All posts by Cindy Smith

Parkland Students Excavate at Allerton Park!

Authored by Erin Riggs, PhD student and Parkland Field Archaeology instructor

Parkland Students who participated in the archeological field dig.

Exotic settings, buried secrets, treks through the jungle—these are all things you (and the typical undergraduate student) might associate with archaeology. We make this association because that is how archaeology is portrayed by such pop culture icons as Indiana Jones and Lara Croft. As Parkland’s field school students would be quick to tell you, there are usually snakes and spiders involved. Otherwise, this portrayal is not very accurate.

Actually, the majority of professional archaeologists in the United States are employed in Cultural Resource Management (CRM) and work domestically (Malloy 2017). CRM archaeologists survey areas that are about to be developed for construction. In these areas, they collect information on existing material heritage and steer development away from sites protected by law. Archaeology in America is primarily this: protecting and contributing to what we know about the the historic landscapes that surround us every day, under our streets, lawns, and public parks.

Students rarely learn about CRM archaeology when they attend a traditional archaeological field school. More often than not, field schools are located overseas and are marketed as study-abroad experiences (Boytner 2012). They also can be prohibitively expensive, ranging in cost from $1,000 to $6,000 (Perry 2006).  While these experiences can be incredible opportunities, they often leave students with little knowledge of the archaeological job opportunities and infrastructures here at home.

At Parkland College this summer, we wanted students to work on an archaeological project within their own community. We wanted our course  to be accessible to students who might not have the funds or time required to attend a field school abroad. We achieved these goals through collaboration with the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS), the primary CRM group in Illinois. ISAS had recently surveyed Allerton Park in conjunction with a trail improvement project. Their survey work rekindled interest in a mound cluster existent on the property, Samuel’s Mounds. Allerton is a unique space within Illinois—an island of relatively undisturbed, unplowed forest land in the midst of a sea of agricultural fields.

Through our Parkland College/ISAS collaboration, students were able to assist professional archaeologists in excavating at this site in late July. They opened 1×1 meter square units around the mounds (leaving the mounds themselves undisturbed) to search for artifacts and features. We hoped to find something diagnostic that could help ISAS associate the mound group with a culture and time period. The materials are still being washed and inventoried. However, our first guess based on observations in the field point towards Middle to Late Woodland—meaning this site is likely 1,000 to 2,000 years old!

Parkland students worked hard and had a great time! In the process, they grew familiar with some of the quintessential features of CRM work—shovel testing, eating packed lunches in the field, the necessity of redundancy and precision in CRM paperwork, the tedium of a day without many artifacts, and the sheer joy of finally finding something of interest!

Here is what students had to say after completing the course:

“Although there were bugs buzzing around my ear every second, intense heat, and labor intensive digging, this field school allowed me to experience real fieldwork and gave me the satisfaction of unearthing an artifact which may help give context to these ancient mounds. I’m a bit sore, but I have greatly enjoyed this experience.” -Josh Boone (Senior, Anthropology)

“I never once thought I would be a part of an archaeological field school. But here I am, 5 days after leaving the field, and I am still thinking about the great experience I had! From our individual projects, to digging hand units, to shovel testing, I had a blast! It was tedious, and quite a few times I thought about backing down, but there is no quitting in archaeology! I learned so much over the past six weeks, and I’d do it all over again if I had the chance.” -Evyjo Compton (Senior, Animal Science)

“The experience I have gained from this field school has been excellent, and I plan to use what I have learned in my future. I have gained many valuable skills while also having a lot of fun. I am so very thankful that the Illinois State Archaeological Survey allowed us to assist them.” -Kaleb Cotter (Junior, Anthropology)

 

Cited

Boytner, Ran. 2012. “The Changing Nature of Archaeological Field Schools.” The SAA Archaeological Record 12 (1): 29-32.

Malloy, Maureen. ” Questions About: Archaeology As A Career.” Questions About: Archaeology As A Career. Accessed August 04, 2017. http://www.saa.org/ForthePublic/FAQs/ForAdults/QuestionsAboutArchaeologyAsACareer/tabid/975/Default.aspx.

Perry, E. Jennifer. 2006. From Students to Professionals: Archaeological Field Schools as Authentic Research Communities. The SAA Archaeological Record 6(1):25–29.

Pathophysiology, the Bridge to Understanding

It’s one thing to know WHAT disease or injury a person suffers from. It’s another thing entirely to understand WHY he or she became sick or injured in the first place.

If you’re studying to be in a Parkland College Health Professions program, or even if you’re already in a health career, you may not yet have made the important connection that fits these two pieces of knowledge together.  In fact, most clinical programs in the U.S. acknowledge a slight disconnect between foundational health career courses and the applied clinical practice. What is needed, they recognize, is a ‘bridge’ of understanding that can answer the question: What has gone wrong within the basic anatomy and physiology of a particular patient to cause the disease or condition that they present with?

With a basic knowledge of pathophysiology, you can come to understand this link and be on your way to delivering better care for your patients.

Pathophysiology (BIO 225) is that bridge; this course describes the underlying disturbances in the basic homeostatic mechanisms that lead to the signs and symptoms of selected diseases. In other words, you can learn to determine what is it that causes the problems associated with congestive heart failure, glomerulonephritis, or a host of other maladies that we humans can get.  

Professor John Moore teaches BIO 225 this summer, and students find that he makes that health education-clinical practice connection lots clearer. One of his students commented:

I have learned some of the same material in my health career classes, but [Professor Moore’s] presentation of the subject matter makes it much more tangible. When he teaches, I get it. I never want to miss any of his classes.”

BIO 225 meets  Mondays and Wednesdays,  1–3:50 p.m., from June 19 to Aug. 10 in Room X104. For more information, visit Parkland College’s summer class schedule or go to the my.parkland student portal.

[Cindy Smith is program manager for Arts and Sciences at Parkland College.]

 

Inside the Minds of Artists: Art & Design Open House

Have you ever thought about pursuing a career in art or design? Do you want to learn to express yourself creatively? You’re in luck!

TODAY (Wednesday, April 20), Parkland’s Department of Art and Design will throw open its doors and invite prospective students with curious minds to tour the facilities and watch demonstrations. Faculty will be available to review student portfolios, discuss Parkland’s programs and answer questions about planning for the future.

Here’s a run down of all the activities at the Parkland Art and Design Open House, 5:30 to 8:30 pm:

Giertz Gallery talks
5:30 • 6:00 • 6:30 • 7:00 • 7:30 • 8:00
Sculpture demos
5:45 • 6:15 • 6:45 | Room C189
Painting demos
5:45 • 6:45 • 7:45 | Room C190
Ceramics demos
7:15 • 7:45 • 8:15 | Room C191
2D Design demos
6:15 • 7:15 • 8:15 | Room C186
Photography tour
5:45 • 6:15 • 6:45 • 7:15 • 7:45 • 8:15 | Room D017
Graphic Design demos
5:30 • 6:00 • 6:30 • 7:00 • 7:30 • 8:00 | Room D019
Metals class
5:30–8:45 | Room C187
Drawing class
6:00–8:45 | Room C188
Portfolio Reviews
5:30–6:00 | Room C183A

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Prospective students will also have an opportunity to visit the Giertz Gallery and view the 2016 Parkland College Art and Design Student Juried Exhibition. 180 works of art in photography, painting, drawing, metals, sculpture, three-dimensional design, two-dimensional design, color theory, and ceramics will be on display, showcasing the impressive talent that our students have. 

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The open house runs from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Classrooms are located in the C-Wing of Parkland College on the west side of the main building. Parking is available in the C4 lot; enter on the south side of the art wing (look for the balloons). 

No registration is needed.

Questions? Call 217/351-2270 or email dseif@parkland.edu for more information. 

The Risks and Rewards of Innovation

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Parkland Graphic Design student Kate Ross was on hand to receive a Champaign County Innovation Award for AMP, a student-run media production group.

Have you ever been in the right place at the right time? That’s how I felt last week when I attended the Innovation Celebration, an awards ceremony at Krannert Center hosted by the Champaign Economic Development Corporation. Somehow, little old me ended up at an event with important people and a mashed potato bar (YES). How? By taking some chances.

Last year, I took the chance to enroll in the Graphic Design program at Parkland. Last semester, I took the chance to start an internship with AMP (Applied Media Promotions), a student-run communications firm sponsored by the Department of Fine and Applied Arts. And last week, it paid off: AMP won the award for Innovation in Engagement at Parkland College. As I sat through the awards in awe of the visionary people that live and work in this community, I couldn’t believe that I was a part of the group.

To be honest, I felt slightly out of place. I just started as a graphic designer at AMP two months ago, and my most recent innovation? Getting my five-year-old to stop spitting indoors. However, when I considered the journey that landed me in a room full of amazing people, I realized that, like them, I had leaped into the unknown. The spirit of innovation is risk, after all. And the Innovation Celebration honors not only achievement, but courage, positivity, open minds, strength, wisdom and all the other abstract values that characterize innovation. That evening, I, my colleagues and our leaders at AMP were right where we belonged.

AMP is new, and there’s a lot of “Fail Better” happening in our little
space in the basement of the D building. It’s an invigorating,
collaborative atmosphere, and I’m so glad our hard work was honored publicly. If you’re looking for resume-building-experience and fun, and even some pizza here and there, we’re always looking for students who aren’t afraid of the exciting work of innovation.

Visit our Facebook page, or email coordinator Cindy Smith for information about joining AMP.

[Featured image: Faculty advisor Kendra Mcclure and students from AMP display their Innovation in Engagement Award at the recent Innovation Celebration. The event is hosted by the Champaign County Economic Development Corp. Photo by Cindy Smith. ]

 

Enjoying Your Major

Communication major Matt Weldon shares his ‘a-ha’ moment.

Like many students here, I started my journey at Parkland with aspirations to transfer to the University of Illinois to study mechanical engineering. Ever since I could remember, math and sciences were my best subjects. I like to build and tinker, especially with cars. My end goal was to get my degree and work in the automotive industry.

However, I soon understood that I didn’t have any passion for what I was studying. The thought of having a six-figure starting salary kept me going or a while, but eventually even that wasn’t enough. Just because I could do something didn’t mean I enjoyed it, and I realized that enjoying what I do is more important to me than making a lot of money.

With that epiphany, I decided to change things up a bit. One of my favorite things to do in my free time is to read articles or watch features on different things I enjoy. This includes topics like cars, world events, traveling, and more. I always imagined that the guy who writes about these things he enjoys and gets paid for it must be one of the luckiest guys in the world. It then occurred to me that I could be one of those guys.

That’s why I decided to make the drastic leap from studying mechanical engineering to journalism.

So if there’s one thing I’ve learned through my journey here so far, it’s that sometimes you can’t put a price on doing what you enjoy. It’s cliché, but follow your passion.