Mayor’s Roundtable

ECPI University was pleased to host Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms today for one of his mayoral roundtables. Today’s discussion: encouraging manufacturing in Virginia Beach, most notably education for young people and workforce development.

NMTC Presents Chairman’s Award for Excellence in STEM Education to Paul Nussbaum of ECPI University

The National Minority Technology Council (NMTC) has presented its Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education to Paul Nussbaum, Campus Director of Academic Affairs at the Richmond, VA campus of ECPI University.

The award is given in recognition of Mr. Nussbaum’s leadership in the creation of the Teachers Teaching Teachers program offered by ECPI. It was presented yesterday at the U.S. News STEM Solutions Leadership Summit in Dallas, TX.

Teachers Teaching Teachers is a STEM program that assists local public school teachers gain their re-certification and also deliver STEM to the classroom. These classes are heavily subsidized by ECPI University to make them affordable to the teachers. More importantly, the coursework includes term projects in which the teachers create tools that they can immediately use in their classroom. For example, the recently completed Storyboarding for Animation class required teachers go beyond pictures and movies to create interactive web pages that students can click on and actively control.
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ECPI Students Participate in Dominion Enterprises Hackathon

Two ECPI University Students – Chris Meier and Doug Walters – were among eight students selected from four colleges and universities to participate in Dominion Enterprises’ (DE) Annual Hackathon. The competition is designed to challenge students to create new and innovative Facebook applications.

Hackathon participants devoted two days to building apps using technology from Facebook, Heroku and DE’s own diverse group of online brands. They worked alongside programmers, product developers, and marketing staff from DE, representing market-leading brands such as For Rent, Homes.com, Boats.com, Cycle Trader, Powersports Network, and The Employment Guide.

Doug Walters Team – Foxtrot Bravo – won Most Market Ready and Best in Show. They built a Facebook app called “Plan and Post” that allows you to schedule birthday wishes for friends, in case you don’t sign in on a given day to say “Happy Birthday.”

ECPI University Impresses APSCU President

APSCU President Steve Gunderson and ECPI University President Mark Dreyfus meet with students Anthony Higa and Wendell Hughes in the Mechatronics Lab

Former Congressman Steve Gunderson just toured ECPI University’s Virginia Beach campus and came away thoroughly impressed. Appointed president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) earlier this year, Gunderson is conducting a fact-finding tour to collect information on best practices among member institutions.

Said Gunderson following his meeting with faculty and students, “I am going to call my friends at the White House and ask them to tell the President that if he wants to see a university that really approaches STEM education in a meaningful way, that consistently produces graduates with skills desperately needed in today’s economy and effectively serves veterans and people of color, he should come visit ECPI.”

President Obama has made it a priority to support efforts to improve education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). ECPI University President Mark Dreyfus says previous government efforts, while well-intentioned, have failed to focus on what’s really important. “Every bit as important as the curriculum is the method of delivery,” says Dreyfus. “ECPI’s hands-on approach blends knowledge and classroom learning in a way that resonates with all types of learners and produces graduates who can apply that knowledge the moment they enter the workplace.”

With a large skills gap and many unfilled jobs in the nation’s increasingly automated manufacturing sector, many employers are now looking to educators to step forward and help them address a growing problem: with a significant percentage of manufacturing technologists preparing to retire in the next 10 years, who will replace them? Steve Gunderson believes schools like ECPI University have a great deal to offer. He says “we need to change the conversation and set in place a plan to meet America’s skill demands. If we succeed, we will not only heal our ailing economy but re-establish a vibrant middle class.”

Chris Lassiter – Making the Most of Each Day

Chris Lassiter

 

If life is a gift, then Chris Lassiter demonstrates each and every day that he is possessed with an abundance of gratitude. He entered the Charlotte Campus’ Network Security program as a fresh high school graduate. When he arrived, he was typical of most traditional college students. To pay his way through school, he balanced a full time job at Wendy’s with his class schedule and homework responsibilities.

Half way through the program, Chris became very ill, was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer and was forced to withdraw from school. This experience would be terrifying for anyone but was especially so for someone so young. After a six month hiatus, Chris returned to class with a new found drive and maturity seldom found in people his age; and his performance during the last half of his program foreshadowed coming success.

After completing his externship in 2010, Chris interviewed for a position on campus, and it was quickly apparent to all concerned that he stood head and shoulders above all other candidates. “Chris has a fantastic combination of people skills, abilities and motivation,” says Help Desk Administrator Supervisor Mike Martin. “He comes to my office and says ‘hey Mike, I was thinking….,’ and what follows is almost always a great idea for improving our operations or his own performance. He is truly an outstanding employee.”

With a talent for troubleshooting, this Help Desk Administrator is always searching for solutions. Possessed of the “I want to do more” attitude, Chris is the personable face of IT that students and faculty meet. Some of his duties include helping with password resets, phone support and software/hardware maintenance campus-wide. It is his enthusiasm for going beyond what is required, however, that makes him exceptional.

Quiet and understated, Chris becomes animated when discussing some of the money-saving work-overs he has implemented at the Charlotte campus, claiming he is just “tinkering here and there.” One of his more notable projects is the configuration and installation of FOG, a program that can distribute and install software to all the school computers simultaneously and remotely. FOG eliminates the need to service each machine separately, saving time and money. For a campus that uses extensive technology in addition to computers, streamlining maintenance and troubleshooting service adds up fast.

Chris Lassiter is an example of the enthusiasm, dedication and pursuit of excellence that ECPI students bring with them. His advice to new students: Don’t get behind and don’t miss class!