Month: December 2021

ECC Offering Industrial Systems Basics ‘Boot Camp’

December 29, 2021 | Campus News

East Central College’s Center for Workforce Development is offering a new “Boot Camp” opportunity for those interested in learning the basics of industrial systems.

The Boot Camp will be taught by Industrial Engineering Technology Program Director Nathan Esbeck and it includes a Falcon Seminar course to provide students with the foundation for an education at ECC.

The program will cover hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical and electrical controls.

Classes meet Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 2 p.m. from Jan. 18 to May 13 at ECC’s Business and Industry Center in Union.

Highlights of the Boot Camp include:

  • Introductions to mechanical systems, including bearings, gearing, belt drives, chain and sprockets coupling, clutches and brakes.
  • Skills of electrical skills, such as relay, logic, PLC’s and variable frequency drive.
  • Four credits earned at ECC.
  • Covers measuring equipment, blueprint reading, material flow and equipment upkeep.
  • Goal setting.
  • Workplace quality and safety the college’s Industrial Engineering Technology program.

Those who successfully complete the program could be eligible for a registered apprenticeship program with their employer through ECC.

For more information or to sign up, email Center for Workforce Development Apprenticeship and Business Training Program Coordinator Melissa Richards at Register by phone beginning Tuesday, Jan. 4, by calling 636-649-5806.

ECC has several boot camps scheduled throughout the year in our Business and Industry Center to provide as much opportunity as possible for individuals interested in developing their introductory manufacturing job skills.

ECC’s Tommie Lowe Named Union Police Officer of the Year

December 28, 2021 | Campus News

Union Police Cpl. Tommie Lowe, who is assigned to East Central College, was named the department’s Officer of the Year for 2021.

Police Chief Andrew Parker said Lowe has “stepped up” when needed and gone out of his way to assist others.

“He is quick to answer calls for service, work special assignments or even stay late to help on investigations, and always has a great attitude with his coworkers and especially the citizens,” Parker said.

Lowe has been with the Union Police Department for seven years. He has been assigned to ECC since 2016, when the college and the police department first partnered to provide officers on campus.

“I would like to congratulate Cpl. Tommie Lowe on being this year’s recipient of the Union Police Department’s Officer of the year,” Parker added. “He takes his position very seriously and he has grown over the past year.”

ECC Theatre to Hold Auditions for ‘Puffs’

December 16, 2021 | Campus News Performing Arts Theatre

East Central College Theatre will be holding auditions for “Puffs,” the Off-Broadway smash hit in January 2022.

“Puffs” is directed by Grace Austin with choreography by Chris Page Sanders, lighting design by Bess Moynihan, scenic design by Sylvia Sellers, costume design by Carly Uding, prop design by Dora Bell, and puppet design by Skyler Hunt.

For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the “Puffs,” who just happened to be there too. Discover the hilarious and untold story of the “losers” who embrace being badgers and strive to be “third or nothing.”

Auditions will be held Monday, Jan. 3 and Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at ECC and consist of readings from the script. Audition signups are first come, first served and performers only need to attend one night. Callbacks will be held Thursday, Jan. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Performances will be held Feb. 24-27, 2022 in the John Edson Anglin Performing Arts Center. Rehearsal will occur every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 6:30-9 pm (please bring a copy of any conflicting schedule to auditions. Actors are only called when needed).

We are casting up to 30 actors ages 15+ (most roles are open to all ages and genders).

Rehearsal schedules, character breakdowns, audition readings, COVID protocols, and more can be found at Auditions are open to everyone.

Email questions to Austin at

Gifford Recipient of Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award

December 10, 2021 | Campus News

A quality of an excellent instructor is the ability to make students understand complex subjects.

That’s just one of the traits that East Central College’s Matthew Gifford, instructor of philosophy and religion, exhibits in his classroom.

Gifford recently received the Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award for his accomplishments and dedication to his students and the teaching profession.

“As a faculty member, he is a beacon of what our College mission defines in and outside the classroom,” wrote one ECC employee who nominated Gifford for the award. “Since his time as an adjunct instructor for ECC, Matthew has always been student driven.

“If one has the opportunity to observe him in his classroom, they will see a classroom full of activity; a classroom full of critical thinking, dismantling, and questioning prior knowledge — One will see students engaged and actively participating.”

A former student stated that Gifford will take the time to ensure the entire class understands complicated concepts.

“He is phenomenal at breaking down a dense concept and making it easy to understand. He is also very willing to go over a concept in as many ways, and as many times, and he needs to for the whole class to grasp it,” the students said.

“It is easy to see that he wants his students to succeed, not only in his classes, but in life.”

In addition, Gifford asks students to build and evolve their own definitions of concepts and come to their own conclusions on the content.

“His classroom is one that transports students to the hallowed halls of Greek philosophy and ancient religious texts and forces our students to see the relevance of the questions asked,” a colleague said about Gifford. “In doing so he is also equipping our students to question the realities of their present and their own academic pathways.”

Outside the classroom, he has held annual food drives to support local food banks that serve both Rolla and Union students. He has sponsored and participated in student clubs, seeking to better their understanding of overall personal safety.

The Excellence in Teaching Awards program began in St. Louis in 1989 and is sponsored annually by Emerson, the St. Louis-headquartered global technology and engineering company.

“As part of Emerson’s commitment to education and our hometown community of St. Louis, we are proud to champion the critical role of teachers in guiding and shaping the lives of the next generation of innovators,” said Akberet Boykin Farr, vice president of diversity and social responsibility for Emerson.

Candidacy Filing Period Open for ECC Board of Trustees

December 10, 2021 | Campus News

The filing period to declare candidacy for East Central College Board of Trustees is under way.

Two trustees will be elected April 5, 2022, for six-year terms each. Both openings for the board in Subdistrict No. 3, which includes all of the Washington School District, excluding portions in Boeuf and Lyon townships.

A declaration of candidacy may be filed during normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays in the Franklin County Clerk’s Office, located at 400 East Locust in Union.

Filing opened Tuesday, Dec. 7, and will close Tuesday, December 28, 2021, at 5 p.m.

The county clerk’s office will be closed from 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 23, through Monday, Dec. 27. The office will reopen Tuesday, Dec. 28.


A candidate for the ECC board must be a citizen of the United States, at least 21 years of age, a voter of the college district for at least one full year preceding the election date, and a current resident of the subdistrict for which he or she files.

To file for the board, candidates must not have been convicted of, or pled guilty, to a felony or misdemeanor under the federal law; must not be delinquent in the payment of any state income taxes, personal property taxes, municipal taxes, real property taxes on the place of residence (as stated on the declaration of candidacy); and must not be a past or present corporate officer of any fee office that owes any taxes to the state.

The board of trustees is the sole statutory legislative governing body responsible for the control and operation of ECC. Neither state statutes nor district policy limits the number of terms a member may serve.

Regular monthly meetings of the ECC board are held on the first Monday of the month.

Breckenkamp Presented State-Level Distinguished Alumni Award

December 8, 2021 | Campus News

East Central College alumnus Scott Breckenkamp recently was recognized with the Distinguished Alumni Award by the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) for his contributions to the college and his community.

ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer recently presented Breckenkamp with a plaque to commemorate the accomplishment.

“Scott truly exemplifies what it means to be a leader in his field and community,” Bauer said. “He is a very well-deserved recipient.”

Breckenkamp, Washington, is the First State Community Bank (FSCB) president of the Washington and Pacific markets.

He attended ECC in 1988-89 and earned an Associate of Arts Degree before transferring to Missouri State University, Springfield, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in finance.

Breckenkamp paid his way through college by working part-time jobs during summer months and throughout the year while attending classes.

ECC Alumni Award

He was chosen as the 2020 East Central College Outstanding Alumni for his professional accomplishments and service to the community. The award is presented by the ECC Foundation.

According to Bridgette Kelch, ECC Foundation executive director, the award is presented annually by the ECC Alumni Association to honor an ECC graduate who has used his or her education and been of service to the community.

“Scott is a wonderful example of an ECC graduate who has gone on to become a successful community member and volunteer,” she said.

After receiving the College’s alumni award, Breckenkamp applauded ECC as an affordable option that enabled him to begin his education beyond high school.

“I had to pay for my own college, so this allowed me to stay local, live at home, continue to work and take the courses I needed,” he said.

Breckenkamp graduated from St. Francis Borgia Regional High School.

ECC played a vital role in his education because he still could work to pay tuition while taking classes. It was easy to then transfer to MSU to attain a four-year degree.

Banking Career

After graduating from MSU, Breckenkamp worked at US Bank in Washington. He also had been employed at the Bank of Washington, US Bank in St. Louis and Merrill Lynch.

Breckenkamp returned to Washington and became vice present and later president of US Bank. In 2005, he became the first president of the new Washington branch of FSCB.

He noted that his former economics teacher and advisor at ECC, Brian Hickey, helped guide him toward a finance degree and set him down a career path in finance/banking.

Community Service

Breckenkamp is married to Julie Pogue Breckenkamp and they have three sons: Tyler, Connor and Spencer.

He has been very active in the community and in the county by serving on the ECC Foundation Board, Mercy Hospital Board of Directors in Washington, Washington Rotary Club, Franklin County Area United Way Board and Washington 353 Corporation.

Breckenkamp also has coached Little League football for one of his three sons and coached basketball at Our Lady of Lourdes. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and Borgia Athletic Association and has been chairman of the Borgia Dinner Auction. He is a Washington Town and Country Fair volunteer, among many more volunteer jobs.

English Acquisition Instructor Knows the Challenge of Learning a New Language

December 7, 2021 | Campus News

Peggy Boyer has frequently traveled internationally, and while in college she studied and learned foreign languages.

Those experiences help her empathize with her students in their desire to learn English, and she understands the challenges they face.

Boyer is an English Language Acquisition (ELA) instructor through the Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) program at East Central College.

Her three-hour class, two days each week, is packed full of teaching and learning. The students build their skills in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, as well as civics and workplace essentials.

“If you have a willingness to learn, we will help you,” Boyer said.

The students who attend her ELA class aren’t visitors on a vacation — they are living, working, and raising families here, where they are surrounded by the English language.

“I encourage my students to put themselves out there and talk to people in English whenever they can,” Boyer added, “and to read and write English outside of the classroom as well.”

She also urges people in the community to slow down when speaking to an English-language learner.

Boyer notes that she has had students from countries all over the world: China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Russia, Ecuador, Brazil, Romania, and others.

“They like to learn about our culture,” Boyer commented. “They want to know the right way to do things.”  The conversations and lessons they have in class help them gain confidence to use English outside of the classroom.

Her students have asked her things, such as, how to get a pool pass, how to pay a city bill, and even how a funeral in America takes place, and what they should do when they go.

When Boyer recently was planning to attend a wedding in Brazil, one of her students explained how weddings there differ from weddings in America.

“She showed me pictures of a wedding that she attended in Brazil and the evening wear that everyone was dressed in. My students teach me, too. I’m learning all the time,” said Boyer.

Through her ELA curriculum, students also learn about American civics.

“Some of my students’ long-range hope is to become a United States citizen,” she said. “It’s important for them to know the background and the history of our country.”

In the past, she has been able to go with her students to events. They have attended a baseball game, a poetry reading, Earth Day, and International Day events, among other outings.

Boyer absolutely loves teaching and has done so for more than 35 years. Furthermore, she loves meeting people from other countries and sharing knowledge with them.

“It’s just right up my alley to do this. I’m proud of my job, and I’m proud of what we do in the Adult Education and Literacy program,” she added. “What we do at ECC is important.”

To learn more about ELA or the Adult Education and Literacy program at ECC, visit, email, or call 636-584-6533.

ECC Foundation Kicks Off Scholarship Campaign

December 2, 2021 | Alumni Spotlight Campus News

The East Central College Foundation’s annual Friends of the Foundation scholarship campaign is underway.

“While the last two years have brought challenges due to the pandemic, ECC supporters responded in extraordinary ways,” said Bridgette Kelch, Foundation executive director. “Our community is emerging stronger, more resilient, than ever.”

In the 2021-22 academic year, the ECC Foundation allocated a total of $478,150 in scholarships to 293 students. With donor support, the Foundation plans to allocate $485,595 to 330 students in 2022-23.

“Since 2002, the ECC Foundation has been able to award over $2.8 million in scholarships to students in need – thanks to our generous donors,” Kelch said.

The annual Friends of the Foundation scholarship campaign starts in November and typically wraps in late winter.

“Last year, as a thank you to our donors, we created our first-ever Alumni Gala Box. The box was such a hit, we decided to do it again this year,” said Kelch.

The box will contain items created or donated by current ECC students and alumni. Included in the box this year will be one bottle of red wine, donated by Robller Vineyard; chocolates made by ECC culinary students; a stress-relieving coloring book for adults designed by an ECC graduate; notecards featuring an alum’s artwork; and an ornament created by ECC welding students.

“If you feel that ECC played a role in making you, a loved one or your community a success, we ask that you consider making a positive difference in the lives of our students by donating to the annual scholarship appeal,” said Kelch.

People can donate online at or by calling 636-584-6505. Donations of $125 or more will receive the Alumni Gala Box.

‘Vax Up and Win Big’ COVID-19 Vaccine Challenge Winners

December 2, 2021 | Campus News

Listed below are winners of the East Central College “Vax Up and Win Big!” COVID-19 vaccine challenge.

The challenge was offered to students and employees to encourage them to get vaccinated with the goal to keep the ECC community safe and curb the spread of the coronavirus. There were opportunities for the entire college community to become vaccinated, either on- or off-campus.

There were several student and employee winners of cash prizes and ECC Bookstore vouchers previously announced, in addition to the grand prize and mid-tier winners listed below.

The Grand Prize winners of vaccine challenge are:

Student Grand Prize Winner

Hannah Martin, Union —
Free, full tuition for two semesters, including books and fees.

Employee Grand Prize Winner

Michael Askins, Union —
Vacation Package of seven nights through RCI, premier vacation exchange company.     

Listed below are the student winners followed by the employee winners of the incentive program. Also listed are the prizes they won and the campus or college site where they primarily work or attend class.

ECC Students

Rachel Barner, Rolla

Jack Ridley, Union
Spotify Family Premium.

Andrew Parker, Union
Apple AirPods.

Danaijsha McClain, Union
Halo charger.

Tiffani Vines, Union-online

Peyton Purcell, Union
Six Flags season passes.

Kelsea Smith, Rolla
Four St. Louis Cardinals tickets.

Jacob M. Jones. Rolla
Four St. Louis Blues tickets.

Andrea Ingle, Union
$1,000 gas card.

Nicole Neal, Union
One-year meal.

Samantha Britton, Rolla
$1,000 gas card.

Kaylah Highley, Rolla
One-year meal pass.

Dorian Meesey, Union
Textbooks for two semesters.

ECC Employees

Sarah Davenport, Union
St. Louis Cardinals tickets.

Susan LaFayette, Rolla
St. Louis Blues tickets.
(Gifted to Keith Pulles)

Sierra Moore, Union
Patrons Package — two tickets to all patrons’ performances and receptions.

New Members Inducted into Chi Delta Chapter of PTK

December 2, 2021 | Campus News

There were 49 new members inducted into the Chi Delta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at East Central College in Union during the Fall semester.

Jennifer Harrell, former vice president of public relations for the Chi Delta PTK chapter and 2020 ECC Student of the Year, was the keynote speaker during the recent induction ceremony.

She spoke about her experiences in PTK and how they have helped her as a student at Missouri S&T, Rolla, where she is slated graduate in May 2022.

PTK membership is by invitation only and students must have a 3.4 GPA as a full-time student for a semester to join the organization.

Students must then maintain an overall GPA of 3.2 once they are inducted into the honor society.

Membership is open to all majors throughout the college, including anyone working toward a degree or certificate.

Those remaining who have been invited to join, but haven’t yet, can still do so through the end of the year.

To learn more about PTK and to find contact information for advisors, visit

Listed below are the names of members inducted this Fall followed by their hometown:

Shane Alexander, Marthasville; Hailey Bennett, Columbia; Haley Brock, Sullivan; Lauren Brown, St. Clair; Alik Callahan, Sullivan; Robert Claspill, Gerald; Emily Copeland, Owensville; Kimberly Counts, Bourbon; Katelyn Dobsch, Catawissa; Hannah Faust, Marthasville;

Heather Galvan, Marthasville; Dalton Halloran, Leslie; Hunter Hanson, St. Clair; Melissa Helms, Villa Ridge; Anne Henderson, Union; Kyley Henry, St. Clair; Hannah Jackson, New Haven; Alexis Johnson, Sullivan; Emily Knoppe, New Haven; Alyce Koch, Ellisville; Jaisie Kulick, Robertsville;

Elleanor Lahmann, Bourbon; Connor Lang, Owensville; Rebekah Lewis, Washington; Feng Li, Washington; Tristen Madigan, St. Clair; Suzi Martin, Sullivan; Gabrielle Mattli, Washington; Joseph McInnes, Union; Ashley McPherson, Rolla; Allie Medows, Lonedell;

Katie Melton, Pacific; Brandon Morrow, Union; Sierra Morton, St. Louis; Kylie Phinney, Union; Kaylie Rowe, Washington; Jennifer Shaw, Pacific; Sage Sparkman, Union; Jacob Straatmann, Villa Ridge; Avery Street, Washington; Claire Strubberg, Washington; Mackenzie Strubberg, Beaufort

Carly Sullentrup, Washington; Brianna Sullivan, St. Clair; Kylee Terrill, Owensville; Tiffani Vines, Washington; Emma Walters, St. Clair; Emma Weston, High Ridge; and Tiffany Winholt, Villa Ridge.