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Communication students now can graduate with professional certifications

From Pittsburg State University

For the first time, undergraduate students in the Department of Communication at Pittsburg State University will graduate with professional certifications in social and digital media in addition to their degrees.

This spring, 11 students representing the strategic communication, multimedia production, and media production emphasis areas became the first graduating class to earn professional certifications in digital advertising, content marketing and social media marketing along with their degree in communication.

The department offered course credit to students interested in pursuing the professional certifications, feedback from students and prospective employers has been positive.

Students reported a variety of motivations.

“I’m going into agency work, so I wanted to understand social media on a deeper level,” said Gracie Krokroskia, a Fort Scott, Kansas senior majoring in strategic communication. “Over the past semester, I was able to really focus and develop in this area.”

Other students enrolled because they are preparing to launch their own digital content platforms.

“I’m starting a YouTube Channel and podcast, so I wanted to learn more about how to grow my audience and listener base, and this course has been very helpful,” said Shakota Woolsey, an Altamont, Kansas senior majoring in media production.

The students said they enjoyed the course content, design, and flexibility.

“This was a great learning experience, especially because it let us learn at our own pace and on our own time,” said Alexis McCollum, a Lenexa, Kansas senior majoring in strategic communication.

Students completed certifications in social digital media practice, as well as digital media ethics and digital analytics. They were given instructional support for integrating their accomplishments into their personal resumés and professional online profiles.

“This was essentially a beta test,” said Professor Alicia Mason. “We wanted to encourage the initiative because we understand how important post-graduate marketability is to our students.”

The professional certifications can provide an edge in competitive hiring environments, she said.

After completing the course, students reported more confidence in their social and digital media knowledge and technical skills. Some also reported evaluating their own personal social media usage practices more critically.

“I think it just sets you apart from other candidates. The degree might be a qualifier, but our professional certifications communicate that we’ve invested our time and gone above and beyond,” said Brooklyn Peterson, an Amsterdam, Missouri senior majoring in strategic communication.

As seniors prepare to transition into their chosen career field, they intend to share their professional certification experience with their prospective employers.

Ashley Stuteville, a Louisburg, Kansas, senior majoring in strategic communication, noted multiple advantages from the course including pay raises and additional materials for her portfolio.

“This course showed me things I didn’t learn in other classes, more of the business side of social media and how to read and interpret the analytics,” Stuteville said.

The department will continue offering the opportunity to future seniors in coming semesters.

NEO Theatre presents musical of hit TV show ‘Gilligan’s Island’

From Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College

Miami, Oklahoma– Fans of the iconic 1960s sitcom, Gilligan’s Island, have a chance to see the hit TV show as a feature musical live on the Fine Arts Center stage at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College May 5-8, 2022.

Written by the original creator of Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch, Sherwood Schwartz, with his son, Lloyd Schwartz, known for his writing on Baywatch and The Munsters, Gilligan’s Island the Musical captures the aesthetic of the classic series through signature jokes and situations unique to the castaways.

Shipwrecked on a remote Pacific Island, the seven castaways build huts and begin to explore their surroundings. They discover strange hieroglyphics, which speak of an ancient legend foretelling the island’s destruction. The weather gets rough, romance develops, Gilligan foils the best-laid rescue plans of his fellow castaways, and now the future of the world is in his hands.

The cast, crew and production staff of Gilligan’s Island the Musical includes ten current and three former NEO A&M College students who have trained with The NEO Theatre Experience, a multifaceted non-degree cocurricular program offered to enrolled students at no additional cost to their education.

“The NEO campus is alive with arts of all kinds, creativity everywhere,” said Aaron Smith, NEO Theatre Artistic Director. “Students who attend this beautiful school find a space to explore their interests and direction to develop their talents, culminating into fun projects like Gilligan’s Island.”

NEO Theatre Cast of Gilligan’s Island the Musical:

Gilligan — Ethan King

Skipper — Sam Whitehill

Thurston — Aaron “Radar” Bishop

Lovey — Karley Jones

Ginger — Danica Rowe

Professor — Goldie Snow

Mary Ann — Anna Seat

Aliens — Sadie Stone-McCarty & Ariana Snell

Announcer — Kayla Ford

Jilligan — Jillian Swadley

Stage Manager — Kaeli Maxwell

Choreographer — Myah Cearley

Costume Director — Rachel Sanda

Vocal Director — Dustin Warner

Assistant Director — Jenne Smith

Director — Aaron Smith

Gilligan’s Island the Musical runs May 5-7, 2022 at 7:30pm and May 8 at 2:30pm. Tickets are $10 each for adults, $5 for nineteen and under. General admission. Free for NEO students and employees. Purchase tickets at the door by cash or check, or visit

Why your daughter should be a Daisy

From Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland

Start thinking about expanding her world outside of school! Think of the Girl Scouts Daisy program as your one-stop shop when it comes to building your kindergartener’s or first grader’s social skills, keeping her moving, and giving her an extra bit of stability in this ever-changing world. She’ll build skills that will help her in and out of the classroom. Whether she’s dreaming up a new toy, learning about bravery, or helping plant a garden, you can count on Girl Scouts to meet the moment, providing safe and fun activities while making your life a whole lot simpler.

Girl Scout Daisies try lots of new things, but the thing they do best is have fun! Each day of being a Daisy is filled with newness and excitement as they add new petals to their very first Girl Scout uniform. Girls earn badges and awards as they learn and live by the Girl Scout Promise & Law. Every Daisy meeting is an adventure filled with endless giggles and lots of energy.

For a limited time, girls in kindergarten and first grade can join Girl Scouts for $35 and keep the fun going through September 2023. Join now to earn her first patch, a Daisy Launch activity booklet, and three activity booklets sent directly to her this summer! To join, head to www.girlscouts to get started.

Pittsburg State offers new emphasis in health care innovation

From Pittsburg State University

Pittsburg State University is offering a new emphasis in the Bachelor of Integrated Studies that will prepare graduates to lead innovation in healthcare systems, and to coordinate and manage delivery of healthcare in a variety of settings.

The emphasis, called Healthcare Innovation, is open to anyone with 60 or more hours of college credit or those who already have an associate’s degree.

“With this emphasis, you’ll gain theoretical and practical experiences in critical thinking, creative problem solving, change management, leadership, communication, inclusivity, strategic decision-making, technology, ethics, quality improvement, and entrepreneurial skills,” said Dean of College of Arts & Sciences Mary Carol Pomatto.

Students will work one-on-one with an advisor to design a program of study that will match their career goals.

“This is a great program for those interested in healthcare but not in a clinical program,” Pomatto said. “It comes at an important time, too, given the current needs of the ever-evolving healthcare industry.”

Freeman Health Academy returns

From Freeman Health System

JOPLIN, Mo. — Freeman Health System is a teaching hospital and is proud to bring back a hands-on learning opportunity for teens and adults with the Freeman Health Academy. The program is designed to give participants insight into healthcare careers. Anyone age 16 and up is welcome to submit an application.

“Most people don’t realize that we are our own little city at Freeman with hundreds and hundreds of different types of positions — clinical and non-clinical,” said Ashley Hopkins, Freeman Director of Professional Development. “Leaders and experts within the different fields will come to the sessions to give information about the necessary education, training, and different career paths.”

There will be four 1-week sessions available this summer: June 13-17, June 20-24, July 5-8, July 25-29. Each session will have up to 15 participants who will get hands-on training.

“We will have hands-on labs that will include a variation of dissections, trauma patient simulation, helicopter tour and Stop the Bleed,” said Hopkins. “Students will have the opportunity to become American Heart Association Basic Life Support (AHA BLS) Provider certified. The participants will get to choose a department and position to shadow during their scheduled session, as well.”

For more information and a program application visit or call Natalie at 417.347. 2554. Applications must be received in PDD by May 23, 2022.

Catching up on routine childhood and adolescent immunizations

From the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

JEFFERSON CITY, MO — The COVID-19 pandemic has brought disruption to lives in many forms. For many children and families, even routine preventative healthcare has been disrupted. This National Infant Immunization Week, the Missouri Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (MOAAP) and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) highly encourage parents to ensure their children get caught up on or stay on track with routine vaccinations starting at birth to help protect them from serious diseases.

“As a parent, one of the best things you can do to protect your child is ensure that they see their doctor for well-child visits and recommended vaccines,” said Paula Nickelson, DHSS Acting Director. “Many vaccine-preventable diseases can have such devastating impacts, especially on vulnerable children. Assuring your child receives the vaccines can help you keep your child as healthy as possible.”

New CDC data show the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on routine childhood immunization. During the 2020-2021 school year, national vaccination coverage dropped from 95% to below 94%, which amounts to 35,000 more children across the U.S. entering kindergarten without documentation of complete vaccination against common diseases. Moreover, nearly 400,000 fewer children entered kindergarten than expected. Those children, too, might not be up to date on their routine vaccinations— further evidence of how pandemic-related disruptions to healthcare and education could have lingering consequences for school-age children.

Routine, safe and effective vaccinations during childhood help prevent 16 diseases. These diseases can have life-altering and sometimes tragic impacts on families. Severe symptoms can include:

• Skin infections

• Pneumonia (serious lung infection)

• Long-term flu-like symptoms

• Infections causing cancer

• Severe dehydration

• Seizures

• Intense muscle spasms

• Brain damage

• Paralysis • Deafness (temporary or permanent)

• Loss of limbs

• Meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord)

• Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)

• Orchitis (swelling of the testicles) in males who have reached puberty

• Oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) and/or mastitis (swelling of the breasts) in females who have reached puberty

The key is for infants, children and adolescents to keep up on their well-child visits for preventive care. These visits allow the doctor to track the child’s growth and development, provide recommended vaccinations and answer questions about the child’s health.

“Immunizations are a key tool to ensuring children stay healthy,” said Dr. Kristin Sohl, President, Missouri Chapter-American Academy of Pediatrics. “We encourage parents and caregivers to schedule well-child checks to ensure your child’s overall health and wellbeing, as well as getting them up-to-date on important vaccinations..”

Missouri falls just below the national average, ranking 30th among states, for children ages 0-17 completing one or more well-child visits in 2021.

“Childhood vaccines have all been studied in depth to determine the most appropriate time in a child’s life for them to be given,” said Dr. Rachel Orscheln, Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Washington University in St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “We really want to vaccinate children at the earliest possible moment because young children, particularly infants, can be at risk of severe illness from certain infections.”

Among children born from 1994-2018, vaccinations will prevent an estimated 936,000 early deaths, 8 million hospitalizations and 419 million illnesses.

The Vaccines for Children program is funded by the CDC and provides free vaccines to children who qualify. Children 18 and under are eligible to receive free vaccines if they are Medicaid-eligible, do not have health insurance, are American Indian or Alaskan Native or are underinsured.

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