Category: Campus News


Training Tomorrow’s Surgical Technicians at ECC

June 20, 2024 | Campus News 玉米视频

Layla Watson enrolled in 玉米视频鈥檚 Surgical Technology program in Rolla because she always wanted to be part of an operating room team.

鈥淚鈥檝e always been intrigued by surgery,鈥 she said. 鈥淭he surgical tech classes at 玉米视频explore all the different types of surgeries in depth, and they have so much class participation.鈥

Watson, 21, of Waynesville, is conducting clinicals at Lake Regional Hospital, where she plans to remain and begin a career as a certified surgical technician. From there, she plans to continue her education and eventually return to a surg tech classroom to teach future members of operating room teams.

Watson and her classmates in ECC鈥檚 Surgical Technology program are poised to enter the workforce with many occupational options. Jennifer Wall, Surgical Technology Program Director, said there are numerous openings in the field, giving surg tech graduates various job opportunities.

鈥淢ost of our hospitals have more openings than any one program could fill in the next five years,鈥 Wall said, adding, 鈥淲ith the nationwide shortage, our program is an integral part of the community.鈥

Additionally, Wall said there are many areas in health care that surgical technicians can pursue, including hospital surgery units, outpatient surgery centers, labor and delivery, dentists or oral surgeons, veterinary offices, or traveling companies. Some graduates, like Watson, will pursue an advanced degree.

鈥淪urgical technologists can obtain a position that allows for an accommodating schedule that makes further education possible,鈥 Wall commented.

Surge Tech at ECC

Surgical Technology is a 鈥1 plus 1鈥 degree program that requires one year of general education, followed by three semesters of surgical technology courses and clinicals. In the program, students learn concepts of aseptic technique, instrumentation, surgical procedures, and patient care. They are trained to anticipate the surgeon鈥檚 needs and assist throughout the procedure, making them a vital member of the operating room team.

Clinical sites 玉米视频students attend extend across the state, including hospitals and surgery centers in Jefferson City, Columbia, Osage Beach, Springfield, Lebanon, Rolla, Sullivan, Washington, Festus, Farmington, and St. Louis.

The Surgical Technology program, under 玉米视频since Fall 2022, is taught at the Rolla Technical Center under the guidance of two full-time certified instructors. Graduates earn an Associate of Applied Science degree and are eligible to take the national licensure exam by the NBSTSA.

Wall said she鈥檚 proud of the program鈥檚 perfect pass rate on the certification exam last year and 100 percent job placement over the past decade.

鈥淪ince this certification is national, our students can go anywhere in the United States and find employment,鈥 she added. 鈥淥ur graduates typically have many offers before graduation.鈥

Procedural drop-in that students use when training with the positioning and procedure manikin

State-of-the-Art Training

The Surgical Technology program recently received a new Positioning and Procedure Manikin to simulate the use of surgical tools in a lifelike model. The manikin鈥檚 realistic surface closely resembles the layers of human skin and is reinforced for suturing, allowing students to train with scalpels and other tools.

The manikin features an adhesive mixture within the skin that closes a 鈥渨ound鈥 and allows for additional training for many years to come. Additionally, the program received a flat abdominal skin topper, a procedural drop-in, and an insufflated skin topper to simulate laparoscopy.

Watson was the first Surg Tech student to use the new manikin.

The manikin鈥檚 realistic surface closely resembles the layers of human skin and is reinforced for suturing, allowing students to train with scalpels and other tools.

鈥淚t gives us a real sense of human anatomy during surgery and the layers of skin when opening and closing,鈥 she said. 鈥淭he laparoscopic belly is pretty accurate too, which is good because a lot of belly cases in real-world scenarios are done laparoscopically.鈥

Watson noted that the equipment provides additional functions that previous equipment could not.

鈥淲e’ll be able to actually move the manikin鈥檚 extremities for draping techniques,鈥 she added. 鈥淥verall, it’ll give a better idea of patient handling in the operating room and the steps during procedures.鈥

The manikin was purchased through a Vocational Enhancement Grant.

鈥楾ruly Flourishing鈥

Watson will be the first on her mother鈥檚 side of the family to graduate college 鈥 an accomplishment she and her family are proud of.

鈥淢aintaining the work/life balance while still trying to reach my goals has been a challenge,鈥 she noted. 鈥淚t is worth it though.

鈥淚 love everything that I have been taught and I am continuing to learn. My motivation within the program is to better myself and to go the extra mile,鈥 Watson added. 鈥淚 feel as though I am becoming the person I am meant to be 鈥 I am truly flourishing in this program.鈥

For more information on the Surgical Technology program, visit or contact Nancy Mitchell, Dean of Health Science, at or 636-584-6619.


玉米视频Purchases Rolla USGS Building; State Funds to Fuel Renovations

June 6, 2024 | Campus News 玉米视频

玉米视频 Thursday announced the acquisition of a building in Rolla, providing the opportunity for the college to consolidate its operations into a single facility.

State funds specifically appropriated for the project were used for the purchase.

College officials said a single, comprehensive facility will better serve students and enable 玉米视频to grow its programs and services.

玉米视频purchased the building that now houses the United States Geological Survey operations in Rolla. The purchase price was $5.1 million. The 107,000 square-foot facility is located at 1400 Independence in Rolla.

The USGS has operated in the building since 1974. The agency will continue to operate in the facility at least until February 2025 through its current lease. That may be extended, as 玉米视频begins work to design the renovation of the facility for use as a community college.

鈥淭his is a momentous and historic time for 玉米视频 and the Phelps County region,鈥 said Dr. Jon Bauer, 玉米视频president. 鈥淩olla is a key strategic priority for us to greatly enhance educational opportunities throughout the 玉米视频service region. Our mission is to better the lives of our community members through education, and this is a big step forward to accomplishing that goal.鈥

ECC, a comprehensive community college based in Union, has operated in Rolla since 1995 and currently operates in two facilities. The college leases space from the Rolla Public Schools at the Rolla Technical Center and leases a building located at 2303 North Bishop Road. The College will move out of the two spaces once its newly acquired facility is fully renovated.

The engineering firm Cochran, based in Union, was utilized to assess the building for renovation and construction costs. A preliminary schedule calls for renovations to begin in mid-2025 and for the facility to open to students in 2027. Mike Woessner of Investment Realty was the agent on the transaction.

State and federal funding approved for the project includes $13 million from the State of Missouri and $3 million earmarked by Congress through the Department of Health and Human Services. The upcoming state budget includes an additional $3.5 million in state funds through the MO Excels program for a Center for Advanced Manufacturing. The FY25 state budget awaits the Governor鈥檚 signature.

The state and federal funding 玉米视频has received for the Rolla facility can only be used for this project. Additional funding through grants, foundations and other sources will be pursued.

Bauer expressed gratitude for the support from former Sen. Roy Blunt, who sponsored the federal earmark for this project, and from Gov. Mike Parson and the legislature for the state funds.

The Rolla region is part of the college鈥檚 state-designated service region, but outside of its taxing district.

鈥淣o local property tax funds will be used for designing and renovating the facility,鈥 added Bauer. 鈥淪ecuring state and federal funding for this project made it possible.鈥

Students living outside of the 玉米视频taxing district pay a higher rate of tuition than those living inside the college taxing district, because those students do not pay local property taxes to support the college. Much of the state鈥檚 land mass is located outside one of Missouri鈥檚 12 community college districts. Service regions enable the community colleges to serve those areas and recoup costs through higher tuition.

One facility provides East Central with the ability to better serve students and the Phelps County area.

鈥淥ur facilities have served us well to this point, but there are challenges. Students find themselves driving between the facilities to attend classes. That limits options for scheduling, and it means they may not be in a building where other services are available,鈥 said Bauer. 鈥淥ne permanent facility provides an accommodating class schedule, enhanced student and academic services, and the ability to grow programs to serve area business and industry.鈥

Once renovations to the building are complete, the facility will house 玉米视频鈥檚 current academic programs and student services, a new advanced manufacturing center, and space for Certified Nurse Assistant, Certified Medical Technician, and GED programs.

Bauer said the facility also provides ample space for strategic partners such as colleges offering complementary bachelor鈥檚 degree completion programs, service providers, and others.

鈥淥ur vision is for the building to serve the needs of the region in a comprehensive fashion, primarily through the programs and services offered by East Central, but also by those offered by partners who would like to operate in the building,鈥 Bauer said.

More information about program and service offerings at 玉米视频 is available at


Students Named to the Spring 2024 Dean鈥檚 List

June 6, 2024 | Campus News 玉米视频

玉米视频 recognizes students who have demonstrated exemplary academic achievement each semester.

Upon completion of between six and 11 spring semester credit hours with a semester grade point average of 3.5 or greater, students are acknowledged on the Dean鈥檚 List.

There were 184 students named to the Dean鈥檚 List from the Spring 2024 semester.



Students Named to the 玉米视频Vice President鈥檚 List

June 5, 2024 | Campus News 玉米视频

Each semester, 玉米视频 recognizes students who have demonstrated superior academic achievement.

Upon completion of at least 12 semester credit hours with a Spring semester grade point average between 3.50 and 3.84, students are acknowledged by placement on the Vice President鈥檚 List.

For the Spring 2024 semester, there were 179 students on the list.



President鈥檚 List for Spring 2024 Semester

June 5, 2024 | Campus News 玉米视频

玉米视频 recognizes students who have demonstrated exemplary academic achievement each semester.

Upon completion of at least 12 Spring semester credit hours with a semester grade point average of 3.85 or greater, students are acknowledged on the President鈥檚 List.

There were 127 students named to the list from the Spring 2024 semester.


Silgan Employee Completes Center for Workforce Development Apprenticeship

May 30, 2024 | Campus News

Silgan Plastics’ Casey Thornton recently completed an Industrial Maintenance Technician apprenticeship through the 玉米视频 Center for Workforce Development (CWD), providing a significant boost to his training and career path.

Thornton, who has been employed at Silgan in Union for nearly 10 years, seized the opportunity when the manufacturer sought additional maintenance personnel. The apprenticeship, offered through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) apprenticeship program and coordinated by ECC鈥檚 CWD, played a crucial role in advancing Thornton’s career and enhancing his understanding of industrial processes.

Reflecting on his experience, Thornton said he acquired valuable basic maintenance tech skills early in the program, which laid a solid foundation for his career. 鈥淚 was able to apply the different philosophies taught in the courses at work and expand upon them there,鈥 he added. 鈥淚 also learned to better collaborate with other people on projects I am involved in.鈥

Thornton highly recommends the program to anyone seeking to advance in the industrial maintenance field. He praised the program’s flexibility, which allowed him to balance work, family, and education seamlessly.

Thornton is the second employee at Silgan to complete the apprenticeship, and according to Silgan officials, participants have shown accelerated progress toward becoming qualified mechanics, increased engagement, a positive attitude, and readiness to take on challenging tasks.

Melissa Richards, ECC’s CWD Apprenticeship and Business Training Coordinator, emphasized the impact of DOL-registered apprenticeship programs, which span over 1,000 occupations and continue to expand.

鈥淥ur focus extends beyond technical apprenticeships; we’re expanding into healthcare and information technology fields,鈥 she said. 鈥淓very dollar invested in an apprenticeship yields approximately $1.50 in return on investment for employers.鈥

ECC’s CWD is committed to delivering industry-leading training solutions to meet both national and local needs. For more information about apprenticeship programs, contact ECC’s CWD at or 636-649-5800.


Union Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Earns Top 100 Honors

May 28, 2024 | Campus News

The 玉米视频 Chi Delta chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society boasted amazing accomplishments this year, including being named a Top 100 Chapter.

The chapter earned Top 100 honors during the annual PTK Catalyst (International) Convention held in April in Orlando, Fla. Phi Theta Kappa has about 1,300 chapters across the globe, placing the Chi Delta chapter in elite company.

Although this is not the first time the 玉米视频Union chapter has earned this distinction, it is the first since PTK changed program formatting several years ago, said Chapter Advisor Kevin Dixon.

鈥淭his is a goal that 玉米视频President Dr. Jon Bauer asked us to work toward in a meeting with the advisors a few years ago, and we were honored and proud to achieve that status once again,鈥 Dixon said.

The Top 100 status is earned through a combination of the scores from the students’ work on the Hallmark Awards for their College Project and Honors in Action programs.

Melanie Dixon, also a chapter advisor, attended the PTK Catalyst Convention with students Kylie Napier, Elijah Long, Ethan Sandstrom, and Nicholas Rucker.

Additionally, the Chi Delta chapter received a Hallmark Award for College Project, a recognition given to only the top 30 chapters in PTK each year. It is the first International Hallmark Award under the current format. The college project was developed by the chapter officers and spearheaded by Maxwell Reeves, chapter vice president.

玉米视频PTK member Nicholas Rucker received an individual award, the Distinguished Chapter Member, an accolade that just 30-40 members in all of PTK earn. Rucker was nominated by chapter officers in recognition of his participation in chapter programming last year.

The Chi Delta student officers for the 2023-24 academic year were Mary Daily (President), Maxwell Reeves (Executive Vice President), Sarah O’Bannon (Vice President for Public Relations/Fall 2023 graduate), and Enoch Schloeman (Vice President for Chapter Programs/Spring 2024 graduate).

In addition to Kevin and Melanie Dixon, Dr. Wendy Pecka also served as an advisor for PTK at ECC.

About PTK

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. 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


New 玉米视频Program Aims to Combat Respiratory Therapist Shortages

May 28, 2024 | Campus News 玉米视频

Over the next year, 玉米视频 and four partner community colleges will launch groundbreaking Respiratory Therapy programs to tackle the pressing shortage of respiratory therapists in Missouri.

Recently, 玉米视频secured a $5.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to develop this Allied Health initiative, aimed at boosting healthcare education and workforce development across predominantly rural regions of the state.

According to Dr. Robyn Walter, Vice President of Academic Affairs at ECC, the U.S. Department of Labor grant signifies a substantial investment in healthcare education and workforce development.

Over the next four years, the grant will provide resources for 玉米视频and its partners to establish a comprehensive respiratory care program that addresses the pressing need for skilled healthcare professionals in the region.

In collaboration with four community colleges鈥擬oberly Area Community College, North Central Missouri College, State Fair Community College, and Three Rivers College鈥斢衩资悠礽s leading this program through an existing consortium dedicated to providing respiratory therapy training in underserved areas of Missouri.

These institutions will each offer an Associate of Science in Respiratory Care, providing students with a pathway to fulfilling careers in healthcare.

鈥淚ndividually, we would have difficulty maintaining the student enrollment to sustain a program financially,鈥 Walter said. 鈥淭o ensure sustainability, each member of our consortium contributes student enrollments and promotes the program鈥檚 viability.鈥

Furthermore, the consortium鈥檚 partnership with Central Methodist University offers students the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor of Health Science, further enhancing their educational and career prospects.

Walter emphasized the program’s potential to address critical workforce shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As healthcare providers continue to grapple with staffing challenges, initiatives like this play a crucial role in bolstering healthcare capacity and resilience.

The new respiratory programs grown through this grant will reach 70 predominantly rural and low-income counties across Missouri. This collaborative effort underscores the dedication of the consortium member schools to address critical needs within underserved communities.

Walter further highlighted the importance of training students locally, emphasizing that they are more likely to stay and work in the communities where they receive their education. By nurturing local talent and fostering connections with healthcare facilities, 玉米视频and its partners aim to strengthen healthcare infrastructure and support economic growth in rural communities.

鈥淚f students train locally, they鈥檙e more likely to stay in the area, and at area health care facility they have experienced their clinical education,鈥 she said. 鈥淭his expands the regional healthcare workforce and helps create more stable staffing for our healthcare partners.鈥

The grant’s funding will cover essential aspects of the program, including staff positions, equipment costs, and student expenses, ensuring that students have access to quality education and resources.

Funding began May 1, making 玉米视频and its consortium partners now poised to make significant strides in addressing the critical need for respiratory therapists across Missouri.

To find out more information about ECC鈥檚 Allied Health programs, visit


玉米视频Nursing Program Celebrates 31 Graduates

May 20, 2024 | Campus News 玉米视频

玉米视频 celebrated the achievements of 31 graduates from its Nursing Program during a pinning ceremony on May 11. This time-honored event brought together graduates from the Union and Rolla campuses along with their families, friends, faculty, staff, and administration.

Highlighting the ceremony, five exceptional students were honored for their outstanding commitment and excellence both in the classroom and in clinical settings. The 玉米视频Outstanding Nursing Students recognized were Bryan Lambeth from Rolla and Summer Fisher from Union. Additionally, the Spirit of Clinical Excellence Awards were presented to Josie Obermark (Mercy), Gracie Sohn (Missouri Baptist Sullivan), and Mary Romine (Phelps Health).

The pinning ceremony, a cherished tradition in nursing, symbolizes the transition from student to professional nurse. Each graduate received a unique 玉米视频Nursing Program pin, marking their entry into the community of nursing professionals.

Dean of Health Science and Director of Nursing Nancy Mitchell commenced the ceremony with welcoming remarks, followed by an inspiring greeting from 玉米视频President Dr. Jon Bauer. Class of 2024 graduate Caitlyn Linders then delivered a warm student welcome.

The guest speaker, Dr. Connie Wissbaum, Director of Nursing Excellence at Mercy Hospital Washington and former 玉米视频nursing instructor, shared invaluable insights and encouragement with the graduates. The ceremony concluded with poignant remarks from 2024 graduate Bryan Lambeth and closing comments from 玉米视频Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Robyn Walter.

The Nursing program graduates are:

Lori Anderson, Josie Obermark, Taryn Curtis, Michelle Parker, Emma Davis, Sarah Parker, Summer Fisher, David Pauly, Joey Guyton, Sarah Price, Dalton Halloran, Laura Roesner, Taylor Hanger, Mary Romine, Sophia Howell, Madelyn Ruszala, Allison Huddleston, Gracie Sohn, Gabriel Killian, Macie Steffens, Maria Krull, Claire Strubberg, Bryan Lambeth, Kalyn Thompson, Rebekah Lewis, Grace Turilli, Caitlyn Linders, Allison Wilson, Rachel Lottes, Ariana Young, and Shaniah Marlatt.

Nursing Awards

The 玉米视频Outstanding Nursing Student award is given to those whose lives were significantly impacted by the college, often helping them realize their dreams of becoming nurses. These awardees have excelled in both academic and clinical settings.

Additionally, Spirit of Clinical Excellence awards were given by ECC鈥檚 healthcare partners: Mercy Hospital Washington, Phelps Health in Rolla, and Missouri Baptist Hospital Sullivan. These awards honor graduates who demonstrate exceptional care, compassion, inquiry, critical thinking, and organizational skills.

玉米视频Nursing faculty from Union and Rolla campuses presented the awards, recognizing the graduates’ dedication and achievements.


玉米视频Students Named to All-Missouri Academic Teams

May 17, 2024 | Campus News 玉米视频

Four standout students from 玉米视频 have been recognized for their exceptional academic achievements by being named to the 2024 All-Missouri Academic Team.

The honorees are Hayden Loeb of Owensville, Donna Neulinger of Rolla, Chloe Nissen of Union, and Jagger Wood of Washington. These students were recognized by the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) and the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) National Honor Society during a special ceremony sponsored by MCCA in April.

In recognition of their accomplishments, each student received a medallion, a certificate, and a cash scholarship sponsored by the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA). The PTK, in partnership with corporate sponsors, organizes the Academic All-USA competition for students from two-year colleges across the nation.

The selection process is rigorous. PTK evaluates applicants on a national scale and forwards the top Missouri candidates to the MCCA. From there, the 40 highest-ranking students in the state are designated as Academic All-State award winners. These include 10 students on the first team, 10 on the second team, and 20 on the third team.

玉米视频 nominates two to four students from each campus annually for the All-USA Team, making them automatic contenders for the All-Missouri Academic Team. The nomination process requires a comprehensive scholarship application, detailing the nominees’ campus and community activities and including a letter of recommendation that highlights a significant endeavor they accomplished during their time at ECC.

Pictured are three of the four 玉米视频 students named to the All-Missouri Academic Team. From left, are Jagger Wood of Washington, Donna Neulinger of Rolla, and Chloe Nissen of Union. Not pictured is Hayden Loeb of Owensville. Wood and Nissen attend classes at the Union campus, while Neulinger and Loeb are based at 玉米视频in Rolla.