Thousands of Smiling Faces at Virginia Beach Graduation

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Chrysler Hall was packed to the rafters on June 22 as hundreds of ECPI University students finished their academic journeys and received their diplomas. Thousands of proud family members added to the occasion with many cheers. Congressman Rob Andrews, a longtime champion of career-focused private sector schools, provided great advice as commencement speaker.

Student speaker William “Burt” Evans, Jr. provided plenty of inspiration, saying “Life is all about second chances, sometimes third; the most important thing to remember is to take full advantage of every opportunity that is given to you.”  Evans should know. After graduating high school in 1980, he attended college for a couple of years, but decided to join the Navy to serve his country. He spent four years as a radioman in the Gulf War, taking college courses when he could.

After his first tour, he returned to civilian life and worked as an office supply company sales representative before missing the service and rejoining the Navy. His second tour ended abruptly when his wife passed away, leaving him with their two young children. He returned home, got a job as a radio frequency technician and later met his second wife, Donna. Evans then decided to enroll at ECPI University to advance his career in information technology. He also wanted to take advantage of the school’s accelerated degree format and class schedule flexibility to be able to work, go to school and raise a family.

“I realized that to succeed in life and have marketable skills I would have to return to school and finish what I’d started years before,” said Evans, a Chesapeake resident. “I should have listened to my mom long ago, but it’s never too late to start again.”

Evans, 51, is graduated with a 3.66 GPA in Computer Information Science with a concentration in Network Security. While attending ECPI University he found a job as an ITO Service Delivery Representative with Hewlett Packard at the Norfolk Naval Base. He plans to remain at Hewlett Packard after graduation and utilize his degree to further his career.

Marvin Hatchett: A Smart Person who Works with Dummies

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Marvin Hatchett spends his days surrounded by dummies. Yet, he enjoys every moment. That’s because this 1984 ECPI graduate is the Dummy Calibration Lab Manager at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Yes, Marvin Hatchett crashes cars for a living. He does so with a single goal in mind: to save as many lives as possible.

At his lab in Ruckersville, Virginia, he prepares crash dummies for a variety of collisions. It’s critically important that each dummy is calibrated to near perfection to ensure consistent results and reliable comparative data for other researchers doing similar work.

While his co-workers may be short on conversation, they tell him a great deal. Each one has up to 40 different sensors, and range in size from that of a six month-old infant to a fully-grown man. Data collected during each collision allows the IIHS to provide feedback to carmakers and warnings to consumers. At nearly $200,000 a piece, this information does not come cheap, but it is, nonetheless, invaluable.

“Knowing the impact that we have on the world, that we’re saving lives…it’s very rewarding,” says Marvin. “When we identify a problem, we always try to work directly with the automaker. Sure, we can issue a warning to consumers, but we also want to help the manufacturer make changes to improve a vehicle’s safety.

“On one occasion, we tested a minivan and the results were just terrible. It collapsed on the dummy and pinned it in, forcing us to pry it loose with hydraulic machinery. We immediately shared the results with the automaker, and the company made extensive changes. That mini-van went on to become a top safety pick. It’s hard to overstate the level of satisfaction you receive when something like that happens.”

Marvin has spent years developing his skills and has had a number of professional experiences prior to joining the Institute. Still, he says it all began at ECPI. “It was a great learning experience,” says Marvin. “It set the foundation to do what I enjoy doing, understanding electronics and how things work and helped prepare me to explore that world. The faculty was very concerned with the individual student. They really strived to reach out to meet the needs of each person. It was just a great atmosphere to be in and study in.”

Mother’s Illness Inspires Northern Virginia Grad to Care for Others

Six years ago, Kathy Mullen’s mother became severely ill. Upon release from the hospital, she and her siblings would play a major role in their mother’s recovery. “We were taught things like how to administer medication and change a PICC line,” says Kathy. “The whole experience really piqued my interest in medicine, but I didn’t act on it right away.”

The thought of a career change continued to seep into her thoughts. As a legal transcriber, her job would frequently take her up and down I-66 in Northern Virginia…right by ECPI’s Manassas campus. “Each time I glanced over, I would get this feeling that somehow we were connected,” she says. “I know it sounds silly, but I have felt a real connection to ECPI for the longest time. One day, two years ago, I couldn’t drive by without stopping. It was like God was telling me, ‘Kathy, it’s time.’ I turned to my kids, who were in the car that day, and told them, I needed to make a stop.”
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Former Nursing Student Receives DAISY Award

Less than two years after graduating from ECPI University’s School of Health Science, Medical Careers Institute, Walter Edwards is already distinguishing himself. A nurse at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) in Norfolk, Virginia, he recently received the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.

Sponsored by the DAISY Foundation, it is presented to nurses that excel in clinical skill and compassionate care. Walter was nominated by the parent of one of his patients who was extremely impressed with the special care he provided to her daughter. Having had 12 surgeries at CHKD already, she was familiar with the qualities of a great nurse. Still, as another procedure loomed, she was touched by Walter’s emotional support, how he answered her questions, and his attentiveness to her child’s needs.
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Accelerated Scheduling – Applying Sound Educational Principles to Improve Learning and Reduce Completion Time

It’s summer time and throughout the country, most university classrooms are quiet and dark. Students are traveling, working summer jobs and reconnecting with old friends. Such is the pace of the traditional college experience. And while there’s nothing wrong with it, there are those who simply cannot accommodate such a schedule. They may be older, have families or simply want to begin their careers as soon as humanly possible. For them, accelerated scheduling is the answer.

For all the news coverage and marketing associated with accelerated scheduling – predominately practiced by private sector colleges and universities – there are myriad misconceptions. In the case of ECPI University, the message is clear and concise: Zero to Bachelor’s in 2.5 years. Those unfamiliar with accelerated scheduling often assume that the course of study must somehow be abbreviated…nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, the same educational approach that allows students to graduate early also fosters more effective learning and increased graduation rates.

“The days of the ‘sage on the stage’ blowing in the door, delivering a 50-minute lecture on some arcane topic, and blowing out the door are over,” says Dr. Cathy Roberts, ECPI University Director of Institutional Effectiveness. “In my opinion, we offer higher education the way it should be done. Allowing students to apply what they are learning is critical to their retention of the material, and the accelerated course schedule allows us to do that.”
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