Month: May 2023

Student Athletes Recognized Within Region 16

May 25, 2023 | Athletics Campus News

Several East Central College student athletes were recognized for their talent within the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 16.

Taylor Hanger, Pacific, a pitcher in her second year at ECC was named to the all-region first team.

Hanger led the Falcons throughout the regular season and into the post season, playing the last 12 games of the season with a slight fracture in her glove hand. She even pitched some of her best games with the injury, according to Dr. Jay Mehrhoff, ECC athletic director.

“It was difficult for her to swing the bat, but the coaches in NJCAA Region 16 noticed her talent and named her first-team all-region,” he said.

Hanger, a nursing major from Pacific High School, was an NJCAA Academic All-American and the ECC Female Scholar Athlete Scholar Athlete her freshman year at ECC.

“Hanger has had a tough balance in her last semester but has managed to be successful in all aspects of being a student athlete at the intercollegiate level,” Mehrhoff added.

She ended the regular season with a 12-8 record striking out 77 batters. Her grit and determination were not always evident as she would be all business when she was in the circle pitching for the Falcons.

Region Player of the Year

ECC Baseball Falcon Shane Kearbey, O’Fallon, Mo., was named the Region Player of the Year by the NJCAA Region 16 DII coaches’ vote. Kearbey, a left-handed pitcher, had a fantastic regular season going 5-1, pitching 61.1 innings and striking out 68 batters with a 2.39 ERA, Mehrhoff said.

Kearbey graduated from ECC May 13 with an Associate of Arts degree in Business. He graduated from Francis Howell High School in 2021.

Rounding out the first team all-region selections for the Falcons were two outfielders, Luciano Terilli, and Trey Orman.

“Terilli gave opposing batters nightmares with his good glove patrolling center field making spectacular plays,” Mehrhoff said. “His at the plate and defensive approach to the game made him an all-around player.

“Orman had his best season in college leading the Falcons in doubles with 12 and hit 4 home runs driving in 24 runs on the year,” he added.

The NJCAA Region 16 DII All-Defense team included Terilli along with Cameron Leach and Andy Hueste. Leach was a formidable outfielder with his glove and led the team with 22 stolen bases.

Hueste was injured early in the season but found his glove and bat heating up at the end of the season with 24 hits and some great plays from second base and shortstop positions.

ECC selections to second-team all-region were Seth Shannon (.341 batting average), DeVon Jennings (5 home runs), Mario Colombo (.316 batting average), Will DesHotels (2-2, 44 strikeouts), Billy Underwood (2.69 ERA), and Hayden Steelman. All six were starters and contributed to the team’s success throughout the season, both at the plate and from the mound.

Cohen Woodworking Employee Completes ECC Apprenticeship Program

May 24, 2023 | Campus News

Cameron Davis recently completed an apprenticeship program through East Central College’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD) where he learned new skills that helped him earn more money.

Davis, 28, of Rolla, is employed by Cohen Woodworking, an architectural woodworking firm based in St. James. He began the Industrial Maintenance Specialization apprenticeship program through the CWD in January 2021.

During the two-your program, Davis grew from a Team leader with Cohen to the company’s Maintenance/Safety Coordinator. His pay increased by 35 percent during the two-year stretch.

An apprenticeship is on-the-job training with job-related instruction intended to develop new skills and to increase employee wages.

“I was able to receive free schooling throughout the program thanks to grants through ECC, and my company and I believe continued education allowed me to grow my self-worth,” Davis said.

He learned new skills, such as variable frequency drives, programmable logic controllers, motor alignment, safety and, “So much more that I use every day.”

Classes were held at ECC in Rolla and Davis earned an Industrial Maintenance Certificate of Specialization and a Department of Labor Certificate of Apprenticeship as an Industrial Maintenance Technician.

Davis noted that Duane Clonts, the instructor of the program, played a role in his success.

“My instructor was great — he provided real-world examples from his experience in maintenance positions,” Davis said. “He was easy to talk with and when I asked questions, he broke down the instructional material so I could understand it.”

And registering for the program was simple, he added.

“ECC staff came onsite to Cohen to help complete all the forms with me,” Davis said. “Then I was able to start school a couple of weeks after that.”

Cohen Woodworking is an architectural woodworking firm that builds high-quality custom millwork components and casework for healthcare, education, retail, transportation, hotels, and more, for new construction, renovation, and disaster reconstruction. To learn more about the company, visit

Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship programs improves productivity and the bottom line for companies, as well as provide opportunities for tax credits and employee benefits.

The CWD’s program creates industry-driving and flexible training solutions to meet national and local needs. For every $1 spent on an apprenticeship, employers receive approximately $1.50 return on investment.

To create an apprenticeship program, contact the ECC CWD at or 636-649-5800.

Nursing Grads Presented with Awards at Pinning Ceremony

May 23, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla Images

Six East Central College Nursing Program graduates were recognized during a pinning ceremony May 13 for their hard work in the classroom and during clinicals.

Two students, Jozlyn Bolte, ECC-Rolla; and Kelsey Blackwell, ECC in Union, were presented the Outstanding Nursing Student awards.

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

For some cases, had ECC not been in their community, they most likely would not have realized the dream of becoming a nurse. The award winners also display success in the classroom and the clinical setting.

Jozlyn Bolte

Jozlyn Bolte is this year’s East Central College Rolla Outstanding Nursing Student. Pictured, from left, are Nancy Tappe, nursing adjunct instructor; Julie Chirban and Jon Elias, Rolla faculty members; Bolte, Jeannie Miles, Rolla faculty member; Joannie Blakely, Rolla nursing program director; and Lavonda Lawson, Rolla nursing program administrative assistant.

Kelsey Blackwell

Nursing student Kelsey Blackwell is the recipient of the Union East Central College Outstanding Nursing Student Award. Pictured, from left, are Jessica Horn, Union nursing program administrative assistant; Brittany Clark and Jessica Van Leer, Union faculty members; Blackwell, Dr. Connie Wissbaum, Union faculty member; Judy Bieker, Union nursing program director; and Julie Beck, Allied Health program assistant.

Spirit of Excellence Awards

Four nursing students — Avery Akers, Nathaniel Wissman, Kelsea Smith and Kyleigh Payne — were presented with Spirit of Clinical Excellence awards from the college’s community health care partners.

Each year, Mercy Hospital Washington, Phelps Health in Rolla and Missouri Baptist Hospital Sullivan present nursing graduates with Spirit of Clinical Excellence Awards during the pinning ceremony marking the completion of the program.

Akers received the Phelps Health award, Wissman received the Mercy award, and Smith and Payne each received a Spirit of Clinical Excellence Award from Missouri Baptist Hospital Sullivan.

The awards were presented to the graduates by ECC Nursing faculty from Union and Rolla.

To be consider for the Spirit of Clinical Excellence Awards, the graduate nurse must demonstrate: characteristics of caring and compassion; the spirit of inquiry; exceptional critical thinking and decision making; and superior organizational skills and the ability to effectively prioritize.

Avery Akers

East Central College nursing Avery Akers received the Phelps Health Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing award this year. She is pictured with, from left, Nancy Tappe, nursing adjunct instructor; Julie Chirban and Jon Elias, Rolla faculty members; Kait Roy, Phelps Health nurse recruiter; Akers, Jeannie Miles, Rolla faculty member; Joannie Blakely, Rolla nursing program director; and Lavonda Lawson, Rolla nursing program administrative assistant.

Kelsea Smith

The Missouri Baptist Sullivan Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing Award was presented to East Central College Rolla nursing student Kelsea Smith. Pictured, from left, are Nancy Tappe, nursing adjunct instructor; Julie Chirban and Jon Elias, Rolla faculty members; Cassie Friday, Missouri Baptist nurse manager; Heather Sluis, Missouri Baptist clinical educator; Smith, Jeannie Miles, Rolla faculty member; Tiffanie Alfermann, Missouri Baptist assistant nurse manager; Joannie Blakely, Rolla nursing program director; and Lavonda Lawson, Rolla nursing program administrative assistant.

Nathaniel Wissman

Nathaniel Wissman received the Mercy Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing. Pictured, from left, are Jessica Horn, Union nursing program administrative assistant; Brittany Clark and Jessica Van Leer, Union faculty members; Wissman, Dr. Connie Wissbaum, Union faculty member; Judy Bieker, Union nursing program director; and Julie Beck, Allied Health program assistant.

Kyleigh Payne

East Central College Union nursing student Kyleigh Payne is the Missouri Baptist Sullivan Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing Award recipient. Pictured, from left, are Jessica Horn, Union nursing program administrative assistant; Tiffanie Alfermann, Missouri Baptist assistant nurse manager; Brittany Clark and Jessica Van Leer, Union faculty members; Cassie Friday, Missouri Baptist nurse manager; Payne, Dr. Connie Wissbaum, Union faculty member; Judy Bieker, Union nursing program director; Julie Beck, Allied Health program assistant; and Heather Sluis, Missouri Baptist clinical educator.

ECC Theatre Department Reveals 2023-24 Productions

May 22, 2023 | Campus News Performing Arts Theatre

The East Central College Theatre Department will present five productions during the 2023-24 season that will raise the audience experience to new heights.

The “Season: Unlimited” performances will showcase the amazing talent of the cast, crew and creative team, which will result in a dynamic live atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

The first production, “She Kills Monsters,” is a fantasy adventure about a young woman who discovers her deceased sister’s Dungeons and Dragons notebook. This production will run Oct. 5-8 and promises to be a thrilling experience for audiences of all ages.

ECC Theatre Director Grace Austin will direct the production, with choreography by Erik Kuhn, stage combat instructor.

Next up is, “Inspecting Carol,” a hilarious holiday staged reading that will have audiences laughing from start to finish.

“In an exciting twist, the actors in ‘Inspecting Carol’ will not receive scripts until 48 hours before the show, and the audience will choose the parts the performers play,” Austin added. “This unique approach promises to create a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience for both the actors and the audience.”

“Inspecting Carol” will be presented in early December.

2024 Performances

Audiences will have to wait until Aug. 14 before the name of the first production in 2024 can be released.

“Due to contractual requirements, we cannot announce the title of our musical, but we are bursting with excitement to bring this giant show to our stage — with unforgettable songs and a story that will capture the hearts of audiences of all ages,” Austin said. “Trust us, it’s worth the wait.”

The musical will be performed Feb. 22-25, 2024, including a daytime matinee Friday, Feb. 23 at 10 a.m.

“The One Act Play that Goes Wrong,” to be performed April 18-21, 2024, is a fast-paced farce that will leave audiences in stitches. Directed by the award-winning St. Louis artist Will Bonfiglio, this production is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, Austin said.

Finally, the season concludes with “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” a heartwarming musical that brings the beloved characters from the Peanuts comic strip to life. This production is perfect for families and fans of all ages. It will run July 18-21, 2024.

All performances will take place at The John Edson Anglin Performing Arts Center at ECC. For more information on “Season: Unlimited” or to learn about auditions, visit

Nursing Program Recognizes 36 Graduates During Pinning Ceremony

May 20, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

There were 36 East Central College Nursing Program graduates recognized during a pinning ceremony on May 13.

The ECC Nursing Program held its formal ceremony for its Union and Rolla nursing students prior to graduation in the Donald Shook Student Center. Family and friends of graduates, faculty, staff and administration attended the pinning ceremony.

The pinning ceremony is a time-honored nursing program tradition that signifies the nursing graduate’s initiation into the sisterhood and brotherhood of nurses. Students receive pins that are unique to the ECC Nursing Program.

The pinning ceremony opening remarks were given by Dean of Health Science and Director of Nursing Nancy Mitchell, followed by a greeting by ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer. A student welcome was given by Class of 2023 graduate Kelsea Smith, a Missouri Baptist Sullivan Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing Award recipient.

The guest speaker for the ceremony was ECC Rolla Nursing instructor Jon Elias.

The program closed with student remarks from 2023 graduate Nathaniel Wissman, Mercy Spirit of Clinical Excellence in Nursing Award recipient. Wissman also performed a special piano solo during the ceremony, “Fantaisie-Impromptu (Op.66)” by Frédéric Chopin.

The program concluded with closing comments given by ECC Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Robyn Walter.

The Nursing program graduates are:

Ginger A. Adams, Cody W. Jones, Avery D. Akers, Hannah E. Kitson, Hannah R. Barrett, Callan G. Mohesky, Kelsey R. Blackwell, Hannah E. Olive. Jozlyn L. Bolte, Kyleigh E. Payne, Isabel L. Bramel, Justin M. Penn-Lavely, Scottia M. Burrows, Samantha Peterson, Jessie O. Downey, Amanda Redmon, Cheyenne F. Durbin, Alyssa M. Rinehart, Hannah L. Eckelkamp, MacKenzie C. Rolf, Lauren E. Ely, Jessica M. Schatz, Shayla A. Goddard, Branden T. Shearin, Kirsten A. Golden, Keri M. Simmons, Kailey M. Gupton, Kelsea M. Smith, Cahliah S. Hammonds, Nathan W. Temme, Andrea Hayes, Kaylee N. Vasquez, Matty L. Inman, Haley M. Welch, Emily N. Johnson and Nathaniel Wissman.

Union Nursing Graduates

Rolla Nursing Graduates

To learn more about the ECC Nursing program, visit, or email Nancy Mitchell, Director of Nursing and Dean of Health Science, at

ECC’s NEA Chapter Recognizes 55 High School Teachers

May 18, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

There were 55 high school teachers from the region recently recognized for the positive influence they have had on East Central College students, and their dedication to teaching.

The educators were presented Inspirer of Excellence Awards on May 10 by the East Central College chapter of the National Education Association (NEA). ECC students nominated their former high school teachers who made an impact in their lives or played a role in their educational journey.

ECC Faculty members Jenifer Goodson, EMS Program Director; Lisa Hanneken, instructor and coordinator of the business and accounting programs; and Tanner French, accounting and business instructor, were co-chairs of the Inspirer of Excellence Teacher Recognition Award Ceremony held in the John Edson Anglin Performing Arts Center.

In the nominations, students wrote about their former teachers, and why they should be Inspirers of Excellence.

“The responses we received demonstrate the ways in which these educators inspire excellence in their students, by going above and beyond to provide, not only an education to their students, but also guidance, understanding and mentoring,” Goodson said during the ceremony. “They have laid the foundation for their students to excel in their education, and in their lives.

“Thank you to all the educators receiving this award for your dedication, time and commitment,” she added.

Listed below are the names of each Inspirer of Excellence Award winner under the high school where they teach now, or taught, when they inspired the ECC students who nominated them. Following the teachers’ names are the subjects that they teach and the names of the student, or students, who nominated them.

Pacific High School

Clint Anderson, Government, Jonni Sever

Sunshine Anderson, Math, Olivia Hoven

Sullivan High School

Jordan Flora, Physical Education, Hannah Campbell

Chuck Moore, Music Director, Emilee Roach

Cuba High School

Chris Case, Speech/Drama, Mackenzie White

Timothy Duarte, Social Studies, Shaylee Roussin

St. James High School

Dustin Felan, Fine Arts (Choir), Colby Sanders

Kirby Moreland, Math, Jacob Jones

Salem High School

Martin Gray, Math, Alicyn Warden

Rob Wofford, English, Brooklyn Stenhoff

Hermann High School

Dan Bader, Social Studies, Tim Martens & Lori Anderson

Ben Sachs, Band, Reyna McDaris

Washington High School

Kim Blankenship, Physical Education, Ava Kelly

Ryan Brennan, Spanish, Carly Hamlyn

Meghan Brueggemann, Orchestra, Zachary Hoffman

Allison Chaney, Social Studies, Aaron Flynn

Karen Fixsal, Family & Consumer Science, Maddie Frankenberg

Tim Rinne, Retired History, Kaitlyn Williams

St. Clair High School

Kaylin Buckingham, English, Eliza Sohn

Sarah Dierker, Business, Brooklyn Hyatt

Ben Martin, Science, Jaden Bursey & Maggie Hopkins

Robert Prichard, History, Seth Turman

St. Francis Borgia High School

Jon Noelker, Physics, Earth & Space Science, Annika Brunner

Union High School

Melissa Bestgen, English/Speech, Jayden Rybak, Briseyda Ballou, Rylie Brown & Joanna Hoskins

Danielle Blair, Agriculture/FFA, Shaley Parmentier

Brandi Gremaud, Science, Kaitlyn Donovan

Sarah Hurt, Biology, Mack Reeves

Jim Kapusiak, Art, Erica Hertel

Bill Koch, Engineering/Physics, Christian Masawi

David North, Choir, Chae Keeney

Danika Novak, English, Nick Moore & Sakura Shortal

Jennifer Schwentker, English, Artimiss Jansson

Michael Underberg, History, Augast Haddad & Kelsey Brake

Dennis Wilson, Art, Whitney Griffin

Rolla High School

Jamie Cantrell, Family & Consumer Science, Gage Klossner & Lizzy Patton

Jeremy Haberman, Business Education, Ariyanna Ross

Emily Mullen, French, Grace Gorman

Laurie Myers, Art, Jonathan Reade

Keith Peterson, Science, Theresa Skaggs & Isaiah Parker

Nick Zink, Physical Science, Kiya Hatley

Warrenton HS

Michael Shaw, Science, Ryah Cullom

Thomas Speers, Band, Kalie Mullings

New Haven High School

Mandy Koch, Band & Foreign Language, Emily Delgado

Bourbon High School

Emily Edens, Civic, Jackson Rosen

Rolla Technical Institute/Center

Carmel Dare, Culinary Arts, Richard Lawing

Ruth Diaz, Early Childhood, Ashley Wood

Ft. Zumwalt South

Suzanne Hembrough, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Ashley Labanca

Kingston High School

Matthew Falch, Band/Choir, Kayla Yoesting

Nichols Career Center

Amber Moore, Culinary Arts, Jesse Averion

Owensville High School

Tyler Ahring, Business, Hayden Loeb

Lucas Gehlert, Social Studies, Michael Miles

Kayla Pyle, English, Caitlyn Linders

Adrienne Gonzalez, Theatre, Shelby Koepke

Four Rivers Career Center

Cinthia Edler, Health Occupations, Maddie Brown

Rockwood School District

Andrew Litschgi, Language Arts, Joey Reichmuth & Jamie Cantrell

Registration Open for Summer Learning Academy Classes

May 18, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

There still are opportunities to register for Summer Learning Academy (SLA) classes offered through East Central College’s Community Education program.

SLA provides a unique, fun experience for area youth on the Union campus and in Rolla. There is no cost to attend classes, but registration is required. To sign up for classes or to request to be on a waitlist, visit

SLA is free thanks to the generosity of sponsors, including SLA Gold sponsors: Jimmy John’s, the Rotary Club of Washington, ECC Foundation, Brewer Science, Inc. and Edward Jones (various offices). View all of our sponsors on the SLA website.

Some classes meet once, and others meet twice in a week, or three to five days. The first class in Rolla begin July 10, and all the classes wrap up on or before Aug. 3.

Classes in the College’s SLA are designed with curiosity and creativity in mind — letting students develop talents and encourage exploration and personal growth. Classes are offered for students ages five to 18 and cover a wide range of topics.

According to Loretta Peterman, corporate STEM education manager with Brewer Science, Inc., SLA offers a fun opportunity for children to learn.

“The Summer Learning Academy is always a lot of fun and the students are eager to have fun while learning,” she said. “Students can explore at their own speed — no grades and no homework make Summer Learning Academy very attractive.”

SLA is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn new skills, make new friends, and have fun. All area youth are invited to participate.

Michelle Widener, the mother of an SLA participant, said she is impressed with the program and her family quickly noticed the benefits.

“It was a great way to introduce my daughter to new experiences and it opened up a new creative avenue for her,” she said. “We are so thankful for this great resource.”

Among the classes still available in Union are:

  • Fiber Crafts
  • Laugh Your Way to Improve
  • Escape Room-Post Apocalyptic
  • Get to Know Franklin County
  • Fishing
  • Christmas in July
  • Fire Safety
  • Internet Safety
  • Drumming Leadership

Some of the classes still available in Rolla are:

  • Intro to Kayaking
  • Mammals of Missouri
  • Amazing Anatomy
  • Picture Yourself a Radiologic Technician
  • Christmas in July
  • Jazz Funk Dance
  • Juggling for Beginners
  • It’s Your Bag
  • Animal Portraiture
  • Tabletop Game Design
  • Internet Safety
  • WeDo Robotics

Students or parents will be asked to prioritize their interests while registering. Participants can register for a maximum of four classes, but not all the classes are guaranteed.

For more information, people may email or call 636-649-5803.

‘Cookie’ Hays Named Outstanding ECC Alumni

May 18, 2023 | Alumni Spotlight Campus News

Ina “Cookie” Hays is the only person to be a graduate, support staff member, professional staff member, administrator, and trustee at East Central College, giving her a unique perspective of the College.

And now, she can add Outstanding ECC Alumni award recipient to the list.

Hays was presented the award at the ECC Commencement on May 13 by President Dr. Jon Bauer. This prestigious award is given annually by the ECC Foundation and is the highest award presented to an alum.

“I have experienced ECC as a student, graduate, support staff, professional staff and I retired as an administrator,” Hays said after accepting the award.

“Now it’s my honor to serve our community as an elected trustee,” She added. “In that role, I hope to ensure that East Central continues to provide an excellent learning environment and opportunities for generations to come.”

Hays has dedicated more than 50 years of service to the College as an employee and Trustee.

“When I graduated from Washington High in 1970, I didn’t see many options for young women like me,” she said. “I dreamed of going to college, but higher education seemed out of reach for someone whose family had never attended.”

“Thanks to the forward thinking of several community leaders,” Hays continued, “East Central Junior College became a reality, and our community was transformed.”

She noted that her husband, Don, and two children graduated from ECC.

Addressing the ECC Class of 2023, Hays said, “Today we can all be proud to call ourselves graduates of ECC.”

Hays was both a student and student worker when she graduated from “East Central Junior College” in 1973.

She was in one of the first graduating classes, initially taking classes in Union Memorial Auditorium before moving to the current campus to take courses.

Career at ECC

After graduation, she began her career at ECC that would span 41 years. She held several positions until she became the Vice President for Student Development in 2009.

Hays worked in or with every department on the Union campus and the College extension sites. Her position at ECC took her to every high school district throughout the service region.

“The faculty and staff I have met over the years have inspired me to grow professionally and helped me gain confidence in my abilities,” she said. “Many have become lifelong friends.”

Her first position at ECC was an administrative assistant role, a position she served in for 15 years. She then moved into the position of assistant to a vice president for a year.

In 1989, she became an academic advisor, serving 9 years in that office. Hays then was named as the interim director of counseling services for a year, until she was appointed to that position, serving for another year.

Her next step at ECC was as the dean of student development, a role that she was in for 8 years.

Then, in 2009 she was named the vice president of student development. She retired from the College in 2014 while serving as the vice president of student development.

Hays earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Maryville University while employed at ECC, and then she recieved a Master of Education in Counseling from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

In 2016, two years after retiring from the College, Hays was elected to her first six-year term on the ECC Board of Trustees. She was re-elected in 2022 and she continues to promote and guide ECC.

ECC Art Program Grad Earns Full Ride to Webster University

May 17, 2023 | Art Campus News

East Central College Class of 2023 graduate Parker Williamson received a Presidential Transfer Scholarship from Webster University, where she will study graphic design and ceramics.

Williamson, of Sullivan, graduated Cum Laude from ECC on May 13 with an Associate of Fine Arts degree, emphasizing in graphic design and ceramics. She will start at Webster in August.

The Webster Presidential Transfer Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship award, which is eligible for renewal for an additional year.

Williamson received the scholarship for academic achievement and leadership. At ECC, she served as the president of the Art Club, and she was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

“I really couldn’t believe it — I was stunned,” Williamson said about learning of the scholarship award. “It’s a full ride as long as I maintain a 3.0 and I am a full-time student.”

Williamson also will participate in the Webster LEADS program while she works toward a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. The LEADS program encourages students to serve as educational role models within the Webster community.

“I love the possibilities of graphic design. There are so many career paths to choose from,” she said, adding that after she graduates, she would, “love to get a job designing billboards or posters for a big company.”

Williamson noted that she will continue to study and create ceramics.

“Ceramics is my passion and I want to keep that practice in my life,” she said. “I love being able to make my own true functional objects I can use in everyday life. I love when art becomes useful and that’s why I love learning and studying new things in ceramics.”

Her experience at ECC and in the Art program helped her succeed, she added.

“ECC is a great college with a great Art program. There are a variety of classes that will push you to expand your skills and knowledge in the art world, in every way possible,” Williamson said.

ECC and its art instructors have helped prepare her for Webster University, she said, while inspiring her to follow through with her education.

“All of the wonderful art department instructors have helped me along the way, but Sean Barton, (graphic design instructor and art and design department executive), has helped me the most,” she said. “He made sure I looked at all my options when it comes to schools and made sure I know all the right questions to ask, and that I’m well informed in any decision I may make.”

Williamson was active in ECC events through organizations, like the Art Club.

“I love the environment at ECC, it’s super comfortable and accessible,” she said. “I feel very comfortable walking anywhere and everyone is easy to talk to — there are always fun events and clubs to be involved in.”

Brooklyn Hyatt Receives 2023 President’s Spirit of ECC Award

May 17, 2023 | Campus News

The 2023 President’s Spirit of East Central College award recipient Brooklyn Hyatt exemplified student involvement during the last two years.

She has served as the Student Government Association president, and she was a heavily involved member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Student-Missouri Teachers Association.

Hyatt, of St. Clair, took part in all these organizations while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

She was presented the award by ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer during the College Commencement Saturday, May 13. Hyatt graduate Summa Cum Laude with an Associate of Arts in Teaching.

The prestigious President’s Spirit of ECC award, formerly the Outstanding Student Award, recognizes one student who demonstrates exemplary academic excellence, and significant student involvement during their time at ECC.

Hyatt, a first-generation college student, also served as a Student Ambassador at ECC. In that role, she gave student tours and guided future Falcons. One piece of advice she gives to all new students, “I would tell them that they would benefit greatly if they put themselves out there more.”

“My relationships and bonds have astronomically benefited me socially and academically,” she said. “I wouldn’t have made it as far without knowing staff, faculty, and students. College is new to a lot of people, so you should just dive into new experiences.

“I loved being in SGA and it opened so many opportunities for me,” Hyatt added.

In addition, Hyatt received a Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) Student Leadership Award. She also was recognized by the MCCA and PTK for being named a 2023 All-Missouri Academic Team.

Transferring to SEMO

Up next for Hyatt is Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO), where she will continue toward a bachelor’s degree in education.

“ECC has done a marvelous job of preparing me for SEMO,” she said. “I feel extremely prepared academically,” Hyatt added. “Classes here are a lot like they are there, and I have a ton of transferable classes.”

She noted that the guidance of Greg Stotler, education/teacher coordinator and assistant professor, and Carson Mowery, coordinator of Campus Life and Leadership, helped prepare her for what’s next.

“Mr. Stotler and Carson Mowery were extremely instrumental in guiding me to SEMO and preparing me for the world and options as a whole,” Hyatt commented.

After she graduates from SEMO, Hyatt says she’ll begin a teaching career as soon as possible. She plans to continue her education after earning a bachelor’s degree and work toward a master’s degree.

In addition to being involved in clubs and organizations, and thriving academically, Hyatt also was a student worker in the ECC Foundation office and worked with ECC’s mascot Franklin the Falcon.

“I did a lot of work, but it never felt hard, and I was able to help more people than just my bosses,” she said. “I loved working with Franklin and making connection with people especially children. Seeing their eyes light up when they see him is similar to how I feel teaching.

“I enjoyed working with everyone at ECC, Hyatt added. “They are so kind and willing to help. ECC is just a brilliant place to be and was certainly a big part of my journey.”