Month: December 2022

ECC Outstanding Medical Assisting Student Award Presented

December 27, 2022 | Campus News ECC Rolla

East Central College student Serena Macey, St. James, is the “ECC Outstanding Medical Assisting Student” award recipient.

Macey was selected for the award for the quality of her clinical work at Mercy Clinic at St. James, and her performance in the classroom.

ECC presents the award to a student who the College has made difference in their life. For Macey, ECC provided her with an education to obtain a job in a profession in which she has endless opportunities, and the ability to support herself and advance her career.

Macey already has been hired by Mercy Clinic at St. James, where she recently completed a clinical externship. She was hired due to how quickly she learned in the clinical setting and all that she already has accomplished.

Medical Assisting students must complete a clinical externship, a hands-on experience caring for patients in a healthcare setting. Early on in her clinical, before she was hired to work at the clinic, Macey’s clinical supervisor said Macey was eager to learn, and she has taken on numerous tasks expected of experienced Medical Assistants.

“We all love her. She jumps right in to learn anything and everything. I would say by the time she is done with her time here in St James she will be a wonderful addition to any office,” the clinical supervisor commented. “We currently have her up to date with rooming, vitals, drawing labs, strep, COVID, urine, working the front, taking money, and so much more. I would hire here in a heartbeat. She will make someone a very, very good co-worker soon.”

Macey will take her Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam within the coming weeks.

To learn more about the Medical Assistant program, visit, or contact Nancy Mitchell dean of health sciences & director of nursing, at or 636-584-6616.

College’s LPN Program in Rolla Helping Answer the Call

December 20, 2022 | Campus News ECC Rolla

When East Central College officially took the reins of its Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program in Rolla this fall, the LPN program already had been serving the community and healthcare system for 55 years, while graduating over 1,250 new nurses.

Today, the need for trained healthcare professionals is as great as it has ever been.

That’s according to Michelle Chick, ECC Rolla’s LPN program director, who said that turnover and vacancy rates are at an all-time high among healthcare professions across the state.

“The majority of our graduates seek employment in this area; therefore, program sustainment is imperative to help with this nursing shortage,” she said. “We need a pipeline of LPN graduates to help meet the growing demands in our area.”

ECC took sponsorship of the LPN program for the Rolla School District in October 2021 so the school district could focus its resources on K-12 education. The Fall 2022 semester was the first under ECC.

Students Benefit

The program is three semesters over 11 months, and it includes a clinical experience. Once students complete the program, they earn a certificate of graduation and are qualified to take the national licensure examination (NCLEX-PN).

After passing the exam, graduates can begin earning higher wages and taking on new challenges and responsibilities.

LPN program student Claude Wyatt, 51, had been a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for several years.

“I absolutely love health care. I worked 16 years as a CNA performing caregiving duties,” he said. “Working under wonderful nurses made me want to step up my care to the next level.”

Today, Wyatt does custodial work, but he never lost his love for the medical field.

“This program finally allowed me to pursue my dream of being a nurse and returning to health care,” he said, encouraging other adult learners to pursue LPN certification.

“I am living proof of how life can get in the way, but don’t give up,” Wyatt added. “Your brain is never too old to learn.”

For Monique Matos, becoming an LPN is a way to better her life and that of her children.

“As a single parent, my kids are my biggest motivation and I want to prove that no matter where life takes you, your goals are always possible with hard work and dedication,” Matos said. “I have always worked in health care and have had a passion for helping others. Ultimately, I want to make a difference in the way someone receives care, and I know I can as an LPN.”

In fact, she already is aware of how the program helped her in her current position as a Medication Aide at The Gingerbread House, in Rolla.

“I am becoming more organized, professional, and confident as a student nurse,” she noted. “Also, I can already see a change in my resident care at work.”

Matos is a first-generation college student and the second in her family to graduate high school.

“I am so grateful for this experience,” she commented. “Before I was living day-to-day but now, I can honestly say that I am excited to see what the future has in store for me.”

Heath Care Partners

Jessica Fischer, LPN instructor and clinical coordinator, and Chick both value their clinical partnerships at area hospitals, long-term care facilities and outpatient clinics. They are aware that these facilities need resilient nurses who are ready to accept the challenging environment of health care.

“The unprecedented stressors placed on all health care professionals, not just nurses, during the pandemic has caused an impact on morale and has caused a major toll on nurses,” Fischer said.

That’s why the LPN program also focuses on stress management, she added.

“As nursing educators, we are working on teaching students how to manage and deal with the stressors of the health care environment they will face, Fischer commented. “Teaching students how to mitigate stress, adapt positively, and develop the ability to recover and overcome difficult situations.”

For more information on the LPN program, visit or contact Nancy Mitchell, dean of health science, at or 636-584-6619.

ECC Nursing Grads Recognized for Classroom Work and Clinicals

December 16, 2022 | Campus News ECC Rolla

Four East Central College Rolla nursing graduates were recognized for outstanding work in clinicals and in the classroom.

Lauren Pilkington, Tiffany Rademacher, Leslie Crabtree and Carli Nesheim each were recognized Dec. 13 during a pinning ceremony for LPN to RN Bridge graduates.

There were 16 nursing graduates taking part in the pinning ceremony, which is held to recognize Licensed Practical Nurses who continue their education to become Registered Nurses.

ECC Outstanding Student Nurse

Lauren Pilkington received the ECC Outstanding Student Nurse award. Pilkington is an excellent student in the classroom and clinical arena.

To be considered for the Outstanding Nursing Student award, ECC has had to make a difference in the life of the student.

For the Outstanding Student Nurse award recipients, had ECC not been in their community, they most likely would not have realized the dream of becoming a registered nurse.

Cutline: Pictured, from left, are Joannie Blakely, Nursing Coordinator-ECC Rolla; Julie Chirban, Nursing Instructor-Rolla; Lauren Pilkington and Elisha Chaney, guest speaker and Nursing Adjunct at ECC.

Spirit of Clinical Excellence

The awards for Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing are presented to graduating nurses who demonstrate characteristics of caring and compassion, the spirit of inquiry, exceptional critical thinking and decision making and have superior organizational skills and the ability to effectively prioritize.

There were three awards presented to students who work with ECC’s clinical partners.

Tiffany Rademacher — Missouri Baptist Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing

Cutline: Pictured, from left, are Joannie Blakely, Nursing Coordinator-ECC Rolla; Julie Chirban, Nursing Instructor-Rolla; Rademacher and Elisha Chaney, guest speaker and Nursing Adjunct at ECC.

Leslie Crabtree — Mercy Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing

Cutline: Pictured, from left, are Joannie Blakely, Nursing Coordinator-ECC Rolla; Julie Chirban, Nursing Instructor-Rolla; Crabtree and April Lueckenhoff, Mercy Hospital Washington.


Carli Nesheim — Phelps Health Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing  

Cutline: Pictured, from left, are Joannie Blakely, Nursing Coordinator-ECC Rolla; Julie Chirban, Nursing Instructor-Rolla; Nesheim, Kate Roy, Phelps Health.

All Four Award Recipients


Cutline: Front row, from left, are Tiffany Rademacher, Missouri Baptist Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing;  Leslie Crabtree, Mercy Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing; Lauren Pilkington, Outstanding Nursing Student; and Carli Nesheim, Phelps Health Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing.  

Back row, from left, are Joannie Blakely, Nursing Coordinator-ECC Rolla; Julie Chirban, Nursing Instructor-Rolla; and Elisha Chaney, guest speaker and Nursing Adjunct at ECC.

To learn more about the ECC Nursing and Allied Health program, visit, or contact Nancy Mitchell at

College Hires Executive Director of Center for Workforce Development

December 16, 2022 | Campus News

East Central College hired Todd Tracy, the Economic Development Executive Director for Jefferson County, to be the College’s new Executive Director of the Center for Workforce Development (CWD).

Tracy has been working in Jefferson County since 2019 and played a crucial role earlier this year in bringing a new manufacturing facility, James Hardie Building Products Inc., to Jefferson County. The new facility will create nearly 240 new high-paying jobs in the region.

According to Tracy, the CWD’s role in improving and growing the local business and industry aligns closely with his professional experience.

“ECC’s Center for Workforce Development has done a phenomenal job serving the local business and industry’s workforce training needs,” he said. “As this is where my passion lies, having the opportunity to lead the CWD was a natural fit for me.”

Tracy’s position will lead and manage the workforce development programs of ECC, including job training services and programs. Tracy and the CWD team will work with businesses to keep them competitive in a global economy.

“The ECC administration engages workforce education as a pillar of economic development and I’m looking forward to the challenges of expanding that notion,” Tracy said.

Tracy was hired Dec. 12 following the recommendation of a search committee for a new full-time Executive Director of the CWD. He will begin at the college Jan. 3, 2023.
The College’s CWD is housed in the Business and Industry Center in Union.

From 2003-09, Tracy was the Director of the Illinois Small Business Development & International Trade Center at Kaskaskia College, a community college located in Centralia, Ill.

“I have been actively exploring an opportunity to rejoin the community college environment since moving to Missouri three years ago, and I’m very excited to bring my experiences to ECC,” he said.

Todd received his Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

He took his first position in economic development at Southeastern IL Regional Planning where he worked from 1994 -1999.

To learn more about ECC’s Center for Workforce Development, visit

Winners Announced for ECC Writing Contest

December 14, 2022 | Campus News Inspiring Excellence

After much debate East Central College judges decided the winners of the English Department’s annual Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction Writing Contest for ECC Students.

That’s according to Josh Stroup, English instructor/English and humanities chair, adding that the awards for the winning students are:  First place, $100; second place, $50; and third place, $25.

Listed below are the 2022 winners!

Fiction Winners:                                                                 

  • First Place – Lindsey Nichols’ “After”
  • Second Place – Lucas Howland’s “Hunters”
  • Third Place – Jaden Bursey’s “Treebark & the Forest of Fireflies”
  • Honorable Mention ­–Ruthie Cordia’s “Key West”

Creative Non-Fiction Winners:

  • First Place – Kati Barnes’ “Comparison Paper”
  • Second Place – Lilly Savant’s ” Facebook’s Unethical Privacy Practices”
  • Third Place – Joanna Hoskin’s “Lion’s Lake: Sharing the View with Others”

“If you see these students, please give them a round of applause. They deserve it,” Stroup said.

He noted that the winning entries will be in the next Lit and Art Review.

“On behalf of the English Department, I would like to thank all those who submitted to this contest, helped judge — Linda Barro, Katie Holtmeyer, Dr. Kami Hancock, and Dr. Aurelia VonTress — or helped spread the word,” Stroup said.

Keep an eye out for the Poetry and Research Writing Contest slated for the spring.

Alum, AEL Director Presented with Missouri Community College Awards

December 2, 2022 | Alumni Spotlight Campus News ECC Rolla

East Central College Trustee and alumni Dr. Eric Park and Adult Education Program Director Alice Whalen were selected among their peers to receive 2022 Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) awards.

Park was presented with the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award for his service to ECC, his community and growing his professional career with roots planted at ECC where he graduated with an associate degree in May 1982.

Whalen was selected as the 2022 Administrative Professional Leadership Award recipient for her work in expanding adult education services throughout the ECC service region and for her dedication to adult education at the state level.

In addition, ECC student Carly Hamlyn spoke during the closing event of the convention. Carly is an Early College Academy student attending Washington High School and ECC. She also is president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at ECC.

The MCCA Annual Convention was held in St. Louis Nov. 29 through Dec. 1. In addition to Park and Whalen, three others from ECC were nominated for awards.

  • Leigh Kolb, associate professor of English and Journalism — Excellence in Teaching Award nominee.
  •  Amy DeMiere, Division of Arts and Sciences program assistant — Classified Staff Achievement Award nominee.
  •  Jill Harrison, nursing adjunct — Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award nominee.

The MCCA is a statewide organization representing the 12 Missouri community colleges and their faculty, staff, students and administrators.

MCCA provides services to its member institutions in four main areas – advocacy, education, information and networking

Dr. Eric Park

East Central College Trustee and alumni Dr. Eric Park, right, received the 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award at the Missouri Community College Association annual convention. He is pictured ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer.

For more than 35 years, Dr. Park has been a successful investment adviser. He is a co-founder of LPL Financial investment firm in Washington. He has received several national awards for his dedication to quality investment management.

Dr. Park was elected to the ECC board of trustees in 2016 and reelected in 2022. Dr. Park attended ECC after serving in the U.S. Army. He earned an associate degree in 1982 followed by a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

He also has served as an adjunct instructor at ECC and has long been active with the ECC Foundation board.

ECC president Dr. Jon Bauer, said Dr. Park epitomizes the best of community college alumni.

“Eric used his academic foundation at East Central to earn advanced degrees in his field, become a leading professional in the investment world, yet has always made it a priority to give back to his community, his college, and those around him,” Bauer said.

Alice Whalen

East Central College Adult Education Program Director Alice Whalen, center, received the 2022 Missouri Community College Association Administrative Professional Leadership Award. She is pictured with ECC Vice President of Eternal Relations Joel Doepker, left, and ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer.

Whalen has been the AEL director at ECC since September 2014. Since then, she has expanded the program from offering programming in six communities to 13 communities throughout the ECC service region.

The AEL program offers day and evening HiSET classes and English Language Acquisition courses at an average of 150-200 hundred students per year.

In 2015, under her leadership and direction, Alice worked with the South Central Missouri Literacy Council in Phelps Country to add four counties, Crawford, Gasconade, Franklin, and Montgomery, to create the East Central Literacy Council. The council also has its own county committees, which include an advisory council and fundraises for the ECC AEL program to cover additional AEL student expenses.

Overall, Alice knows the importance of community involvement and understands how multiple barriers effect a student’s ability to start and complete their education. Alice’s positive energy at the college and throughout the ECC service region is contagious as she strives to make sure anyone who wants to enhance their lives through education can do so.

To read more about Dr. Park, Whalen and all of the nominees for MCCA Awards, visit