All posts by Hilary Valentine

Music, art, fun, and social causes at Pygmalion 2017

Parkland College students and staff enjoyed the 13th annual Pygmalion in late September, an event that has outgrown its “festival” label, continuously expanding its borders into the arts and technology, while showcasing outstanding local and national musical acts and so much more. And did we mention the food and beverage options? Only the best! Great job, Seth Fein (Parkland alumnus – yeah!), Patrick Singer, Justine Bursoni, and all who put their hearts and souls into making Pygmalion one of the reasons we are lucky to live in Champaign-Urbana.

Parkland highlights:

Tech Fest
Parkland digital media student Ryan Marshall demonstrated physics and fluid simulations that he and other students worked on in class using Autodesk Maya. Ryan was in illustrious company – other demos were from Beckman Institute, NCSA, and Volition.

Made Fest
Parkland Art Studio Collective participated in this curated marketplace featuring handmade and vintage items, selling works in a variety of media made by Parkland art students. Running the Parkland booth gave students the experience of participating in an art fair. Art students Daniel Quinn, Erin Rogers, Clare Margiotta, Joan Gary, Neda Sroka, Ray Irani, and Ruta Rauber sold their exquisite artwork—jewelry, painting, ceramics, textiles—and put in long hours setting up, staffing, and tearing down the booth. Lisa Costello, Denise Seif, and Laura O’Donnell were Parkland faculty Made Fest champs for coordinating and running the booth.

Lit Fest
Parkland English Professor and #1 Pygmalion fangirl Amy Penne was on the Lit Fest bill—along with mega literary superstar George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)—sharing her new short essay: “A Fluff Piece: Or, Where Does Sex Education End and an Oedipal Complex Begin? One Midwestern Mom’s Query.”

PygHack

New this year at Pygmalion, a 24-hour hackathon with the wide-open theme of engaging coders, designers, engineers, and dreamers with a challenge to come up with an idea that benefits the community. Sara Stone, Parkland’s Tech Services Desk coordinator, served as a judge alongside an illustrious panel of local tech rock stars.

Of 11 projects submitted, top awards went to a proposal for connecting surplus food at grocery stores with food pantries and a proposal for mapping safe routes in C-U using crime frequency data. The grand prize went to SpreadBread, an intuitive food-sharing app that connects eateries, restaurants, and grocery stores to local homeless shelters and foodbanks. Sara’s vote went to SpreadBread because it seemed to have the potential to make the most positive impact on the community. Check out all the entries at https://pyghack2017.devpost.com/submissions and prepare to be inspired by the passion, teamwork, and innovation you see there.

PygTech judge Sara Stone checked out the experimental sounds of Animal Collective on Pygmalion’s main stage on Friday night.

Thanks to all the Parkland peeps who participated, attended, and enjoyed Pygmalion! See you next year.

It’s Plant Sale Week at Parkland

Parkland College invites the public to its 11th annual Greenhouse Spring Plant Sale, May 3 through 5 and May 8 through 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The annual sale is an opportunity to showcase the work that our agriculture and horticulture students have been doing over the course of the semester. We asked Theresa Meers, who coordinates the popular semiannual Greenhouse Plant Sale, a few questions to find out more about the sale.

Q: What is the difference between the Parkland plant sale and a local nursery selling plants?

A: The students have been involved in the planning, seeding, growing, and now the sale of the plants, so it’s been a learning experience from the beginning. We have a very small selection of plants compared to the local nurseries, so we are not competing with them. Some of the plants we tried did not even make it to the point of being able to sell, which is a learning experience in itself. The funds go into the Horticulture account to help pay for greenhouse and other horticulture-related expenses.

Q: What role do students play in the plant sale?

A: Students have been involved from the planning phase, specifically through the agri-business work experience courses AGB 191 and 291; HRT 270, Greenhouse Production; and a new class HRT 111, Sustainable Urban Horticulture. Selling the plants is the reward of all their hard work. They will act as salespeople and answer customer questions.

Q: What kinds of plants are available for sale?

A: Because the students choose which plants to grow, each year is different. This year, we have lots of hanging baskets and annuals, plus some veggies and tropical plants. There is a limited selection of perennials this year.

Q: What new initiatives are you planning for this growing season?

A: We are in the second year of our sustainable plot between W and T buildings, so we are hoping to harvest a wider grouping of plants this year.

The greenhouse is located on the west side of the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center on the west side of campus. Great vegetable plants, annuals, perennials, tropicals, hanging baskets, and other ready-made containers (great for Mothers’ Day gifts or your own yard) will be available.

Cash or checks only, please. For more information, contact Theresa Meers at tmeers@parkland.edu.

 [Hilary Valentine is associate director for Parkland College Marketing and Public Relations.]

 

Phi Theta Kappa: Exploring Innovation in the Local Community

Below, Phi Theta Kappa honor society invites anyone interested in entrepreneurship to attend next week’s FREE innovation events. LaTianna Dumas, a 2015 Urbana High School graduate and president of Parkland’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, extends the invitation.

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Are you interested in learning how local innovators developed unique and successful business ventures? Do you dream of a nontraditional career path that will allow you to go where your passion and creativity can take you? Phi Theta Kappa can help you explore these concepts of innovation, to help you turn your dreams into reality and success!

Phi Theta Kappa, the official international honor society of two-year colleges, recognizes the academic success of community college students and builds the leadership and professional skills of its members. In addition, Phi Theta Kappa builds camaraderie and compassion within community colleges. Parkland’s local chapter, Alpha Psi Eta, features a student-run officer team overseen by their advisor, Professor Lori Garrett. Their current focuses are engaging Parkland students from different backgrounds, contributing to the local community, and exploring their current Honors Study Topic, “Global Perspectives: How the World Works.”

Parkland’s chapter is researching the roles of individualism and collectivism in fostering business innovation. There are numerous facets to innovation, and the innovative process varies greatly depending on the creators and the corporate and societal structure around them. As a culmination of their research process—a model called “Honors in Action”—Phi Theta Kappa is hosting a series of three presentations featuring local business innovators from right here in Champaign-Urbana!

The series, “How to Build a Business,” runs from Monday, December 5 through Wednesday, December 7 at noon each day in Room D244. Attendees will hear local entrepreneurs discuss their businesses, their inspiration, how they got started, and how they turned their ideas into success. Everyone is invited to attend these one-hour talks and perhaps gain some inspiration of your own.

Here is the lineup:
Monday, December 5 PandaMonium Doughnuts: fueling Champaign-Urbana’s doughnut cravings (free doughnuts to the first dozen attendees!)
Tuesday, December 6 CU Community Fab Lab: creativity through collaboration
Wednesday, December 7 Cracked Food Truck: created for students, by students

To learn more about Phi Theta Kappa or this series, contact chapter president LaTi Dumas at latianna.dumas@yahoo.com. You may also contact chapter advisor Lori Garrett at lgarrett @parkland.edu.

 

[Hilary Valentine is associate director for Parkland College Marketing and Public Relations.]

 

 

“For the education you receive, Parkland is worth it”

Hundreds of University of Illinois students take Parkland College classes each year to shorten the road to their Illinois degrees. Below, Daniel Ito shares how Parkland helped him achieve his educational goals.

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Two classes shy of a full-semester transfer from the University of Michigan to Illinois, Daniel Ito chose Parkland College to fill in the gaps in his education and graduate on time.20160922-ito_daniel-for-web

A Champaign native, Daniel had known about Parkland since his youth as a College for Kids student on campus. As a spring 2008 freshman, he was back, this time taking microeconomics and macroeconomics courses.

“Being a business student, I guess I just appreciated the cost effectiveness of it,” Daniel said about his Parkland experience. “The quality of learning wasn’t sacrificed for the cost.”

So Daniel took other Parkland classes after entering the UIUC in fall 2008, such as music appreciation, introduction to psychology, and Japanese.

“Many of these classes were online, which required a different mindset for me,” he said. “I learned time management because I was on my own schedule rather than sitting in a classroom, and I enjoyed them.”

Daniel graduated from the University of Illinois with a BS in Finance in 2011. A few months later, he moved to New York and worked for two years in mergers and acquisitions for a multinational accounting firm.

Since returning to the Champaign area, these days Daniel focuses on art, freelance video production, and working on his own peace project, Crane Cloud, through which he has folded more than 4,000 origami cranes for peace. He believes his Parkland experience as well as volunteer opportunities in New York helped him better discover the kind of life he wants to live.

“If I’m doing work that’s not really helping others and I’m not really happy myself doing it, then what’s the point, really?” he asked. “Figuring out what you’re really passionate about learning, without the pressure of having to pay back a lot of school loans—that was a major benefit of coming to Parkland.”

Daniel Ito
’08 Parkland student, Business
’11 U of I graduate, Finance

***Visit the Parkland College website for more information on concurrent enrollment for UIUC students.***

[Hilary Valentine is the associate director of marketing at Parkland.]

Hospitality a Bigger (and Better) Fish to Fry

Hospitality is just one of many great options for adults returning to school to find a new career. Read Tiffany’s inspiring story and contact Tony Hooker at the Adult Re-entry Center (ahooker@parkland.edu) to start your own journey.

Early motherhood may have halted Tiffany Fry’s plans to complete her Parkland education 24 years ago, but it never stunted her dreams of doing so. Back then, the one-time Cobras track standout chose dedicating her life to raising her new son, and later, his brothers, over academic pursuits. The two decades of life away from Parkland only sharpened Tiffany’s career passion; upon returning, she knew just what she wanted to study: food.

Deciding to go back to school was a “leap of faith,” however, as she had to leave an eight-year management job to do so. “Facing your fears head-on is the best way; the challenge is yours to make, but you have to want it enough to take it on.”

Tiffany, a straight-A student, graduated from Parkland in May with degrees in Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts Management plus several Hospitality certificates including Hotel/Motel Management. She called the two-year journey to get where she is today “incredible and eye-opening at the same time.”

“I have changed in so many ways,” she explained. “Most of all, I believe in myself more now than ever before. Parkland has given me the tools to make the educated decisions I didn’t make before.”

With her post-graduation sights on a position as a food and beverage/banquet manager or director, Tiffany ultimately hopes to own her own restaurant and bar—”nothing fancy, just something that is my own.” She feels equipped to the task now, both because of her personal traits and her new Parkland training. “I know I am a people person, so this industry was just what I was born to do; it took me some time to get here, but nevertheless, I’m here and I never gave up,” she said. “My Parkland instructors were real people, meaning they have lived life and seen the struggles that go on with juggling school, work, family, etc. They are understanding, and as long as you communicate with them they will do what they can and will go above and beyond to help you.”