All posts by Lori Garrett

Get Into Stress-LESS Week at Parkland!

This week, Phi Theta Kappa is hosting “Stress-Less Week.” We’ve scheduled a variety of events at the campus to help you take the stress off these last few weeks of the fall semester. Please join us if you can for the following events:

Tough-It-Out Tuesday
Tuesday, December 8

  • Martial Arts Demonstration, 12:30 to 1pm,  U-Wing cafeteria stage
  • Tug of War*,  1pm, P-Wing gym
    *Gloves and tennis shoes are required to participate in tug of war. We will try to provide a certain number of gloves, but bring your own, just in case.

We’re-Here-for-You Wednesday
Wednesday, December 9

  • Mental Health Awareness Fair, noon to 2pm, Student Union (U Wing)

Throwback Thursday
Thursday, December 10

  • Jigsaw Puzzles and Coloring Books, 10am to noon, Flag Lounge (X Wing)
  • Storytelling,  noon to 1pm , U-Wing cafeteria stage
  • Finals Survival Kit Distribution and C4 Signing, 4:30 to 5:30pm, Student Union (U Wing)

Feeling Good Friday
Friday, December 11

  • Therapy Dogs Visit, 9 to 11am, Flag Lounge (X Wing)
  • Massages (free), 11am to 1pm, Gallery Lounge (X Wing)
  • Lunch and Learn: Stress Management Workshop, noon to 1pm, U140 (Free lunches for attendees. They will be given on a first come, first serve basis.)
  • Finals Survival Kit Distribution and C4 Signing, 1:30 to 2:30pm in the Student Union (U Wing)

We are also conducting a donation drive for the Cunningham Children’s Home. Due to their limited storage space, they will only accept NEW donations. (No USED donations please.) A full list of accepted donations can be found at their website: We have the full wish list posted in the College Center (X Wing by the library stairs) in the far left display case. We will be collecting monetary and physical donations at our events and physical donations ONLY at the donation collection points around campus.

The donation collection points can be found at the following locations:

  • Student Union (U Wing)
  • College Center (X Wing)
  • Natural Sciences department office (L Wing)
  • Fine & Applied Arts department office (C Wing), Social Sciences department office (D Wing)
  • Business & Agri-Business department office (B Wing)
  • Mathematics department office (M Wing)

We would really appreciate your help and support for this donation drive!

New Technology at Parkland: Part 1

Below, Biology Professor Lori Garrett shares how Parkland’s new Anatomage table, with its high-tech virtual dissection technology, is helping students learn. Plus, check out an exerpt from her upcoming video to be shown during the Pygmalion Tech Fest.
**Parkland is a presenting partner of the Pygmalion Festival, September 23-27, which includes a Tech Festival on Friday, Sept., 25 at Krannert Center in Urbana. The Tech Festival is FREE for all Parkland students with a valid ID.**



Parkland is amazingly fortunate to have an Anatomage digital dissecton table. These state-of-the-art, high tech tables were developed primarily for the medical field, and there are only about 500 in use worldwide, with only a little over 200 currently in use in the U.S. Those are primarily located in hospitals and medical schools. It’s such a high-tech piece of computerized equipment that I attended a two-day User Group meeting in San Francisco in August for in-depth training, and we’re just starting to really appreciate all we can do with it ourselves.

What the Table Does and What We Can Do With It
The Anatomage is like two giant, touch-screen computer monitors with highly sophisticated software behind them. The image banks were developed at Stanford University and are based off of real human CT scans and anatomical models. It provides us with life-size 3D renderings of three different individuals, and we can dissect through them. We can approach the anatomy from the surface and scroll down through the tissue layers, or isolate individual organs and organ systems. Various icons allow us to cut through, or section, any of the body parts, view X-ray images, isolate organ systems, see soft tissues, and more—and everything’s rendered in three dimensions, rotatable, and zoomable. We can add labels, place pins on structures for examinations, and add our own notes all on screen.

We’re really excited for the promise the software holds for advancing our science and medical instruction. With the Anatomage’s InVivo software program, we can take CT or MRI scans from anyone, anonymize them, and then have them digitized and rendered in 3D. This will let us use real-life case studies in a cross-curricular manner for our students moving into the health professions. We can also use the software to isolate any organs, save the digitized data, and then use 3D printing to develop our own anatomical models.

What Students Think about the Anatomage Table
Our students love the Anatomage table because of its technology. We’re integrating the table in our anatomy classes, where we already use plastic models and human cadavers. The table allows our students to learn anatomy from life-size renderings of real cadavers, which makes their cadaver study much easier. In the cadavers, we can’t isolate whole organ systems or rebuild the body like we can on the Anatomage. Being so tech-savvy, our students embrace it and need little guidance—they are used to touchscreen computers and phones.

We sometimes give tours for high school anatomy classes and let the students try the table after a brief introduction and demonstration. Being digital natives, they take to it with no effort at all.

The Anatomage allows us to bridge the gap between simulators and real people. It lets us visualize organs, vessels, tissues, and more without worrying about torn structures or extra tissues and clutter as we see in the real cadavers. The Anatomage is life-sized like our cadavers, but without the “delightful” aroma of the chemical preservatives, and we know our students really appreciate that!

Parkland Rocks It at Phi Theta Kappa Regionals!

A dozen Parkland students and I hopped into a Parkland bus and headed south to Frontier College and Mt. Vernon this past weekend. It was Phi Theta Kappa’s 2015 Illinois Regional Convention. This was the largest Parkland group ever to attend a regional or international meeting!  Phi Theta Kappa is the official honor society for two-year colleges. Membership is by invitation only, and to be eligible, students must complete at least 12 hours of 100-level coursework and have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale).

Proudly displaying our 2015 Regional Awards. Front row: Victoria Price, Kalista Lutes, Danielle Segerstrom, and Jenny Olmsted. Back row: Jordan Bidner, Megan Counter, Sarah Pawlicki, Danielle Carter, Courtney Davis, Ashley Eisenmenger, Lori Garrett, Erin Kristovich, Kyle Harriger.
Proudly displaying our 2015 Regional Awards. Front row: Victoria Price, Kalista Lutes, Danielle Segerstrom, and Jenny Olmsted. Back row: Jordan Bidner, Megan Counter, Sarah Pawlicki, Danielle Carter, Courtney Davis, Ashley Eisenmenger, Lori Garrett, Erin Kristovich, Kyle Harriger.

Along for the ride were our chapter’s four outgoing chapter officers: Jenny Olmsted (President), Kyle Harriger (Executive Vice President), Kalista Lutes (Vice President of Leadership), and Sarah Pawlicki (Vice President of Communications). We also had eight new members along for the road trip: Jordan Bidner, Danielle Carter, Megan Counter, Courtney Davis, Ashely Eisenmenger, Erin Kristovich, Victoria Price, and Danielle Segerstrom. Jenny and I each presented educational forums at the convention, some of us tried pork burgers (a southern Illinois staple), and on Saturday, we attended the regional banquet and award ceremony.

Alpha Psi Eta chapter had a really big night!  We received the following recognitions:

  • Five Star Chapter (this was announced at International, but we received the certificate at Regional);
  • Hall of Honor Chapter Officer Award for Kyle Harriger;
  • Outstanding Chapter Officer Award for Jenny Olmsted;
  • Regional Spirit Award for Jenny Olmsted;
  • Regional Leader of Distinction Award for Kalista Lutes;
  • Mary Anne Player Award for co-hosting, with Kankakee Community College, last year’s Illinois Region Honors Institute and Leadership Conference;
  • Illinois Advisor Continued Excellence Award for yours truly (I was the only Illinois advisor to receive this);
  • First place in the Regional Yearbook Competition (our yearbook was designed and constructed by Kalista Lutes, and the award gives us three free registrations to next October’s Regional Honors Institute and Leadership Conference);
  • Honors in Action Project Award;
  • College Project Award; and
  • Outstanding Chapter Award.

We have never received this many regional awards. The awards represent a year’s worth of complex programming and activities—a lot of hard work by the chapter officers and members. To add some perspective, there are 57 total chapters in Illinois (we include a few private and tech schools). Many chapters in Illinois receive no awards. Those that do are most likely to receive individual awards. Only 8-10 chapters receive regional chapter awards (Honors in Action, College Project, or Outstanding Chapter). Only five Illinois chapters—including us—received all three of these. The Outstanding Chapter award is based on a chapter’s combined scores for both Honors in Action and College Project awards.

All of our chapter officers but one graduated and are moving on, so the new school year will find us with an all-new officer team.  Phi Theta Kappa offers so many opportunities for personal growth, leadership development, and fun for its active members—who wouldn’t want to stay involved?  We will have some meetings and social events over the summer, including a summer sport social, and we are hosting a region-wide Leadership Development and Officer Training Academy at Parkland on July 17.  Even though I am off campus for the summer, Phi Theta Kappans keep me hopping!

I want to extend a special thank you to this amazing outgoing officer team and former chapter president, Amber Simmons, for all their hard work and for keeping me going during some extraordinarily trying times on the home front.  You guys ROCK—but I’ve told you that often and you each know how proud I am of you.

It’s been a great year!  If you want to see pictures from our experiences or follow us, you can find us on Facebook (Phi Theta Kappa ~ Alpha Psi Eta).  And if you are a Parkland student and you meet the eligibility requirements, why not embrace your inner nerd and join us?


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