Month: March 2023

Children’s Factory Employees Complete Leadership Apprenticeship Program

March 23, 2023 | Campus News

There were 16 employees of The Children’s Factory who recently completed a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) apprenticeship program coordinated by East Central College’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD).

The Leadership Apprenticeship program was geared toward future leaders, team leads, supervisors and executive leaders within The Children’s Factory, located in Union.

The training was funded through the Missouri Apprenticeships in Manufacturing Program (MoAMP), a statewide initiative to improve the ability to deliver innovative pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training programs. The apprenticeships are registered and validated by the DOL.

According to Melissa Richards, CWD apprenticeship and business training program coordinator, the apprenticeship program was conducted at the manufacture’s site and ECC. It was led and facilitated by The Quality Coach (TQC), a leadership coaching and consulting firm.

The Children’s Factory — which manufactures and distributes learning spaces and unique play equipment — worked with the college’s CWD to navigate the funding process and coordinate with the apprenticeship program with TQC.

This program was designed to deliver practical on-the-job skills for employees moving into a leadership role or those who are currently in a leadership position.

“TQC and ECC are at the forefront in strategic apprenticeship training,” Richards said. “We have been experiencing a shift from all technical apprenticeships, toward a combination of leadership apprenticeships, with technical training.”

She added that employee retention and succession planning are in the forefront for manufacturing employers.

“Investing in a competency-based Registered Apprenticeship program will continue to strengthen the talent and culture for these partners,” Richards commented.

TQC’s apprenticeship program was customized to meet company objectives, but also included core and foundational leadership components, critical for effective leadership in today’s environment.

The program included one-on-one coaching and blended learning with tools and resources, including “how to best respond to challenges in today’s workplace.”

A consortium of nine schools, established by the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA), participate in MoAMP, which utilizes DOL funding to strengthen workforces and build workers’ competencies.

To learn more about MoAMP apprenticeships and registered apprenticeships through ECC’s CWD, visit or call 636-649-5800.

PTK Members Inducted into Chapter, Honor Society Wins Awards

March 23, 2023 | Campus News

There have been 38 members inducted this spring into the Chi Delta Chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at East Central College in Union.

The chapter recently held its annual Spring New Member Induction Ceremony, with guest speaker Donna Hall, ECC alumna and 2021-2022 chapter vice president.

Students must have at least a 3.4 GPA and be a full-time student for one semester to be invited into PTK. Members must then maintain an overall GPA of 3.2 once they are inducted into the honor society.

There are more students who have been invited to join but haven’t yet, according to Kevin Dixon, PTK advisor of the Chi Delta Chapter. Those students can still do so through the end of the year.

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

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

Region Awards

The Chi Delta Chapter, its members and an advisor won awards at the 2023 Heartland Region Hallmark Awards held in March.

The Chapter was named a Five Star Chapter, and it was recognized with an Honorable Mention for the Honors in Action program.

PTK member Riley William Klekamp won second place in the Distinguished Chapter Member award.

Annika Bruner and Victoria Plocinski received honorable mentions for Distinguished Chapter Officer awards.

In addition, PTK Advisor Dr. Wendy Pecka received second place in the Linda McFate Award for Continued Excellence in Advising category.

New Members

Listed below are the Chi Delta Chapter members followed by their hometown:

Garrett Akers, Bourbon; Isaac Altis, St. James; Alyssa Baird, Rolla; Aimee Bartle, Sullivan; Ashlee Becker, Washington; Dawn Birdsall, St. Clair; Konner Branson, Gerald; Aaron Brinkmann, Washington; Emma Buehrlen, Washington; Sarah Carter, Union; Mary Daily, Sullivan; Desiree Delisi, Labadie; Caleb Dieckhaus, Washington; Kaitlyn Donovan, Union;

Tyler Finke, Jonesburg; David Harper, Washington; Chloe Hawkins, Washington; Susie Heggemann, Marthasville; Anna Hoffman, Labadie; Kate Hoffman, Labadie; Zachary Hoffman, Labadie; Carolyn Horst, Union; Regan Killbreath, Labadie; Van Kitchens, Bourbon; Abigail Kleekamp, Washington; Amber Kossmann, Union; Sarah O’Bannon, Washington;

Trey Orman, Keller, Texas; Joelle Phillips, Rolla; Chloe Rhoden, Linn; Glennon Sander, Washington; William Schloeman, Warrenton; Owen Spreckelmeyer, Washington; Emily Weilert, Union; Addison Williford, Union; Jagger Wood, Washington; and Olivia Zeitzmann, Washington.

Chef Palazzola Featured in Article on Making Chili

March 21, 2023 | Campus News

East Central College Culinary Arts Program Coordinator Chef Michael Palazzola is a featured member of the “Panel of Experts” in an article about how to make championship-winning chili on the LawnStarter website.

View the the site here ⇨

What kind of beef is best for making chili?

Ground beef is the most familiar — 80/20. If grinding my own, I would choose sirloin for its beefy flavor profile.

If not using ground, it becomes more of a stew, for which I would choose chuck. Delicious, but again, not as familiar to your diners.

What is one pepper you’d recommend adding to chili to spice it up or deepen the flavor?

Peppers play a huge role in how we experience chili. Capsaicin provides much of the heat and is primarily found in the seeds and inner membrane of the pepper. Seeds can be removed if desired heat is milder.

I have found that a habanero pepper has the most intense flavor profile to work with, it is just too hot sometimes — in that case, remove the seeds.

What are the best beef alternatives for vegans and vegetarians who love chili?

Texans will hate this, but beans are a great protein source and provide some texture to your chili.

I have used lentils in many stews and curries in lieu of beans. Chili is by all rights a stew.

How can Texans make their chili recipe stand out at their next gathering or local competition?

Be very selective with your ingredients. Don’t just use a prepared spice mix, any old hot pepper, and any old ground beef. Pay attention to what attributes each ingredient brings to the dish.

Why are some Texans so against adding beans to chili?

Tradition! I grew up with beans in the chili, now I can’t imagine it without. I am sure it is a similar reason.

Besides cornbread, what is the best side dish to serve with chili?

I need some crunch with my chili, and haven’t found a more economical choice than some chili cheese Fritos!

I have also done corn fritters or fried green tomatoes, which are more labor-intensive but a great way to add crunch and another flavor profile.

ECC Alumnus Alex Fees Will be Commencement Speaker

March 21, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

East Central College graduate, news correspondent and Today in St. Louis multi-skilled journalist Alex Fees will address the Class of 2023 at the Saturday, May 13, commencement ceremony.

Fees, who originally is from Union, attended ECC from 1982-84, graduating with an associate of arts degree in journalism. Prior to that, he graduated from Union High School in 1982.

“I am honored to be asked to be the commencement speaker at East Central College,” he said. “My careers in television news and communications all started at ECC so many years ago — I feel like I am coming full circle.”

The commencement ceremony will be inside the ECC gym in the Donald D. Shook Student Center on the Union campus at 11:30 a.m.

Fees was the editor of The Cornerstone student newspaper at ECC, and he was elected to the student senate, serving as president. He added that his brother, Syd, also served as student senate president at ECC nine years before he did.

Fees noted that he will talk with students about his life before and after attending ECC, including his transfer to Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) in Cape Girardeau.

Fees’ Background

At SEMO, Fees was the editor of the university newspaper, the Capaha Arrow, now called the Arrow, and he was an intern at KTVO, Kirksville, which led him to a career in television.

Fees worked at TV news stations in Iowa and Nebraska before returning to the St. Louis area in 1998, when he became a freelance journalist for 5 on Your Side at KSDK, St. Louis, and several other networks and shows.

“During that time, I also freelanced as a field producer, periodically, for ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNBC, the Rachael Ray Show, Inside Edition, and the Food Network, among others,” he said.

Fees then went to work as a communications specialist in the Mehlville School District and then as the executive communications director for the Rockwood School District.

In 2020, Fees returned to 5 On Your Side and in March 2022, he accepted a full-time role as a multi-skilled journalist on the Today in St. Louis program.

Fees and his wife, Rachel, live in Brentwood with their sons Jacob, 13, and Daniel, 11.

“We also share a home with an 85-pound lab, collie and St. Bernard named Allie, who is your best friend; and a cat named Autumn. . .  who is not,” he said.

ECC Art Students Show Work at Art Saint Louis

March 17, 2023 | Art Campus News Media

Artwork by East Central College students Milo Guile and Abigail Stanfield are on display now in the 27th annual “Varsity Art” exhibit presented at Art Saint Louis.

Guile, of Washington, and Stanfield, of Union, were selected by the ECC Art Department to show at the “Varsity Art XXVII,” a multi-media invitational visual art exhibition. Varsity Art opened March 3 and will run through March 30.

Guile and Stanfield were selected to show their pieces alongside 41 other regional artists at the multi-media exhibition. The artists all are undergrad and grad level art students representing 22 St. Louis regional colleges and universities from Missouri and Illinois.

This year’s exhibit presents contemporary themes and the works were created in ceramics, digital art, drawing, graphic design, mixed media, painting, paper, photography, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and video.

The Gallery, located at 1223 Pine Street St. Louis, is open Mondays through Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

View all the artworks in an album on the Art Saint Louis Facebook page or see the Virtual Gallery Exhibit at

Milo Guile

“Forest Walk” was created digitally by Guile using Clip Studio Paint.

“Forest Walk” by Milo Guile

“For this piece, I aimed to create an atmospheric and whimsical environment,” he said. “A forest at night is the perfect setting for this, as walking through the woods after sundown is an unnerving yet almost unworldly experience.

“I wanted to capture this feeling by using purples and blues for the scenery while giving the child contrasting colors to make them feel out of place, as if they don’t belong in the world that they stumbled into,” Guile added.

He said he’s incredibly honored to be selected for this gallery.

“I am so grateful for my instructors who helped me improve and got me up to this point,” Guile said. “This show has been an amazing opportunity to challenge myself and to meet so many other talented students and learn about their schools.

“This whole experience has made me excited for the future and has inspired me to continue to pursue this path,” he commented.

Abby Stanfield

“The Boogeyman,” exhibited by Stanfield, was created in watercolor.

“’The Boogeyman’ is my own depiction of the creature from my childhood,” she said. “I chose to elongate the figure and use dark blues and purples to emphasize the sinister nature of the subject.

“Boogeyman” by Abby Stanfield

“The creature is placed in a young girl’s bedroom, suggesting that this could possibly be a figment of her imagination,” Stanfield commented.

She added that displaying her work at Art Saint Louis has been a rewarding and exciting experience.

“I’m extremely thankful for my instructors and all the help they provided every step of the way, and for giving me this opportunity,” Stanfield said. “I definitely learned a lot from this experience, and it was great meeting other art students in the area.”


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 its annual show.

To learn more about ECC’s art and design program, visit

ECC Quiz Bowl Team Competes at National Tournament

March 9, 2023 | Campus News

The East Central College quiz bowl team competed at the National Academic Quiz Tournament’s (NAQT) Community College Championship Tournament (CCCT) Feb. 24-25 in Chicago, Ill.

The team of Kyle Meyer and Tim Martens finished 14th out of 24 teams with a 4-7 record, competing against quiz bowl community college teams from seven states.

Meyer was named to the tournament’s all-star team, ranking third in overall individual points with 65 points per game.

The team was eligible to compete in the CCCT after winning the NAQT Kansas Community College sectional championship tournament, held at Johnson County Community College Jan.  21.

Meyer finished first in overall individual points with 106 points per game. Second place in points finished with 58 points per game.

ECC is the only community college in Missouri with a quiz bowl program.

Culinary Arts Student Receives $1,000 DMR Events Scholarship

March 7, 2023 | Campus News

East Central Culinary Arts program student Kalie Mullins received a $1,000 scholarship from DMR Events Inc., for her continuous efforts academically and professionally.

That’s according to Chef Mike Palazzola, Culinary Arts program director, who said Mullins, of Warrenton, has a bright future in the restaurant world.

“Kalie has maintained great attendance and made the President’s and Vice President’s lists for academic success,” he said. “She also has demonstrated through her professionalism and work ethic on a daily basis that she could earn a spot in any kitchen she desires.”

Nick Risch, executive vice president and chief financial officer of DMR Events Inc., a hospitality staffing company, presented Mullins with the scholarship.

“DMR believes that the key to the foodservice industry’s future is energizing the next generation,” Risch said. “By providing opportunities to East Central students the culinary world will grow and provide a strong future for everyone.”

DMR Events Inc. is a member of the American Culinary Federation & the American Staffing Association. The company was founded in 1987 specializing in front of house temporary staffing and culinary back of the house staffing, as well as professional chefs.

DMR Events is the recognized Premier supplier of hospitality staffing in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

To learn more about ECC’s Culinary Arts program, visit, or contact Chef Palazzola at 636-584-6793, or