ECPI Recognized as a Military Friendly School

ECPI is a student centered school. Many of those students are military and ECPI was recognized in 2010 with the prestigious PRO Patria Award. The Pro Patria Award is presented annually by the Employer Support of the Guard Reserve (ESGR) Committee to employers who have provided the most exceptional support of the national defense through leadership practices and personnel policies that support their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

According to Captain Fred Berck, retired United States Naval Reserve and the ESGR Tidewater Area Chair, “the ‘Pro Patria’ translates from Latin as ‘For the Nation.’ Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s National Guard and Reserve units.”

The honor is the highest a state committee can award. It rates higher than the Above and Beyond, Seven Seals and My Boss is a Patriot awards. ECPI was selected as one of three awardees from approximately 1,000 nominations.

Mark Dreyfus, President of ECPI accepted the award on behalf of all ECPI campuses saying, “it’s a small sacrifice for the school in comparison to the sacrifices being made by our military personnel and their families.”

Other recent awards recognizing ECPI’s work with the military include:

  • Military Advanced Educations’ 2010-2011 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities
  • G.I. Job Military Friendly School for 2011 (top 15% of schools nationwide)

EMC Proves to be a “Best Place” for ECPI Graduates

With a listing as one of Fortune Magazine’s 2009 “World’s Most Admired Companies” and the same year being voted for the fifth time as one of North Carolina’s Triangle “Best Places to Work” by Triangle Business Journal it is easy to understand why ECPI students work hard to maintain top ranking to catch the eye of EMC recruiters.

EMC is a large company with more than 40,000 employees worldwide and over 1,000 in the Triangle. The company specializes in storage solutions. They create the systems which store data in large centers on the internet, easily accessed by anyone, anywhere.

In 2010 when the company decided to move its Massachusetts location to the Triangle they needed to build a new data center that would be three times larger than the space they had. The move created seven new positions to facilitate the transition and maintain the facility post move. Of those seven positions, six were filled by ECPI graduates. Even before that EMC had hired more than fifteen ECPI graduates over the years, always requesting the most qualified graduates.

The partnership started many years ago with Mike Stanley, General Manager, at EMC. He supports ECPI by coming to career fairs and being a part of the advisory board. The advisory board is comprised of people within the industry who provide feedback to the college to steer the curriculum to maintain current needs and standards. “Being a part of the advisory board ensures that I know that the students are learning the skills most needed in our company,” says Mike. “That gives me the confidence to keep hiring students from the school.” In turn ECPI is often invited to attend career fairs at EMC so that current employees can maintain and build their skills.

EMC requests ECPI’s top students and career services has fulfilled those requests with people like Tripp Bridges. Tripp graduated with his associate’s from ECPI in 2005 and earned his Bachelor’s in Network Security Management in 2010. It was through an ECPI career fair that Tripp connected with Mike Stanley. Networking and being at the top of his class worked well for Tripp. Now as an EMC employee he enjoys a flexible schedule, a nice salary and a relaxed work environment. “The hands-on education at ECPI really prepared me for the workplace.”

iPod. iPad. iWant! uWant! Yes, we all want! – How ECPI has integrated Apple into Education

As quick adopters of new technology, ECPI was swift to integrate Apple products in the school and within the classroom. It started in 2008 within months of the launch of the iPod Touch. The devices were part of a major purchase to build the Mac computer labs in ECPI campuses. The iPad Touches were distributed to every campus and were available for students to check out of the library.

Gerry White, an English instructor at the Virginia Beach campus, was eager to use the systems in his classroom. Hungry to learn and implement new technology, he began to look at code and how to go about creating an app (short for application which is software running on a computer, mobile device or other platform) to be used on the mini-computer to showcase ECPI and how it can be used to support curriculum in the classroom. Gerry used the iPod Touch in his lessons to discuss social networking, how to decipher the language of text messaging and students wrote papers to influence those who may not be willing to adopt that type of technology.

Apple’s most recent product launch was the iPad which is a beefed up version of the iPod Touch providing a larger screen, access to the internet and an endless of array of apps. Of course some of those apps were developed and offered by ECPI: ECPI Mobile, iECPI and ECPIHD.

The apps allow users to check and post grades, participate in classes, watch podcasts, communicate on ECPI’s social media networks, get directions or contact a campus. Students can engage in class discussions, chat with instructors or other students, and view lectures and demonstrations. In the second generation, iECPI, students can access current events and news and provide feedback for future app development.

Gerry was also quick to use the iPad in his classroom. Working with business instructor, Larry Brett, the two lead students through a business and English combination course for change management and advanced composition.

  • Jeanette Scott changed her belief that she had to physically have a book and found the online books easier to search and use than a traditional book.
  • Darrell Pancansky appreciated the portability. The iPad weighs 1.5 pounds which is a lighter load for students to carry.
  • Students pick ECPI because they do not fit the traditional college model. In some cases students have family responsibilities and full-time jobs and the iPad fits into their hectic lives quite easily.

Currently, the iPads are being used in an electronics class in Virginia Beach and across ECPI campuses they are all in a pilot phase. While there is an initial up front cost, the long term cost of going paperless will eventually save money. It also offers a new level of interactivity that will be a bonus to lessons for a college built around technology.

Teaching and Leading By Example

Soft spoken and humble are words to describe the Physicians for Peace 2010 Medical Diplomat Award honoree and Medical Careers Institute (MCI) registered nurse instructor Robin Jones. She seems to dislike talking about her recognitions, however, engage her in conversation about her work and volunteer efforts and her enthusiastic passion for each are unquestionable.

Celebrity may be something she will have to adjust to after being featured in the November 2010 Advance for Nurses and receiving word recently that a filmmaker reached out to Physicians for Peace to discuss a potential documentary on her life. “This is out of my comfort level,” exclaims Robin.

From left is Buzz Heidt, Chairman of Physicians for Peace and Board of Trustees, Donald Buckley, Board of Trustees and Robin Jones accepting 2010 Medical Diplomat Award.

Robin was honored for her humanitarian work as a nurse and midwife using the proverbial “teach a man to fish system.” Robin goes into medical communities and teaches the doctors, nurses and village health workers to make rudimentary masks that help provide newborn respiratory resuscitation, the basics of prenatal care and safe delivery, and develops relationships with traditional birth attendants. Over 800 people gathered to acknowledge her and other honorees at the Cavalier Beach Club in Virginia Beach on October 2, 2010.

She has often used a modeling technique to teach compassion. Evidently her compassion can also be felt by MCI students as one stopped her in the hall on the day of our interview to tell her thank you for her soothing role during skills testing which helped to keep this particular student calm.

Robin first joined Physicians for Peace on a mission to Monrovia, Liberia in 2007 later traveling to Pampaida, a village in Nigeria, in 2009 and 2010. It was during her first trip to Pampaida that she worked with a birth team to save the life of a hemorrhaging patient. Robin named the baby Mathias upon the grateful mother’s request and revisited them both on a Fact Find during her third trip in November 2010. Robin began teaching at MCI in 2008 and loves that her efforts are “making a difference” by teaching and encouraging nursing students so that they are better educated and therefore can be the agents of change in the medical community in an effort to make women more comfortable.

She also feels that giving time is important and doesn’t have to be across the world but can be done locally. She encourages students to “just do something with your talents.” She shared her talents in January locally with Eastern Virginia Medical School leading the Global Health Class discussion on “Millennium Development Goals for Maternal Health.”

Robin Jones is a Registered Nurse, Woman’s Health Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse Midwife. She teaches Maternity Nursing and Registered Nursing at the Virginia Beach, Virginia campus of MCI.

MCI Students and Staff Rally Against Domestic Violence

It is often our own life experiences that lead us to take action and in doing so, it is those closest to us that join and support those endeavors. Such is the case of the MCI community in Richmond, Virginia as teachers and staff rallied to support two students in their quest to reduce domestic violence in the community.

Alicia Gent and Sara Koncsol are medical assisting students at MCI and both are survivors of domestic violence. The two women joined forces to organize the first annual 5K Domestic Violence Memorial Walk-A-Thon, honoring individuals and public safety personnel who have died as a result of domestic violence. The event benefited the Chesterfield County Domestic and Sexual Violence Resources Center and Chesterfield Domestic Violence Task Force.  Alicia and Sara also launched a non-profit organization, Walk Out, to educate and raise funds for victims in need. The walk, which took place in October 2010, was sponsored by MCI and Commonwealth Radiology.

From left Alicia Gent, Sara Koncsol and Yolanda Savoy at the Domestic Violence Memorial Walk-A-Thon

“We had two wonderful teachers that stepped in and helped,” says Alicia. “Yolanda Savoy and Dr. Nestor Davilla.” The MCI teachers created fliers for the event, obtained t-shirts, assisted in the planning, organization and set-up and provided council and support throughout the months of planning. “This is something we will never forget, even after graduation,” exclaimed Alicia. “MCI shines for not only sponsoring the walk, but the teachers they have, the knowledge they give and the lending hands.”

The first time event was successful having raised over $3000. Alicia continues to work and plan for the second walk in October 2011. In February candy grams were sold at MCI in recognition of Valentine’s Day. For more information on Walk Out visit WalkOut5k.org.