All posts by Hilary Valentine

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 of 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.”

 

UIUC Student Touts Parkland Transfer

Hundreds of University of Illinois students, like marketing senior Brent Loth, take Parkland College classes each year to shorten the road to their Illinois degrees. Below, Brent shares why university students should explore Parkland transfer options.

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As a University of Illinois student, I sometimes find myself in a bind. I want to get my degree as soon as possible, but it can be hard to get in all the courses I need throughout the school year. I also have additional pressures, like being financially responsible and finding the right learning setting to prepare myself for life after college.

Luckily, I have lived in Champaign for most of my life and know that Parkland College carries a fantastic reputation for its education and atmosphere. After talking with my academic advisor, we decided Parkland would be a great fit for my college objectives, and I found some classes I could take during the summers to earn my degree in a timely way and stay productive during my time off from the U of I.

I was able to transfer classes with ease and had a smaller learning environment, getting individual attention that helped with classes I found difficult. I got to know my teachers on a personal level while getting the same credits I could earn at the U of I for a fraction of the cost.

So far, I have taken Intro to Marketing, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Spanish 1. Now, as I prepare to graduate this upcoming year, my positive experiences influenced me to also finish language requirements with Parkland this fall. I plan to do so along with my other U of I classes.

I recommend Parkland classes for the following reasons:

1. Taking classes at Parkland can help you earn your degree faster, especially during summer and winter breaks.

2. You get more individual attention to narrow your focus for class, which helps with subjects you find challenging.

3. It helps ease financial stresses for yourself and your family.

4. Many classes transfer and have equivalency toward your degree.

I encourage you to talk to your academic advisor to see if Parkland would be a good fit for you. It turned out to be an amazing resource for me, and I know you will be happy with what the school has to offer. – Brent Loth

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

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

 

 

Thinking College? Club Latino Students Share Some Keys to Success

What are three key ingredients for success at Parkland College for Latino students?

The students themselves would probably tell you that: 1) family/friend support, 2) affordability, and 3) information is the trio to beat.

I recently sat down with members of Club Latino, one of the longest-running and most active student clubs at Parkland, for a Q&A session. These students come from various cities (Rantoul, Arcola, Tuscola, Decatur, and C-U) and are pursuing a wide range of majors (music therapy and neurology, psychology, computer science, criminal justice, surgical technology, Spanish, and sociology). Most of the Club Latino students work 30-40 hours a week as well as take classes, attend Club Latino meetings (free pizza!), and do volunteer/service work with the club.

As we chatted about their Parkland experiences and what has kept them motivated to learn, they also shared with me what they would like future Parkland students of Latino heritage to understand about college before they begin their journeys here.

What keeps you going?
  • My mom. She is so encouraging.
  • Support for our families; we don’t want to let them down.
  • We are hard workers—it’s in our blood.
  • We need a better future for ourselves.
  • I have goals—I want to achieve them.
  • I am a nursing major, and I’m getting closer to my goal of helping people.
How do you balance work and school?
  • It has not been easy. There are days I dedicate to school and days I dedicate to work.
  • I consider my Club Latino time my hangout time.
What made you decide to come to Parkland? Why is this place special?
  • I worked with my mom in a factory for two years. I saw how tired she was after working 60-hour weeks, and I knew I didn’t want to do that forever.
  • Parkland’s tuition is more affordable than other schools, and it’s closer to home.
  • Parkland feels safe to me. The environment is friendly and I don’t ever feel fear. I feel like it’s my home.
  • It’s a great place to start… a stepping stone.
  • I still don’t know what I want to do, but I will figure it out at Parkland.
How does campus involvement in Club Latino benefit you?
  • How important is it to be involved in college? 101% important. Students struggle with work and school, but being involved helps you realize how much more college has to offer and how worthwhile it is.
  • You’re also learning leadership skills, teamwork skills, accounting, planning. When you experience other things, you start to have a broader perspective.
  • I’ve met a lot of new people from new areas and made new friends.
  • It makes you more responsible because you see other people being responsible.
  • I never had much Latino culture growing up, so being in Club Latino connects me to my heritage.
  • We try to motivate younger Latinos to set goals and go to college. We do outreach to high schools.
What would you want a younger brother or sister to know about starting college?
  • Applying to college is not as hard as you think. When I first came to Parkland, I talked to Financial Aid and figured out how to pay for college. It seems like a lot of steps, but once you’re in, the only struggle is then getting through classes. Once you’re here, there are a lot of people to help you out.
  • Get started early for fall. Don’t wait. Fill out the FAFSA and use last year’s information. You want to be one of the first people to apply. You have to be persistent.
  • I think it’s important to find that support system before you come, and then once you’re here, find it here.
  • You don’t have to know what to major in before you come to school. The general requirements apply to a lot of majors, so none of it is wasted time.

    Thanks to Club Latino members who shared their meeting time with me: Kellyn, Jesus, Bree, Karina, Yulibeth, Chaz, Joey, Jennifer, and Lisette.

[Hilary Valentine is the marketing analyst for Parkland’s Marketing and Public Relations department.]