Category Archives: Arts & Sciences

What can you do with an English degree?

It’s a question I’ve heard over and over again: “What are you planning on doing with an English degree?” This is frequently accompanied by derision and/or unsolicited advice to change my major to something more lucrative.

Perhaps there is more job security in nursing and more financial stability in a business or engineering degree, but I believe it is far more rewarding to study what you love and, personally, I am happier around words than I am around numbers.

So, getting back to that pesky question, here are some things you can do with an English degree:

Teaching

This one is pretty obvious—I think many people automatically assume this is what most English majors plan to do with their degree. And while teaching is certainly not all that is available to English majors, it is nonetheless an excellent option. Elementary and secondary school teachers require teaching certifications, and college professors need a master’s degree.

Pre-professional Programs

College students majoring in English tend to be very well-rounded in their educations. They are taught to write well, analyze ideas, and communicate skillfully. This is why many with an English BA further their studies in fields like law, medicine, and business.

Publishing

People with English degrees are conversant in researching, editing, reading, and writing, and this makes them a good fit for jobs within the publishing industry. While these kinds of jobs are a little harder to come by, it is possible to work your way up through jobs such as an editorial assistant or a proofreader/copyeditor, or through internships.

Writing

This is another occupation that English majors are naturally suited for, but as with publishing, these jobs can be difficult to secure. Writing is also a multifaceted field—it includes journalism, technical writing, scientific writing, creative writing, and copywriting. Any Parkland College English major interested in writing should look at all their college transfer options for Writing minors or concentrations to accompany their English major upon transfer.

Advertising, Podcasts, Public Relations, Research Assisting, Speechwriting, Travel Writing, Movie Critiquing

The list goes on! There are tons of jobs out there for English majors, and a great place to find out more about it is Parkland’s Career Center in the U wing. You can take a career test and find out exactly what you’re suited for. Make sure you know all your options, and have fun exploring them!

[Marnie Leonard is a Parkland College Student Ambassador.]

University of Illinois Students Take Classes at Parkland College

I will bet that most University of Illinois students are not aware of how many of their fellow students are taking courses at Parkland College while attending Illinois. The numbers might surprise you, because so many are taking our online courses; thus, they are almost in “stealth” mode.

In fact, about 400 Illinois students will take one or more Parkland College classes this spring. It is not unusual to see that number swell to around 2,000 Illinois students during the summer term.

The online course format allows students to complete their Parkland courses around Illinois classes, work schedules, and social activities; this is the most popular mode for taking our classes. Students who prefer the traditional course format take classes at our campus in the afternoon, late afternoon, and evening so they will fit in with their busy schedules.

Some Parkland courses traditionally have a significant number of Illinois students enrolled. Examples include online Physics 121 and 122 (the equivalent of Illinois’s PHYS 101 and 102) and basic general education courses like Psychology 101 (equivalent to PSYC 100) and History 105 (equivalent to HIST 172)—a nice choice to meet the Illinois Cultural Studies: Western/Comparative and Humanities and the Arts: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives requirements.

Of course, in order to enroll in any courses, you’ll need to complete some basic tasks. You can begin the process of applying to Parkland as a Course Enrollee (a person not working toward a degree or certificate at Parkland) online by going to http://www.parkland.edu/getStarted. As a current Illinois student, you would be considered a “concurrent enrollment” student at Parkland.

You can find procedures and forms for domestic students at the University of Illinois website, at http://provost.illinois.edu/programs/advising/Concurrent_Enrollment_domestic.pdf. Procedures and forms for international students are available at http://provost.illinois.edu/programs/advising/Concurrent_Enrollment_international.pdf. Please note the instructions very carefully. You must meet Parkland’s prerequisites for the courses and must verify this by bringing with you your Academic History from Illinois Student Self-Service.

If you are wondering how Parkland courses transfer to Illinois, check out the transfer course matrix at http://online.parkland.edu/transferpatterns/index.cfm.

So, if you are looking to squeeze in one more course or maybe looking for a different time or a format that you are unable to get  at Illinois, taking a class at Parkland College might just be for you. We would love to have you!

Parkland College is open until Dec. 23 to take your registrations.

Please note that all Parkland College transfer classes are freshman and sophomore level. For additional enrollment information, contact Parkland’s Office of Admissions.

John Sheahan
Director, Counseling and Advising Center

What’s In a Prairie?

You have heard Illinois called the Prairie State, but do you know what a prairie is? Hint: it’s NOT weeds!

Before the state was settled, 60 percent of Illinois (22 million+ acres) was covered by vast expanses of tallgrass. The deep  prairie plants’ roots (up to 15 feet!) make topsoils incredibly productive, and thus fertile for agriculture.  The invention of the John Deere self-scouring plow in 1837 made it possible to break up the prairie sod and change it into farmland. Many prairies still existed at that time, however, because there was too much water in many soils to farm well. By 1935, enough drain tile had been laid in Illinois to thoroughly drain off the soil water into drainage ditches, allowing the productive soils to be intensely farmed. 

Today, only 2,000 acres of prairie remain in Illinois (that’s .0001 percent).

You might be familiar with big bluestem, Illinois’ official prairie grass, but did you know there are about 150 kinds of grasses native to  prairies, including Indian grass, wild rye, and switchgrass? Native prairie wildflowers (forbs) include coneflowers, compass and cup plants with their bright yellow flowers, and milkweeds–the only plant species that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on. Prairies also provide habitat for hundreds of animal species. Check out the Illinois Plant Information Network database, which lists 851 species of plants native to Illinois prairies. 

Parkland’s prairie restoration, located due east of the Student Union, was started in the 1990s through the efforts of former biology professors Rich Blazier and Earl Creutzberg, along with community members and organizations and Parkland students. Today’s environmental and plant biology students learn about prairie and other ecosystems in Parkland’s natural land areas and regularly participate in prairie workdays, learning how to maintain prairies by collecting seeds, helping with prairie burns, and removing invasive plants.

Parkland’s Sustainable Campus Committee and Physical Plant hope to expand the prairie restoration by about 15 acres, including large tracts behind the Athletics track and small showy native flower beds by the buildings. This could eliminate hours of mowing, lowering the college’s carbon footprint by reducing fuel use. It also means beautiful flowers throughout the growing season. Planting tallgrass prairie costs less than planting turf grass, and requires little maintenance. Tallgrass prairie helps control drainage, prevents erosion, brings important pollinators to the area, and reminds us of our natural heritage.

 

Jonathan from Illinois Soil and Water Conservation
Jonathan from Illinois Soil and Water Conservation District loads prairie seed into the planter.

Parkland biology professor Heidi Leuszler recently worked with Pheasants Forever to establish a new one-acre tallgrass prairie across the Perimeter Drive in front of the union. The seed mix included about 75 species of prairie plants native to east-central soils.

Now that you know about Parkland’s prairie restoration, watch from the big windows in the welcome areaor better yet, walk right out the front door—to see how prairie changes over the seasons, and observe the wildlife that finds a safe home in Parkland’s prairie.

Listen. Learn. Live…on WPCD

Did you know Parkland College has its own radio station on the FM dial? I didn’t either, until I took COM 141 (Basic Broadcast Announcing) as an elective and now, the rest is history!

WPCD 88.7  FM blasts new up and coming alternative artists as well as the forefathers of alternative music 24/7 and allows Parkland students the chance to hone their radio skills live on the air. To go along with their on-air training, students are tasked with making promotional spots and writing their own copy for public service announcements, news segments, and weather spots. There is also a chance to do live on-air spots from shows happening throughout Champaign-Urbana.

As you progress in the radio courses, there is an opportunity to interview bands and artists live in the studio or over the phone, which then allows you to use the editing skills you learned in class to produce an interview segment you can play during your radio show.  Whether you are into the music playing on WPCD or not, the experience you gain from the course work and on-air spots is an amazing one. It has given me much more confidence in other courses and in life as well.

Being on air at WPCD brings loads of real-life experience and gives you the feeling that you are actually working at a radio station. Even if radio isn’t your thing or your dream, being in an environment that promotes creativity while teaching life skills is an invaluable one that I would suggest to anyone who is attending Parkland!

 

Aron Ammann is a Virgo who likes long walks on the beach and spending time in the kitchen whipping up culinary masterpieces. He also enjoys spending time on 88.7 WPCD as the co-host of “The Mid-Morning Mess” alongside Chad Myler.  Aron stumbled upon the COM 141 class as an elective for his program of study and found that he really enjoyed the art of radio. An Iraq veteran, Aron has found his time on the air to be a therapeutic experience as well.

How Clubs, Orgs AMP Up Your Student XP

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Hey guys! I’m Paige and I am majoring in communication here at Parkland. Have you ever thought about joining an organization or club at Parkland? Starting college, I never thought I would join any club or organization, but here I am.

I saw ads for “AMP” hanging all over Parkland, I but never thought about joining until it was brought up in one of my classes. Then all of a sudden, AMP sparked my interest.

AMP is a student-driven public relations firm, where we work as a team to do promotional work for clients. One thing that really made me want to pursue AMP was that I get to work with graphic designers, advertisers, and general education students. Knowing that I get to work with a wide variety of people with all different majors made me apply for AMP with full force. It is like working in a real-world firm.

Once I applied and got a position at AMP, the coordinators worked with my schedule and now I’m there two days a week working on projects for clients. I have already taken so much from this experience. I have learned about some do’s and don’ts of graphic design (something I knew nothing about before), learned how to compose a strategic plan, and right now I’m in the midst of learning to make a website.

All of these things will help me in my career once I am done at Parkland.

So, I guess what I’m trying to get at here is to give organizations and clubs a chance at Parkland. Don’t just pass by those signs in the hallway;  take the time to look at them and actually consider joining one of them!