Supporting Those Who Protect Our Freedom

This past June ECPI was proud to sponsor the annual awards luncheon honoring the fundraisers who support the Navy Marine Corp Relief Society. Although the society is sponsored by the Department of the Navy, it is a private non-profit organization whose programs are totally funded by charitable contributions. The honorees of the luncheon represented people from every command who aid in the efforts to build the Combined Federal Campaign.

From left to right: Bob Larned, ECPI’s Executive Director of Military Education; Captain Kathy Nelson USN (Ret), Director of Navy Marine Corps Relief Society; Rear Admiral Arthur Johnson USN; and Mark Dreyfus, ECPI President

Founded in 1904, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society is a private non-profit charitable organization. It is sponsored by the Department of the Navy and operates nearly 250 offices ashore and afloat at Navy and Marine Corps bases throughout the world. Its  mission is to provide, in partnership with the Navy and Marine Corps, financial, educational, and other assistance to members of the Naval Services of the United States, eligible family members, and survivors when in need; and to receive and manage funds to administer these programs.

High School Students Learn to Develop Web Application through STEM Camp

The Youth Center of Hampton Roads hosted a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) camp at ECPI for 20 enthusiastic Hampton Roads teens. The five-day program in July introduced students to mobile technology and included an opportunity to learn and develop a web application (APP).

There is a national movement to encourage more students to pursue education and careers in STEM fields. The “Change the Equations” national initiative pledges to create literacy in science, technology, engineering and math as an investment in the nation. One of the goals of the initiative is to inspire student appreciation and excitement for STEM programs and careers to increase success and achievement in school and opportunities for a collegiate education.

ECPI Academic Technology Associate Dean, Gerry White, works with the kids to teach them APP development.

“We were really excited about introducing and reinforcing the STEM initiatives to participating youth,” said Paul Dockery, Business Development Specialist for ECPI University. “It was a great partnership to share with the youth the cool aspects of the technology field. These same areas are those that will allow the Hampton Roads community and beyond to remain the technological leader in the marketplace of the 21st century.”

The course, taught by Gerry White, covered beginning Mobile Web APP development. Students learned to design icons and buttons and facilitate the coding to launch their own Mobile Web APP. At the end of the program students created an individual APP to showcase their resume and writing samples with links to their social networks.

The program was through the Youth Career Center of Hampton Road operated by Opportunity Inc., which provides career guidance and workplace readiness skills training to Hampton Roads youth aged 14-21. Area businesses that supported the workshop included ECPI University, STIHL and We Are Titans.

Two workshop participants show off their custom built APPs.

Cutting-Edge Manufacturing Camp for Students

ECPI knows a thing or two about manufacturing, and that is why the university decided to be a sponsor of the Manufacturing Technology Summer Camp hosted by STIHL Inc. The camp ran July 13 through 16 in which more than 30 high school students from schools in North Carolina, Southeastern Virginia and District of Columbia participated. Designed to promote careers in modern manufacturing, the camp activities included classes on cutting-edge manufacturing technologies such as computer-controlled machining and robotics.

“This four-day, hands-on camp is designed to introduce students to modern manufacturing through tours, presentations, small projects, and a competitive manufacturing activity,” said Simon Nance, the director of the camp as well as manager of training and development for STIHL Inc.

With federal funding for vocational training and education at risk of being cut by 20 percent, business and education partnership programs like this are becoming increasingly important. The camp culminated with a two-hour competition on Saturday, July 16. Students were organized into five teams and collaborated to manufacture clocks. The teams were evaluated based on production efficiency, inventory management, quality standards, and innovative thinking. Each school with a winning team member won a First Technical Challenge startup kit from FIRST Robotics, and each student earned a $1,000 Virginia Industry Foundation scholarship for his or her future education.

Winning team members of the Stihl competition.

The winning team members were:

Christopher Benedetto, Kellam High School, Virginia Beach, VA, Brad Holmes, Landstown High School, Virginia Beach, VA, Sinh Ly, Landstown High School, Virginia Beach, VA, Joseph Frandsen, Granby High School, Norfolk, VA, Sharissa Marshall, Grassfield High School, Chesapeake, VA

The competition was judged by academic, corporate and community leaders including Norfolk councilwoman Angelia Williams and Ron Villanueva, delegate of the 21st district of Virginia. Other judges included Dee Tomczak from Virginia FIRST Robotics and Paul Dockery from ECPI University. “It was great seeing the youth go from not knowing much about manufacturing to putting together an entire production plan for the competition,” said Paul. “It was a great example why ECPI likes to be involved in STEM (science, technology, electronics, and math) activities in the community that are building our future workforce.”

Business. Economics. Volunteerism. Working with kids through Junior Achievement

ECPI University has been supporting Junior Achievement of Greater Hampton Roads for a number of years. Greg Casey, ECPI’s Chief Financial Officer, serves on the board of directors, and this past March 27, volunteers including faculty and staff taught economics to children at Bayside Elementary School’s second, third, fourth and fifth grades. Together ECPI volunteers reached almost 300 students.

Junior Achievement of Greater Hampton Roads was established in the area in 1966. Business professionals, parents, retirees and college students enter schools to teach Junior Achievement programs. Volunteers use their personal experiences to make the curricula practical and realistic, and provide children with positive adult role models, who illustrate ways to build self-confidence, develop skills and find avenues of success in our free enterprise system.

Junior Achievement provides the materials for the lessons that are generally under an hour with volunteers completing in four to five lessons. Carrie Griffith, Criminal Justice instructor at ECPI, volunteered to be a teacher and had a great experience.  She commented, “The kids are fun and enjoy having someone new teach them. The first week we were talking about zones and when we were discussing the industrial zone, every word out of their mouth had to do with pollution and how the industrial area is where all the pollution comes from. It’s funny to see how different students are now than when I was in school.”

“Not only does ECPI serve as mentors to Bayside Elementary School students, but its fundraising efforts allow us to provide students with educational programs that share valuable lessons about the world of work, the importance of saving money, and the relationship between learning and earning,” said Lauren Franza, Education Director and Operations Manager for Junior Achievement of Greater Hampton Roads. “ECPI’s fundraising efforts will be used to support both in-school and after-school programs that teach children how to be successful in the ’real world.’”

In March, two teams representing Admissions and Financial Aid squared off in competition in the annual bowl-a-thon to raise funds for the non-profit. Students representing Business Cents, the business club, and MCI also worked to raise funds. In total over $2,000 was raised to benefit Junior Achievement.

Youth Career Center Celebrates One-Year with Support from ECPI

On September 22 the Youth Career Center of Hampton Roads celebrated its one-year anniversary. The center provides career guidance and workplace readiness skills training to Hampton Roads youth. On average, more than 50 people walk into the career center located in Pembroke Mall daily. In its first year, the center has made more than 12,000 connections.

Kevin Paveglio, ECPI’s Virginia Beach Campus President and Matt Albano, MCI Virginia Beach Campus Director participates in the check presentation at the Youth Career Center.

ECPI University and its school of health science, Medical Careers Institute, have been working with the center since its opening in September 2010. In celebration of the anniversary ECPI donated $25,000 in support of the center operations and services.

Not relying solely on mall traffic the center partners with Hampton Roads high schools to bring students on field trips to the center during the day. One of the student’s favorites is the Virtual Youth Career Center which allows students to create avatars to access online information.