News Roundup: Flu Shots, Human Trafficking Training & a Published Author

Rasmussen roundup july 2015

There were a variety of things happening around our campuses this past month, including a student who had her first book published, training for justice studies students in human trafficking and even a few award recipients!

Check out our August highlights and don’t forget to follow the Rasmussen College Facebook page to get live updates throughout the week!

Medical assistant students to administer flu shots

Medical assistant (MA) students from the Tampa campus will administer 600 flu shots for FL Hospital Central Urgent Care. Members from the community that want the free flu shot can attend the event on Oct. 5 at Carrollwood Centra Care or on Oct. 15 at South Tampa Centra Care.

“This year marks the second year we’ve done this,” said Lauren Ramirez, Tampa/Brandon medical assisting program coordinator. “We had a great turnout last year so Florida Hospital wanted to continue it.”

The hospital coordinated dates with Rasmussen College MA students to ensure they were the ones administering the injections. During this opportunity, the students are able to network with a variety of individuals, including potential employers. Additionally, they are able to practice their clinical skills and customer service skills. It’s also an opportunity to help them build their resume with hands-on volunteer work in the field.

Ocala student’s book of poetry published

Judy Kasten, an early childhood education student from our Ocala campus, had her first book of poetry titled “Faith Hope Love” published by Poetryfest in July.

“I have been writing poetry since my high school years and have developed it more as I aged,” Kasten said. “Like fine wine, it gets better with age.”

Kasten—who says poetry is her gift to share with others—has been published in several anthologies over the years. She was the recipient of a first place poetry award in Ocala a few years ago and has received many other awards since, including the 2015 Poet of the Year Award.

“It feels like a wonderful blessing to have a book of my poems published,” she said. She said she’s been putting the book together for about a year and selected the final compositions to be included in June.

Kasten has been working in the early childhood education field for 42 years. She decided to go back to school to advance her education and will graduate from Rasmussen College in June 2016. To purchase a copy of Kasten’s book, please contact her at

Brooklyn Park campus hosts human trafficking training

Dave Pinto, an assistant Ramsey County attorney who specializes in the prosecution of domestic violence and sex trafficking, hosted a training session on human trafficking for justice studies students and the public Aug. 31.

The presentation was meant to bring awareness to human trafficking. Pinto went into great detail about the buyers, traffickers and victims—including common characteristics of each, signs to look for, the control of the traffickers and cultural conceptions.

Attendees learned people become traffickers for money and control and search for highly vulnerable people. Traffickers target young people, those with mental illness, those who have drug addictions, young single moms, runaways and people lacking relationships or support from work or school.

They find victims any place where kids are often present, such as parks, bus stops, libraries and through social media. Buyers find victims at truck stops, massage parlors and mostly online. Often it’s unbeknownst to the buyers that the victims are doing this against their will.

Pinto continues to bring awareness to this ever-growing issue by directing statewide protocol-development and training under Minnesota’s Safe Harbor system, which treats exploited young people as victims, not perpetrators.

The state of Minnesota is split into seven regions and each region is equipped with a regional navigator—a person who connects victims with services and housing. To help, the public is encouraged to report anything suspicious to the police and they can also volunteer at shelters.

Mokena campus celebrates Laude Award recipient

Mokena health sciences and general education instructor Dr. Joseph Kelley received the Rasmussen College Laude Award for demonstrating academic excellence in the areas of learning and teaching and fostering a sense of wonder in his peers and students. Mokena Academic Dean Julie Lawrence nominated him for the award.

In classes, Kelley goes above and beyond for his students. He brings in many props—such as skeletal bones and body parts—to help students solidify their understanding. He has pushed students outside their comfort zones by having them teach their own lessons. He invests time into helping students excel not only in his course, but in their overall college experience, said Lawrence.

Within the field, Kelley continues to find key opportunities to develop his teaching as well as maintain his own licensure. He continues to look for ways to identify changes in curriculum that can better assist the students, the faculty and the college as it prepares students for their career.

Kelley has been with Rasmussen College in Mokena for three years.

Aurora campus honors select faculty for Bright Spot Awards

The Aurora campus honored two of their instructors—Drew Dresden and Bonnie Ostrand—for their excellence in learning, teaching and student support. The two instructors both received the Rasmussen College Bright Spot Award.

The recipients of the Bright Spot Award go above and beyond the call of duty.

“They raise expectations through the variety of tasks they take on including creating videos and resources for students, offering extra review sessions, working with prospective students, staying engaged both inside and outside the classroom, leading change at the organization, ensuring a consistent, quality experience for students and work to keep Rasmussen College relevant and engaged in the communities we serve,” said Julie Lawrence, Rasmussen College academic dean.

Dresden has been with the college for nearly six years, during which he has continued to excel in developing students and in his own professional development. Additionally, he has implemented many new strategies to continue reaching the college’s ever-changing student population, including incorporating more videos and various engagement activities in online classes.

Ostrand began managing 13 tutors after the college implemented some changes last year.

“She quickly built relationships and established open communication lines with them as they adjusted to reporting to a manager who was not on the same campus,” said Lawrence. “In addition to effectively managing her team of tutors through this transition, Bonnie also quickly began assessing each tutor’s completed training and filling in gaps as needed.”

She built a positive team rapport and has continued building her team. The tutors are well-trained, diverse in their programmatic expertise and have bought in to the ongoing process of continuous improvement in their respective roles in academic support. Ostrand has also built relationships with programmatic stakeholders, from school deans to individual faculty advocates.

Jennifer Pfeffer

Jennifer is a Content Marketing Specialist at Collegis Education who researches and writes articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She is passionate about learning and higher education and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.


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