, Mallory Fox and Brittany Smith each received $2,000.

“The scholarship really helped cover the extra fees associated with the program and graduation,” explained Smith.

“This scholarship makes a huge difference. The books add up, and for the nursing program we have uniforms and supplies we have to buy so it’s a huge weight off our shoulders and makes it so we don’t have to work an extra 40 hours to pay for that,” added Thorp-Lancaster.

“There is a physical relief in receiving that help because it means I can step back from that extra shift at work,” Fox said.

Phelps Health distributes these scholarships to Registered Nursing, Licensed Practical Nursing and Allied Health students. Each scholarship candidate must complete an application and complete an interview. The committee who picks the scholarship winners base their decisions on several key factors.

“The decision is based on items such as goal to remain local to the area, overall interaction with the committee, promptness for the interview, does the committee feel the applicant possesses the characteristics needed for health care and several other areas” said Crystal Lorah, manager of auxiliary and volunteer services at Phelps Health.

Local Scholarship 

This local scholarship helps students, who in turn help the community. Fox and Smith currently work at Phelps Health and are dedicated to staying there after graduation to continue to help their community.

“I like that it’s coming from my community and I can put it right back into the community” explained Smith.

“It felt like a reward from our employer,” Fox said.

“It is really hard to work full-time and in knowing that they are investing in us so we can get our education and further our time with Phelps Health is a big plus for this scholarship” she added.

While Thorp-Lancaster has not made a final decision yet on where she will be after graduating with her Associate of Arts in nursing, she feels called towards the labor and delivery unit but has recently also become very interested in the emergency room and the medical surgery floor. She will be exploring her options for getting her bachelor’s degree as well.

Perfect Fit

Nursing program coordinator and nursing instructor Laura McDonald thinks these women were a perfect fit for this scholarship.

“All three of them are very dedicated to safe quality patient care and being successful professional registered nurses. They are incredibly driven to succeed,” McDonald said.

McDonald taught these students in their first year of the nursing program and continues to advise them now in their second year. She sees a very bright future for each of these students.

“These are very well deserved and appropriate scholarships for these women. They are always willing to step up and help. They stay focused on their goals and will make a huge impact in our community.”