Month: August 2023

ECC Using Innovative X-Ray ‘Phantom’ for Revolutionary Radiologic Tech Training

August 29, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

When it comes to training in the Radiologic Technology program at East Central College, authenticity reigns supreme — and the students in the Rad Tech program in Rolla are stepping into a groundbreaking learning experience.

The students are now learning on an x-ray “phantom” that houses a complete human skeleton inside — an innovative learning tool that will revolutionize the hands-on training for students in the program.

Phantoms are used as a stand-in for human tissue for training purposes. This high-tech model was purchased through a $34,000 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant. It was delivered to ECC in Rolla in July.

Brandi Grindel, Radiological Tech program director, explained that by engaging with a model made from real human bones, students gain precise training opportunities in positioning and alignment techniques, surpassing what a synthetic phantom could offer.

“This new phantom mimics a real human body that the students would work with in the clinical area,” she said. “It makes for a more realistic and real patient scenario for the students.”

ECC purchased an Erler Zimmer Natural Bone Full Body X-Ray Phantom from Z&Z Medical, Inc.

Natural bone phantoms provide unparalleled precision, accounting for factors such as weight, mobility, and the accurate representation of organ shadows on bones.

The phantom’s fully movable joints allow students to simulate a wide array of x-ray positions, and further enhances their training experience.

100 Percent Placement

The ECC Rad Tech program spans 20 months, during which students receive training on specialized radiography equipment designed to capture images for radiologists to use when diagnosing and treating a range of health issues in patients.

Grindel explained that employment in x-ray technician field is projected to grow.

“COVID-19 had a significant impact on the field of radiology,” she said. “With many technologists either deciding to retire, or just simply burned out from working, there are many job openings in radiology right now.”

In her current class of 15 students, Grindel noted that seven are already employed as student aids in Radiology departments, and most of them are set to retain these positions after graduation.

“I can’t seem to get students out fast enough for employers,” she added. “The program itself has had 100 percent job placement rate for the last five years.”

Students Benefit

Some saw COVID as a reason to exit health care, the pandemic inspired others, like Timothy Ringeisen, to enter the field.

Ringeisen, 40, Cuba, is a Rad Tech student at ECC. He had been a shop foreman in an automotive repair business for about 20 years.

“When the Covid pandemic started, I saw a need in the health care field and wanted to do something to help,” he said. “The Radiologic Technology program sounded interesting to me, and it was a quick way to get me into a hospital and helping people in need of care.”

As a first-generation college student and a single father, Ringeisen has overcome challenges to continue his education.

“I am disciplined and motivated to complete the program to the best of my ability,” he said, adding that he encourages others to do the same.

“If you have an interest and desire to work in the health care field, but you don’t necessarily want all of the patient care responsibilities of a nurse, Radiologic Technology may be a good choice for you — It is a quick way to get your foot in the door, and it is very rewarding.”

For Tess Marquart, Washington, radiology was an interest before she graduated high school.

Marquart, 23, became interested in radiology after job shadowing an MRI technician while she was in high school. She already has earned a degree in Exercise and Movement Science from Missouri State. She is in her final year of the Radiologic Technology program at ECC.

One of Marquart’s primary educational challenges has been overcoming test anxiety.

“At this point I have found a comfort in testing that I did not previously have,” she said. “I prepare myself for tests by switching my anxious thoughts to feelings of excitement.”

She also appreciates the support of the program faculty.

“My teachers are incredible. I don’t think that I would have had the same experience without them,” Marquart added. “They are extremely supportive and intelligent. It really helps to prepare you for your career when you have positive guidance along the way.”

New to ECC

The College officially took sponsorship of the Rad Tech program from the Rolla School District in 2021. At that time, it already had been serving the Rolla area for over 40 years.

Because of Rolla’s location along Interstate 44, students come from many areas of Missouri. Most students come from Rolla, Salem, Houston, Licking, Fort Wood, Waynesville, Lake Ozark, Lebanon, Sullivan, Cuba, Bourbon, St. Clair, Union, and Washington.

After completing the program, students earn an Associate of Applied Sciences degree and are qualified to take the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist national certification exam. They also have the option to continue their education in multiple areas of radiology.

“About 40 percent of our students go on for a bachelor’s degree. Many of them complete this degree while working full time in an x-ray department,” said Grindel.

Health Care Partnerships

The program has nine clinical affiliation partnerships that train students. These include Phelps Health, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, Consolidated Medical Troop Clinic, Mercy Hospital in Lebanon, Mercy Hospital in Washington, Texas County Memorial Hospital, Salem District Memorial Hospital, Lake Regional Health System, and Missouri Baptist Hospital in Sullivan, MO.

“Many of our clinical partners are needing radiologic technologists, computed tomography technologists, and ultrasound technologists,” Grindel said.

She added that all the students who graduated from ECC’s Rad Tech in May 2023 have been hired as radiologic technologist.

For information on the Radiologic Technology program, visit or contact Nancy Mitchell, dean of health sciences or 636-584-6619.

Kolb Recognized by Retired Teachers Organization

August 29, 2023 | Campus News Film and Lecture Series Inspiring Excellence

East Central College English Instructor Leigh Kolb recently was recognized for her exceptional work in the classroom.

Kolb received the 2023 Harold Austin Good Teaching Award in the spring from the East Central chapter of the retired Missouri National Education Association (MNEA-R). George McKee, an MNEA-R member who taught Kolb when she was a high school student, presented her with the award.

Harold Austin, a founder of the East Central MNEA-R, served as an NEA Director from 1981 to 1984, and held the position of the second president of Missouri NEA from 1974 to 1975.

The award was presented during East Central MNEA-R meeting where members commented on Kolb’s well-deserved recognition. ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer also attended the meeting.

“There are very few teachers who can excel at the level of instruction Leigh provides while also staying active in both the college and community,” said one of the organization’s members.

Kolb previously recieved the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) Governor’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014. Additionally, she was a finalist for the 2022 MCCA Excellence in Teaching Award last year.

“Leigh consistently creates an environment that encourages her students to think critically about both the texts they encounter and the world around them,” another MNEA-R member commented. “Her’s is a voice that always keeps in mind the bigger picture, focusing on what’s at stake for us as all as our current and future students.”

It was added that Kolb is an unashamed advocate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at ECC and the community it serves.

Ceremony Held for First ECC Rolla License Practical Nursing Class

August 18, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

Twelve Licensed Practical Nurses were pinned July 28, marking the inaugural LPN class at East Central College in Rolla.

The ECC LPN pinning ceremony for Rolla students was held at the Havener Center in Rolla. The pinning ceremony is a time-honored nursing program tradition that signifies the nursing graduate’s initiation into the sisterhood and brotherhood of nurses.

The College took over sponsorship of the LPN program from Rolla Public Schools in August of 2022. The ECC Rolla LPN program director is Michelle Chick.

“The program has a long-standing history of tradition, success, and excellence that ECC is proud to be a part of,” said Nancy Mitchell, Director of Nursing and Dean of Health Science.

The 12 students who graduated from the program are: Monique Matos, Rolla; Shelby Marcee, St James; Emily Hunter, Salem; Abby Booker, Steelville; Claude Wyatt, Rolla; Jey Sanders, Steelville; Kylie Wise, Bourbon; Amber Simpson, Salem; Emma Fennell, Linn; Kailey Spencer, Linn; Kennedie Losing, St James; and Chelsea Flowers, Rolla.

Kim Heidbrink, LPN and 1978 graduate of Rolla Technical Center served as the guest speaker during the ceremony.

“During her 40-year career, she role modeled and mentored many nurses across the profession, and she has, and will continue, to be an advocate for licensed practical nurses and our program,” Mitchell added.

The original Practical Nursing program was established by Rolla Public Schools in 1967. Over 55 years, the program graduated over 1,250 students. The LPN program is an 11- month certificate program, 3 semesters, and it admits up to 20 students each fall semester.  Upon graduation, students will take the licensure exam to become an LPN.

Student Awards

Two students were recognized during the ceremony for accomplishments during the program — the ECC Outstanding Student Award was presented to Chelsea Flowers; and the Phelps Health Clinical Excellence was presented to Monique Matos.

Flowers demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her educational goals by achieving the highest level of academic performance among her classmates. Her ability to study with intensity, motivate herself and others, and genuine desire to fully engage in classroom and clinical learning opportunities has resulted in her being the recipient of this award.

Matos has an authentic presence when entering the patient’s world by being sensitive to their situations and needs. She inspires trust through demonstrating preparation for each patient encounter and delivering exceptional care. She brings energy and joy into the practice of nursing by reflecting upon her performance and striving to improve each day.

The ECC Outstanding Practical Nurse Award was presented to Chelsea Flowers, Rolla, center. She is pictured with LPN Program Director Michelle Chick, left, and Clinical Coordinator Jessica Fisher, right.
Pictured is Phelps Health Clinical Excellence Awardee Monique Matos, Rolla. who was presented the award during a July 28 Pinning Ceremony for the ECC Rolla Licensed Practical Nursing graduating class. From left, are Kait Roy, Phelps Health Nurse Recruiter and Advisory Board Member; Michelle Chick, Rolla LPN Program Director; Matos; and Jessica Fisher, LPN Program Clinical Coordinator.

ECC Returns for Year Two of All Within My Hands’ Metallica Scholars Initiative

August 7, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

East Central College will continue in the Metallica Scholars Initiative (MSI) and is receiving $50,000 in year two of its involvement in the program. The funding will be used for student scholarships in Welding, Heating and Air-Conditioning, Precision Machining and Manufacturing Maintenance.

Metallica’s foundation, All Within My Hands, continues its multimillion-dollar investment in critical workforce programs at community colleges nationwide. East Central College remains as the only community college in Missouri to be a part of the Metallica Scholars Initiative (MSI).

The MSI was launched in 2019 by Metallica’s foundation, All Within My Hands (AWMH), in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The workforce initiative marks its fifth year with an ambitious expansion into new curricula.

“We are happy to continue to partner with Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation to support the vital career and technical education work of the nation’s community colleges,” said Walter G. Bumphus, AACC’s president and CEO.  “Colleges across the country provide pathways to well-paying jobs through programs, services and training that lead to in-demand skills, certificates and degrees for students.

“These programs are responsive to the needs of local businesses and provide a pipeline of qualified workers to local industry. Partners like Metallica that continue to provide support for community colleges help us to showcase the importance of investing in the transformative power of community college education.”

MSI now directly supports 42 community colleges across 33 states, and by the end of this grant year, it will have helped over 6,000 students pursuing careers in the trades. To date, Metallica and AWMH have invested over $6 million in the American workforce.

“The Metallica Scholars Initiative is a strong and cooperative assemblage of the nation’s best community colleges, creating a supportive climate for participants to communicate directly and share best practices. As a result, our Metallica Scholars leave the program well-trained and confident. Ultimately, the impact is felt locally and nationally as Metallica Scholars enter the workforce and fill in-demand technical positions.” says Peter Delgrosso, AWMH Executive Director.

During the past academic year of 2022-2023, ECC awarded $97,000 in MSI scholarships to 48 advanced manufacturing students. The scholarships were used toward tuition, fees, books, transportation and needed tools in their programs.

“We had students who couldn’t continue their program if it wasn’t for the scholarships from the Metallica Scholars Initiative,” says Joel Doepker, Vice President of External Relations. “The investment by AWMH has a direct impact on the area’s manufacturers who desperately need a qualified workforce to maintain their workforce and remain competitive.”

Find our more at

The 11 community colleges joining MSI this year include:

These newly added colleges are joining a roster of veteran schools invited to continue in the program. Each year, the returning colleges play an integral part in helping guide the success of the new schools.

The 31 returning schools include:

What began with 10 colleges and mostly manufacturing programs has developed into a diverse offering of workforce opportunities for students interested in gaining the skills and training necessary to find meaningful and well-paying careers in fields and positions including:

Automation and Robotics
Automotive Technology
Aviation, Computer-Aided Drafting & Design
Computerized Manufacturing (CNC)
Construction Technology
Criminal Justice
Culinary Arts
Diesel Technology
Dental Hygiene
Electrical Engineering
Fire Technology
Heating & Ventilation (HVAC)
Heavy Equipment Operator
Industrial Maintenance Technology
Manufacturing & Machining
Mechanical Design
Mechatronics Engineering
Process Technology
Trucking (CDL)
Wind Energy

About American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)

As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges leads, advocates, and advances the nation’s community colleges.  Uniquely American, community colleges deliver educational and economic opportunities for more than 10 million diverse students annually. Dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers, and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, DC, AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support to increase economic mobility for all.

About All Within My Hands (AWMH)

All Within My Hands was established in 2017 by Metallica to invest in the people and places that have supported the band. It also allows Metallica’s fans to engage in philanthropy and volunteerism. The Foundation is dedicated to creating sustainable communities through workforce education, the fight against hunger, and other critical local services. All expenses of the Foundation are covered by the band, the board, and a few special friends so that 100% of donations go to the organizations it supports. AWMH is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization.