STEP graduates with

STEP graduates with STEP Career Specialist Barb Wright and STEP teacher Jacquie Bowles

Each year in August we welcome another group of career-driven high school students into Seamless Transition through Enhanced Partnership (STEP). In May, we celebrate their graduation from the Program.

On May 12, five seniors from Columbia high schools gathered with family, friends, partnering agencies, and supporters to receive their STEP diplomas.

Mis’hael, Kylie, Brandon, Roman, and Javion took the stage, calmed their nerves, and spoke about their professional growth and where they want to go from here.

Jacquie Bowles, STEP teacher, says, “Each intern is unique, wonderful, and has a lot to offer.”


Michelle Zvanut, Boone Hospital Vice President of Human Resources

This is the fifth class to complete the program. Michelle Zvanut, Boone Hospital Vice President of Human Resources reflects, “This is the best partnership Boone has been privileged with being involved in. The program aligns well with Boone’s mission. Young adults thrive when they have purpose. We are glad to be a part of the success of these interns.”

Many people at Boone work tirelessly with the partnering agencies (ACT, Vocational Rehabilitation, Boone County Family Resources, Central Missouri Regional Office, and Columbia Public Schools). Each is critical to STEP’s success.

Bill DeLima and Randy Frye in Human Resources have STEP on their minds year-round. They are constantly considering and planning everything they can do to ensure everything runs smoothly and the experience is beneficial to interns and Boone Hospital.

Department heads are dedicated to this program. They make sure everyone is on the same page and lines of communication are open. Everyone is a part of a team.

This thoughtful dedication maximizes the potential for every STEP student.

Carol Smarr, Transition Coordinator, said to the students during the graduation ceremony, “I look back on the first few days of the school year and am amazed and proud of you all. You have gained incredible work experience and skills that will set you apart from others.”

Barb Wright and Mis’hael

Barb Wright and Mis’hael

Mis’hael worked in Rehabilitation and the South Tower stocking linens, monitoring equipment, and doing walker runs.

In her time at Boone Hospital she improved her communications skills, gained confidence by having real work experience, and learned it’s okay to ask for help.

“I want a job!” Mis’hael exclaimed.

Kylie worked in Environmental Sciences. She cleaned offices, restrooms, and she says, spent a great deal of time showing people where the nearest bathroom is.

Kylie and Jacquie

Kylie and Jacquie

She learned that she has the skills and aptitude to work at a phone store or at a store stocking shelves.

“I can’t wait to get a job, do really good, and get paid!” Kylie said.

Brandon worked in Nutrition and Distribution where he stocked trays, operated the dishwasher, put dishes away, and managed waste.

To be successful, he learned he needs to monitor his talking, increase persistence and consistency, and ask for help when needed.

Brandon and

Brandon and Carol Smarr, Transition Coordinator

His short-term career goal is to work at a video game store or pet store. Long-term, he wants a career in astronomy.

Roman worked in Central Services. He was in charge of opening shipments the hospital receives and dispersing them to their ultimate destination.

This is a very busy part of the hospital. Roman really had to evaluate his tasks and his performance to ensure he was being efficient with his time. He learned to multitask, focus, and find strategies to keep himself on schedule.

He got better at communicating effectively, presenting a professional appearance, being accountable, and working as a team player.

His short-term career goals are to work at Andy’s Frozen Custard, a dirt bike shop, MC Sports, or Bass Pro. In the long-term, he is interested in being a pilot or a mechanical engineer.

Javion worked in Patient Care Support Services. His role at Boone was making sure patients were taken care of and had a pleasant experience at the hospital.

At the ceremony, Javion and the STEP team were proud to announce that he was offered a job at Boone Hospital!

“It was a phenomenal experience!” Javion exclaims. “I love coming here because I want to take care of the patients. The Boone Hospital employees are supportive, helpful and respectful.”

In the future, Javion would like a career as a Patient Care Tech or a 9-1-1 Dispatcher.

STEP interns gained valuable, real work experience while still in high school. They also learned more about themselves professionally and personally. This definitely gives them an edge over others entering the work force.

STEP Career Specialist Barb Wright said, “We watched five tentative students turn into capable adults.”

Good luck STEP graduates! We will be watching and cheering you on.