Category Archives: Campus Life

Flint Michigan Alternative Spring Break

This spring break, Student Life, in collaboration with the Construction Design and Management Program, organized a service trip to Flint, Michigan, with the Firestone Center. Thirteen Parkland students worked with five different nonprofit organizations over three days during the break.  Below, Emily Grumish, a psychology major from Champaign, recounts her experiences on the trip.

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“Thinking about doing a service-learning trip for spring break? Have you heard about the crime rate in Flint, Michigan?”
“You shouldn’t go there, it’s way too dangerous.”
“Emily, have you ever used a power tool before? How are you going to help construct a house?”
“They don’t need your help. You would just get in the way.”

These responses from my peers almost stopped me from going on one of the most life-changing experiences of my life! Around four weeks ago, I was offered the opportunity to head to Flint, Michigan, on an Alternative Spring Break service-learning trip hosted by Parkland College Student Life. I was nervous to sign up for this trip because I had never done construction work before, or even held a hammer.

The trip was initially focused toward college students with electrician and construction backgrounds. As a psychology major, I was worried that I didn’t have the skills to volunteer on a trip like this one. Before this trip, I also had a limited knowledge of the turmoil that resulted from the Flint Water Crisis.

On April 25, the town of Flint will have been without clean water for four years.

The first time I heard about Flint, Michigan, was in my Child Psychology course I’m currently enrolled in. I remember hearing about some of the children having unexpected cognitive and behavioral difficulties due to the lead pipes that have been poisoning their citizens for years. This honestly sickened me. Full of questions, I started researching the history of Flint using different books and journal articles.

I was surprised to find that Flint is one of the poorest cities in the United States. I noticed a common thread while looking at different news articles. These news articles failed to explain the great work being done to give hope to the city and missions. This work was providing strength to citizens who were beginning to give up faith because they could not even support their families. I decided that a great way to learn about these missions was to actually go volunteer at them.

After meeting and discussing the hard work being done in Flint with Student Life Activities Program Manager Josh Clark, who was also one of the coordinators and chaperones for the trip, I was ready to embark to Flint, along with Josh’s co-chaperone, Parkland Marketing and Public Relations Staff Writer Ruthie Counter, and 13 other Parkland College students.

On the way to Flint.

Going into the trip, I made the quick assumption that the students going would mainly be young men in construction majors. I was happily proved wrong. Our team included a mix of men and women who varied in ages, background, culture, and college majors. However, we all shared one common goal: We all wanted to give back and make a difference in any way possible.

Accommodations and Tour. We stayed at The Firestone Center in Flint. The Firestone Center was created by Social Impact Philanthropy and Investing (SIPI for short) to continue the impact made by Father Tom Firestone, who helped form the Alternative Spring Break Program that houses researchers, students, and families that want to help the community there.  SIPI provided us with a platform to get to know many of the different organizations so we would be able to provide our services in multiple ways. The Firestone Center provided us with a place that felt like home, with warm beds to sleep in and a hot shower, after putting in a day of hard work. We were also provided three meals a day. Did I mention that the two chefs, Melissa and Crystal, prepared some of tastiest meals I’ve ever had?

On the first day, we went on our bus as Firestone Center manager and coordinator Annie Stoltman gave us a tour of the city. First, she showed us the pretty parts of Flint that included well-constructed homes. As we passed the buildings, we heard about the University of Michigan–Flint, Kettering University, and Mott Community College. I had no idea Flint was even a college town. We were shown a building that is being turned into an early childhood development center. Annie made the comment that it’s very interesting that it took a water crisis for Flint to start focusing on creating these centers. I found her thoughts on the topic showed that some powerful transformations can occur after hardship or tragedy.

As we started heading to the east side of Flint, I started to notice how many houses were caving in and/or had broken windows. As we reached the city’s north side, the houses looked like they were hit by a tornado, because many of them were collapsing. I started noticing that CP was written on almost every house, which stands for “cut power.” There were also spots where there were no houses at all, because they had been demolished. Annie explained that Flint was the city with missing teeth.

The missions we worked with in the next following days, are helping to fill some of those missing teeth. Some of the organizations we volunteered with, included Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, Franklin Ave. Mission, Flint Eastside Mission, St. Mary’s, and Habitat for Humanity. We decided to split into two groups, so we could accomplish work with all of the organizations.

Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village and Franklin Avenue Mission. While volunteering for two days at the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, I learned about the afterschool problems that are challenging education and leadership in the city, and how the Broome center would help address them. I helped paint a classroom and clean up a gym that had been fully painted in only two days. One memory from that place, that will remain stuck in my mind forever, was seeing a smiling little girl walk into the center, with her mom in hand, to tell us about how excited she was to be able to take dancing lessons there. She was provided an outlet to explore her love of dancing through the help of this center.

The other half of my group was at Franklin Ave. Mission that first work day, where they were building walls in the church. I felt empowered when I witnessed the women using power tools with confidence, as they developed new skills constructing the wall. Many women in our society today are held down by gender stereotypes that say that women are too delicate for construction work. I’m happy that our group could crush those assumptions.

Eastside Mission and St. Luke’s Rennovation. I was later given the opportunity to learn about the Flint Eastside Mission as we worked on their future women’s alcohol and drug treatment facility. It was incredible to see the impact we made in such a short period of time. The group that worked inside the house finished early and then helped the rest of the group pick up the trash and sticks off the lawn. While we were helping at the Eastside Mission, the other half of our team helped St. Luke NEW Life Center fix up a house on the east side that a family will be able to move into in a few more weeks.

Habitat for Humanity Build. On our last full working day, while at the Habitat for Humanity house build, I had the chance to bond with all my fellow coworkers, all construction volunteers from the community, as they shared stories and jokes.

They were great at teaching us how to use the tools to help us gain skills that we never had before. I was so happy to hear that the Parkland College group accomplished everything on the daily check list during the house build.

Hearing Presenters and Making Friends. Some of my favorite memories included our dinner time at Firestone, where we had an outside speaker come in nightly to shed light on the work being done in Flint. This inspired me to pursue future service work. With each speaker, we went around the table introducing ourselves and sharing what we learned that day. Everyone had a different perspective. I was never expecting to form such a strong connection to students who were strangers to me just the week before. They were some of the most positive and open-minded people I had ever met, so knowing that we would be leaving Flint soon and going back to our busy lives made me feel kind of sad.

On our last night, we sat around in a circle to reflect on the trip. We were asked to explain our experience in one word. I said “perseverance”, because that is exactly what the people of Flint have shown. They were able to come together, despite their hardships, and begin the process of repairing this city. I could not have chosen a better place to spend my Spring Break, and I look forward to returning to Flint soon. As quoted by SIPI founder Steve Wolbert, “if you’re interested in making a difference and adding value to a community, there’s no better place to do it in than Flint.”

[Josh Clark is the activities program manager for Student Life at Parkland College.]

Year-Round Pell Grants Available for Summer!

While making your summer plans, you may be considering taking a summer class to move closer to your degree or certificate. If you’re eligible for the Pell Grant, paying for that class may just have gotten a bit easier.

Parkland College students may be able to receive a third disbursement of the award, based on a recent Department of Education announcement.

If you’ve already received a full Pell Grant during the fall and spring semesters, you may now qualify for “Year-round Pell” and so receive a full Pell Grant during the summer 2018 semester as well, the DOE reported.

Year-round Pell allows students to receive up to 150 percent of a regular grant award over the course of the academic year so they can continue taking classes in the summer and finish their degrees faster than they would otherwise. With careful planning, Pell Grant recipients may take advantage of this new regulation to earn their degree faster.

You should be aware, though, that any Pell Grant you receive over the summer will be included in determining your Pell Grant lifetime limit.

To be eligible for the additional Pell Grant funds, you:

  • must be otherwise eligible to receive Pell Grant funds for the payment period
  • must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) during the summer term
  • must be maintaining satisfactory academic progress

You’re going to have to fill out a Summer Information Form, available on our forms web page, to get started. And remember, you should always speak to an academic advisor about the classes you should take.

If you were awarded Pell Grants for the 2017‐2018 academic year, contact the Financial Aid office at 217/351-2222 or finaid@parkland.edu for help with summer 2018 financial planning.

Registration for Parkland College Summer Session 2018 starts March 26, so don’t delay!

[Patricia Murbarger is an advisor with Financial Aid and Veteran Services.]

Connect with Employers

Parkland Career Services hosts a variety of employers on campus throughout the semester in the Student Union cafeteria hallway between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Employers are looking for Parkland students and alumni!  Register for free on the College Central Network to view local, state, and national job postings in a variety of disciplines.

Don’t think you’re qualified for a position? The key skills listed below are qualifications you may not have thought about. You’ve likely had a chance to practice several of these in the classroom, through volunteer experience, or with jobs you’ve held.

  1.  Communication skills that demonstrate verbal, written, and listening abilities.
  2. Computer aptitude based on the level required for the position being filled.
  3. Team spirit, which involves working cooperatively with a variety of people and treating others with respect.
  4. Basic math and reading skills.
  5. Interpersonal skills, allowing you to relate to diverse coworkers and manage conflicts.
  6. Organizational skills, so that you can plan and complete multiple tasks in a timely fashion.
  7. Problem-solving skills, including the ability to think critically and identify and solve problems.
  8. Flexibility and adaptability, to handle change in the workplace.
  9. Personal traits such as a positive attitude, motivation, integrity, honesty, and leadership potential.
  10. Dependability and a strong work ethic!

Career Services is located within Counseling Services in Room U267, Follow us on Pinterest and check out our website.  Call us at 217/351-2219 or email careerservices@parkland.edu.

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Career Services.]

 

Shopping by Classified Ads? Think Safety

If you submitted your tax return early, have some extra money in your pocket, and want to replace your couch or TV,  looking through the classified ads or going on a site like Craigslist can be an easy and affordable way to make some new additions to your furniture or entertainment options.

After you’ve gotten in touch with the seller and  agreed on a price, however, setting up a place to meet and complete the purchase can be a dangerous situation if you’re not careful. Use the following tips to help ensure that you’re as safe as possible when setting up an exchange.

Meet in public places. Whenever possible, set up the exchanges in a public place, as opposed to meeting at someone’s house. You’re much safer in a busy restaurant or parking lot than at a stranger’s house.

Don’t go alone. You should always bring someone else with you when you meet to exchange, especially if you’re not able to meet in public. At the absolute minimum, make sure a friend or family member knows where you’re going and how long you should be.

Don’t bring any extra cash. Carry with you only the exact amount of money you’ve agreed upon with the seller. There’s no need to risk having anything else taken if things go poorly.

Meet during the day. On top of meeting out in public, meeting when it’s light out is another way to ensure you stay as safe as possible.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a sergeant with Parkland’s Department of Public Safety.]

Degree Completion Day

Are you a new Parkland student taking a few classes but not sure where those classes might take you?  Are  you a first-year student who hasn’t made a solid plan to get to graduation or a second-year student wanting to confirm you are in the correct last few courses?

ALL of you should attend Degree Completion Day.

Degree Completion Day takes place Wednesday, February 21 in the U building (Student Union) between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Here are some features of this great event:

  • You can learn about transferring to another institution for a bachelor’s degree.
  • Academic advising will be available.
  • Learn how to track your progress toward your degree or certificate.
  • Confirm your degree program.
  • Complete a Graduation Petition and turn it in for a formal degree audit.
  • Learn the difference between “graduation” and “commencement.”
  • Find out what General Education courses are and why you might need them.

Finally, come and get some giveaways and refreshments.  WPCD-FM will be streaming live!

Don’t spend any more time just guessing how to get through college or wondering why you’re here. Get real answers and get on track!

[Dennis Kaczor is a credentials analyst in Parkland Admissions and Records.]

 

Free LIFE Clinic Helps Those with Pain

Do you know someone who lives with pain every day or has difficulty completing simple to more complex day-to-day activities? Tell them about Parkland College’s Learning Information for Everyday (LIFE) Clinic, offered by our Occupational Therapy Assistant program, because we can help.

We started the LIFE Clinic two years ago as a FREE service to our community. That’s right, free. For those in our communities who come and see us, we can offer simple strategies to conserve energy or recommend or construct an assistive device to help them navigate their activities better.

What do people think about our LIFE Clinic services? One of our clients, who experiences pain in her right hand, had this to say last spring:

Modification fabricated by OTA students.

“I had no idea of what occupational therapy assistants did. They developed creative contraptions to help me be able to walk my dogs and pour water from gallon glass jugs with much less pain. The students were kind, professional, very pleasant ,and helpful. I was impressed! It was a good day when I met Michelle and her students! Thank you so much!”

If you or someone you know could benefit from the LIFE Clinic at Parkland College, just give us a call at 217/353-2782. For Spring Semester 2018, the LIFE Clinic will offer services Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., March 1, 8, 15, and 29.

[Michelle Roberts is the OTA program director at Parkland College.]

World AIDS Day 2017

For this week’s blog post, we’ll be discussing an intersection between Public Health and Public Safety as we observe World AIDS Day today, December 1.

First, some fast facts about HIV:

  • At the end of 2014, the most recent year for which such data are available, an estimated 1,107,700 adults and adolescents were living with HIV.
  • Of those, an estimated 166,000 (15%) had not been diagnosed.
  • The number of new HIV diagnoses fell 19% from 2005 to 2014. Because HIV testing has remained stable or increased in recent years, this decrease in diagnoses suggests a true decline in new infections.

Although undeniable progress has been made in the fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS, the job isn’t finished; plenty more work has to be done, both domestically and abroad. If you’d like to get involved, here are ideas on how to help:

  • Reach out to a local HIV  service organization. Many organizations have support groups for people living with HIV and their loved ones. To find a local HIV/AIDS service organization near you, use HIV.gov’s HIV Testing Sites & Care Services Locator.
  • Get involved in your community. To get involved in HIV and AIDS prevention, care, and advocacy, contact your local HIV service organizations and/or community health department. These groups can help identify local volunteer opportunities. You can also visit the sites listed below to search HIV-related volunteer opportunities.
  • Engage with others. Social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat offer opportunities to connect with others who are interested and involved in HIV issues.

***This post was compiled using resources from hiv.gov and the CDC.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

12 Tips for Winter Driving

As we head into the winter months, conditions on the road can become more dangerous. We need to make a few adjustments to our driving habits to make sure we’re safely reaching our destinations.

As a reminder of those adjustments, we’ve republished our January 2017 post on winter driving, below, which includes tips from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation website. Please give it a read.

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How can you keep safe on the road this winter? Here are the top 12 tips:

12. Clear snow and ice from all windows and lights—even the hood and roof—before driving.

11. Leave plenty of room for stopping.

10. Pay attention; don’t try to outdrive the conditions. Remember the posted speed limits are for dry pavement.

9. Use brakes carefully. Brake early. Brake correctly. It takes more time and distance to stop in adverse conditions.

8. Bridge decks freeze first. Due to the difference in the exposure to air, the surface condition can be worse on a bridge than on the approaching road.

7. Exit ramps are an even greater challenge during the winter, since they may have received less anti-icing material than the main line. Be aware of this when exiting the highway.

6. Don’t use the “cruise control” option when driving in wintry conditions. Even roads that appear clear can have sudden slippery spots and the slightest touch of your brakes to deactivate the cruise control can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

5. Don’t get overconfident in your 4×4 vehicle’s traction. Driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle may help you get going quicker, but it won’t help you stop any quicker. Many 4x4s are heavier than passenger vehicles and actually may take longer to stopWinter Driving

4. Look further ahead in traffic than you normally do. Actions by cars and trucks will alert you quicker to problems and give you a split-second of extra time to react safely.

3. Remember that trucks are heavier than cars. Trucks take longer to safely respond and come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.

2. Leave room for maintenance vehicles and plows! Stay back at least 200 feet and don’t pass on the right.

1. Most importantly, please, remember to SLOW DOWN! Also, seat belts should be worn at all times; it’s the law.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

I’m a Cubs fan, and I’m glad they lost

Rattle the Stars Executive Director Kim Bryan has graciously shared with us her journey of suicide loss, below. She is one of many who have had to endure similar painful experiences. Join Kim and others Saturday, Nov. 18, as Parkland College recognizes International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day with a program and discussion, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room U140 of the Student Union.

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When the Cubs disappointingly dropped game five to the Dodgers, I breathed a small sigh of relief.  We’re a family of Cubs fans: my husband was sucked in at age 7 in 1984, I acquired fandom through 20 years of marriage to a die-hard, and my kids were all born into it.  We even named our youngest daughter after Ryne Sandberg (she has yet to decide whether she loves or hates it).  We made a regular pilgrimage to the Eden that is Wrigley Field, and even braved the cold to wish her a happy 100th birthday.  As much as I would have loved to see my beloved Cubbies repeat this year, I was glad to be spared the pain that comes with their success.

In April 2016, just as the magical season was getting underway, my 19-year-old son died of suicide.  Sam had battled depression for several years, and after the dreadful disease drained every ounce of his happiness, it moved on to those who loved him.  When Sam died, my world went dark.  For the entire regular season, the Cubs were the farthest thing from my mind.  Just getting up and functioning each day was exhausting, and every spare moment I had was spent questioning the last minutes, hours, days, years of Sam’s life trying to figure what I could have done differently, better, to save him.

By the time October rolled around, I was just beginning to pay attention to the rest of the world again, and the Cubbies were certainly demanding attention.  But with every win, I was secretly hoping they would lose.  The little voice in my head was begging them not to win, not now, not this year.  When they won Game 6 of the NLCS, I cried.  I cried, not out of happiness, but out of grief and loss.  It was really happening.  The Cubs were going to the Series, and he was missing it.  How could he miss this?  It was all he had wanted since Neifi Perez tossed his batting gloves over the dugout to him at his first Cubs game.  Despite my best efforts, they just insisted on winning.  When Rizzo made the final out, and the world erupted in celebration, I sat stone-face on my couch, not able to move.  I finally managed a hug to my husband, but no words would even come.  This was just adding insult to injury.  Six months after suicide stole my son from the world, his dream came true.

A few days later, my family made another pilgrimage to the Eden that is Wrigley Field.  I was determined that Sam was not going to miss this.  We put on all our Cubs gear and took the worn-out Cubs hat that Sam wore every day for years, and we joined countless others in writing our tributes in chalk on the brick.  Even though I know it was eventually washed away, it was comforting to know that his name was on that wall.  A piece of him was there at Wrigley celebrating his beloved Cubbies winning the World Series.  We hugged and cried and reminisced about the great times we had had there.  We stayed as long as we could, and then begrudgingly left for home, feeling the gaping hole in our lives that was left when Sam died.

The most difficult part of healing from the death of my son has been reconciling the simultaneous happiness and sadness that comes with times of joy.  When I first started to feel happiness again, I felt guilty for it.  I actually dreaded things that I would feel good about, things that would bring me joy, because I knew that they would also bring guilt and regret, and things that I knew Sam would enjoy were the absolute worst.  Before his death, Sam had written that he knew people would be sad when he died, but that they would get over it because they were better off without him.  Every time I felt happy, those words rang in my head.  Happiness meant I was getting over it, and how could I ever possibly get over losing my son?  If I was happy, did that mean I was better off without him?  How was I going to get through the rest of my life if I couldn’t find a way to experience happiness without being consumed by this turmoil?

Thankfully, I began to connect with other survivors of suicide loss.  Through AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Walk and Survivors of Suicide Loss Day I began to meet and talk with others who understood what I was going through.  I found a community of people that have both supported my personal healing and my new journey to prevent youth suicide with our organization, Rattle the Stars.

It’s now been over a year and half since suicide stole my son from me.  I’m still not great, but with the support of other survivors, I’m getting back to okay.  For me, okay is something to celebrate.

[Dennis Cockrum is a counselor with Parkland College’s Counseling Services department.]

Out of Gas? Locked Out? Call Vehicle Services

The Parkland College Department of Public Safety strives to be accessible and responsive to the community we’re a part of. Towards that goal, we offer a range of services that go beyond traditional policing in order to better connect and engage with students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the college.

This week’s post will be an overview of the various vehicle services we offer, which are completely free to anyone on campus regardless of affiliation to the college. Just call 217/351-2369, and one of our officers will come out to help.

Locked out of your car? 

In the rush to get to class, did you leave your keys locked in the car? Our officers are trained and equipped with vehicle unlock tools to access your door handles or unlock buttons.

Dead battery?

We carry battery packs in all of our squad cars to jump start your vehicle if your battery is dead. The officer will hook it up to your car battery and help start your car. If it turns out that you have a different mechanical issue, we can call a tow truck for you to get you to a mechanic.

Run out of gas?

If you cruised onto campus running on fumes and need a little gas to get back on the road, we can give you a ride to a nearby gas station where you can put a couple of gallons in a gas can we carry in the squad car. We’ll bring you back and you can refill your tank, at least enough to get on the road and make it back to the gas station for a fill-up.

Flat tire?

We have an air compressor to fill up your tire if it’s a little flat. Unfortunately, we can’t change your tire, but we can provide advice and stand by with you if you need to switch over to your spare.

What to Expect

If you’re having any of the above issues with your car, call 217/351-2369. The dispatcher will get some information to find out where you are ,and an officer will be dispatched to you as soon as possible. They’ll verify your driver’s license and vehicle registration, have you sign a liability waiver, and then get to work to get you back on the road. It’s totally free, and you don’t have to be a Parkland student or employee to receive this service.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Cold and Flu Season

Cold and flu season officially starts in October and lasts until April, but it is possible to catch the common cold or influenza any time of the year.

Not sure what you might have? Check your symptoms on the handy chart below from the U.S. National Institute of Health! In either case, you shouldn’t come to school if you’re experiencing a cold or the flu. Focus on recovery and try to keep from infecting anyone else. If you have to leave the house, consider wearing a face mask and be sure to wash your hands often.

Consult with your doctor if you have a health concern of any kind.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Papers Due? Try the Writing Lab for Help!

Do you have a paper to revise? Are you trying to figure out MLA and APA citations? Would you like to brainstorm ideas for a scholarship application essay?

The Writing Lab can help! Stop by the Center for Academic Success (CAS, Room D120), where the lab is located, to consult one-on-one with writing faculty:

  • Get help with everything from starting on your academic paper to citing sources correctly.
  • Faculty will not proofread for you, but we can help you learn how to proofread.
  • Sessions last 15 minutes on average. Bring your assignment instructions with you so that Writing Lab faculty can help you effectively.
  • You can also find many helpful writing handouts and tutorials online.

Take advantage of this FREE resource for Parkland College students. We’re here for your success.

Writing Lab Hours
Monday–Thursday, 9 a.m.–4:50 p.m.
Friday, 9 a.m.–1:50 p.m.

[Dr. Umeeta Sadarangani teaches English 101, Humanities 109, and a variety of literature courses, and she serves as the CAS writing specialist and the Writing Lab director.]

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Thanks to earlier detection  (via screening and increased awareness) and better treatment options, a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer has dropped significantly (38 percent between the late 1980s and 2014, according to the American Cancer Society). Another way of saying it:  over the last 25 years, 297,300 fewer people have died due to this illness.

Much more work must be done, however, as breast cancer is still the second leading cause of cancer death among women. The chance that a woman will die from breast cancer is about 1 in 37 (about 2.7 percent). Only lung cancer kills more women each year. A large racial /socioeconomic gap in breast-cancer mortality also remains, with African-American women having 42 percent higher death rates compared to whites.

If you or someone you love is concerned about developing breast cancer, have been recently diagnosed, are going through treatment, or if you are trying to stay well after treatment, please consult with your doctor and refer to recommendations set out by the American Cancer Society.

Interested in how to help? Visit the American Cancer Society’s “Get Involved” page for options on how to get involved:.

**The above information was compiled from resources available at the American Cancer Society. **

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Why Texting + Driving = NO

***A number of blog posts will be repeated throughout the year. This post was originally published on March 30, 2017.***

Here’s a stat for you: Use your phone for anything while you’re driving, and you QUADRUPLE your likelihood of crashing.*

That means, if you do this, you’re four times more likely to receive serious injury (requiring hospitalization) than if you didn’t. Why?

Driving and cell phone conversations both require a great deal of thought. When doing them at the same time, your brain is unable to do either well. For example, it’s nearly impossible to read a book and have a phone conversation. So driving and using a phone often results in crashes due to delayed braking times and not seeing traffic signals.

Cell phone use is particularly dangerous because of how often and how long we use our phones when driving. Applying makeup, adjusting the stereo, or reaching for an object that’s fallen onto the floorboards are also dangerous actions when behind the wheel, but they’re typically executed in short bursts throughout a car ride. Cell phone use, on the other hand, is something that can fill up a whole trip, adding a sustained level of risk over a long period of travel.

Texting and driving is a serious problem, and one that almost all of us are guilty of. Too many of us subscribe to the “it won’t happen to me” mentality. Just remember that earlier statistic, though: While it may end up just being a fender bender, serious injury or death are probable risks as well.

Need some assistance keeping off your phone behind the wheel? You can download an app, like DriveMode for AT&T carriers, that prevents you from sending or receiving calls and texts when you’re driving. While it won’t prevent you from scrolling or checking social media, it’s a start.

*Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Alcohol Poisoning: When Drinking Turns Toxic

Alcohol poisoning happens when you drink a large amount of alcohol, usually over a short period of time. Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is so high that it is considered to be toxic.

Alcohol depresses the nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex (to prevent choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually cause these functions to shut down. Since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach, excessive vomiting is also common. If the person is unconscious, this could lead to death by asphyxiation.

Some of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Confusion
  • Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
  • Loss of coordination
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Pale or blue-tinged skin
  • Seizure
  • Slow breathing (less than eight breaths per minute)
  • Unconsciousness or passing out
  • Vomiting

If you think someone has alcohol poisoning, call 911 right away. Illinois State Law provides amnesty from any criminal liability related to underage drinking if you call for yourself or a friend. So don’t worry about getting in trouble or getting a drinking ticket; the police care significantly more about your health and safety than about issuing a ticket.

While you wait for help, DO

  • ….Stay with them.
  • …Keep them warm.
  • …If they are unconscious, put them in the recovery position and check that they are breathing.
  • …If they are awake, try to keep them in a sitting position and awake.

If someone has drunk too much, DO NOT

  • …leave someone to sleep it off. The amount of alcohol in someone’s blood continues to rise even when they stop drinking.
  • …give them coffee. Alcohol dehydrates the body, as does coffee. Having both can lead to severe dehydration and permanent brain damage.
  • …make them throw up. Alcohol can interfere with a person’s gag reflex, causing them to choke on their own vomit.
  • …walk them around. Alcohol slows brain function and affects coordination and balance. Walking around might cause accidents.
  • …put them under a cold shower. Alcohol lowers body temperature. A cold shower could make them colder than they already are and lead to hypothermia.
  • …let them drink more alcohol. The amount of alcohol in their bloodstream could become even higher – which could put them in more danger.

***A number of blog posts will be repeated throughout the year. This post was originally published on March 2, 2017.***

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Smoke Alarms Safety Tips

For those of us who are moving in at the  beginning of the semester or just haven’t checked in a while, the Department of Public Safety wants to remind you to make sure your apartments or homes are equipped with functioning smoke alarms. Smoke alarms save lives. The National Fire Protection Association offers the following tips concerning smoke alarms:

Properly installed and maintained  smoke alarms play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast; smoke alarms give you time to get out! Remember these important tips:

  • There are two kinds of alarms: Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in your house or apartment.
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home.
  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside immediately and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Personal Safety Reminders

Our campus and local community continue to feel the impact of missing UIUC visiting scholar Yingying Zhang, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and loved ones.

This week’s post serves as a reminder of personal safety tips and habits that can help keep you from becoming a victim. We would like to note that you are not to blame if someone commits a crime against you; however, there are several steps you can take to safeguard against being victimized. Today’s set of tips is broken into two categories, communication and awareness. Both are important elements that work together to keep you safe.

Communication

Make sure someone knows where you’re coming from, where you’re going, and when you’re supposed to get there. This is particularly important if you’re going out to a bar or a party for the night, but can also be a good practice to generally incorporate. This person can be a roommate, friend, significant other, or relative.

Call the police. Police officers get paid to investigate suspicious circumstances. If something happens to you, or you see something that seems out of the ordinary or suspicious, pick up the phone and call. You’re not inconveniencing anyone. It’s our job, and it’s what we get paid to do.

Awareness

Recognize when you’re in a situation where someone is more likely to target you. This can be when you’re standing at an ATM, walking alone on a dark sidewalk/path at night, or fumbling with your keys before you get into your vehicle or enter your apartment. Keep an eye out for anything suspicious, and if something doesn’t look or feel right, consider choosing a different route, finding a public area, or possibly calling the police.

It’s also important to think critically about situations you’re presented with. When you’re at a party or a bar, be cautious about accepting drinks that you haven’t seen prepared. If someone asks you for help that requires you to get into a vehicle or enter a house or apartment, that should definitely set off some red flags in your mind.

No one wants to live their lives dominated by fear, and that’s not what we’re suggesting. Despite the sense that social media and the daily headlines may give you, it’s ultimately not very likely that you’re going to be the victim of a serious crime. Nevertheless, there are simple, relatively unobtrusive steps you can take to further drive those odds down. If we all work together to take a little better care of ourselves and each other, hopefully we can avoid the next tragedy.

 

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Rest up for Finals Week…and Your Safety

Sleep is one of the most powerful indicators of student success, and with good reason. Sleep not only refreshes our organs and physical bodies, but it helps us consolidate and synthesize the information  we take in everyday. Many college students (and adults in general) find that they have trouble getting enough quality sleep at night.

Not only is sleep important for success in the classroom or the workplace, but getting enough sleep is critical for your safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since currently it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.

I found some great tips for improving the quality and quantity of your sleep, from Middlebury College in Vermont:

Develop a routine. Routines signal to our body that something is about to happen—in this case, sleep! Starting a bedtime routine 30 minutes before going to sleep can help unwind the mind and body and release melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Starting the routine at the same time and trying to wake up and the same time everyday can improve sleep quality and quantity.

Reduce caffeine. Caffeine has been shown to cause people to take longer to get to sleep, cause more awakenings, and lower the quality of sleep. Many types of soda contain caffeine as does chocolate, coffee and many types of teas.

Limit alcohol. Consuming alcohol, even as little as one to two drinks can produce fragmented sleep, causing a decrease in deep and REM sleep.

Go screen-free. The light emitted from cell phones, computer screens, tablets, and televisions trick our bodies and brains into thinking that it is light outside and we should be awake. Adding screen-free time into your routine can help you fall asleep faster.

Make time for physical activity. Often at the end of the day our brains are exhausted but our bodies are restless after sitting in class all day. Making time for physical activity, even just a walk around campus or your neighborhood, can help the brain and body get on the same page at the end of the day.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

10 Tips for Nighttime Walking

Whether you’re walking out to your car through the Parkland parking lots or enjoying an evening out in downtown Champaign, Urbana, or Campustown, foot travel at night carries more risks than the daytime. As starts to get nicer outside, we’ve compiled the following list of tips to help you safely reach your destination:

  1. Stay away from poorly lit areas and avoid taking shortcuts down dark alleyways or paths. Choose well-lit, heavily traveled sidewalks.
  2. If you are in an emergency situation, call 911.
  3. Whenever possible, do not walk alone at night.
  4. Be aware of places along your path that could conceal a criminal (shrubbery, buildings, recesses, etc.). Avoid these areas.
  5. Do not use headphones or talk on a cell phone while walking alone at night as this reduces your awareness of your surroundings.
  6. If you think someone is following you, make your way to a populated area and consider calling the police.
  7. Carry yourself with confidence. If confronted, shout or use a whistle to attract attention.
  8. It is risky to travel under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances. Drugs and alcohol can greatly alter your perceptions, reaction time, and judgments.
  9. Make sure to tell someone your plans and travel routes and when to expect your arrival.
  10. Wear clothing that will allow you to run if necessary. If you need to run, drop any heavy cargo you’re carrying (heavy books, packages, etc.) since these slow you down.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Internationalizing Parkland Curriculum: A Personal Journey

A few years ago, Parkland College Study Abroad Coordinator Jody Littleton challenged me to think about how my classes could be different and possibly even better through adding more cultural reflection. When teaching in the quantitative sciences, it is easy to overlook the power that curriculum infused with an international perspective can have on student learning.

I had fallen prey to the mindset that I just needed to “get through the material” as presented in the book and on the Course Information Forms. After ruminating on her suggestion, though, I realized that I might be able to teach specific topics better if I created well-thought-out assessments with a global outlook. Jody and I continued the conversation, and when several Parkland faculty partnered with Joliet Junior College to travel to China a month ago (March 2017), I joined in.

It was a trip of a lifetime that opened my eyes to what may have been missing from my teaching. For one, this trip made my feet itch with the desire to travel outside of the US for my professional development. How can I teach about unique nutritional deficiencies, different modes of physical activity in the world, living quarters’ impact on health, medical training, and more if I only have a book for reference? I also quickly realized that my perspectives on China had been missing critical pieces of information; once abroad, I was able to form a holistic picture of Chinese culture and better compare it to the US as well as other to countries I have visited. While many topics I had studied prior to my trip were “mostly correct,” visiting China clarified several misconceptions, gave me a new appreciation, and allowed me to better understand the full picture.

What I Learned During the Faculty Study Abroad

  • I was shocked to see how quickly China is becoming Westernized, to the point that McDonald’s delivers in many cities in China. At the train station waiting for the bullet train, there were two KFC restaurants as well as a McDonald’s in one moderate-sized train station.
  • At the farmer’s market, we saw many choices that we don’t see in the United States. Lamb intestine, cow stomach, chicken feet, and more were sitting out for purchase from morning until evening, with patrons bringing them home to cook for dinner. When we were invited to eat with the Nanjing Technical School faculty and deans, we were able to sample more of the local fair, including duck heads, a native delicacy. (In case you were wondering, you eat duck heads like oysters.)
  • Most places we ate at served food “family style” with a turntable in the center. Plates were significantly smaller than in the US. Because everyone is sharing, I didn’t want to take more food than would be socially appropriate, so, it encouraged me to eat more modest portions than I am accustomed to eating. I also learned that rice is often not served in China if the host would like to impress you with the quality of food offered. Rice is not the food of the rich. The rich eat a meat- and fish-based diet with significantly fewer vegetables than China has historically consumed. In turn, there is a marked rise in obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes.
  • Even on good days, the smog in some locations of China would impede my ability to see the sun and, possibly, my ability to synthesize enough vitamin D to meet my nutritional needs without supplementation/fortification.
  • Toilets in China are often similar to the stalls you see here.  We discussed that women would realistically need to retain the ability to perform a deep squat if they were to use a public toilet. However, it seemed of little concern as many older individuals in China had a greater range of motion than we see in the US. Possibly due to the toilets?
  • When we visited a local park at 10  a.m. during the weekday, we noted that many people engaged in exercise…dance, tai chi, fencing, badminton, etc. Retirees in China do not retire to the couch. They get out during the day to enjoy other’s company as well as keep active physically and mentally.

How What I Learned Changed My Curriculum

  • Now, in each module of my BIO 120 class (Fundamentals of Nutrition), students have the opportunity to present a module-specific cultural comparison between China and the US. During the digestive system module, students can discuss the incidence of specific GI disorders in China relative to the US. For example, a student researched and found a higher incidence of lactose intolerance/maldigestion in China due to both environmental and genetic factors.
  • My KIN 288 (Exercise Physiology) class is finding peer-reviewed journal articles comparing topics such as air quality impact on VO2max, changes in childhood obesity rates in response to Westernization, and the selection and training of Olympic hopefuls in China.
  • In all of my classes, students have the option of creating a video focusing on the cultural comparison between China and the US. We are partnering with our PCTV studio, and many of the videos will become available on YouTube mid-May.

Overall, visiting China was a surreal, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I constantly took pictures, spoke with locals, and absorbed all the nuances I could. Other Parkland College faculty who participated in this grant echo my sentiments, and we plan to collectively present  about our experiences this September. We look forward to sharing more of our perspectives then.

[An associate professor in  Natural Sciences, Toni Burkhalter was Parkland College’s Teaching Excellence Award winner for 2016].

Cyber Safety, Part 2: Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying isn’t just a problem for adolescents; it often impacts those who have long since left high school behind. If you find yourself being bullied or harassed online, there are a few steps you can take to remedy the situation.

  1. Document all evidence of the bullying, taking screenshots or pictures of any messages, posts, or comments that are made. You should also block the person who is cyberbullying.
  2. Next, report that evidence to the online service providers. Cyberbullying often violates the terms of service established by social media sites and Internet service providers, and they can take action against the users who are abusing their sites. This not only protects you but stops others from being bullied as well.
  3. Finally, depending on the severity of the bullying, bring the evidence you have to law enforcement as well. This should definitely be done when the bullying involves threats of violence, sexually explicit messages or posts, stalking and hate crimes, or taking photos or videos of someone where they would reasonably expect privacy.

The Pew Research Center estimates that 40% of adult Internet users have personally experienced some form of online harassment. If you or someone you know is the victim of online bullying, please reach out and start the process to freedom from cyberbullying.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

 

Spring Graduation: Get What You’ve Earned

So, you have earned your Parkland College degree or certificate, AND you are not walking in the commencement ceremony this May; you’re moving on.

However, you can still graduate and receive the credential you’ve earned…and you SHOULD. Here’s why:

• You never know how soon your life may change. Get that degree awarded to your Parkland College transcript.
• You have no idea how proud your family will be seeing that diploma on the living room wall.
• Your children follow in your footsteps. Knowing you’ve graduated will increase their chances of graduating from college as well.
• It is an excellent accent to your growing resume.
• Many jobs require at least a two-year degree, so why miss that opportunity?
• Haven’t you always been told to finish what you started?

Stop by Admissions and Records today to fill out a Petition to Graduate! The deadline is Monday, April 10! You can find the petition in Admissions and Records under Forms or in the my.parkland portal. It’s not an automatic thing to receive your degree; the petition lets us know you’re finished.

[Dennis Kaczor is a credentials analyst in Parkland Admissions and Records.]

2017 International Cultures Fair

20th Annual International Cultures Fair 
Thursday, March 30, 11am–4pm
Parkland College Student Union

Photo by Heather Coit/The News-Gazette
Zilkia Guzman, a second-year Parkland Student, shows off the Henna work, created by Mahomet-based Zainab Susi, at the 19th annual Cultures Fair at Parkland College’s Student Union in Champaign on Thursday, March 17, 2016.

Everyone is invited to attend the Cultures Fair at Parkland College this Thursday. The event is free, and will feature an exciting lineup of musical artists and speakers from around the world. There will be a jerk chicken lunch in U140 to raise money for a new international student scholarship. Student clubs and organizations will also have tables with information and fun activities, including henna tattoos!

U140
11:30–1: JERK CHICKEN LUNCH, catered by Caribbean Grill (tickets $6; all proceeds go to a new International Student Scholarship).  Until the food runs out!

1:30–2:10 Japanese Tea Ceremony.  Japan House from UIUC will present Chado, the Way of Tea, which is one of the most time honored Japanese traditional arts. It encompasses all of the different Japanese art forms, aesthetics, and philosophy. Codified almost four hundred years ago by Sen Rikyu, the greatest tea master, the four spirits of tea signify the highest ideals of the Way of Tea: harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.

3–4 pm: Campus Talk:  Professor Hua Qin from the University of Missouri-Columbia uncovers the relationship between migration and the environment in China and how this information may lead to better sustainability and policies in China.

Main Stage Student Union
11:00–11:45: Super Mazumzum: Playing Afro Beat, Soukous, Township Jive, Malawian Afroma, and more, Super Mazumzum is Champaign-Urbana’s premier African Jazz band performing music from artists ranging from Manu Dibango to Mafikizolo.

Noon–12:45: Jean René Balekita and Bomoyi: Congolese rumba with flavors of gospel, jazz and African rhythms. Bomoyi means “life” in the native language of Lingala. In addition to Lingala they sing in English, French, Kikongo, Swahili, and Tshiluba.

1:00–1:30: Gah Rahk Mah Dahng: Korean Traditional Percussion student club at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They play a genre called Samulnori, featuring four different instruments. These instruments were traditionally played together in prayer for good harvest. Nowadays they are often played for both musical performance and social protest.

2:00–2:45: Los Guapos: an instrumental quartet specializing in folk and popular music traditions of Latin America. The group performs a unique blend of Cumbia, Peruvian Chicha, Conjunto Cubano, and psychedelic rock styles.

Parkland Student Club Tables
English Conversation Club, German Club, Spanish, Study Abroad, Japanese Culture Club, Club Latino, henna tattoos, and more!

The fair is being sponsored by the UIUC’s Center for Global Studies, through support of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI NRC program. Additional funding has been provided by the UIUC Center for African Studies and the Center for Latin American Studies as well as the Division of Arts and Sciences, the Counseling and Advising Center, and Student Government at Parkland College.

Five Tips for Enjoying Spring Break…Safely

Parkland College’s spring break is just around the corner, so here are five tips for staying safe during the break:

Stick together
If you’re going on a trip with a group of friends, you’ll all be safest if you stick together. Should one of you decide to leave a party early or go on a solo shopping trip, make sure others in your group know where you’re going and how long you’ll be.

Keep an eye on your money
You don’t want to get stranded in a new and unfamiliar place without any money, so be sure to bring enough to last you the whole trip. If you carry cash, try to keep the amount you take with you on routine excursions to a minimum. Try distributing your money in various places among your belongings and accommodations so that if by chance you lose some or it’s stolen, you’ll still have more elsewhere.

Alcohol and you
Most spring break trips involve some level of alcohol-related activities, and while you may be safest if you don’t partake, the reality is, that will probably not be the case. Being smart about the way you drink is the next best thing, and that involves being cognizant of the risks of alcohol poisoning, selecting a designated driver if you’ve got to travel, and being wary of accepting drinks from strangers.

Safe sex
Should you decide to have sex during spring break, take the necessary precautions to protect against unwanted pregnancy and STDs/STIs. Make sure that consent has been explicitly and freely established between all parties before engaging in sexual activities.

Use proper activity gear
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that accidental injuries kill more Americans age 30 and under than any other cause of death. With this in mind, be sure to wear those seat belts and use life vests, knee pads, and other appropriate gear, especially before venturing out to some high-risk activity.

Have a fun—and safe—spring break!

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

The Parkland College Department of Public Safety is here to provide a safe and secure campus environment conducive to learning. Every week throughout the year, we’ll be releasing a new public safety message, providing applicable information that you can use to stay safe and have a successful experience here at Parkland.

Our message this week:  Teen Dating Violence Awareness.

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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month, when we collectively recognize that abuse can happen to anyone at any age, and shouldn’t be overlooked. The 16 to 24 female age group experiences abuse at the highest level of frequency, at almost triple the national average, and 43 percent of college-aged women report experiencing violent and abusive dating relationships.

If you or someone you know feels caught up in an abusive relationship, it’s important to know that you’re not alone, and that there are a wealth of resources here at Parkland College to help. Here are a few:

  • Most obviously, you can make a report with the Parkland College Police Department if the abuse is happening here or involves another student. Our officers are also available to talk about it and offer advice, even if it’s not happening on Parkland property.
  • The Parkland College Counseling and Advising Center is staffed with trained counselors who can also provide assistance,
  • You can go to the Dean of Students to get help.

Other resources are available at loveisrespect.org, where you can chat with a live advocate, or call 1-866/331-9474.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Why Go On A College Visit? Four Reasons

What’s so valuable about actually visiting Parkland College before you consider attending the school? Here are four good reasons:

  1. You can really visit the campus. Let’s be honest: the pictures you see in brochures are not always an accurate representation of what every part of a campus looks like.  Attending a campus visit allows you to see every part of campus, from the classrooms, to the cafeteria, to the library, and even parking.  You can see for yourself where students like to spend their time between classes, where the computer labs are located, or what clubs you can join.  You will learn so much more than you ever could from a college brochure.
  1. You can get your specific questions answered. What about this particular major?  What’s my financial aid status?  What tutoring opportunities are on campus for me?  Trust us, we have been asked some very interesting questions during campus visits!  Come armed with your list of questions, and we will make sure to answered them before you leave.
  1. You can talk with current students about their experiences. Learn what students like to get involved in, their favorite places to eat in the area, or what some of their favorite electives are.  Talking to Parkland College students is a great way to get honest feedback about the institution.
  1. You can see what campus is like on a regular day. Sure visiting the campus over the summer might be easier since you are on summer break, but the campus has considerably fewer students around then.  This might give you a false sense of what to expect campus life to be like.  Attending a campus visit day allows you to truly see how many students are on campus, how the parking can be, and even how long it might take you to get from one class to another.

Ready to come out for a Campus Visit Day?  RSVP here.

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for Parkland College.]

Parkland Pathway to the U of I: Is It for You?

You’ve always wanted to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but you find the size of the place huge, the cost seems overwhelming, or perhaps your grades aren’t quite what they need to be. Parkland Pathway to Illinois could be an option for you!

Parkland Pathway is a two-year program where you attend Parkland College for your general education classes but can also take one class a semester at the UIUC. At the end of the two years, you are guaranteed a slot into the junior class in your major as long as you have maintained the college GPA for transfer.

You would get the benefit of small classes with dedicated faculty  from Parkland combined with the enormous opportunities available at a world-class institution like the University of Illinois. Plus, your tuition will be based on your Parkland residency rate. Parkland Pathway really is the “best of both worlds.”

If you are a soon-to-graduate high school senior or are a junior who would like more information, please sign up to attend a special Parkland Pathway Information Open House coming up Sunday, Feb. 12 from 1 to 3 p.m. on the Parkland campus. In addition to an overall explanation of the program, counselors from each of the UIUC participating colleges will be present with their Parkland counterpart. Come and get answers to both your Parkland and UIUC questions.

For more information and to RSVP for this event, please click here.

[Mary Kay Smith is the student services advisor for Parkland’s  Admissions and Records office.]

Seville Spain Street Performers

Enjoy some Seville, Spain, street music today, compliments of Scott Barnes, one of our study abroad students in Spain. Sign up for study abroad and you can experience these wonderful performances in person!

Contact Jody Littleton at jlittleton@parkland.edu or 217/351-2532 today.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/oM4m0c8p1GI

Know Where to Go for Flamenco in Seville, Spain!

This blog is from Christopher Scott Barnes.  He is studying this semester in Seville, Spain.  We offer study abroad here and many other places!  If you are interested in Study Abroad, contact jlittleton@parkland.edu.

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When gypsies arrived in Spain in the 15th century, they brought with them a style of song and dance that later developed into what is considered today as contemporary flamenco. flamenco-sign

The tradition became popular in Spain throughout the 20th century, as the “gitanos” began performing for tourists here in Seville and other cities.

In multiple locations, visitors can still see the famous “tabloas,” in which performers display a spectrum of intense emotion through song and dance. One of the best spots in the city for flamenco is at the Museo del Baile Flamenco, which is where I was lucky enough to enjoy a proper show for the first time.flamenco-4

Accompanied by ICS professor Judy Cotter, a small group of students and I sat front row for an intimate performance. Afterwards, I was able to meet the star of the show, Victor Bravo, who is also the dance director of the museum. When I asked him if he could provide me with a quote about the show that evening, he replied by telling me that flamenco cannot be summed up in a few words or a couple of sentences.flamenco2

The art has a rich history and has played a significant role in Spanish society for many years. The Jewish and Arabian influence that makes up the culture of southern Spain can easily be felt in the singing, which is accompanied by Spanish guitar. The flow of it all is directed by the movement of the dancers who keep time by stomping their feet, clapping their hands and rattling castanets. The rhythm of the show varies as each performer takes their turn in the spotlight.  The volume goes from a hush to a crescendo as the performers show individual style as well as collective coordination.

It all adds up to an authentic, theater-like event and an evening that is worth the time and money. I highly recommend that future students experience flamenco while they are in Seville. I also recommend having dinner at Bar Estrella just around the corner from the museum. Que rico!

flamenco-1flamenco-3

 

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.]

 

 

Morocco: Gateway to Another World

Scott Barnes, a Parkland student, is living in Seville, Spain for a semester study abroad. As part of his study abroad experience he visited Morocco. I am looking forward to what he has to say!

Remember YOU can study abroad too.  We have lots of different experiences. Check out our study abroad options at http://www.parkland.edu/international/studyabroad

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When I first arrived in Europe, I knew very little about the history of the various countries in it and had very little knowledge about the many cultures that exist here. Other than the secondhand information I received via the media throughout the years, I didn’t have much of an idea about libarnes-blog-2016fe abroad.

The differences are what I noticed first and foremost, and those differences are what most students struggle with, initially. Changing mealtimes and sleep habits as well adjusting to the foreign way in which people greet each other and conduct themselves requires some time to understand and get comfortable with.

Despite the differences, there is a lot that Americans and Europeans have in common. Those similarities were brought to light after I took a trip to Morocco.

I hadn’t realized how much the way in which I live echoes the European way of life until I spent some time in the Rif Mountains. The social norms that westerners share exist to a lesser degree in northern Africa. For example, it is uncommon to see men and women together in a public setting and much of the daily routine is centered around practicing religion.

barnes-blog-3Although my visit to Morocco was very short, it had a significant impact on me. Rather than providing a detailed, firsthand account of the various activities that the International College of Seville planned out for our trip, I prefer to share with you what I found to be truly rewarding about the experience. It is wonderful to have pictures of riding camels and eating in authentic Moroccan restaurants, but what is more valuable is the perspective that is gained from visiting different countries and meeting new people. The stimulation that comes from trying to understand a different way of life or to see the perspective of things through another cultural lens has been life-changing for me.

The name of the game in the touristic areas of Morocco is buy and sell, and merchants love to engage in the act of negotiation. There are no set prices and the bargain to be had is largely determined by the ability of the buyer to be resolute. The confidence of knowing a low price has been paid may be confirmed by the statement, “you haggle like a Berber!” The country is a great place to purchase gifts for friends and family back home and that seems to be the objective for most of the tourists who visit. The products offered vary from handmade gifts and food to just about anything they think people might want to buy.barnes-blog-5

To my surprise, many Moroccan people know English and speak it very well. It is necessary when dealing with foreigners, and their linguistic capability is impressive. Many of them learn English at a very young age and likely have been speaking more than one language since they were children. In fact, it is normal for Moroccan people to speak three or four different languages; English, French and their own dialect of Arabic are the most common. I found that after the exchange of money was complete, the sellers were more open to conversation. A lot about their culture was conveyed in those brief interactions, and it was easy to feel their affection and see the kindness in their eyes.

barnes-blog-4Superficially, consumerism is obviously a part of their way of life, and tourism certainly supports the economy, but there is much more to the culture and history of Arabian people. There are stories behind the faces in the shops of the medina, or “Old Town,” district of Tetouan, or within the painted blue walls of Chefchaouen. There is a way of greeting people, of falling in love, of raising children, and of experiencing life that is unique to the culture.

I have found that tasting the different flavors, seeing the sights, hearing the sounds, and smelling the scents of various cultures is enlightening. The best way to learn about other countries is to visit them. Sharing face to face conversations is rewarding, even if the interaction is minimal.

barnes-blog-2Moving beyond being a tourist and finding commonality with people of another race is what is truly beneficial about traveling. Also, to tell the story of the person who sold you the gift makes the act of giving it more enjoyable. I may have left with a pair of high quality, handmade Moroccan leather sandals, but the real present is my new found view of the world and my life.

Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of studying abroad is the easy access to other worlds and the subsequent comprehensive understanding of culture that results from those adventures.

Three Good Reasons to Take an Online Course

Usually, when you see this headline, you expect to see reasons like “greater convenience” or “lower costs” or “a more comfortable learning environment.” And while all of these are true, here are three reasons to take an online course you might not have considered.

1. Technology education. Most, if not all students will be working with “others” sometime in their future careers. To be successful, the use of technology is very important. Taking online courses now at Parkland College helps prepare you to communicate with others using today’s technology, including virtual meetings and collaborations through email and social media devices. Business and management instructor Mark Kesler says he encourages all of his students to be comfortable in the online learning environment: “I highly recommend all my students take at least one online class before they leave Parkland.”

2. Cultural diversity. Students all around the world take Parkland’s online courses. By enrolling in an online course, you get the chance to meet students from other countries. Students benefit mutually from learning about each others’ cultures and educational and life experiences. Often, you can get a “study abroad” experience without leaving the comfort of your own home.

3. Career skill-building. Taking an online class requires discipline, punctuality, and self-motivation, all excellent skills to have in the workforce. Online courses create a solid foundation that prepares you for your next step, whether it’s transferring to a four-year institution or starting your career.

So, while online courses are recommended for their quality instruction, transferability, and affordability, they offer so much more than just that for students. Online courses can provide a broad experience that shapes the future of your employment and life goals.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead, sign up for an online class today!

[Lori Wendt is the learning management system specialist for the Professional Development and Instructional Technology department at Parkland College.]

***Parkland celebrates National Distance Learning Week, Nov. 7-11.***

Study Abroad Spain: The Experience is Sinking In

Communication major Scott Barnes’ new study abroad acquaintance Corey Davis learns he should live life back home like he’s living it in Spain. “Get off the couch and quit watching Netflix,” I think, is a great message for all of us! Check out Corey’s interview below.

Remember, anyone can study abroad; I have people of all ages and backgrounds go on these trips. We have 10-day, 4-week, and 15-week programs available at a variety of times in the academic year.

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The experience of living in another country is really beginning to set in, and most of the students at ICS are starting to understand how this program is changing the way they think and live. Corey Davis provides some wonderful insight into that phenomenon in this short interview.

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***The Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs and Parkland College work together to provide opportunities for Parkland students to study abroad. Multiple programs in various countries are available every semester. Students interested in enrolling should contact study abroad coordinator Jody Littleton via email at jlittleton@parkland.edu for more information.

[Associate Professor Jody Littleton teaches speech communication and serves as Parkland’s Study Abroad coordinator.]

China Study Abroad: The Dining Experience

I asked Ryan Mills, a study abroad student from Parkland College who is currently in China, to send me some reasons why students should study abroad in China. Ryan is so enthusiastic that he sent me quite a list! The first reason to go to China, according to Ryan? Food!

Remember, anyone can study abroad; I have people of all ages and backgrounds go on these trips. We have 10-day, 4-week, and 15-week programs available at a variety of times in the academic year.

Plus, travel to China through two study abroad options:
Summer 2017 travel to Nanjing, Beijing, and Shanghai (June 1–15)*
Fall 2017 option available in Xian, home of the Terra Cotta Warriors.

Scholarships available for summer 2017 to degree-seeking students if they take 8-week WCE 364 001 (Conversational Chinese), which meets March 27–May 15 (M 6:30–8:30; cost is $139 with textbook  included).

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Who doesn’t like food? Imagine eating at your favorite Chinese restaurant almost every day but ten times better. The food is fantastic and very affordable.

china-foodGet ready to put the fork down and pick up the chopsticks. If you get tired of Chinese food, there is always Pizza Hut, Burger King, McDonald’s, and KFC to reach your inner American, (all chains actually taste way better in China than they do in America).

Eating at a restaurant with friends is different than back in the States. Part of the culture in China is to share everything you have with others, especially the food. When you order food, you don’t get a single dish for yourself, you share all dishes with the people at the table, get a little piece of everything, and split the fare evenly. It’s awesome.

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***The Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs and Parkland College work together to provide opportunities for Parkland students to study abroad. Multiple programs in various countries are available every semester. Students interested in enrolling should contact study abroad coordinator Jody Littleton via email at jlittleton@parkland.edu for more information.

[Associate Professor Jody Littleton teaches speech communication and serves as Parkland’s Study Abroad coordinator.]

 

PRECS: A new opportunity for community college students

How does the environment affect plant and animal development? An exciting new research opportunity for community college students coming to Parkland College this summer will give students a look at some of the answers.

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-12-27-14-pmCalled PRECS, or Phenotypic Plasticity Research Experience for Community College Students, the program is designed to provide community college students with authentic research experiences in the area of phenotypic plasticity, the phenomenon of a single genotype producing multiple phenotypes depending on environment.

Parkland’s Dr. C. Britt Carlson and Dr. Nathan Schroeder of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the program’s creators, recently announced that PRECS will be up and running May 24 to July 26, 2017. PRECS was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Overview

The 10 community college students who will be chosen to participate in PRECS will be paired with research mentors at the University of Illinois, working on such projects as:

  • the interaction between genotype and ozone pollution on maize growth
  • the effect of environmental stress on neuroanatomy
  • the interactions of genes and environment on fish behavior

1) Boot Camp
To tailor to community college students, who may not have had any research experience and relatively few college-level science courses, PRECS starts with a 2-week “boot-camp” to prepare students to conduct research at the University of Illinois.

2) Research Immersion
After this preparation, students enter an 8-week research immersion program at the University of Illinois.

3) Presentations
Students will then present their research at their home community college as well as at an undergraduate research symposium on the University of Illinois campus.

Program Benefits

Participation in a program like PRECS is a great way for students to gain experience, create new contacts, explore future careers, and build their resumes:

  • Throughout the program, student participants will gain hands-on experience, learning while they explore the world of research science. PRECS provides students with the background needed to be successful in a research laboratory and an opportunity to use those skills doing real science at the University of Illinois.
  • Participants will work closely with UIUC researchers and other community college science students, creating a network within their professional field.
  • Participation in this program will be a great resume-builder, as students will be able to show future academic institutions and employers evidence of their expertise in the sciences and their ability to take initiative, work independently, and work collaboratively.

PRECS also provides students with a $5,500 stipend for participation in the program. Housing, food, and travel (if needed) allowances are also available.

Eligibility

Students interested in participating in PRECS must be attending a community college, be a US citizen or permanent resident, and have completed General Biology I (General Chemistry I is also preferred). PRECS encourages applications from students from underrepresented groups.

Applications for summer 2017 are due March 15. For more information on PRECS, please visit precs.igb.illinois.edu.

[Dr. C. Britt Carlson is an associate professor in chemistry at Parkland College.]

Top 6 Reasons to Activate Your SALT Account

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Your free SALT account from Parkland College is waiting, and if you’re still skeptical about joining, here are six awesome reasons to get off the fence and start getting money-savvy.

  1.  It’s FREE – Like, really free. Parkland College hooked you up, so all you have to do is activate.
  2. It can find you free money – Want to tap into millions in scholarship money? Yeah, SALT can help with that.
  3. It builds your skills – Learn budgeting skills that will keep you in control of your cash for life.
  4. It can help you land a job – Get inside tips to grab an internship now and a job after graduation.
  5. It’ll tell you how to own your loans – Show your student loans who’s boss with easy tools to track and manage them.
  6. It’s FREE – Did we mention it’s totally free?

To activate your SALT account join now at:

What does “SALT” mean, anyway?
Back in the day (way, way back in the day), salt was the universal currency. It’s why SALT goes back to the basics to give you universal information, neutral advice, and smart strategies to help you take control of your money.

[Dawn Kamphaus is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

5 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad

Hopefully you’ve already seen Communication major Scott Barnes’ introduction last week, as he began his life-changing educational experiences in Spain. In this latest post, Scott entices all students to try study abroad, listing some fabulous reasons for doing so.

Remember, anyone can study abroad; I have people of all ages and backgrounds go on these trips. We have 10-day, 4-week, and 15-week programs available at a variety of times in the academic year.

Enjoy some tapas for me, Scott!

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I now have firsthand knowledge of what culture shock is! But I also know that it just takes a few deep breaths and a little bit of time to overcome it. Despite the difficulties of living day-to-day life in a foreign country and speaking a language that is relatively new to me, I have survived. I have just completed week number two of my first semester studying abroad, and the experience has been all I thought it would be and more.

I have been in Seville, Spain, for 14 days and am already beginning to see how this experience will impact the rest of my life. I have spent the last year of my life contemplating pros and cons, researching Spanish culture, practicing the language, and wondering if the investment is worth it. I can say with confidence that it is!  I made a serious commitment and left behind the comforts of home in order to further my education, and I recommend every college student do the same. There are many reasons why studying abroad is a wise decision. Here are just five of them.

Resume. Students whose main objective for pursuing a college degree is to increase employment opportunities should put study abroad at the top of their list. The workplace is becoming increasingly diverse, and companies are looking for employees who have an understanding of other cultures. Therefore, a solid candidate is one who possesses intercultural competency and an ability to speak multiple languages, two skills that are immediately put to the test when studying in a foreign country.

Immersion. There is only so much a student can learn sitting at a desk. The classroom is a great setting to gain knowledge about any given field of study but, as many students already know, learning how to apply that knowledge is essential to developing a career. The process of learning a new language is much the same. I have taken three Spanish courses at Parkland and have spent hours memorizing vocabulary and verb conjugation. I’ve learned more about the language in the last two weeks than I did during those three semesters. Studying was a great way to prepare myself but actually being immersed has forced me to understand the nuances and begin to think in a “Spanish” way, which has been a truly stimulating experience for me.

Networking. In the short amount of time I’ve been here in Spain, I have already made new friends as well as professional acquaintances. In my opinion, meeting new people and increasing the Rolodex is just as important to career ambitions as developing a well-rounded portfolio or an impressive resume. To have contacts in other countries increases the reach of my social circle. It also fosters more global awareness and provides different perspectives on worldly issues. My social and professional life will be forever changed because the connections I’ve made here.

Culture. Spending a significant amount of time in another country gives students the benefit of moving beyond the limitations of being a tourist and helps them adopt new ways of thinking and living. I began my journey in Paris, France, and have been to multiple cities since then. I have been lucky enough to spend time in different houses and hostels around France as well as in Madrid and Barcelona. I spent at least a few days in each location and made an effort to interact with the locals, which has actually been pretty easy to do! Studying outside of America has helped me realize what it’s like to be a foreigner as well as develop a better understanding of my own culture. I’ve also gotten an outside perspective on the United States and how American culture is viewed here in Europe. I think that this insight and knowledge is very beneficial to my intellectual development and is valuable to me no matter what career path I choose to take. Interacting with people from various cultural backgrounds has been enlightening in many ways for me.

Experience. Studying abroad has presented me with a myriad of challenges. Whether it was dealing with the feeling of being homesick or confronting the uneasiness of culture shock, these adverse situations provided me an opportunity to grow and have boosted my self-confidence. I have bonded with travelers from all over the world as well as other American students who have had the same kind of experiences. In many ways, studying abroad is a good excuse to visit new lands and learn about new cultures. Once inside Europe, it is relatively cheap and easy to travel to multiple countries and experience multiple cultures. There are many new activities and customs to experience that aren’t available in the States. All of this adds up to a rewarding and enriching experience for those who are curious about the world and a new way of life different than what they are accustomed to.

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***The Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs and Parkland College work together to provide opportunities for Parkland students to study abroad. Multiple programs in various countries are available every semester. Students interested in enrolling should contact study abroad coordinator Jody Littleton via email at jlittleton@parkland.edu for more information.

[Associate Professor Jody Littleton teaches speech communication and serves as Parkland’s Study Abroad coordinator.]

Open House: Time to Check Out Parkland College

So many exciting things are happening at Parkland this fall, we just have to have an Open House to show the place off!

Friday, October 28 is a perfect time to come and check out Parkland. From noon to 2 pm that day, there will be student services and academic members at tables in the Student Union atrium to explain their programs.

Plus, new this year, the Anatomage and new Earth Science Labs will be open to show what cutting edge tools look like. Anatomage is a digital dissection table that medical schools are beginning to use to train students. The touchscreen monitor provides three different individuals that students can explore in the 3D environment. Meanwhile, the Earth Science lab will feature an augmented reality sandbox (ARS), where students can learn how to read and interpret topographical maps in 3D.

From noon to 3 pm that same day, our Health Professions department is featuring all their programs, both in the L and H wings. The H wing on Mattis Avenue includes our Massage Therapy, Practical Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Paramedic, Medical Assisting, Certified Nursing, and Nursing programs. Back at the main campus, the L wing will best suit those students interested in Vet Tech, Dental Hygiene, Radiologic Tech, Surgical Technology, and Respiratory Care. It’s definitely possible to visit both locations in the same day if you are interested in more than one program.

The Open House is a low-stress way of exploring Parkland College, with tours every 20 minutes and plenty of people on hand to answer your questions. In addition, there will be breakout sessions for financial aid, the Parkland Pathway to Illinois, and the first-year experience at Parkland.

You can RSVP for the Open House at right here and let us know you’re coming!

[Mary Kay Smith is the student services advisor for Parkland’s  Admissions and Records office.]

Parkland Study Abroad: Meet Scott Christopher

What’s the first thing a student tells me when they come back from study abroad? This was the best experience of my life and has changed my life forever.” I encourage you to follow Communication major Scott Christopher Barnes on his life-changing experience abroad and live vicariously through him until you can go on your own Parkland study abroad! In this first video, Scott introduces himself and a few new friends.

Remember, anyone can study abroad; I have people of all ages and backgrounds go on these trips. We have 10-day, 4-week, and 15-week programs available at a variety of times in the academic year.


***The Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs and Parkland College work together to provide opportunities for Parkland students to study abroad. Multiple programs in various countries are available every semester. Students interested in enrolling should contact study abroad coordinator Jody Littleton via email at jlittleton@parkland.edu for more information.

Degree Completion Day, Sept. 27

Parkland College’s next Degree Completion Day event is coming Wednesday, Sept. 27.

But you might ask, “Why should I graduate? I’m getting my bachelor’s degree in a couple of years.”  Here why:

  • Who wants you to graduate? Your parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, favorite Parkland Instructor, advisor—all those that care about you, that’s who. It’s not always just about what you want.
  • You have spent countless hours in class and trip after trip to Parkland. Why wouldn’t you want to graduate?
  • It looks good on your Parkland transcript, shows accomplishment on your resume, and can enable you to move up in the workplace. If you are transferring to a university, it can make for a smoother transition and save you from having to take extra general education courses at that university.
  • If you are completing a career program, graduation may be required to verify with future employers. Probably most important of all, you’ve earned it!

Come out to Degree Completion Day in the Student Union (U building) from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and find out more about graduating and how it could benefit you.

[Dennis Kaczor is a credentials analyst in Parkland Admissions and Records.]

 

It Only Matters How You Finish!

Parkland College Student Trustee Crystal Bates (above, third from right) details below her determined journey to get to, and succeed at, Parkland College.

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Life threw me a couple of curve balls long before I had ever chosen to take swing at bat:

I was recruited by the US Navy at age 17 and spent two years doing secure communications in a foreign land. I had joined because my options were to go to college, join the military, or enter the workforce with zero training or experience.

I came back home and the years slipped away from me; I was busy trying to have fun with the least amount of responsibility possible. I worked retail for almost 10 years before retail took a big hit because of the tight economics. The job was not fulfilling, and each day I dreamed of how I could escape this tedious work that made me feel so mundane. Soon, I was laid off from my job and so worked various short-term jobs to pay the bills and take care of my daughter.

Next thing I knew, four more years had passed, and I was pregnant with twins! This was a shock; I believe that most of that pregnancy I really thought the doctors were kidding. After 34 weeks in, we found out that one of the twins was in distress and had to be delivered immediately. Realization set in when I was holding two healthy, and happy babies. Now I was a mother of three. This was my title, my work. But all the while, I’m dreaming of a better life for my children and me. How was I ever going to accomplish anything with three small children? With passion and unbridled determination.

I had a fire burning inside me, and the only way to put it out was to invest in myself for the benefit of my children, myself, and others. Dreams that I was in school, receiving an education that no one would ever be able to take away from me, drew me to Parkland College, where I knew they held the keys to my dreams.

Application for admission, assessments, orientation, student ID—before long, I was officially a Cobra! Upon meeting with a counselor, she revealed the degree of my dreams: Associates of Arts in Psychology. I signed up for fall classes immediately. Was I nervous? Super nervous.

As a matter of fact, I would come early just so I could find friends to keep the panic attacks at bay. The circle of friends I have made have been some of the best friends a person could ask for! We help each other with assignments and are there for each other for social and emotional support. These connections with students and our professors has kept me at Parkland for my (now) fifth year, as a nontraditional student.

I have had to take longer than most, but I graduate in the spring of 2017. Has it taken me longer than that of traditional students? Sure it has, but I have a 3.2 overall GPA, all because I took considerable time on assignments and made sure that my grades were a high priority. Also, because I have determination and passion, I have held two offices in Student Government. I started out as a student senator and have currently been voted and sworn in as student trustee.

My time at Parkland is coming to an end, and I am so sad. This is such a great institution with amazing professionals who make it their personal goal to see each and every student succeed. I have been so fortunate to have built such amazing social connections because Parkland feels like an educational “family”. Besides fantastic professors, the Center for Academic Success has assisted me in ensuring that my GPA is as solid as it is. CAS is an amazing tool that each and every student has access to. I cannot speak highly enough about our tutors and our Writing Lab! Use these free tools that help make each one of us better students and extremely qualified professionals in our chosen field of study.

Has it been hard to go to school with little kids? Of course. It is a balancing act, just the same as daily life is. But I decided to tip the scales in my favor and invest in my personal academic path. Do I plan to transfer? Absolutely. I am not done yet. I have developed an addiction to learning as much as I can, as long as I can. The end result will be a mater’s degree in clinical psychology. Being a veteran, I feel I have a duty to help my brothers and sisters in their struggles to maintain normalcy, and this is whom I hope to work with, for the most part.

Parkland, U of Cinti Sign Int’l Transfer Accord

The start of another academic year at Parkland College brings a new crop of international students arriving from all over the globe to begin or continue their studies in the United States. New for fall 2016, Parkland has recently concluded a transfer partnership agreement with the University of Cincinnati specifically for international students.

The UC International Transfer Degree program gives international students the opportunity to begin working towards a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati as soon as they arrive at Parkland College, with the guarantee of future admission and scholarships.

So how does the transfer partnership work?  Any international Parkland student can sign up for the partnership at any point during their studies and receive information about fulfilling the transfer requirements. Although the UC College of Engineering and the Art and Design programs are excluded from the direct-transfer partnership, students can seek transfer into more than 300 different UC academic programs. Once interest is indicated, the student(s) will be contacted by a transfer advisor from the University of Cincinnati, who will advise them in required coursework, regularly check in on students’ progress, and even facilitate a campus visit to UC!

Upon successful completion of the Parkland associate’s degree, the student will then be guaranteed admission to the University of Cincinnati, main campus. What is more, those students will automatically be eligible for a scholarship between $5,000 and $15,000, renewable for three years!

Transfer students from Parkland are also eligible to participate in UC’s Cooperative Education Program, ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. As a part of this program, students have the opportunity to take a paid job for a year as part of their academic program, gaining valuable experience while expanding and completing their education. In addition to positions in Cincinnati and all around the United States, the Cooperative Education Program places students in jobs around the world, including India, Germany, and Chile!

About the UC
Ranking among the top 150 National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, the University of Cincinnati has made clear strides, under Jon Weller, towards increasing its value among international students. More than 3,000 international students from 110 different countries around the globe call UC home.

Cincinnati itself possesses unique international flavor and celebrates a strong German heritage. Restaurants and nightlife drawing inspiration from all around the world are found in downtown, near campus, and along the Ohio River. Major international companies such as Procter & Gamble, General Electric Aviation, and Macy’s are also headquartered around the city.

Be on the lookout for upcoming events for international Parkland College students with the University of Cincinnati!

For more information about events or the UC International Transfer Degree, contact Chris Jackson (cjackson@parkland.edu) or visit the International Admissions Office, U234.

A Snazzy New Room

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I am incredibly excited to be teaching this semester in one of our new Innovative Learning Labs. Funded by Title III, these rooms were designed by faculty to be modern, collaborative, versatile, and awesome.

I am teaching in the larger of the two, with high ceilings and natural light. Six Apple TVs line the walls with another on a mobile cart, and the professor or the students can share their computer screens with one or all of the TVs. Versatile seating and tables can be rearranged in a million different ways. Color on the walls and in the upholstered furniture departs from the usual institutional classroom feel. Note the lack of a large board for lectures, and really, the lack of any natural front of the room.

What? A math class with no front board? Yes, that is exactly what I’m doing.

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I hope for this room to affect my class from two aspects:

  1. Super cool technology that I can harness in all kinds of creative ways
  2. An open, casual room that just feels different and has a subtle influence on the way students feel and collaborate

I must confess that I feel completely unqualified to harness the potential of this room, but I’m enthusiastic and willing to brainstorm with others. With the help of our instructional designer and other creative colleagues, I hope to use this opportunity to infuse my class with engaging activities and digital materials that enhance my students’ learning in meaningful ways.

And with the sound-muffling baffles, it sort of looks like the inside of the old Tardis. And that’s just cool.

[Erin Wilding-Martin teaches mathematics  at Parkland College. The article above is a repost from her Developmental Math Redesign blog.]

Do You Write Well? Submit Your Essay and Win $500!

Want to improve your writing skills, while having a chance at winning $500? Consider entering the Diana McDonald Award for Outstanding Achievement in Creative Nonfiction!

This semester, we have redesigned the Writer’s Challenge: We seek essays from any student enrolled in a Humanities Department course (English, Critical Comprehension Skills, English as a Second Language, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Literature, Philosophy, Humanities, Religion, Spanish, German, French, Japanese). Ideally, we are looking for an essay that connects your personal experiences, insights, and observations to larger ongoing conversations in our world—about politics, philosophy, science, media, justice, family, race, happiness, the environment, or whatever else you are interested in.

You may revise and submit an essay that you have written for a course or you may write an essay specifically for this contest.

To give some background: Several years ago, a retired Parkland English faculty member, Diana McDonald, began The Writer’s Challenge. Diana feels passionately about good writing and has fond memories of working with students who were eager to work hard to polish their writing. So she began this award as a way to give students some extra incentive to polish their essays. Her hope has been that her award will generate, among students, enthusiasm for writing well.

Do you have an essay of which you’re particularly proud? Or do you have something you are particularly interested in writing about? Please see these two attachments—the Writer’s Challenge information and our Writer’s  Challenge application form—to get started.

By the way, we will post the winning essay on Parkland’s open access repository, SPARK. If you would like to read the essay that Diana McDonald awarded last fall semester, you can go to: http://spark.parkland.edu/mcdonald_award/ and click on the little PDF icon on the left.

[Seth Mendelowitz is a full-time faculty member in Parkland’s Humanities department.]

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.]

 

 

Budget Tuition Payments with Parkland’s Plan

When students and parents think about paying that college tuition bill, there are not too many alternatives. Quite often, I encounter students telling me that they “do not have the money available right now, but will have some of it in a couple weeks.” (Lots of other Parkland College staff members hear that, too.) When this is the situation, we do offer one pretty helpful solution.

We tell them to take advantage of the Parkland Tuition Payment Plan. Did you even know Parkland had one of those? Yes, we do.

Parkland College partners with a company called Nelnet Business Solutions (NBS) to offer our students a convenient way to pay that tuition bill. In fact, NBS is a tuition-management plan that gives students a low-cost option for budgeting all college expenses.

The Parkland Tuition Payment Plan is not a loan program, and there are no debt or interest charges you have to pay. We don’t even require a credit check for you to join the plan. You can get on our plan with only a $25 fee to start. That’s all. Then, on the fifth of each month, tuition payments automatically come out of the checking/savings account or debit/credit card you’ve set up.

One thing I encourage parents and students to do is to sign up early for the payment plan. The earlier you sign up for a semester, the less money you’ll have to pay up front in installments. For example, if you sign up now for our Fall 2016 classes, you have until June 29 to sign up for the payment plan, and then you would have four monthly payments that occur on the 5th of each month from August through November.

I recently talked with a Parkland student whose tuition bill for the Fall 2016 semester is $2,043. She signed up for our payment plan with her $25 nonrefundable fee, so her payments will look like this:

  • August 5             $510.75
  • September 5     $510.75
  • October 5          $510.75
  • November 5     $510.75

This plan works for her, because she works part time at an area hospital and gets paid every couple of weeks. Now she no longer has to worry about being dropped from her classes for Fall 2016 when tuition is due on August 2. She can just relax, finish out the spring semester, and enjoy her summer.

How about you: Do YOU need help budgeting tuition? Click here to sign up for the Parkland Tuition Payment Plan today.  It’s easy: All you need is your checking/savings account or debit/credit card and a couple of other pieces of information. You might just appreciate this way to pay for college.

_____________________________________

***Enroll in Parkland’s payment plan through Nelnet Business Solutions today and ensure your classes are not dropped. Learn more about the plan at http://www2.parkland.edu/nelnet/.***

[Dave Donsbach serves as controller in the Parkland College Business Office.]

Sunny and Warm: Study Abroad in Morocco Part 3

Sophomore Del Jacobs, one of several Parkland students immersing themselves in Arabic culture during a three-week trip to Morocco this month, shares her Week Three adventures below. This opportunity came about due to a three-year federal grant Parkland has obtained to boost foreign-language study. In year one of the grant (AY 2015), students taking Portuguese classes were able to study abroad in Brazil last summer.

*******

May 30
MarrakechThis morning we went to the Majorelle Garden, a moorish villa and garden built by Jacques Majorelle in 1931. The garden has 1,800 species of cactus; some look like aliens. The house and grounds were bought by Yves Saint-Laurent. Saint-Laurent collected Berber crafts and household items while he lived in Marrakech. The small studio pictured has been converted into a Berber museum. Marrakech3The Berbers are Moroccan mountain people, some think of European decent, who specialized in crafts such as rugs, jewelry, and clothing.

Marrakech2This afternoon we visiterd the Saadian Tombs built between 1578-1603. They were discovered in 1917 and restored by the Beaux-arts service. There are 60 members of the Saadi dynasty interned there. The wood carving and stucco work is amazing.

Bahia3We also visited the Bahia Palace, which is located on the northern edge of the medina in the Jewish quarter. Bahia2Built between 1859-1873, this is an enormous palace covering 8 hectares. There was no plan; each part of the palace is very different because it was built section by Bahia1section by artisans from all over Africa. They used several materials including Carrera marble, glazed terra cotta tiles, blue and yellow ceramic screens, and painted cedar.

 

June 1
We traveled by bus from Marrakech to Fez and made a stop in Volubilis.Volubilis1

Volubilis is a partially excavated Berber/Roman city located between Meknas and Fez. It was founded in the 3rd century B.C. and is a UNESCO world heritage site. This was the most western part of Africa conquered by the Romans. You can see a family of storks on top of a pilar, the aqueduct, the victory arch, and a mosaic.

Volubilis3         Volubilis2This was the most interesting stop we’ve made so far. The country side is one of the most fertile agricultural areas in Morocco. In this part of Morocco some farmers use modern farming equipment. They grow olives, corn, wheat, grapes, sunflowers and pumpkins. They also raise sheep and use donkeys for transportation. This is a very pretty part of Morocco with gently rolling hills and cypress trees.

June 2
thumbnail_IMG_0319Today we toured Fez. The first picture shows the medina, which is the largest in the world. It has 10 miles of walls, 11 gates, 275 mosques, 400,000 people live there and 80,000 stores.

IMG_0335

 

The gate is called Bab el-Semarine, Gate of the Ferriers, also known as the blue gate. The entrance leads to the food section of the medina.

 

 

thumbnail_IMG_0326

The building shown is the Gregorian Mederssa Attarine dormitory for the nearby ancient university built in 1325.

I had a delicious lamb tagine for lunch. The rest of our day was spent visiting the leather, weaving, and pottery section of the medina. Fez is the most authentically preserved medina in Morocco. It’s certainly the most interesting, I really enjoyed watching all the artisans at workIMG_0333.

We were invited to the Embassy by the public affairs section. There are no pictures of the Embassy due to security issues. Embassies report to the U. S. State Department and employees work for the foreign service.

The Embassy just moved into a new building about a year and a half ago; there is a family of storks living just outside the walls. It’s a beautiful building and has been certified LEED gold. The building was constructed by local contractors to a certain stage, then certified cleared contractors take over. Certain construction jobs must be completed by US citizens. The walls, doors, and glass are extra thick, it takes muscle to open the doors. There is tight security, we could only enter with our passports, no bags or cell phones.

Working for the foreign service sounds like a lot of fun, but you have to like change. Employees must continually work their way up the ladder and must tenure in 5 years or they are out. Posts last 2-3 years and employees are expected to be interested enough to do their own research on the next country they will work in. Employees can and should transfer between sections; some of the sections are management, political, and economic. It’s hard on spouses because if they want to work they must find it on their own or telecommute. The State Department provides housing based on family needs such as size or pets. If you pay 50% of parents’ expenses, they can live with you. An employee should be outgoing, work well with others (teamwork is essential), and be able to network with known and unknown people.

We listened to three employees about their experiences in the foreign service. Although we didn’t get a tour of the building it was certainly an interesting day and an honor to be invited. Our picture will be on the U S Embassy Rabat Facebook page.

June 3
We have reached the end of our trip. I loved everything about Morocco.

The food was outstanding. There was only one thing I didn’t like, a dessert that was made with 14 spices, almonds, and raisins typically served by the Berbers.

The people were really nice; they are just like us in their private lives. The women do cover up in public, but I noticed that the younger generation seems to be modernizing; they wear western clothes. Some wear scarves, but a lot don’t. I never felt uncomfortable while walking, but I was always with someone after dark.

Morocco is an inexpensive country to visit. One US dollar equals ten Dirhams. You get the best deals on leather, pottery, and woven goods. The only difficulty I can see is transportation. To get from city to city, you must have a car. Morocco is putting in a high-speed rail system, but it won’t be completed for several years.

I recommend this country for anyone who is looking for a non-western cultural experience. There is so much to see and do, I think you should plan to stay at least 10 days.

Happy travels!
Del

________________

***For the upcoming academic year (2016-2017), Parkland’s foreign-language grant program focuses on learning Chinese, with an opportunity to visit the country of Taiwan in summer 2017. Study abroad scholarships will be offered for this country, too, for degree-seeking students finishing the language course. For more information, give me a call!

Jody Littleton
Associate Professor, Communication
Study Abroad Coordinator
Parkland College
217/351-2532

 

 

 

 

Sunny and Warm: Study Abroad in Morocco Part 2

Sophomore Del Jacobs, one of several Parkland students immersing themselves in Arabic culture during a three-week trip to Morocco this month, shares her Week Two adventures below. This opportunity came about due to a three-year federal grant Parkland has obtained to boost foreign-language study. In year one of the grant (AY 2015), students taking Portuguese classes were able to study abroad in Brazil last summer.

*******

May 23

Chefchaouen, the blue city
Chefchaouen, the blue city

Today, we traveled to Chefchaouen, also known as the blue city of Morocco. It’s located about 80 miles southeast of Tangier. The blue paint has a mosquito repellent in it. We walked from the top of the hill to the bottom. This is definitely a shopper’s haven. We spent the day shopping and stopped at Darkoum for lunch.

May 24
Moroccofood3Moroccan food is really good; so far everything I have tried here is excellent. The picture shows tajin, which is both the name of the vessel and the dish. Tajin can be made with beef, lamb, chicken, or fish. There are two kinds here, chicken and fish. The sides are a green salad, radishes, olives and bread. There is also a dish of pears and bananas.

Moroccofood1The bread is used as the utensil. You break a bite size piece off and scoop the food on to the bread and pop it into your mouth. Moroccans eat a lot of bread. We have been given at least 10 kinds so far, it’s eaten at every meal. I have had so much bread that I can’t eat anymore. I’ve asked to use a spoon instead.

The most popular drink is tea. It’s made in a pot that holds 5 to 6 small glasses. They add 8 tablespoons of sugar to the pot and a handful of mint. Our host mother told us that she goes light on the sugar and only adds 7 tablespoons. Their tablespoon is bigger than ours, so you can imagine how sweet it is. It’s so sweet that my ankles were swollen. I’ve had to ask that my tea be made without sugar, just the mint.

May 26
IMG_0145Today, we took a drive west of Tangier. We took a short camel ride, which was okay with me because the fun part is getting up and down. One day, I will return to Morocco and do a camel safari in the Sahara.IMG_0157

Next, we stopped at the cave of Hercules. It’s the most famous site in Tangier. The cave walls were carved out into small wheels that were used to grind grain.

Our last stop was a beautiful seaside town called Asilah. It would be the perfect place to retire. It’s quiet, and all the buildings are white with blue doors. As you walk around town, at almost every turn there is a mural. Many artists and musicians live in the town, and they hold art and music festivals every year.  IMG_0159

We had a lovely fish lunch before driving back to Tangier. It was a very nice day!

 

 

 

May 28
Saturday we drove from Tangier to Marrakech, an 8-hour drive.  The scenery was rural and we saw many subsistence farms which had various types of vegetables. The farmers were plowing the small fields with a single blade plow, pulled by either a donkey or a team of cows.Rabat

We broke the drive by stopping in Rabat to see the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. The mausoleum was commissioned by his son Hassan II and designed by Vietnamese architect Vo Toan who used Carrara marble. The candelabra is made of pierced and engraved copper. This was a beautiful stop; the entrance was guarded by two guards in ceremonial dress, on horseback.  Bouznika

We stopped in Bouznika for lunch. The road leading to town was loaded with restaurants. We ate at Restaurant Dayga and had several types of roast meat including lambDayga. All of us loved the food and we finished everything which must have been 16 pounds of meat. Lunch cost $160 for the 16 of us, including beverages.

________________

***For the upcoming academic year (2016-2017), Parkland’s foreign-language grant program focuses on learning Chinese, with an opportunity to visit the country of Taiwan in summer 2017. Study abroad scholarships will be offered for this country, too, for degree-seeking students finishing the language course. For more information, give me a call!

Jody Littleton
Associate Professor, Communication
Study Abroad Coordinator
Parkland College
217/351-2532

Talk the Talk, w/Help from the Presentation Center

Taking a Parkland College speech class this summer? Does your upcoming syllabus include a team project demonstration? No worries; let our Presentation Center help!

presentationcenter1

Stop by Room C151 with your individual or group presentation project! Trish Barker, one of our COM faculty, will be in the center to help Parkland students and employees with:

  • Organizing or creating oral presentations
  • Creating visuals
  • Overcoming public-speaking anxiety
  • Creating a presentation assignment (faculty)
  • Coaching students through practice sessions (faculty)

We’re open during the 2016 early summer session, May 16–June 2:

8–9 a.m. Monday–Friday
12:30–2:30 p.m. Monday–Friday

A full summer schedule soon will be available at the Presentation Center’s web page.

[Associate Professor Jody Littleton teaches speech communication and serves as Parkland’s Study Abroad coordinator.]

 

“Try Online!” Series: The Fundamentals of Nutrition

Don’t let them fool you: online classes can be some of the most engaging, rigorous, and interactive college courses out there. In this short series of posts, “Try Online!”, Parkland faculty briefly introduce you to some of the most popular online courses we teach, available now in our summer/fall 2016 lineup. Below, check out  BIO 120, The Fundamentals of Nutrition, taught by Associate Professor Toni Burkhalter, Parkland’s 2016 Teaching Excellence Award winner.

________________________

Summer is an excellent time to learn something new at an accelerated pace that you can immediately put into practice with support from an online community. Whether your goal is to become healthier or merely to investigate foods in a new way, BIO 120, The Fundamentals of Nutrition, may be worth checking out.

I have a passion for teaching nutrition; very few classes impact a person on a daily basis in such a pronounced way.

As lead instructor for BIO 120, I choose experts in the field to partner and teach with me so we can share accurate information in the field of nutrition. Our students have been an eclectic group of eager learners from across the globe. They are often a mix of practicing nurses sharing their experiences in the field, college students earning a life science credit, high school students anxiously taking their first college course, or seasoned community members wanting to set up a solid foundation of nutrition for their own benefit. Although students enroll in the course for a variety of reasons, most walk away achieving their goals from it, with us by their side.

What to expect
Because students are able to learn BIO 120 course material in various ways, the course appeals to different learning styles. It features 10 modules, each focusing on a different aspect of nutrition. For example, one of the modules, titled “Carbohydrates,” touches on sugars, starch, fiber, glycogen, and the impact of carbohydrates on diabetes. Within this module, students are encouraged to read one chapter from the textbook, watch a short video created specifically for the course, and interact with the module’s PowerPoint.

I assess students’ knowledge of a module by having them complete a discussion, an application-based assignment, and a module quiz. In addition to module work, students have a midterm project in which they reflect on personal dietary choices, a capstone calculation quiz, and a comprehensive final exam. The capstone calculation quiz covers nutrition calculations that were covered throughout the semester; for example, students may be asked to calculate the percentage of calories from fat in a given meal.

All assessments are completed online.

About the instructor: Over the past 14 years, Toni Burkhalter has taught classes that focus on the effects of nutrition and exercise on the body. She continues to keep abreast of the subject by attending conferences, engaging in experiential learning through her sabbatical, and returning to school whenever possible. Often, Toni is taking additional graduate classes at the University of Illinois while teaching full time at Parkland. Toni loves academics and the topics she teaches.

***BIO 120: Offered June 13-Aug 4 and Aug 22-Dec 9. Register online today for either section.***

 

[Derrick Baker is director of the Professional Development and Instructional Technology unit at Parkland College.]

169 Entries, $1400 in Awards, One Night to Celebrate

Parkland’s Graphic Design and Interactive Design Programs feature intensive hands-on studio classes that are rooted in real-world problem solving. Students start building portfolio samples in their first semester and then keep building them throughout the two-year program. The best of these projects are featured every year in a juried exhibition in Parkland’s Giertz Gallery.

Poster by Bethany Manalo

Solving visual communication problems is not easy. Students have to communicate a concept, utilize design principles to make it look good, learn to embrace centuries-old typographic traditions, master powerful digital tools with steep learning curves, and then justify their design decisions to the client.

jason dockins
T-shirt design by Jason Dockins

Despite these and many other challenges, our students rise to the challenge and embrace creative problem solving as a way of life. When they succeed, they are very proud of their work. As instructors, so are we. That’s why every spring, we take the best examples from our studio classes and put them in our art gallery for the world to see.

Book cover by Cayden Bergschneider

Every year, we also invite two industry professionals to come in to judge the show and to select the awards. This year’s judges were delighted with the results. “I was thrilled to be a judge for this year’s show,” said Kelly White, the executive director of 40 North. “The graphic design program at Parkland is outstanding and it was impressive to see the students’ resolutions to such a variety of concepts, applications, and current trends. They are exploring the critical foundations of typography while also creating some amazing illustrations and experimenting with what is successful communication and impactful marketing strategies. It was a blast being a judge and this will be a fantastic show!”

Matt Wiley, a well-renowned local illustrator and graphic designer at Taylor Studios added, “I loved seeing the variety of work this year and am honored to be involved in encouraging upcoming artists in Champaign-Urbana.”

Map by Martha Henigman

Special thanks for the generous support from the people at Surface 51, The Robeson Family, [co][lab], Studio 2D, Six Demon Studio, Wesley Food Pantry and the Champaign-Urbana Design Org (CUDO) who all donated cash awards. CUDO is also the co-sponsor the opening reception.

Come out and help celebrate another year of dedication, passion, sweat and tears. Expect to see great examples of advertising, branding, packaging, posters, brochures, T-shirts, motion graphics, websites, illustration, and other examples of commercial work. Be sure to RSVP on Facebook to see sneak peaks leading up to the event.

Poster by Brielle Arnold
Poster by Brielle Arnold
THE DETAILS
  • Opening Reception: Wednesday, May 11, 5–7pm
    (RSVP on Facebook)
  • Awards ceremony at 6:30pm
  • Musical performance by the Parkland Guitar Ensemble
  • Exhibition dates: May 9–28, 2016
  • Summer gallery hours: Mon–Thurs 10am–7pm; Sat noon–2pm
  • Location: Giertz Gallery at Parkland College,
    2400 W Bradley Ave., Champaign

Parkland’s Illustration instructor Liza Wynette will give a gallery talk titled “The State of Contemporary Illustration” immediately after the awards ceremony. Her gallery talk will feature recent student and professional art commissioned for editorial, advertising, and other commercial applications.

[Paul Young is the program director of Graphic Design at Parkland College.]

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.]

 

Get Involved: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Part of the college experience is becoming more aware of your contribution to society; you come to realize you can and do make a difference by serving the world around you. This month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, offers new opportunities for you to express that service. Here are two of them:

  • Our RACES Fundraiser takes place April 26, 11 am–1 pm, in the Student Union. All proceeds will benefit Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services (RACES), a community rape crisis center. RACES offers advocacy, counseling, and crisis intervention for survivors of sexual assault and provides educational programs in Champaign, Piatt, Ford, and Douglas Counties.
    While you’re at Parkland next Tuesday, buy and decorate a “I ♥ Consent” T-shirt. Take a selfie of yourself as you sign the “Empowering Words” wall, a new mobile assault and domestic battery awareness display. Make your own bracelets/wrist bands, Ultimately, make your voice heard, because it’s on ALL of us to say, “Not Anymore.”
    Shirts are available in white $10  or blue at $15. If you’re unable to attend, you can still order a shirt by contacting Chaya Sandler at 217/353-2627 or me, Dean Marietta Turner, at 217/351-2505. Tell us your size, color and please make the check out to RACES.
  • Take your group, club, friends or family and make a strong Parkland College showing at the 37th Annual TAKE BACK THE NIGHT walk:
    37th Annual TAKE BACK THE NIGHT
    Thursday, April 28, 6:30–10 pm
    Lincoln Square, 201 Lincoln Square, Urbana
    Take Back the Night is aimed at raising awareness around sexual violence and calling for its end by bringing together survivors, community members, students, and other supporters. Everyone will gather on the west side of Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana (intersection of Race and Green Streets), and march to the Main Quad beginning at 7 pm.
    A rally and speak-out will follow the march. The speak-out will take place in room 217 in Noyes Laboratory (505 S. Matthews Ave., Urbana). This event is OPEN TO EVERYONE. We will march in inclement weather, barring dangerous conditions. For more information, call 217/344-6298.

On behalf of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Committee at Parkland, I encourage you to get involved and make your voice heard.

Thanks,

Marietta Turner
Dean of Students
Parkland College

Celebrate Earth Week at Parkland College

SCC 2016 Sustainabilty CV 1920x1080

Parkland College has celebrated Earth Day, Earth Week, and even Earth Month each April for a number of years, with activities planned and organized by members of the Sustainable Campus Committee. But this year, we celebrate this week with activities planned by Parkland students, in a group so newly formed, they are just undergoing approval for official student club status!

Read on to see how the upcoming Parkland Students for Sustainability Club hit the ground running. Students, staff, and community members are welcome to attend these events, all held in the Student Union, room U142, by the cafeteria stage.

Tuesday, April 19: Focus on Sustainable Transportation

As a commuter campus, a significant portion of Parkland’s carbon footprint is attributed to transportation impacts, primarily from car commuting. Learn about ways to lower your pollution contribution, and how Parkland can plan and build to reduce transportation impacts. Mass transit and bicycling are also good for you; learn about the health benefits of sustainable transportation alternatives.

9am-10am: Join Ben Leroy, associate planner with the City of Champaign, to learn about how Parkland connects to Champaign’s transportation infrastructure and what we can do to support both better connectivity and a larger percentage of bicycle and bus commuters.

11am-1pm:

  • Come provide your ideas and input on how Parkland’s campus can be more connected, accessible, and encouraging of outdoor activity for people of all ages and abilities. We’ll have a big map and idea board.
  • Bike maintenance and cycling safety demonstration with Neutral Cycle (12:30pm start time)
  • Strategies and financial implications of car-free living
  • Mapping out existing and desired campus features for fitness, access to nature, and universal design
  • Resources from CU-MTD to make bus riding to campus easy and economical.

Wednesday, April 20: Eat Local!

11am-1pm:

  • Try samples and browse a pop-up mini grocery store of local foods including produce, bread, cheese, and coffee from Prairie Fruits Farm, Blue Moon Farm, Sola Gratia Farm, Great Harvest Bread, and Columbia Street Roastery.
  • Learn how to make great seasonal meals with pointers and recipes from Community-Supported Agriculture businesses in our region.
  • Find out about the Champaign Farmers Market’s double-your-money purchasing incentive program for individuals and families who qualify for SNAP benefits.
  • Hear how the Wesley Food Pantry helps reduce food insecurity right here in Chambana, and about opportunities to both use this community resource and volunteer to support its mission.
  • Check out the sun using a solar telescope, and learn about the science of the seasons from the Parkland Astronomy Club.

Thursday, April 21: DIY Green

How can you make your day-to-day activities healthier and more environmentally responsible? Join us for a series of activities that will save you money, reduce your exposure to chemicals, and lighten your environmental impact all at the same time.

11am-1pm:

  • Green cleaning: learn about the simple, low-toxic products that can be used instead of commercial cleaning products. They’re effective and safer for family and pets.
  • Natural personal care products: store-bought personal care products and cosmetics can contain chemical toxins and hormone-disruptors. Find out how to make your own personal care products to save both money and the environment!
  • Receive a small dose of toxicology! Learn about the health impacts of home cleaning and personal care products from the Parkland Science Club.
  • Paper or plastic? Neither! Bring a used T-shirt and we’ll help make it into a one-of-a-kind reusable shopping tote!
  • Become water-wise at home: learn how to check your toilet tank for silent leaks that could be costing your household hundreds of dollars a year in unneeded water and sewer charges. And bring home water-saving faucet aerators and shower heads (while supplies last) that will lower your utility bills the minute you install them. We’ll give demonstrations on how to easily install these money- and resource-saving devices.

Attend these events to learn about living more sustainably, and if you are interested in learning more or joining the student club, please email tpeterson@parkland.edu.

 

[Thor Peterson is the sustainability coordinator for Parkland College.]

Campus Visit Day: Info, Tours, Free Swag, Oh My!

Seniors, still undecided on where to attend? Juniors, want to get a head start on your college planning? Here are our Top 10 reasons to attend Parkland’s Campus Visit Day on April 1.

Top 10 Reasons to Attend Parkland’s Campus Visit Day

1. Speak to students who are currently attending Parkland. Get an idea of campus life, student clubs and organizations, workload, and more.

2. Find out how to finance college through scholarships, grants, and loans. Seniors, fill out the FAFSA while you are here.

3. Tour campus! Get a better view of what Parkland College is all about through a general tour of campus. See our classrooms, cafeteria, bookstore, labs, art gallery, and more.

4. Interested in Parkland Pathway Program to Illinois? Come find out important dates, deadlines, and majors.

5. Interested in fixing cars or working on computers? Maybe helping patients is more your style? Learn about Parkland majors, including selective health professions programs.

6. Worried about the price of college? Find out how much it is going to cost you to attend Parkland as well as residency information.

7. Afraid of falling behind in class? We have you covered! Learn about support services on campus such as FREE tutoring, Writing Lab, and Presentation Lab.

8. Meet one-on-one with an Admissions advisor to get all of your specific questions answered!

9. Free swag! Come to visit day and get a free Parkland College water bottle and other goodies!

10. Apply to be a student. Visit our Application Station and complete an application on site!

Ready to visit? RSVP here.

 

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for Parkland College.]

How to Get an Internship … and Why You Should

Have you looked at your resume lately? See anything exciting there related to your dream job? Why not add an internship? 

An internship can actually be the key to your future, giving you experience and opening the doors to opportunities in your chosen field. In fact, some majors actually require them for graduation.

Learn more about how to land an internship and how to make the most of it while you’re on the job, and then search for internships nationwide at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege.

What Is SALT?
SALT is a website created by American Student Assistance® (ASA), a nonprofit organization, to help Parkland College students like you become more financially savvy. This program rewards you for making smart money decisions, and we’re providing all of its services to you—including your membership—as a gift, free of charge. Create your SALT account at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege today!

[Dawn Good is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

Cultures Fair 2016

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Parkland College Cultures Fair 2016
Thursday March 17, 10–3, Main Stage Student Union and U140

Everyone is invited to attend the Cultures Fair at Parkland College this Thursday.  The event is free, and will feature an exciting lineup of musical artists from around the world.  There will also be activities in U140, including language lessons, henna tattoos, free international snacks, and music.  We will be raising money at the fair for Build Congo Schools.

Schedule
10–10:45: Belly Dancing (Classy Combinations)
11–11:30: Parkland International Student Performance
11:30–11:50: Chinese Silk and Bamboo Ensemble (Priscilla Tse, UIUC)
Noon–12:45: Jean René Balekita and Bomoyi from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
1–1:45: Bali Lantari, traditional Indonesian dance and music (led by I Ketut Gede Asnawa, UIUC)
2–2:45: Capoeira Angola (Denis Chiaramonte, UIUC)

Classy Combinations Belly Dancing Troupe
Classy Combinations promotes education and demonstration of Middle Eastern dance, with fusion flavors of Flamenco, Turkish, Persian, African and Tribal. We support meaningful fundraisers and promote culturally diverse programs in dance and music, while celebrating and encouraging the traditions of global community. We enchant audiences with our always family rated shows and very diverse variety of skills and specialties within the elegant Belly Dance!

www.youtube.com
–Day 1 Taste of Champaign 2012 Choreography by Cindi Adkins

Priscilla Tse, Chinese Silk and Bamboo Ensemble
The Silk and Bamboo (sizhu) Ensemble is a string and wind group that represents a typical, traditional Chinese musical form. Like Shanghai Tea-house and Cantonese music, it often includes strings such as erhu and gaohu fiddles, pipa and yueqin lutes and the yangqin dulcimer as well as the dizi flute, sheng mouth-organ and percussion instruments such as the ban and gu clapper and drums.

Jean René Balekita and Bomoyi from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
A professional musical ensemble featuring Congolese rumba with flavors of gospel, jazz and African rhythms. Bomoyi means “life” in the native language of Lingala. In addition to Lingala they sing in English, French, Kikongo, Swahili and Tshiluba. Well known in Congo Jean René Balekita and Bomoyi have recently gained enthusiastic audiences in the United States. Jean René on acoustic guitar is joined by vocalists Laeticia Kyungu and Joyce Nkama with Victor Matondo on bass guitar.

www.youtube.com
JEAN RENE BALEKITA ET LE GROUPE BOMOYI

Bali Lantari, traditional Indonesian dance and music
Bali Lantari is a private group based in Champaign and Urbana area is specializing in performing arts of traditional Indonesian dance and music under the direction of I Ketut Gede Asnawa.

www.youtube.com
I Ketut Gede Asnawa’s Original Balinese Gamelan Music ‘Catur Rawita’ (The Beauty of Four), is a composition for ‘gamelan ahgklung’ that involves singing and …

Capoeira Angola
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music, and is usually referred to as a game. It was developed in Brazil mainly by West African descendants with native Brazilian influences, probably beginning in the 16th century. It is known for quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for a wide variety of kicks, spins, and highly mobile techniques. The Capoeira Angola Centre of Mestre João Grande, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, is led by Denis Chiaramonte.

www.youtube.com
Roda de Abertura do 5th Vem Vadiar 2012 Champaign-Urbana USA,Organizado pelo Centro de Capoeira Livre Como Vento e Denis Capoeira.

The fair is being sponsored by the Center for Global Studies, through support of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI NRC program, as well as support from the Centers for African Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and East Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ketut Gede Asnawa playing gamelan instrument. Photo by Folake Osibodu
Ketut Gede Asnawa playing gamelan instrument. Photo by Folake Osibodu

European Union Delegate to Visit Parkland

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Mr. Damien Levie

On April 7, Parkland will play host to a dignitary of the European Union, stationed in Washington, DC.

As part of his visit to the University of Illinois, Mr. Damien Levie,  head of the Trade and Agriculture Section of the EU Delegation to the US, will be spending the afternoon at Parkland where he will meet administration and faculty, tour campus, and deliver a public talk on the relationship between the EU and agriculture in central Illinois. His talk will take place from 1 to 2 p.min room U140.

Hailing from Belgium, home of the EU’s capital, Mr. Levie earned law degrees from KU Leuven (Belgium) and the University of Chicago, as well as an economics degree from UC Louvain (Belgium).  His section works closely with the US Government and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to coordinate trade, investment, and agriculture policies between the US and EU.  Prior to his current posting, Mr. Levie served as a deputy chief negotiator on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), served in the cabinets of the EU Trade Commissioner and EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, worked on economic development policy in Africa and chemical regulation in Europe, and before joining the European Commission was a lawyer in Brussels and New York.

flags-of-the-eu-member-countries
Flags of the EU Member States

Devised in the wake of the Second World War by French and German statesmen to ensure the two European powers didn’t enter a fourth war against each other, the European Union began as an economic cooperative.  Since then, the EU has grown from 6 to 28 members, turning it into the world’s largest and most advanced economy, and the United States’ single largest trading partner.  Its global reach has enhanced free trade, human rights standards, and democracy around the world. While it is a continent away, the politics and policies of the EU affect international and domestic business and agriculture for Americans.

Mr. Levie’s visit to Parkland College is arranged and sponsored by the European Union Center at the University of Illinois, a US Department of Education Title VI-funded center.

[Chris Jackson is an international admissions advisor for Parkland Admissions and Records.]

 

New Student Email System Coming March 21!

On Monday, March 21, 2016, the current student email system and Cobra Mail will go away and be replaced by a new, single student email system, Microsoft Outlook. Students will no longer need to hassle with checking two separate Parkland accounts, and email addresses will remain the same: username#@stu.parkland.edu.

Outlook IconOther benefits include advanced email features and a much larger mailbox quota of 50 GB. Students will be able to access Parkland email via a web page or download the email client onto a personal device.  Since summer 2015, students have been able to access the Microsoft Office 365 suite for free, but beginning on 3/21, Outlook will also be made available as part of that suite.

There are a few important things that students and faculty will need to be aware of prior to the email change:

  • Existing messages will NOT be transferred to the new system, but students will have access to the old stu.parkland.edu email system through the end of the spring 2016 semester.
  • Cobra Mail will not be transferred to Outlook and will not be available for reference after 3/21.  Students and faculty will need to forward any Cobra Mail messages they wish to retain to another email account prior to the changeover.
  • If your Parkland student email account is currently forwarded to another account, you will need to set that up again in the new system, as those settings will not transfer to Outlook.

For information on how the Outlook widget will look within Cobra Learning , please check out https://kb.parkland.edu/page.php?id=60731.

If you have any questions about the upcoming email change, please contact the Tech Service Desk at 217/353-3333 or TechHelp@parkland.edu.

Eat Pancakes, Support Flight Team

The Institute of Aviation at Parkland College is holding a pancake breakfast this Saturday, February 27, from 8 am to noon. Come join us for sausage and unlimited pancakes! Price is $10 for adults, $5 for kids 10 and under.

This event is a fundraiser to support the Institute of Aviation flight team when they compete in the National SAFECON at the Ohio State University May 9–14.

Fly in or drive in to the Institute, located at 1 Airport Road, Savoy.

We look forward to seeing you!

Nursing Conference: Continuing the Legacy of Sister Julia

[This post was written by Richard Francis, Regional Director for Clinical Education at Presence Covenant Medical Center.]

What if I told you Parkland’s Nursing program had Catholic roots? 

Sister Julia 2
Sister Moriarty (News-Gazette photo.)

Sister Julia Moriarty started Parkland’s nursing program in a joint venture between Parkland College and Presence Covenant Medical Center (then known as Mercy Hospital). Sister Julia was a remarkable and accomplished woman, who was first and foremost a servant to others. A member of the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary, Sister Julia first came to Champaign-Urbana in 1942 to finish her nursing training and serve at the local Catholic hospital. She stayed for close to 50 years.

In the late 1960s, Parkland approached Sister Julia about starting a nursing program at the college. Although at the time, Mercy had its own hospital-based nursing program, Sister Julia saw the college program as a way to positively impact not just one hospital, but the community as a whole and nursing as a profession. Sister Julia spent five years living in the convent with the other sisters at the hospital while working with Parkland to establish their nursing program. Colleagues who taught with Sister Julia typically remark that she was well beyond everyone else in her thinking and vision for what nursing should be, and how nursing can positively impact the whole community. She was loved and respected by colleagues, co-workers, and patients. Her kind and warm spirit touched all who knew her.

In the spirit and example of Sister Julia, Parkland College and Presence Covenant are co-sponsoring a nursing conference with a local scope and flavor, The Spirit of Nursing Conference: Emerging Topics in Nursing.  Topics at this conference and future conferences will be kept global to appeal to all types of nurses, not just specific disciplines. Topics at the May 20 conference will include: The Changing Landscape of Healthcare, End of Life Decisions, Generations in the Workplace, and Life Skills for the Nurse.

The conference will begin with a light breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Presentations begin at 9 a.m. and the conference will end at 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided.  Continuing education units (CEUs) available through the conference: 4.

The conference fee is $49, with proceeds supporting the Sister Julia Scholarship Fund at Parkland College.  Advanced registration is required due to limited seating.

To register, or for more information, please click here or call 217/351-2235.

 

Campus Visit Day: There’s Still Time to Sign Up!

Some high school students find that sitting down and speaking with a college admissions advisor well before College Day One makes them better prepared to navigate the college experience. Touring the college’s campus doesn’t hurt, either.

This Monday, Parkland College will hold sessions that allow area students to see if this community college is a good fit for them.

Our first spring Campus Visit Day of 2016 will include the aforementioned opportunities and more:

  • an overview of how to apply to Parkland, sign up for financial aid, and select among its many academic programs
  • opportunity to learn more about Parkland’s Health Professions and the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program
  • a guided tour of campus
  • ability to apply on the spot for the summer and fall 2016 semesters at our Application Station
  • opportunity to speak one-on-one with admissions counselors to answer other questions.

Campus Visit Day events will begin at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m.

Parkland schedules two Campus Visit Days each spring; the second will occur April 1.

You can still reserve a visit for Monday’s Campus Visit Day! Just go to www.parkland.edu/getStarted/visit or email admissions@parkland.edu. For more information, call Parkland College Admissions at 217/351-2509.

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for Parkland College.]

Why Petition to Graduate? You Owe It.

Ever told yourself, “I’m not going to bother getting my associate’s degree since my focus is on a bachelor’s degree“?

We need to talk.

If you have completed all the requirements for your associate’s degree, you owe it to your parents, loved ones, friends (and yes, even yourself) to Petition to Graduate. Receiving this degree is a chance to celebrate and reflect on all the hard work you have completed thus far.

Having your degree credential can add a major piece to your resume and makes it easier to transfer to your senior institution of choice. Of course, if your associate’s is in one of our career programs, graduating is the whole point!

Where Do You Find the Petition to Graduate?
Look on Parkland’s website (under Admissions and Records and then Forms). It costs you nothing to apply and only takes a minute to complete and turn in to the admissions counter.

****DEADLINES to Petition for Spring 2016 Graduation****

  • Plan to participate in Parkland’s Commencement Excercises? Submit your Petition to Graduate on or before March 2.
  • Not participating in Commencement? Submit your Petition to Graduate on or before April 1.

[Dennis Kaczor is a credentials analyst in Parkland Admissions and Records.]

Parkland: An International Campus

Did you know Parkland College has the most international students of any community college in the state of Illinois? In educational terms, “international student” refers to those students who study in the United States on visas. Currently, more than 300 visa students study at Parkland College!

 

However, Parkland is far more international than that. Loads of Parkland students not studying with visas come from all over the world. Many were born here in Champaign-Urbana to immigrant families or moved here with their families at a young age. Surprising to many, Champaign-Urbana is one of the most international cities in the region. Between the large numbers drawn by the University of Illinois, familial ties, and the cities’ refugee-friendly reputation, thousands of families have found their way to C-U.

So where do Parkland College international students come from? They, too, come from all over: Saudi Arabia, the West Bank, Cameroon, Qatar, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Armenia, Angola, DR Congo, China, France, Brazil, South Korea, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Liberia, Kenya, Albania, Australia, Venezuela, Japan, Israel, Canada, Mali, South Africa, Portugal, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Russia, The Philippines, Colombia, Ukraine, Pakistan, Mexico, Algeria, and Indonesia.

International students come to Parkland for a number of reasons, but one of the major ones is the English as a Second Language or ESL program that the college offers. While most universities require a certain score on an English exam for admission, an international student can come to Parkland without English proficiency and take ESL. The ESL program prepares students for academic and career English, rather than basic English conversation skills they might learn in an English class in their home country. Students from the ESL program have gone on to earn degrees from Parkland and then transfer to universities all around the country, to study a variety of fields.

Today, English is considered to be one of the global languages of business. Foreign students who learn English AND study a specific subject at Parkland College are in a position to stand out in an increasingly global economy. On the other side, American students can learn a great deal and gain new perspective from their international peers.

Find out more about Parkland  College’s opportunities for  its international students by visiting our International Center. Students from countries outside the U.S. can find out about applying to Parkland here. Join an inspiring community of global citizens, learning together!

[Chris Jackson is an international admissions advisor for Parkland Admissions and Records.]

Celebrate Black History Month 2016 with Us!

What began as “Negro History Week,” sponsored by African-American historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson and others in 1926, evolved over the years into Black History Month.

It is a national time to honor the triumphs, achievements, and struggles of African-Americans throughout the history of the United States.  President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Parkland College is proud to continue this honored tradition and we invite you to join us in celebrating Black History Month 2016.   We have assembled an impressive array of events and activities that we hope you will take the time to attend and experience.

See a calendar of events HERE.

GO AHEAD, Work: Top 10 Tips for Your Resume

The Parkland College Career Center is hosting career-specific job fairs this spring.  To best prepare for these upcoming fairs, make sure your resume is up-to-date with these 10 tips:

  1. Target your objective and resume to the position you’re applying for, matching your qualifications to the job description.
  2. List the most relevant information first. Employers may spend less than 30 seconds skimming a resume!
  3. Appearance and format are initially more important than content. If your resume is too long or not visually appealing, the employer may not read it. Stick to one page if you are an undergrad or recent graduate.
  4. Use action phrases, not complete sentences, to list your job duties. Do not use personal pronouns (“I”, “me”, and “my” are never included in a resume). List “Relevant Course Work” if you do not have relevant professional work experience.
  5. Use a Microsoft Word docment (but NOT the MS Word template). When sending electronically, type the cover letter in the text and attach your resume.
  6. Use specific examples or statistics whenever possible to demonstrate your strengths (e.g., trained 18 employees, increased sales by 10%). Think accomplishments!
  7. Pay careful attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  Have others proofread; don’t rely on spellcheck.
  8. Include participation in clubs, associations, or community and volunteer organizations. “Additional Activities” show how you developed interest and leadership abilities. Include awards and honors.
  9. Use key words which will be identified by applicant-tracking systems (e.g., Microsoft Word, UNIX, supervised, BA degree, MOUS, Windows NT, etc.).
  10. Be sure to ask your references before listing them on your resume. They’ll be better prepared when an employer calls!

****Our targeted Career Fairs will be held on the following dates from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Student Union atrium::

  • February 10 – Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies
  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science  and Information Technology/
    Business

Stop by the Career Center in U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536. Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.****

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

 

 

Get Your $$ for Spring Semester!

Need help paying for spring semester?  Parkland College Foundation Scholarships remain available for spring. The funds are there, just waiting for the right student to apply!

Currently available with a January 25 deadline:

  • Latasha Brize Scholarship – $500
  • Champaign County Nursing Home Scholarship – Amount varies
  • Jay Downey Scholarship – $500
  • Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 29 Scholarship – $1000
  • Fisher National Bank Scholarship – $500
  • Juanita L. Gammon Graphic Design Scholarship – $250
  • Heartland Bank Community Enhancement Scholarship – $1000
  • Lykins Family Art Scholarship – $250
  • Theda Seaton Marley Single Mother Nursing Scholarship – $250
  • Power of the Purse Scholarship – $1000
  • Seymour American Legion Post 1256 Scholarship – $500
  • Veterinary Technology Faculty and Staff Scholarship – $500
  • Gayle Wright Memorial Scholarship – $500

You’ll find applications for these scholarships at my.parkland.edu.  Log in to the portal and select “Scholarship Search” under the Student Services tab. You will be directed to a listing of all currently available scholarships.  By selecting “eligible scholarships” from the drop down menu, you will also find a list that is more customized based on available scholarship criteria.  The search feature is an excellent resource to find scholarships funded by the Parkland College Foundation.  Scholarship information provided by external organizations is posted here as well.

Most scholarship applications require you to write an essay, but don’t be intimidated!  The Center for Academic Success at Parkland offers a Writing Lab in D120 that is open and available to all students.  You can receive free help from English instructors with any writing project you might have.  For more information, visit D120 or log in to my.parkland.edu.

Want to broaden your search?  Besides the Parkland Foundation, many reputable online resources for scholarships can help you as well:

Keep in mind, most reputable scholarship organizations do not ask you to pay a fee to apply.

Planning for fall?  Students must apply for financial aid every year … NOW is the time to apply for the 2016-2017 FAFSA available online at FAFSA.gov.   In addition, Parkland College Foundation fall 2016 Scholarship opportunities will be available in the student portal beginning March 15!

[Tim Wendt is Parkland’s director of enrollment services.]

New Year, New FAFSA to Complete!

That’s right, the 2016-2017 FAFSA is now available! For those attending college during the 2016-2017 award year, be sure to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible.

Complete the FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The application is quick and easy to complete. Make sure you complete the 2016- 2017 FAFSA and not the 2015-2016 form if you are applying for financial aid for next year (Fall 2016, Spring 2017, and Summer 2017).

Plus, check out this US Dept. of Education blog post to avoid common FAFSA mistakes before you file!

For more information about the financial aid process, please email our office at finaid@parkland.edu or visit the SALT website at www.saltmoney.org.  SALT also provides helpful information and resources for searching for scholarships to supplement your financial aid award.

What Is SALT?
SALT is a website created by American Student Assistance® (ASA), a nonprofit organization, to help Parkland College students like you become more financially savvy. This program rewards you for making smart money decisions, and we’re providing all of its services to you—including your membership—as a gift, free of charge. Create your SALT account at www.saltmoney.org/parklandcollege today!

**Top image from “7 Common FAFSA Mistakes” at http://blog.ed.gov/2014/01/7-common-fafsa-mistakes/**

[Dawn Good is a financial aid advisor in Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.]

New Location for MLK Countywide Celebration

Join us this Friday, January 15, at Parkland College’s Student Union café (U Building), 2400 West Bradley Avenue in Champaign, from 4 to 5 p.m. The Cities of Champaign and Urbana, the Champaign County Board, Parkland College, and the University of Illinois invite you to attend the 15th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Countywide Celebration.

It is a new location this year, but as always, this event is free and open to the public. Please enter the U building through the entrance by the flagpole and bus stop facing the east side of the building. Parking is ample and the B1, B2, and B6 parking lots are nearest the new Student Union (U Building).

Area humanitarians to be honored at the celebration include Barbara Kessel, who will receive the James R. Burgess, Jr.–Susan Freiburg Humanitarian Award; Rohn Koester, who will receive the Doris Hoskins Prestigious Community Service Award; and Melany Jackson, who will receive the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Outstanding Achievement Award.

A reception will immediately follow the program. We hope to see you there!

Dr.-Martin-Luther-King-Jr-005

 

[Marietta Turner is dean of students at Parkland College.]

Student Athletes Break Academic Records for Fall

Well, all I can say is WOW, congratulations, and amazing.  Those words barely describe the outstanding academic achievement by our Parkland College athletic teams in the classroom this past fall.

I was already pleased by the Volleyball National Championship and four Midwest Athletic Conference titles, but the team GPAs are equally impressive.

All three groups (Men. Women, and overall) recorded all-time highs in overall grade point average, with all eight teams earning a GPA over 3.0!

  • Of 156 fall athletes, 109 (69.9%) earned a GPA over 3.0
  • 62  athletes (39.7%) achieved a GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • 23 athletes (14.7%) had perfect 4.0s!
Cobras Baseball
Cobras Baseball team

Congrats go to Women’s Basketball on winning the overall grade game, barely edging out Softball 3.584 to 3.567.  Baseball was the winner on the Men’s side with a 3.221.

I would like to congratulate the following on earning perfect 4.0s!

Women’s Basketball:   Payton Bieber (Clinton HS),  Megan Jackson (Lincoln HS), Taylor Jordan (Central A&M HS), and Lauren Moses (Shiloh HS).

Softball: Haley Ginger (Clinton HS), Morgan Harper (Floyd Central HS, IN), Sophie Catlin (Monticello HS),  Katie Kuska (Pontiac HS), Jessica Hammack (Mahomet-Seymour HS)

Women’s Soccer: Anna McHatton (Springfield HS), Terri Wendle (Jerseyville HS), Ellie McKenzie (England), Olivia McCafferty (Crown Point IN)

Baseball:  Sam Geraci (Illinois Lutheran HS),  Daniel Lloyd (Edwardsville HS), Braydon Bone (Effingham HS), Thomas Weber (Mt. Vernon HS)

Volleyball:  Kelly Lean (Australia), Kailey Kleinert (PBL HS), Laura Gross (Danville Schlarman HS), Jordan Deer (Fisher), Jaime Johnson (Centennial HS)

Men’s Soccer:  Aidan Reilly (Centennial HS)

Cobras Volleyball team
Cobras Volleyball team

Congratulations to all of you athletes, coaches, support personnel etc., who helped make this happen!

[Rod Lovett is Parkland College’s athletic director.]

5 Ways to Fit in Student Life…and Why You Should

As another semester approaches, it’s time to start planning what you want to accomplish as a student while at Parkland. A great resource for getting involved and becoming a part of the Parkland community is the Student Life office. Can’t see how Student Life fits into your adventure as a Parkland student? Here is quick example from this fall.

Last week, as many students were rushing around campus studying for finals, a small group took 90 minutes to stop rushing and instead took time for themselves. These students focused on stepping out of their comfort zone and participated in a group painting led by two instructors from Lola’s Brush. The initial feelings of panic after being handed a blank canvas were calmed by helpful coaching through the painting of each element within the picture. Each student approached the painting in a slightly different way, but they all came out wonderful.

At Parkland, each student approaches their journey in a different way, but what makes Parkland such a special place are the diverse options each student has to spice up their experience.

So why should student activities and programs be important to you as a student? The easy answer is because these programs are fun! But when you get down to it, students also learn and cultivate transferable skills and professional lessons as fully engaged members of the Parkland community. As a Parkland student, you have the ability to experiment by planning and participating in what happens on campus, such as:

  • Plan healthy activities with the Wellness Coordinator
  • Join a club based on cultural or academic interests
  • Participate in an improv show (the next one is at noon in the cafeteria on Jan. 27)
  • Dance with your friends on Feb. 12 in a transformed Student Union
  • Volunteer with local children in our community

Each of these opportunities provides a way to gain and polish skills that will help you as a leader in your future workplace or community. I invite you to stop by U111 in January to learn more about the various student life activities Parkland College offers. Become a well-rounded member of our community, and have some fun while you do!

[Chaya Sandler is the activities program manager for Student Life at Parkland.]

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: http://www.cunninghamhome.org/giving. 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!

HRT 116 Wows Vets with Memorial Garden Designs

 

On Veterans Day, my Introduction to Landscape Design (HRT 116) class impressed their client, 1st Sgt. Michael Freed of the Illinois Army National Guard,  with their designs for a soldier memorial garden to be built in Roberts, Illinois.

When he approached me this summer about the project, Sgt. Freed wanted me to help create the design, having heard about my work with the WTC Memorial Project, St. Jude Children’s Hope Garden, and the Urbana Labyrinth.  I accepted but wanted to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience with my design students.

So three teams presented on Nov. 11: Fox Trot Platoon, The American Phoenix, and Brody’s Bunch, the latter group named after one of the team members. Sgt. Freed as well as some of the students presenting were nearly moved to tears by this incredible opportunity to recognize and memorialize the first 19 soldiers killed in the line of duty from December 2008 to September 2009.

Sgt. Freed and I found so many great design aspects in each design that I will be incorporating the best of each into one final cohesive design. Early in spring 2016, I will create a final design for the project, and my students and I, as a part of my Landscape Construction and Maintenance (HRT 119) class, will actually build part of the design.

To unveil this soldier tribute, we’re expecting a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the governor and others on Memorial Day 2016. Stay tuned.

 

 

New Heart-Rate Tech Helps Teams, Trainers

Parkland College’s new Polar Team Pro heart rate telemetry system contains technology primarily used by professional and collegiate sports teams to track training volume.  Parkland acquired the system when it was released internationally this summer; we were the first to have the system in the United States.

Our Cobras Women’s Soccer team is currently using the system to make sure they are not over- or under-training during their competitive season. But they’re not the only ones benefiting from this new technology. Dalton Swenson, one of our student trainers, explains below.

 

Training Tool. The athlete wears the transmitter during games and competitions, and it records multiple data points for that person. Inside the transmitter is an accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor, and GPS, as well as other technologies. As the athlete trains outdoors, Polar has 13 satellites that look for the signal. When four satellites pick up the signal, the athlete’s position on earth is monitored, as well as her speed of movement, change of direction, etc.

So, the athlete/coach can review the practice/game and see exactly where the athelete was during every second of that session, what their heart rate was at the time, how fast they were moving, etc. All of the data points objectively help tell the athlete how hard the session was for her on that day, and how long she will need to recover from it. It will also give total calories burned during the session so the athlete knows how much food she needs to refuel.

Learning Tool. Our Parkland Kinesiology students are learning the system and are helping the intercollegiate coaching staffs here interpret the data to give practical advice to student athletes on training intensity, training volume, nutrition, and recovery strategies. It gives our students experience with a product that is typically seen with world-class soccer programs (such as our United States women’s team), the NBA, NFL, and Division I football and basketball.

If they want to become a strength and conditioning coach, or work in the growing field of analytics, this technology gives them a huge leg up on the competition. It also aids the personal trainer or physical education instructor who is going to work with a different clientele, but where heart-rate telemetry can be highly effective in aiding the client.

For the regular person, there are inexpensive heart-rate transmitters that an individual could use to get similar information on their own workouts. Obviously they won’t be as fancy or intricate as this system, but they will help you make important training decisions and get a clear understanding of how hard a session really was.

[Chris Warren is director of the Parkland Kinesiology program.]

Holiday Faves in “Food-Raiser” Choral Concert

As we quickly approach the holiday season, the Parkland College Chamber Singers have been busy organizing their second annual “Night of Readings and Carols,” a concert and food drive for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank.

dec12concert

Idea, Goal for the “Food-raiser”
The idea for this type of performance and “food-raiser” came in fall 2014, when we were planning to schedule our first-ever Chamber-Singers-only performance. Our students discussed ways in which we could help give back to our community, and we came up with the idea of collaborating with EIF, setting up donation boxes at our concert. Last year’s event raised over 100 pounds of food and brought in at least $100 to help this great service. Our goal this year is to fill at least three boxes with items for the foodbank and collect 200 pounds or more of nonperishable food items.

Ensembles Performing at Event
In addition to our choral performance, we will also be joined by a brass trio comprised of students from Parkland College as well as a guitar duet of local musicians and teachers from the Upper Bout, Champaign’s sophisticated music shop.

The Chamber Singers will perform many sacred works, including traditional chants such as O Come, O Come Emmanuel, There is Faint Music, and Amen! Tell it on the Mountain.  Not only will our group, 12-members strong, be performing, but many smaller ensembles from our community will also join us. We will hear madrigals by a quartet, O Holy Night by a trio conducted by a wonderful student conductor, and a song from the female members of this ensemble, who will take us to Spain by singing a traditional Christmas carol about the baby Jesus. This concert will include audience participation in singing four carols, and members of the ensemble will give both sacred and secular readings to get us in the holiday spirit.

Date, Time for “Night of Readings and Carols”
Our concert will take place Saturday, December 12, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 309 W. Green Street in Urbana. The concert begins at 7pm, with the doors’ opening and food drive beginning at 6:20pm. Pre-concert music will be provided by the aforementioned brass trio and guitar duet.

Please bring any and all nonperishable food items to make your donation upon admission. Of course, this is not required to attend the performance, but every little bit helps. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Lessons from Adventures with Student Clubs

Parkland Student Government VP Kellyn Cuevas gives us the scoop on a fun event student groups took part in last month. [Featured photo from Prospectus News]

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Student Government was excited and thankful that we were able to run a contest with our campus student clubs this November. We issued a challenge to see which club would escape from the Champaign-Urbana Adventures in Time and Space escape room and save the world!

The following clubs participated:

Club Latino
Equine Riding Team
Phi Theta Kappa
Pride
The Prospectus
Respiratory Therapy
Student Government
Student Services Directors
Surgical Technology
Veterinary Technology

As a student organization, we all agree that students learned the following skills while at the Adventure Room:

  • the best way of communicating with each other
  • the importance of listening and following instructions
  • the importance of efficiency when working under a given time
  • to problem solve effectively
  • to manage our emotions and stress when working under pressure
  • to overcome adversity
  • to trust each other intellectually and in decision making
  • to take ownership in difficult situations
  • to recognize and accommodate to each person’s talent(s)
  • to use our resources wisely

Overall, we had a fun experience, and we were really excited to have maintained the lead until Parkland Pride beat our time!

This is definitely one of those events we hope to bring back yearly to students.

Go Ahead, Go Global!

Global Cultural Competence (HCS 236-201) is an exciting new course being offered at Parkland College in the spring! It promises to be a fun course in which to learn about other cultures from around the world.

There is increasing need in the US to develop better global cultural competence so that citizens work and communicate effectively with people from around the world, especially in the workplace.

cherry-blossom-9110754This course will feature interactive learning projects that engage students in learning about global cultures and developing effective cross-cultural communication skills for the workplace.

Course curriculum is designed for Health Professions, Criminal Justice, and Education majors but is open to all students.

The course will be taught by Michele Spading.  It is a two-hour, hybrid, late-start course that meets Mondays, 3-4:50 p.m.

HCS 236-201 is part of a project sponsored by the Center for Global Studies at UIUC, through support of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI NRC program.

Black Student SUCCESS: Emotional Intelligence

The term emotional Intelligence describes the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to identify feelings and label them appropriately, and to use that information to guide thinking and behavior.  High or successful emotional intelligence is critical in decision making, in developing and maintaining relationships, and in job performance.

In a Black Student SUCCESS Project workshop late last month, Parkland counselor Joe Omo-Osagie led students in a series of assessments designed to test their emotional self-awareness.  While there weren’t necessarily right or wrong answers, the questions definitely challenged students’ ways of thinking and highlighted areas where they might want to consider making changes.

The most sensitive, enlightened, and self-aware person among us can always use a boost of higher emotional intelligence. Take the short quiz below as an introductory guide to evaluating your own level of emotional intelligence. If you can honestly answer “True” to each statement, you can feel good about having a high degree of emotional intelligence. If you cannot, you might want to consider developing those skills. The payoff lasts a lifetime!

EI QUIZ

  1. I can usually let go of problems, hurt feelings, and anger and move on (self-control):  True or False
  2. I can usually engage in a conversation with someone and interpret that person’s body language signals (empathy):  True or False
  3. I can usually identify my emotions at any given moment  (self-awareness):  True or False
  4. I try to look at situations in a positive light (motivation):  True or False
  5. I can usually deal calmly and sensitively to the emotional displays of others, even if I don’t know all the details  (social competency):  True or False
  6. I can fairly easily admit mistakes and apologize (self-confidence):  True or False

[Donna Tanner-Harold is a counselor in Parkland’s Counseling and Advising Center and coordinates Black Student Success Project activities.]

 

Feeding the Hungry on Campus, Sustainably

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, including 52 percent of all fruits and vegetables and half of all seafood. Meanwhile, the Eastern Illinois Foodbank reports that one in four children in our region struggles with hunger.

Parkland Hospitality Program student Del Jacobs saw direct opportunity to connect the food waste and hunger dots when she enrolled in cooking classes and observed the amount of food ending up in the trash.

“I have been interested in sustainability for several years,” Del says, “and I decided to create a system at Parkland to reduce food waste while helping the hungry in our community.”

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Student Del Jacobs with baked goods for Parkland’s Wesley Food Pantry

Del worked with Hospitality, Horticulture, the Wesley Food Pantry and Chartwells (the contractor running Parkland’s cafeteria food service) to develop these food-security strategies:

  • Three times this semester, Hospitality’s baking class will bake goods to supply the food pantry. “The pantry’s clients love the food,” says Del, “and the students have the satisfaction of knowing their baked goods are reducing hunger in the community.”
  • Next spring, Horticulture students plan to plant a garden outside the pantry food to supply 30 families with fresh seasonal produce.
  • Chartwells agreed to divert vegetable scraps from its waste stream to create compost to enrich the soil in Horticulture’s garden.

In addition, Del is working with the Wesley Food Pantry to raise awareness among Parkland’s student body that the pantry can supplement their food needs.

“Parkland’s Hospitality Club will also focus its efforts on sustainability and community outreach,” says Del.

Student-led initiatives like Del’s show the power of sustainability and systems thinking: waste is often a resource that happens to find itself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Creating connections between people and programs can capture these neglected resources and not only put them to productive use, but also help weave together more resilient and humane communities.

[Thor Peterson is the Sustainability coordinator at Parkland College.]

5 Reasons to Attend Parkland’s Open House

The Campus-wide Fall Open House is scheduled for Friday, November 13 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. in Parkland’s Student Union. Here are five reasons you should check it out:

  1. Get a tour of campus led by Student Ambassadors.
  2. See open labs for many of the Health Careers (rare). Check out the H and L wings from noon to 3 p.m. for their events.
  3. Attend breakout sessions on financial aid or Parkland Pathway to Illinois.
  4. Visit with someone from your academic major to find out what the classes will be like.
  5. Learn about resources to help you succeed in college.

For more information, contact admissions@parkland.edu or call 217/351-2482. No RSVP required.

 

[Mary Kay Smith is the student services advisor for Parkland’s  Admissions and Records office.]

 

Worried about losing your MAP Grant? Apply now for scholarships!

Have you heard? Your financial aid this spring may be less than you expect.

The Illinois Assistance Commission (ISAC), which administers the Monetary Award Program (MAP), has notified all Illinois colleges and universities that due to the uncertainty of the state budget, spring 2016 MAP awards will be delayed until the state budget is approved. This means that your spring 2016 MAP award will be changed to “estimated aid” at this time and will not be applied to any account balance you may incur while registering for spring classes. As a result, your financial aid refund may be less than anticipated.

If state budget does fund MAP awards and you are owed more in a refund, you will receive it after the state budget is approved. Should the state not include MAP awards in the budget, you will be responsible for any balance owed on your account.

The idea of having your financial aid reduced is a pretty stressful one. What can you do? One potential way to offset this possible reduction is to apply for scholarships. Even if you don’t receive the MAP award, applying for scholarships is always a great resource to help fund your education.

NOW is the time to apply for spring scholarships. The Parkland College Foundation is currently offering approximately 70 scholarships for the spring semester. November 15 is the deadline for a majority of these scholarships, but scholarships are posted throughout the academic year.  The funds are there … just waiting for the right student to apply.

Parkland students have access to the scholarship search feature in their student portal at my.parkland.edu. By logging in to the portal and selecting “Scholarship Search” under the Student Services tab, you will be directed to a listing of all scholarships that are currently available. By selecting “eligible scholarships” from the drop down menu, you will also find a list that is more customized based on available scholarship criteria. The search feature is an excellent resource to find scholarships funded by the Parkland College Foundation. In addition, any scholarship information provided by external organizations is posted as well.

Most scholarship applications require you to write an essay … don’t be intimidated! The Center for Academic Success at Parkland offers a Writing Lab in D120 that is open and available to all students. You can receive free help from English instructors with any writing project you might have. For more information you can visit D120 or log in to the student portal, my.parkland.edu.

There are also many reputable online resources for scholarships as well such as Fastweb (http://www.fastweb.com/), CollegeBoard (http://www.collegeboard.org/), and the Federal Student Aid Gateway (http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/). Keep in mind, that most reputable scholarship organizations do not ask you to pay a fee to apply.

[Tim Wendt is Parkland’s director of enrollment services.]

T Building Tour: Come Celebrate LEED Smart Design!

Did you know that buildings consume nearly half the energy consumed in the United States—almost as much as industry and all forms of transportation combined? Smart design and technology choices can drastically reduce a building’s energy demand, however, and we have an example of such a building right here on campus.

The Parkhill Applied Technology Center (building T) is the first building on the Parkland campus to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the leading green building rating system in the marketplace. Join us on October 29 at 11 a.m. to see a dedication of the T Building’s LEED plaque, followed by a building tour.

Jeff Johnson from BLDD Architects will lead a tour of the T Building to point out the features that make this a high-performance building. These include:

  • Extensive daylighting (access to natural light), which both lowers energy costs associated with artificial lighting and has been shown to increase worker productivity and raise student test scores
  • High-efficiency lighting to supplement the building’s daylighting scheme
  • A highly efficient geothermal heating system, which uses the naturally tempering thermal characteristics of the earth beneath the building to both heat and cool the building

T Building’s features represent the sort of energy efficiency improvements Parkland will implement over time to reach its goal of carbon neutrality by the year 2060 as outlined in the President’s Carbon Commitment. The commitment was signed by President Ramage in 2009.

October is Campus Sustainability Month at Parkland and activities were organized by the Sustainable Campus Committee. This tour is the main event for our final week of activities and focuses on the power of design to support sustainability goals. Look for Parkland’s Sustainability coordinator Thor Peterson from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, October 28 outside the café in the union to learn more about how you can support sustainability activities at Parkland.

EVENT DETAILS
Parkhill Applied Technology Center LEED Dedication Ceremony and Green Building Tour
Date: October 29, 2015
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Building T, main entrance

International Soccer Day

International Soccer Day at Parkland
Parkland Men’s Team against the University of Illinois Club Team
Sunday October 18, 24 pm, Parkland Soccer Field

An International Soccer Day will be hosted at Parkland College on October 18. Even though it is called International Soccer Day, every student, employee, or visitor of Parkland’s campus is welcome to join us. A major reason for the event is encouraging students to come to the home game for the Men’s Soccer team, starting at 2 p.m. in the Parkland soccer field.  Free snacks and prizes will be provided.

Our men’s team is doing great this season. It includes six international players from all over the world: Dan White and Keenan Meddings from England, Carlos Martinez from Venezuela, Paulo Pereira from Portugal,  and Gustavo Giordani and Victor Santos from Brazil.  Under the support of Coach Sikora (who has coached numerous All-Midwest Athletic Conference and Region 24 selections) and Coach Galeski, our men’s team has won eight games so far this season (pre-season included).

The opposing team is a strong team from the school on the other side of the town, the University of Illinois Club Team. Since both teams are performing great this season, we believe the game on October 18 will be an exciting one.  What’s more, International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is advertising the soccer game with the international students there. That means there will be a lot of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students going to the soccer game at Parkland. Wouldn’t it be a shame if the university beats us on the amount of audience at our home game?

So come join us! Let’s show our Cobra pride and share the passion, together. Soccer game action and fun—isn’t that a perfect combination for a Sunday afternoon?

This event is organized by the the Alliance of International Students (AIS), which consists of five Parkland students who competed for and won prestigious yearlong campus scholarships. The mission of AIS is to bring together the international student community on Parkland’s campus. AIS students demonstrate leadership by creating campus activities, disseminating information, and creating bridges between campus groups. For questions, please contact internationaladmissions@parkland.edu.

[Article written by Guanheng Lo, an AIS student.]

 

3D football soccer ball with world teams flags. brazil world cup 2014. Isolated on white with clipping path

Police-Student Dialog on Relations to Continue

Talk show hosts, news anchors, politicians, community leaders, and law enforcement officers routinely call for “honest, open dialogue” on police and community relations. There are valid reasons why these conversations don’t often happen or if they do, they tend to end in shouting matches. The subject is emotionally charged, and the exchange can be difficult and uncomfortable.

Building and strengthening relationships requires effort, acknowledging the need for change, and everyone being committed to accept some responsibility. Difficult? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

The Black Student SUCCESS Project sponsored a workshop on Sept. 23 that afforded Parkland students the opportunity to engage with Parkland police officers.  Student questions were unflinching and hard-hitting.  Honest.  Skeptical.

Chief William Colbrook and Sgt. Matt Kopmann responded with respect and care and were outstanding presenters. Both leaders exhibited a genuine pride in their jobs, carefully described their roles and duties as police officers, and demonstrated a genuine understanding of concerns.

Our students stated they had more questions and wanted more time. Part two will be scheduled at a later date to continue this important conversation. Stay tuned.

[Donna Tanner-Harold is a counselor in Parkland’s Counseling and Advising Center and coordinates Black Student Success Project activities.]

Why Should I Care about Civility?

Why should I care about civility?

Well, I guess you should care because we all want to be respected and treated with kindness. Actually, civility is so much more than being nice or respectful. It’s about:

  • treating others as we would want someone to treat us or a member of our family.
  • showing empathy and tolerance to others.
  • responding to people in a fair and just manner.
  • accepting accountability for our own actions and respecting people and property.

Parkland College faculty, staff, administrators, and students came together in 2008 to draft a Civility Statement. We wanted to promote awareness of civility and base it on the College’s core values. This statement didn’t just sit nicely on a page in the catalog; instead, it became the catalyst for the Parkland Civility Campaign. The campaign evolved into a campus committee called the Parkland College Civility Team, a.k.a. Parkland College for Civility (#PC4C).

We believe civility is for everyone. #PC4C seeks to cultivate a civil campus environment at Parkland College through information and civility actions. Again, October is Civility Awareness Month, so please watch for the #PC4C calendar of events. Join in and get involved! We’re an open-membership group, which includes student members. We’ll be hosting events and civility actions throughout the year.

You can help make our campus even more kind, respectful, and tolerant. Remember our motto: civility begins with me!

Marietta Turner
Chair, The Civility Team-#PC4C
Dean of Students

SPARK Celebrates Five Years!

Where can you find the best work of Parkland College students? Check out SPARK, Parkland’s award-winning, open access institutional repository!

This month, SPARK, which stand for Scholarship at Parkland, celebrates its fifth year showcasing the best scholarly and creative works of Parkland students. Each year, SPARK adds papers and projects by students participating in the A with Honors program, selected posters from the Natural Sciences Poster Session, podcasts from Anthropology 103’s Ethnographies of Parkland Student Life project, and prints, product designs, and digital media from the Graphic Design Student Exhibition.

Operating on the Digital Commons platform created by BePress, the collection now holds nearly 1,400 entries from over 450 student, faculty, and staff authors, and has seen over 100,000 downloads from around the globe. Take a look at this readership activity map to see how far SPARK reaches:

SPARK Readership Map link
Click on the SPARK Readership Map to connect to the web page.

Parkland was among the first community colleges in the country to recognize the value of establishing a digital collection of academic and creative student work, and SPARK has proven to benefit students in a variety of ways:

  • Students whose work is included in the repository are able to share their work with not only future transfer institutions or employers, but also with  a larger, more global academic community.
  • Current students are able to use SPARK to model their work after the successful work of others.
  • Students get real-world application of skills as they prepare their projects for publication.

Five years ago, SPARK began with a mission to highlight Parkland’s commitment to excellence in learning. As we look to the future of SPARK, that mission remains unchanged, and we are excited to welcome not only new student work but also to begin using SPARK as a platform for sharing educational resources created by Parkland faculty.

[Cheri Cameron is the archivist at the Parkland College Library.]

Celebrate Surgical Technology Week with Us!

Happy National Surgical Technology Week!

This week, we celebrate the profession of surgical technology. Do you know what a surgical technologist is or does in surgery?

We serve as an integral part of the surgical team, standing next to and across from the surgeon during all surgical procedures. We’re either

  • handling the instrumentation and the medications for the patient
  • helping handle tissue, or
  • troubleshooting any thing that may arise.

We are credentialed professionals and vital surgical team members.

Mvc-040In 1979, the very first evening I worked at a large hospital in St. Louis, I experienced a procedure where a patient came in with incredible and life-threatening injuries. While I was overwhelmed, I knew that I had chosen the right career field, because we worked as a team, the surgeon, the assistants, and the nurses. With very little verbal communication, everyone knew what to do.

We have to think on our feet everyday and stay focused on the goal. I love the challenge of always trying to anticipate the surgeon’s moves to be the best surgical technologist. I still enjoy the intensity as well as the gentle care we provide patients in order to produce the best outcomes possible.

So, let’s celebrate the hidden health care team member!
Join us for Open House Mock Operating Rooms this week.

Tuesday 1-3 p.m. and Friday 10-noon in Room L143

Questions? C ontact Carolyn Ragsdale, program director, at cragsdale@parkland.edu.

Keys to Persistence: Black Student SUCCESS Project

I founded The Black Student SUCCESS Project in 2008 with a goal of increasing the retention and graduation rates of Black students at Parkland College.  I drew heavily from Dr. Vincent Tinto’s Departure Theory, which states that academic integration and social integration are keys to persistence for college students, particularly students of color.

BSSPThe idea for this project is to provide interesting and relevant activities and programs designed to create opportunities for students to learn, engage, connect, and dare I say it?  Have fun!  We have talked about academic topics: Test Anxiety, Gen Eds, and Career planning. We’ve discussed tough social issues: AIDS and the Black Community, Domestic Violence, and Race Relations.  We also have addressed Emotional Intelligence and Healthy Relationships, and every spring, we enjoy the University of Illinois Black Chorus.

Black Student SUCCESS Project workshops have become the best-attended on campus, and all students all welcome.  Look for our posters and flyers around campus and drop by.

***Our next workshop is this Wednesday, Sept. 23, 1-2 p.m. in Room U140.   Chief Bill Colbrook will share on keeping safe, underage drinking, and how to interact with the police.  It should be a good one.***

Stop by. We’d love to have you.

[Donna Tanner-Harold is a counselor in Parkland’s Counseling and Advising Center and coordinates Black Student Success Project activities.]

New Technology at Parkland: Part 2

Below, Earth Science Professor Julie Angel shares how Parkland’s new Augmented Reality Sandbox (ARS) helps students “see the lay of the land” to improve map-reading skills. Julie also demonstrates the new system in an 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.**

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I am thankful to teach at an institution that values the use of innovative technology and the role it plays in student success! Collaboration between the Parkland College Department of Natural Sciences, Campus Technologies, and our Physical Plant during summer 2015 resulted in the construction and implementation of an “Augmented Reality Sandbox” (ARS).

Why the ARS Was Created and What It Does 
This recently developed, hands-on, real-time modeling system was designed and created by scientists at UC Davis’ W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES) in cooperation with UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, and the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Burlington, Vermont. The sandbox system was developed as part of an NSF-funded project to teach earth science concepts through 3D visualization applications. These institutions have graciously shared instructions for building the sandbox as well as the powerful software that produces a variety of graphic effects and simulations.

Earth Science will be using this technology to continue our practice of hands-on learning. We find that students understand difficult and sometimes abstract earth processes when they have the opportunity to use their visual and tactile senses to explore those processes.

Earth Science students work with the ARS during their topographic map lab, where learning outcomes focus on reading and interpreting topographic maps. These maps contain natural and man-made features such as rivers, roads, and towns, along with a second dimension: topographic contour lines. Contour lines show areas of equal elevation across the map and the rise and fall of the land surface, the “lay of the land.” Map reading is slowly becoming a lost skill, so many students have had little to no experience with maps, especially those that feature contour lines.

How Students Learn from the New Technology
The sandbox, and its ability to produce 3D topographic models, allows students and instructors to create their own landscapes and to see the overlay of contour lines on their custom land surface. Students engage critical thinking skills when creating their personalized landscapes, with the freedom to create mountains, valleys, streams, volcanoes, and other earth landforms. The opportunity to read and interpret the contour lines projected onto the 3D sandbox topography develops knowledge and skills that are transferred to more effectively reading and interpretating contour lines on a traditional 2D map.

Earth Science also focuses on the interaction between humans, the solid earth, and its atmosphere. In geology, we study surface streams and the potential for flooding in low-lying areas. Would you believe we are able to produce virtual rain with the ARS? The students can wave their hands above the surface (or use a “Storm on a Stick”) and produce rain over a specific region of the sand topography. This allows us to create models that include natural and man-made features (levees, homes, roads, etc.) to predict where flooding will occur and the effect it will have on human and natural landscapes.

Mass wasting is a process by which earth materials move downslope under the influence of gravity. Think landslides, slow creep of material down a hillside, falling rock, etc. As you can imagine, mass wasting occurs in most every landscape on earth, but can be catastrophic in areas where the terrain is steep. Here in Illinois, we don’t think much about the danger of landslides, but it’s on the minds of the people of southern California on a day-to-day basis! We can create models with the ARS to promote critical thinking by visualizing and predicting areas that are at highest risk for mass wasting.

The possibilities are endless for promoting student success by creating meaningful, realistic exercises that capitalize on the powerful modeling capabilities of the ARS!

New Perspectives: Study Abroad in Brazil

Sophomore Marnie Leonard (third from left, below) was one of several Parkland students taking a Portuguese language class last spring who were then able to immerse themselves in the culture during a two-week trip to Brazil last month. This opportunity came about due to a three-year federal grant Parkland has received to boost foreign-language study.

As you will see, Marnie gained more than a deeper understanding of Portuguese.

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I was very nervous about this trip. I had never been so far away from home for so long before, and it was my first time abroad. It felt really daunting to be going to a place where I wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to communicate with people who lived there. I was always more excited than nervous to embark on the trip, though!

group
Students from Parkland and Joliet Junior College attended the trip to Brazil.

We went to Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraty, and Mogi Mirrim. In Rio, we saw Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain, Copacabana beach, and the Rio de Janeiro Cathedral. We also visited a favela, or slum, and got to witness firsthand the extreme poverty that so many Brazilians live in. In São Paulo, we went to several museums and to Ibirapuera Park, the Brazilian equivalent of Central Park in NYC.

favela 2
Here’s a look at life from the favela.

Paraty is a preserved colonial town, so we saw a lot of cool baroque architecture and learned the history of the port there and its ties with Portugal. While we were there, we also visited an island village populated by fishermen. It was so beautiful and untouched by the outside world, but just like the favela, its people lacked many of the resources and basic assets we take for granted in the United States.

I think my favorite part of the trip was Mogi Mirrim, though. Mogi Mirrim is a really small city in São Paulo state. This is where the trip started to feel more like a study abroad rather than a vacation. We went to the college there, Fatec College, a technical school of about 1,000 students. It was really interesting to meet the Brazilian college students and interact with them (as best we could with the language barrier) and learn more about what it’s like to live day to day in Brazil. What made it so cool to me was the fact that this was an experience I never would have had the chance to have if I had just been a tourist in Brazil—and they were so excited to meet Americans. The Brazilians were all so warm and welcoming that it was hard to leave them when the time came to go.

class 2
US and Brazilian students get acquainted at Fatec College.

This trip was so incredible, I would go on it again in a heartbeat. I gained a new understanding of worldwide poverty. I met people my own age who come from a different world and yet still had things in common with them. I now have a new appreciation for language and how difficult it is to master a new one. These are all new perspectives I will carry with me in returning to my normal life, and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to obtain this outlook.

********

For the current academic year (2015-2016), Parkland’s foreign-language grant program focuses on learning Arabic, with an opportunity to visit the country of Morocco in summer 2016. Our AY 2017 opportunity will explore Taiwan and the Chinese language. Short-term summer study abroad opportunities and scholarships will be offered for both of these countries, too. For more information, give Jody a call!

Jody Littleton
Associate Professor, Communication
Study Abroad Coordinator
Parkland College
217/351-2532

Parkland Day 2015!

Students, Alumni, Faculty, Staff, and Retirees!

Join Parkland College on Saturday, September 12 at 9 a.m. for our annual  “Parkland Day” tailgate!

  • A $10 tailgate ticket includes Italian beef or veggie wrap and iced tea/lemonade. Coolers are welcome.
  • Purchase a $10 football ticket* to see the  Western Illinois vs. Illinois game (11 a.m. kickoff).

Student-Only Special: $10 for both the football game and tailgate!

The tailgate will be in Lot 31, off of Kirby Avenue.  Attend both events or buy tickets for the tailgate only. See you there!

*Football tickets will be on sale in Room U111 until 9/10. Call the Office of Student Life for more information: 217/351-2492.

Why YOU Should Enroll in Group Fitness

Are you just starting an exercise routine?  Maybe you’ve been working out for years.  Group fitness classes offer more than a room full of sweaty classmates and an overly enthusiastic instructor:

  1. Another human being will miss you if you aren’t there, unlike your TV or maybe even your faithful canine companion.  Even if you aren’t at the top of your motivational game, you’ll feed off the energy of others and the time will pass before you know it.
  2. Proper form. While I appreciate Jillian Michaels, she has never once reached through the screen and corrected my form.  In a group class, your instructor will not only demonstrate, but assist in corrections of form to prevent injury and insure you’re working the right muscle groups.
  3. Push it. It’s easier to keep going when you’re winded and worn out if there are others challenging and cheering you.  Instructors can offer modifications to some routines so you’ll keep moving and build strength and endurance.
  4. Fun! You are more likely to stick with a routine if you’re having fun—and how could you not with great instructors and a variety of classes from dance to toning to meditation?  We offer several classes throughout the day and week.  Won’t you join one? Boot Camp, Turbokick, Interval Conditioning, Functional Training, Fit for Life, Group Cycling, Zumba, 2D Cycling, Cored Conditioning, Zumba Gold, Pilates, Flow Yoga, Water Aerobics, Tai Chi, Nia, Keys to Better Balance…it’s all here for you.

Classes begin in September.  See our complete schedule, the 505.

fitness2

In Love with Life: Study Abroad in Dijon

How can a Parkland College Study Abroad experience make you feel? Just ask Klairyn Karmazinas, a second-year Dietetics major (and International Studies minor) who has just returned from our Dijon, France, Study Abroad, June 25-July 25. She’ll make you want to pack your bags today.

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Klairyn in Paris
Klairyn in Paris

“I’ve never been so truly happy in my life. I have absolutely no words for the past weeks I’ve been in Europe. The people, the memories, the confusion, the adventures, the laughter — I wouldn’t trade a single moment for anything in the world.

I’m in love with life. I’m in love with the people I’ve met, the people I haven’t met, the places I’ve gone, the places I haven’t gone, everything I’ve experienced, and everything I’ve yet to experience. I am coming home an entirely different person.

Klairyn in Provence
Klairyn in Provence

I’ve learned that the beauty of language is that somehow we always make it work. It might not be pretty, but it’s a pretty amazing thing. I spent the last four weeks with people from every corner of the world, and if they’ve taught me anything, it’s that life is pure bliss. I was searching for something when I left the States; I’m not entirely sure what that something was, but I know I found it and I know that I’ve changed. It’s been such a blessing to do this, and I swear my heart could explode with the pure joy that’s inside me.

To the amazing people I’ve met, thank you SO much for the endless memories, and I can’t wait to make more. I miss you tons and love you bunches. You all hold a special place in my heart, so please don’t forget me.”

******

Ready for your life-changing moments in a different country? Check out our upcoming Study Abroad opportunities at:  http://www.parkland.edu/international/studyabroad. Spring semester’s Study Abroad deadline  is October 15, 2015.

[Associate Professor Jody Littleton is Parkland’s Study Abroad coordinator.]

 

Parkland CDC: Where Your Child Learns and Grows

Students and community residents: Looking for quality childcare and early childhood education in the Champaign-Urbana area? Look no further than the Parkland College Child Development Center, where your child can discover, create, and grow!

Located on Parkland’s campus since 1993, we are a licensed childcare facility that serves Parkland College students, employees, and community families with early childhood programs for children ages 2 through 5.  Our center has been accredited since 1999, and we have obtained the Gold Circle of Quality through ExceleRate Illinois.

We give priority consideration to Parkland College students with children; student rates are available, based on a sliding scale.  Usually half our enrollment comes from our students’ families, and our daily rates are competitive to other childcare programs in the community.

For your children, we provide a play-based curriculum in a caring and creative environment. Our teachers are highly qualified; they plan daily activities that support the Illinois State Board of Education’s Early Learning Standards for young children.

An online brochure and application at the Parkland College CDC website offers information on childcare tuition and allows you to be added to our waiting list. There’s no application fee required. For more information, call 217/373-3777 or visit our website www.parkland.edu/childdev

[Nancy Kemna is director of the Parkland College Child Development Center.]

Expand Your World: Foreign Language Study

What are some benefits of studying a foreign language?

In addition to fulfilling the language requirement that some of Parkland’s 4-year partner institutions have, studying a foreign language is a great way to expand your mind and your world. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), language learning can benefit all students. Specifically, language learning boosts the development of reading skills, and it correlates with higher academic achievement on standardized tests.

Interestingly, research has also shown a correlation between language learning and students’ ability to hypothesize in science.

Parkland College offers instruction in 6 foreign languages:
Arabic
French
German
Japanese
Portuguese
Spanish

Don’t be afraid to try a new language; you’ll never know whether you like it unless you try it. Plus, as described earlier, even a small degree of language study has advantages. Check out Parkland’s class schedule for the upcoming semester to see when a language class you are interested in is being offered.

(For more research on the benefits of language learning, visit www.actfl.org.)

[Wendy Patriquin, interim director of the Humanities department,  specializes in English as a Second Language.]

Students: Manage Your Finances with $ALT

Do you need help keeping up with student loans, finding scholarship money, or generally getting a handle on your debt? Parkland has a new tool that can assist you, and it’s free.

SALT_bannerParkland has partnered with American Student Assistance® to provide you with SALT, a free financial education and debt management program. SALT makes it rewarding, easy, and fun to make smart decisions about your money and student loan borrowing and take control of your finances.

Through SALT, you can plan and track student loans and repayment options; create a manageable budget; learn about credit and debt management, saving, and investing; and find scholarships, internships, and jobs. SALT members receive access to the following:

• A scholarship search tool
• A job and internship search tool
• Interactive online lessons on personal finances (My Money 101)
• Proactive communication about student loan repayment options
• One-on-one repayment counseling with student loan experts
• Self-serve online tools and calculators

Sign up today at saltmoney.org/parklandcollege. For more information on navigating the SALT website, a video is available here. Students with questions about managing their loans can:

• Call loan support at 877/523-9473 or email loanhelp@saltmoney.org
• Text Contact to 51303 (This will provide information on how to speak with a loan counselor)
Chat with SALT

 

[Tim Wendt is Parkland’s director of enrollment services.]

 

Everybody Hurts

“Everybody Hurts”…this popular song by R.E.M. echoes the reason most massage therapists have jobs today. Most people have some acute or chronic pain issue during their lifetime which causes them to hurt physically and psychologically.

According to the Center for Disease Control, there are over 27 million people in the United States who have osteoarthritis and 50 million Americans have some form of arthritis that is painful. This pain places limits on daily living and can affect a person’s overall quality of life.

Pain is the body’s main warning symptom of problems within the body. Physical issues are most often the cause, but as holistic practitioners, massage therapists must not neglect the emotional components of a complex pain response. Research shows that people who suffer with chronic pain are also much more likely to be depressed. During massage we can engage the parasympathetic or relaxation response, which will release the neurochemicals serotonin and norepinephrine. The relaxation response initiated by massage can help lessen overall pain.

26965014_mlEssential oils via aromatherapy, music, and meditation have been researched by the National Institute of Health, which show they often provide multiple benefits for short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) pain for many individuals.

Join us on July 18th from 9–4pm for our class Holistic Pain Management.  Holistic modalities are a simple and beneficial way to help support  the body’s  natural healing abilities. Learn about the multiple holistic techniques massage therapists can use to help improve healing and manage pain. This course will give you the tools to prepare natural, plant-based topical therapies, guide your clients through relaxing meditations, and use hands-on techniques for body compresses, acupressure, and other methods that enhance mind/body wellness.

 

 

The End is Here: Smoke-Free Lunch at Parkland College

Have you heard? Parkland College is going tobacco free! Because health is always a reason to throw a party, join us in celebration!

If you have seen “The End is Near” images around campus, then you know a smoke-free campus has been a while in coming. There are many reasons for our campus to go tobacco free, but the greatest reason is to build a healthier campus community!

So now, the end is here! Join us Wednesday, July 1, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside the Student Union (U) by the bus stop, and enjoy lunch on us! Bring your friends, too, for free food, music, and lots of information about the reasons and benefits of a smoke-free campus.

Questions? You can reach out to the Wellness Center on campus for more information. You’ll find them inside the Student Life office (next to the big green wall in the Student Union lobby).

Don’t forget!

Smoke-Free Lunch at Parkland College

When: July 1, 2015, 11am–1pm
Where: Patio at the U building circle drive
(In the case of rain, location will be inside the cafeteria)
What: Lunch for the Campus and Community
Why: To celebrate the beginning of the end of tobacco product use on Parkland College’s campus!
Details: Free lunch, music, and information on Parkland College’s newest step toward health, a tobacco-free environment!

Fresh herbs are better, right? 

 

herbs

“Yes, but I’m drowning in basil – HELP!”

Here are some quick tips to get the most flavor out of your culinary herbs in order to enjoy them all year round:

Inside, outside, upside down.  Some herbs are just easier to grow than others.  It’s important to create the most hospitable environment for those finicky herbs on your list.

Timing is everything.  When it’s time to harvest, you want to capture the most optimal flavors.  Some need to be picked early in the morning before the dew dries, while others need to bloom first.

Proceed with caution!  Some herbs have toxic portions.  Make sure you know which ones those are and how to enjoy them safely.

Persevere as you preserve.  You can dry, freeze, or make oils with fresh herbs in order to use later.  The secret is knowing which process to use for each herb.

Does this container make me look flat? Choosing the correct container to store your herbs is essential in preserving the vibrant color and delectable tastes.  Don’t zap the flavor.

Want to learn more about maximizing your herb expertise? Jean Hovde has just the class for you! Sign up now, through Parkland College Community Education.

herb-garden3

 

 

Health Professions Students: Need CPR?

Most likely, if you are a current or potential Parkland Health Professions student, you will need valid CPR certification. Don’t have it yet? Not a problem; Parkland College Business Training can hook you up!

CPR Class Delivery Options
Choose from either our online CPR class with a hands-on skills assessment or our traditional classroom course. Upon successful completion of either class, you will be issued an American Heart Association BLS-Healthcare Provider course-completion card.

 Option 1— Online and Hands-on Skills Session & Test

  1. Complete the “BLS for Healthcare Providers Online part 1” session here and print your certificate of completion. The fee is $22.00 (to be paid online).
  2. Register for one of our hands-on skills sessions here.

 Option 2— Instructor-led and Hands-on Skills Session & Test
Complete a 4-hour traditional instructor-led class, hands-on skills session and skills test with an American Heart Association Instructor to ensure skills proficiency.

Book Purchase (Option 2)
A book is required if you choose to take the instructor-led, 4-hour course option.  The book is additional and must be purchased prior to attending class. Books are available at Business Training, 1315 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign.

Receiving the CPR Card

Typically it takes about 2 to 3 weeks to process. However, if you need proof ASAP, let your instructor know and s/he can issue you a temporary card upon your successful completion of the course.

Lost Cards
You may request a replacement CPR card from the Carle Education office at 217/383-3022.

Upcoming CPR Classes and Fees
Check out the upcoming classes and fees here.

Food Service Sanitation Training Q&A

Business Training receives daily phone calls about registering for the in-demand Food Service Sanitation course.  Here are some of the frequently asked questions and answers as well as important information.

  • How long is the class?
    In July 2014, the course became an 8-hour class with exam.
  • How do I re-certify?
    Effective July 1, 2014, food handlers must take an 8-hour Food Service Sanitation course and exam every five years for re-certification.
  • How much does the class cost?
    $149 + $49 for the required book and test.
  • In which languages are the exams available?
    The exam is available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Burmese.
  • How do I get my results/certificate?
    If you provided a valid email address on your answer sheet, you’ll receive an email notice when your results are available. Click the link in the email to view your results, complete the required information to create a ServSafe.com User ID, and you can view your results. You can print your certificate by selecting the “Print My Certificate” option under the Student section of www.servsafe.com/ss/foodhandler. Parkland College Business Training will also mail you your results and certificate upon successful completion.  If you do not pass, you will also receive notification via mail.
  • Does my certificate expire?
    Yes. ServSafe Food Handler Certificates expire 3 years after the date of the Assessment was successfully passed.
  • Are their qualifications to take the course?  What will I get after the assessment?
    This course has no official prerequisite and may be completed by any individual that seeks knowledge of basic safe food handling procedures. The ServSafe Food Handler Assessment is designed to gauge the knowledge that has been delivered through the ServSafe Food Handler Course or comparable program. Individuals who receive a ServSafe Food Handler Certificate have successfully completed a Food Handler Course and have basic knowledge of the topics covered in the course.
  • When will my results be available?
    Results are typically available within two weeks after the National Restaurant Association receives the completed Exam Information Form and Answer Sheets sent from your instructor.
  • How do I take the exam if it’s not in my native language?
    If the exam is not available in your native language, you can utilize a native language-to-English dictionary during the exam.
  • When does Parkland College Business Training offer Food Service Sanitation courses?
    Click here to see our most current course offerings or call 217/351-2235.

How to Know You’re an ‘Extraordinary’ Leader

I hate to break it to you, but not everyone is a great leader. We might strive to be, we might even think we are… but our thoughts can vary from reality.

Some leaders have been placed in the position as figureheads, some leaders have taken the role by force, and still others have earned the position, the title, and sometimes the prestige of leader.

Leader-Leadership-Abraham-Lincoln

So, what distinguishes an extraordinary leader from a good or average one? How do we know when we are an extraordinary leader? Of course, we all have opinions about who is a great leader, but several key factors can put you on the path of extraordinaryship (yes, it’s a made-up word, but I think it’s appropriate):

  • Character: integrity and honesty— ethical standards, etc.
  • Personal Capability: the intellectual, emotional, and skill make-up of a leader
  • Focus on Results: ability to have a positive impact on an organization
  • Interpersonal Skills: being able to communicate, inspire, build relationships, develop others, and collaborate
  • Leading Organizational Change: ability to have a strategic perspective, champion change, and connect

Learn how to become an extraordinary leader here or call 217/351-2235!

New Technology Benefits for Parkland Students and Employees – Triple Play!

 

As part of the Parkland and IT strategy, Campus Technologies has been diligently working on making technology more accessible to all current students and employees. As part of this effort, the College was able to introduce new programs and provide employees and registered students with free and/or reduce-priced computer software and equipment. These programs consist of:

 

1 – Microsoft Office Suite: Rather than buying the Microsoft Office Suite, which is a very important tool for teaching and learning, every student and employee will now have access to five copies, free of charge, of Microsoft Office and Office 365 Online for use on personal devices (both Windows and Mac). Access to Microsoft Office is available immediately and can be acquired by following the instructions at the following Parkland Knowledge Base Article: Microsoft Office 365 – How to Sign Up and Get Started

 

2 – Lynda.com: As Campus Technologies migrates Parkland to Microsoft Outlook as the new email system, we will also be introducing a new online training resource called Lynda.com. Not only does this system provide training for teaching and learning, it also offers thousands of video courses on technical skills, creative techniques, business strategies, and other topics critical for the success of our students in the workforce. You can learn on the go with your mobile device, laptop, or at home on your desktop. This free service will be accessible to students and employees starting July 1.

 

3 – Affordable Laptops: Access to PCs/laptops is another important technology for the modern student. The Parkland College Bookstore has collaborated with Dell to provide our students and employees with Dell computer hardware at discounted prices. Coming later this summer, you can buy a selection of computers at a range of prices through the Bookstore and Financial Aid funds can be used towards the purchase.

 

We look forward to making more technology accessible to our students and employees. Feel free to contact the Tech Service Desk at 217/353-3333 or TechHelp@parkland.edu if you have any question regarding the information provided in this post.

Sign Up for Summer Fitness— Fun & a Brain Boost!

One of the best ways to get mentally sharp for summer and fall classes is to  exercise! According to Scientific American, AARP, and other sources, regular exercise boosts your mind by keeping your brain, heart, lungs, and muscles at high performance. Exercise also improves your mood and helps you handle mental tasks with greater ease.

So why not come back to Parkland this summer for low-cost exercise classes that keep your brain and body fit? Here are a few you’ll enjoy:

Five reasons to sign up for Core & More this summer:
1. Tone your tummy for swimsuit season!
2. Strengthen and stretch your back for gardening and yard work!
3. Improve your balance for safer walking, hiking, and outdoor activities!
4. Learn to stabilize your torso for better performance at your softball games (or be more comfortable sitting on those hard bleachers)!
5. Practice good posture for selfies and vacation photos!
Mondays @ 5:30pm

 

Fit For LifeFitness2
It’s more than an exercise class…it’s practice for daily living! Strengthen your muscles for lifting and playing with grandchildren, improve flexibility for housework or yard work, improve balance for fall prevention. And do it to fun, familiar music with friendly classmates!
Tuesdays @ 5:30pm

 

Zumba GolFitness1d
“I don’t have any rhythm!”
“I don’t know how to dance!”
“I can’t keep up with the instructor!”
Not a problem with Zumba Gold! As long as you like to move (even if you think you’re not any good at it) and enjoy fun international music, you can do this low-impact version of the popular dance exercise program! There’s no right or wrong, no complicated steps to memorize, no judgment! Join the party!
Mondays @ 9:30am or Wednesdays @ 5:30pm

For more information, http://www.parkland.edu/communityed
Call Community Education at 217/353-2055 to register today!

It’s Plant Sale Week at Parkland

The end of the spring semester brings chaos for many, but it also brings the classroom to the community in many ways. Last weekend’s Motorsports Car Show, the Hospitality department’s Cinco de Mayo lunch, and this week’s Greenhouse Plant Sale showcase how our students engage with the community, and show the community the type of work our students have been doing.

JosephJessee-student

I stopped at the Greenhouse to buy a few things, and had a nice conversation with one of the students working there. Joseph Jessee is excited to be transferring to the University of Illinois soon to continue his studies in crop science.  He had high praise for our instructor, Theresa Meers, who coordinates the popular annual Greenhouse Plant Sale.  I asked Theresa 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 Ag Club account to help pay for student activities throughout the year, and for student competitions.

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

A: Students have been involved from the planning phase, specifically through [the courses] HRT 270, AGB191, and AGB 291. 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 are your most popular plants?

A: Garden vegetables are in high demand this year. With the cooler than usual weather this spring, many people haven’t planted their gardens yet and are looking for veggies. But last year it was a warm spring and we had trouble selling all our veggies. So that varies from year to year, too.

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

A: We are hoping to get a planting in the land lab to supplement the sweet corn that has already been planted on campus. In the red  barn (near S building), we are working towards a produce stand for items grown in the land lab.

Surviving the Post-Midterm Slump

Spring is officially here and it’s the last few weeks of the semester. Do you feel like you’re running on empty? Are you wondering how you’re going to make it through another five weeks of classes? Do you lack the motivation and energy you need?

You are not alone.

The post-midterm slump happens to almost everyone. Here are some suggestions to help you to hang on a few more weeks.

Manage Your Time and Get Organized.  If you don’t already have a study schedule, make one. Determine the assignments and tests that will be due before the end of the semester for each class you are taking, and then pull out a calendar (or make your own) and write down when you will work on assignments and study for tests.

Be Realistic. Check your midterm grades. Are you passing all of your classes? If so, keep up the good work! If not, talk with instructors of the classes you’re not passing and see if it will be possible for you to raise your grade. If you are in too deep a hole, consider withdrawing from that class and using the extra time to improve your grades in the classes you can pass. Just remember: if you are receiving any type of financial aid (grants, loans or scholarships), speak with a financial aid advisor at Parkland before withdrawing from a class.

 Spend Your Time Productively. Spend less time on social media and use that time to study, relax, read, exercise, deep-breathe or sleep.

 Reward Yourself. Set up rewards that are equal to the goal you’ve accomplished. Finish reading three chapters in your Psychology text? Treat yourself to a frappucino. Complete a 16-page paper for History class? Buy yourself some sandals or Chuck Taylors. You don’t have to reward yourself for every accomplishment, but for the tasks you’ve been avoiding, they can be very motivating.

Get Some Sleep. The average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you have a choice between cramming for an exam and sleeping an extra half hour or more, you’re probably going to do better on the exam if you choose to sleep.

 Get Help If You Need It. Organize a study group or go to the Center for Academic Success (CAS) in D120 and work with a Peer tutor, an instructor or a CAS staff member.

And remember: ONLY FIVE MORE WEEKS TO GO!

[Jan Thom is a Student Development Advocate in CAS.]

Breathe in the Exciting Field of Respiratory Therapy

Looking to begin a health career? There’s a special member of the interdisciplinary team of heath care professionals you may not be aware of…until now.

On Friday, April 10, the Parkland Respiratory Therapy Program invites you to discover the exciting and fulfilling field of respiratory care. During their Poster Session, from 9 a.m. to noon in the Flag Lounge, Respiratory Therapy students will showcase their profession and training, with posters focusing on respiratory disease and various treatment modalities.

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Also known as “the lung specialists”,  respiratory therapists are an important part of the team that treats and manages the health of acutely ill patients experiencing breathing problems as well as patients living with chronic lung disease. You will find respiratory therapists working in hospitals as well as outpatient health care settings such as home care, pulmonary clinics, sleep labs, pulmonary rehabs, and extended care facilities.

The job outlook for respiratory therapists is good and is expected to have greater than average growth over the next decade. Visit http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/respiratory-therapists.htm to learn more about the occupational outlook for this valuable field.

Parkland’s Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care and prepares you to become an expert in assessing, treating, and educating patients who have acute and/or chronic lung disease. As a student, you will find our program engages you with classroom, online, lab, and clinical activities.  You will attend hospital clinical rotations that introduce you to the role and duties of the respiratory therapist in areas such as intensive care, neonatal care, and emergency care.

Besides hospitals, you will rotate through several ‘care’ areas of respiratory therapy, including home care, pulmonary rehabilitation, sleep lab, cardiac interventions, pulmonary function testing, and pulmonary physician rotations. You will also earn certificates of completion for Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Life Support while in the program. Upon graduation, you will earn an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) and be registry-eligible to sit for national board exams that authorize you as a certified or registered respiratory therapist.

Drop by our poster presentation; students and instructors of the program will be happy to educate and advise you on this interesting career. Application procedures and up-to-date information are available at here or by contacting Program Director Midge Seim at 217/351-2296 or mseim@parkland.edu.

 

New “Parkland Spotlight” on WPCD 88.7

WPCD 88.7, first and foremost , has always been a learning lab for students taking COM 141 and 142 classes and a place were student DJs hone their skills at a 10,500-watt, alternative-rock FM radio station.

But WPCD also wants to be a voice for Parkland College.

To that end, the students of instructor Adam Porter’s COM 142 class have created a new radio series titled “The Parkland Spotlight,” which will air each Wednesday at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. now through the rest of the spring semester.

On the show (which is pre-recorded), students will interview various faculty and staff from around the college, to find out what is happening in their program or their department and to shine some light on people and events that you may not know much about.

We hope this series will continue from semester to semester with each new group of students in the COM 142 course and that it will not only provide a “spotlight” on those who make Parkland the great learning institution it is, but also create a closer connection between students and the faculty and staff here at Parkland College.

As always, feel free to stop by the WPCD studio and see if there is anything we can do to help you get more exposure for your programs, special events, and activities. We want to be a voice for Parkland College.

Why One International Student Flies

“Why do you want to be a pilot?” Many people ask me that question followed by whether my plane has a bathroom.  No, it does not. Normally I would answer, “you know, it’s cool to fly.” And shrug. But writing this piece made me think about the real reasons why I cannot give up flying.

More Friendliness
I am from Beijing, a city that has 21 million people. Everybody is in a hurry to get somewhere, and there are hardly any interpersonal relationships. Strangers never smile at strangers, and I don’t know my neighbors. The city looks heated but cold.

I always say this to people about flying: ”Think about it: If you are stuck in a 3 by 4 square-foot box for six hours, you need to be a nice person.” This is how I feel when I am at the Institute of Aviation. I don’t feel distant to anyone: the experienced check pilots, the 65-year-old student pilot, the “top-off, please” fuel guy, the Flightstar staff, or the air traffic controllers whom I have never met. There is one thing that connects us, aviation. But it is never dull because every one of us shines in his or her own way.

More Females
I will emphasize one of the pronouns I just used: his or HER. Everybody knows that aviation is a tough field for women. The female representation is tiny, and I just found out that out of the 1.4 billion people in my country, there are only 142 female airline pilots.

But at the Institute of Aviation, I am proud of our female representation. We have a female chief pilot whom we all look up to. We have girls trying to be pilots at the age of 16. This is a very special feeling for me, seeing the strong women empowerment at the institute. My family, which holds the Asian conservative value most dear, believes that I should have a life that a girl “should have,” that is, get a stable salary job and be a great mother. I am completely okay with this idea, but I am going to connect that job with flying airplanes. Even with all the pressure from my family, I never thought I would give up flying. Thanks to all the examples at the Institute of Aviation, I am more determined than ever.

More Freedom to Ask
Thinking in a second language is hard; now imagine flying using a second language. I never wanted to admit that this is an obstacle because I want my instructors to treat me the same as everybody else. But sometimes, it does take an extra question. My education until the day I entered college was “do as I am told.” If my teacher told me that a hexagon is a beehive, then it could never be anything else. This might be an exaggeration, but we were afraid to ask questions.

But when it comes to training to be a safe pilot, one of the most important reminders we receive here is “never be afraid to ask your controllers.” Now, according to Bill (my instrument rating instructor), I am his “I have a question” and “I completely understand” girl.

Aviation has reshaped my entire life. I transformed from the girl who almost settled to be an accountant for the rest of her life to a proud female pilot. The University of Illinois led me to the love of my life, and Parkland College saved it.

So you want to know why I want to fly airplanes? Well… you will have to experience it yourself.

 

[Fran Tao, a student from China, is taking flight training at the Parkland College Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois.]

Student Mentor Wins Scholarship! Find Yours

Congratulations to Parkland College Latino student mentor Alan Perez Cruz, awarded a Parkland College scholarship!

Over the past six months, Alan (center, in photo) has been a Comadre y Compadre mentor for four incoming Latina/o students at Parkland College. He has played an instrumental role in the program’s effort to increase the persistence rate of Latina/o students. He has done an exceptional job of infusing his previous leadership experience to genuinely connect and refer his mentees to campus resources.

In addition to his employment with the Comadre y Compadre Program, Alan has had to work more than 30 hours a week to support his educational dream of attaining a degree in business administration. He is a highly motivated and driven student. Being a scholarship recipient has provided him the validation that he is on the right path towards achieving his educational dreams. Most importantly, the financial support from this scholarship allows him to devote more time and energy to his academics.

More than $10,000 in scholarship funds are still available for Parkland College students for the spring 2015 semester, and scholarships for the fall semester will be available starting early next month! Please consider checking out the entire list of scholarships at my.parkland.edu under the student services tab.

Join Alan in being a Parkland College scholarship recipient!

A with Honors Projects: Create, Achieve, Succeed!

Parkland students, I’m going to tell you about a great way to expand your special academic ability or creative interest while you’re here with us—and gain recognition (and even money) for it through a little extra effort.

Completing an “A with Honors” project in your Parkland class this semester can both challenge and encourage you. Students do not need to be a member of the Honors Program to complete an A with Honors project.

Those who complete an A with Honors project can receive a $100 scholarship,* and students who complete three Honors projects, have a GPA of 3.5, and participate in the Honors Symposium (spring semester) are awarded a $500 graduation scholarship.

You can see some of our projects on the award-winning SPARK (http://spark.parkland.edu/).

A with Honors Project Proposals for full semester classes are due by Friday, March 13.  Thirteen-week class Project Proposals are due no later than April 3.  You can find the Proposal Form at my.parkland.edu (look under Student Services>>Academics>>Honors Program>>Forms tab).

As you can see above, it is highly beneficial to join the Parkland College Honors Program if you are eligible. You may join the Honors Program with a GPA of 3.0, acceptable credentials from your high school or another college, or a unique academic ability or creative interest. Membership in the Honors Program and completion of Honors Projects expand student horizons, challenge students academically, and provide students with recognition on transcripts and resumes.

In addition, students who graduate from the Honors Program are eligible to participate in Honors at the University of Illinois (most of its colleges) and at other universities and colleges around the state.

Finally, I want to encourage you all to participate in Parkland Scholars, a student organization that fosters academic excellence and success. Parkland Scholars works in conjunction with the Honors Program to sponsor campus-wide events and participate in service learning projects and activities.

If you are interested in joining Parkland Scholars or the Honors Program, please contact me: mjones@parkland.edu.

*must also be in the Honors Program.

Sexual Assault: “It’s On Us” to Start Talking

College is a place to learn, right? Well, what if the topics we begin to learn about make us feel uncomfortable? Is it okay to ignore those topics? Or should we press on and educate ourselves by learning why those topics make us uncomfortable?

Like many colleges across the United States, Parkland College has decided that the topic of sexual assault is one we can no longer ignore—in our classrooms or other social places. Last September, President Obama and the White House launched the It’s On Us campaign, asking Americans to pledge the following:

To RECOGNIZE that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.
To IDENTIFY situations in which sexual assault may occur.
To INTERVENE in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.
To CREATE an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.

This pledge is a call to action for men and women at Parkland not to be bystanders to sexual assault in our community.

On January 28 at noon, Student Life is bringing a free, interactive improv show to the Parkland Theatre. Sex Signals uses humor and audience participation to educate us on what can lead to sexual assault and how our actions can improve our relationships.

Sex-Signals-Flyer-e1380055525101-294x300Please plan on attending the show to begin this important conversation at Parkland College. If you would like to sign the pledge, go to: http://itsonus.org

No Winter Break? Break the Ice Instead

Get ready for the saddest sentence in the English language: Winter break is officially over. It’s pretty easy to be bummed out about trekking through the snow and ice to get to class every day again after a month of binge-watching Netflix (I know I wasn’t the only one) and not having to worry about homework or papers.

But there is definitely a significant part of me that’s excited about starting all new classes; and with this new set of classes comes a new set of classmates. Which means it’s time to start making friends.

Now, I am self-aware enough to recognize that I am probably not the best person to be making a post about this. In fact, I could still use a lot of help in this department. But making friends, or at least acquaintances, in your classes is so important—especially when it comes to needing help with course material. I have passed many a math class through the assistance and explanations of my classmates. And it’ll make going to class seem like less of a drag if you have a few friendly faces there.

So here are a few strategies that could help break the ice (and maybe writing about them will help me to take my own advice):

• Just introduce yourself!
It could be as simple as turning to your neighbor and telling them your name. If you’re an introvert (like I am), maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll be outgoing enough to bring you out of your shell. Opposites complement each other!

• Bond over your mutual struggles with the course material.
I think we’ve all been here—the camaraderie felt amongst a group of people who all just failed a test or did poorly on a homework assignment is strong. Use it to do better next time—together, you might be able to figure out just what you did wrong.

• Find something in common.
Whether it’s your major, the area you’re from, a hobby—chances are, there’s something! And hey, if you having nothing at all in common, you’ll probably learn something new!

These are just a few methods that might help you make friends with your new classmates. But like I said, I’m no expert on the topic. Any and all suggestions are welcome, and thanks for reading!

[Marnie Leonard is a Parkland College Student Ambassador.]

Boot Camp with Parkland College Community Education

Boot Camp with Community Education
Boot Camp with Community Education

I love to work out early in the morning. The best thing about it is that anything can happen during the day, and it is not going to get in the way of you getting your daily dose of exercise because you have already done it.

Parkland College offers a Boot Camp class through Community Education. It meets on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 6 to 7 a.m. with instructor Peg Olson. I have had the opportunity to fill in for Peg on occasion, and it is a great group of people who are very welcoming to newcomers.

Student Lynda Ramirez has taken many exercise classes with Parkland College, and she loves Boot Camp. Here’s what Lynda had to say about the Boot Camp class:

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Boot Camp had always intrigued me, but I didn’t think I was good enough to try it out. I met someone who was taking the class and found the courage to try it. That was more than a year ago! I regret that it took so long to find the courage, and wish that I had started a long time ago.

Boot Camp has something to offer everyone, no matter what the age, gender, fitness level or lack of fitness. Each person can work at their own ability level and put as much or as little into as they want; however, Peg Olson is able to bring out the best in everyone. The class is challenging for everyone, from the P90X guy to the person working out for the first time. Peg teaches modifications for every activity so that everyone can participate.

Boot Camp covers all types of fitness activities, both strength and cardio. Peg focuses on activities that incorporate as many muscle groups as possible. We don’t just do squats and lunges; we do them with a body bar held out in front of us. We don’t just run around the gym; we do it holding a weight over our heads. We don’t just do sit-ups; we do them with our feet up in the air holding a ball between our ankles. Peg never fails to find a way to make an activity more challenging!

I know that Boot Camp has made me a better person in many ways. I have made many friends and worked harder than I ever dreamed I could. At the age of almost 62, I can truly say that I am fitter and healthier than ever before. I have achieved goals that I didn’t think were possible. I will keep coming back every semester as long as I can. Fitness is important to every person, but I can attest that the older you get the more important it is. Exercise in the “second half” of life is no longer an option — it is a job. I want to be in the same wonderful shape as my mother who is 88 years old and walked eight miles with me last week.

Boot Camp is more than an exercise class. It is a family. The camaraderie is a major reason to keep coming back. New people are welcomed every semester and quickly made to feel part of the group. Everyone is encouraging and motivating. We celebrate each other’s successes. No one is more motivating and encouraging than Peg.

Boot Camp is a wonderful way to start the day. I feel like I accomplish more before 7 a.m. than a lot of people do in a day or even a week! I sometimes dread getting out of bed, but nothing beats the great feeling of making it through another class and the pride that I feel.

The next session of Boot Camp starts February 3, 2015. Registration is open now; call 217/353-2055.

Community Engagement in the 505—A Core Value!

Parkland Academy Team’s Comadre and Compadre Program, a college-funded initiative, has exceeded its objective of generating community engagement with district Latino students and parents.

This semester, the Comadre and Compadre Program (CCP) has participated in 10 community outreach events that have been hosted throughout the K-12 pipeline as well as at local community centers. The program connected with well over 380 Latino families and students in Parkland College District 505.

Their outreach events inform Latino students and parents about the numerous opportunities available at Parkland College, ranging from free English as a Second Language (ESL) courses to Parkland’s Pathway Program. During these events, CCP members and coordinators have also fielded questions about financial aid,  scholarships, campus climate, and degree programs, among others.

Iroquois West High School VisitMany interactions with prospective Latino students and their families have taken place at informational events at area schools. Most recently, a Latino student panel consisting of Kenia Gonzalez, Kellyn Cuevas Tovar, and Grascon Torres shared their educational experience at Parkland College to 34 Latino students and parents at Arcola High School. Of those who attended the event, 16 high school seniors expressed a strong interest in applying and enrolling at Parkland College. The furthest outreach event took place at Iroquois West High School in Gilman, Illinois. The program coordinator as well as mentors  and mentees took the 45-minute drive up north on I-57 to interact with 23 Latino students that consisted mostly of juniors and seniors interested in learning about the Parkland College experience.

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This type of community engagement is not a program objective to be attained, but a core value. It guides the program’s approach towards providing essential information in Spanish to Latino students and parents about making college a dream come true. More importantly, program mentors and mentees serve as recognizable examples that college is possible despite the existing barriers.

The Comadre and Compadre Program will continue to fulfill its core value of community engagement in the spring 2015 semester.  Program coordinators have already scheduled a visit to Rantoul’s middle school for the month of January.

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PTK Helps with Hunger

[Jenny Olmsted, regional president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, invites you out to the Student Union this week to give back to your community.]

Did you know that 1 in 5 children in eastern Illinois struggles with hunger? Did you also know that currently 28% of the land slated for agriculture is used yearly to produce food that will be wasted or lost?

This is food, free food, that could be going to hungry mouths.

An even scarier fact is that our global population is predicted to rise to roughly nine billion people by 2050 from our current seven billion, and we can’t even feed all the people we have now with our current agricultural practices.

Yet we can surely try, and we are!

Phi Theta Kappa food drive boxes.
Phi Theta Kappa food drive boxes.

Parkland’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa —the largest and most prestigious honor society of two-year colleges—is hosting a Food Drive and an Environmental Awareness Table this week, November 17–21, in the Student Union. Please come out and donate some food or funds, or just stop by to learn something new about the environment and what you personally can do to help. The table times are listed below:

MONDAY: 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. (Green-out day)

TUESDAY: 3– 5 p.m. (Ecosystem day)

WEDNESDAY: 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. (Skip a meal)

THURSDAY: 11 a.m.–2 p.m. (Trash day)

FRIDAY: 10 a.m.–1 p.m. (Farmer day)

All food will be donated to the Eastern Illinois Foodbank on December 2, the “Day of Giving.” This means that the food you donate will stay in our community and be directly donated to those who need it in our area. Since Parkland’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter will not be donating the food until December 2, please feel free to make donations up until then. A donation box will be placed in Parkland’s Student Life office in the Student Union after this event. Food items needed most are beans, canned fruit, canned veggies, cereal, jelly, macaroni and cheese, pasta, pasta sauce, peanut butter, soup, and rice.

Also have you heard of kiva.org? This is where 100% of your monetary donations will go. Kiva.org is a nonprofit organization “with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” Check it out for yourself. (Here is Phi Theta Kappa’s team link.)

Parkland’s PTK chapter is also spreading awareness about food production and how it has impacted our environment over the years during this time. Each day of the week will present a new theme with new action items that we all could do to help out. So if you can’t donate, still stop by to learn something new!

Monday’s theme was Green-out day. People came to campus dressed in green to show their support for our environment. Tuesday’s theme highlighted our ecosystem and how the species within our environment have been impacted both positively and negatively by agricultural practices.

Wednesday is Skip a Meal Day! Parkland’s chapter is not encouraging people to skip a meal but rather to raise awareness in regards to how a lot of people have no choice but to skip a meal or two. After your lunch purchase, you have the option of donating your leftover change!

Thursday’s theme is Trash Day. Do you know how much trash is generated by the food you purchase? Stop by to find out! And lastly, Friday’s theme is Farmers Day. With the increasing global population, more food has to be produced somehow and somewhere. Stop by to learn more. Our farmers work hard to ensure that the production of our food is efficient and sustainable, so don’t forget to thank a farmer this Friday!

Parkland’s Phi Theta Kappa Chapter hopes to see you there!

7 Ways to TANK Your Grades While There’s Time

Okay, so you’ve checked your midterm grades on my.parkland and you’re doing  fine: No “underwater grades” (below C level), you’ve made a good impression on your teachers, and you just might succeed!

Don’t worry, though; there are still LOTS of ways you can take all that hard work and money and flush it away! Here are just seven!

from table 028
Flushing away your good grades is easy. Photo by Sue Jones.

1.  It’s cold and dark now in the morning…go ahead, sleep in. Sure, you know that when you went in early and looked over your notes in D120 before class, everything made more sense; but now… it’s dark! Don’t be smart and figure out what will propel you from the covers (i.e., set the thermost to go on when it’s time to get up, turn that light on, put the alarm clock across the room, get a cat, make coffee, whatever!). Just sleep your good grades away.

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“Big feet ” by Cyndy Sims Parr. Creative Commons license (521365548).

2.  Hang out with people who aren’t studying. They’re having a good time! Plus, they’re not concerned with your goals and dreams, so they won’t mind if your grades go down.

3,  Don’t just celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Celebrate Thanksgiving Week!  You have a lot to be thankful for. Surely you’ll need more than just two days off to express your thanks.  What’s a couple of days of missed assignments or quizzes, anyway?

4.  Lost your notes? Don’t even bother to look for them. Look back over the old material before you do tonight’s work; that’s what successful students do! Find somebody else who can share? Review for the final? That’s the stuff that might get you on the Dean’s List, so you’d better not!

5,  Text, sleep, and get all that social stuff done in class. You started out the year paying attention and taking good notes, but now you’ve figured out where to sit so the instructor can’t tell if you’re sleeping or on your phone (well, s/he probably can, but….) You’ll figure this stuff out later, right? Like when you’re hanging out with your friends who aren’t taking classes.

6.  Don’t bother to withdraw from classes you’re not doing well in.  After all, it is such a pain: You should meet with an advisor and financial aid to see how withdrawing will affect your academic or financial aid standing, then physically go to Admissions (second floor, Student Union) to fill out a withdrawal form. And they want you to do this by a specific date? Ugh.

7.  Give up when the going gets tough. You’ve fallen behind, and it will take more work than you want to put into it to get back up to speed. Well, no, you don’t even really know how badly you’re doing, but… ask? Face your fears? Heaven forbid you should talk to your instructor or visit D120 and ask for some help; asking for help is a definite sign of weakness. At least, that’s what people say when they aren’t brave enough to ask for help.

So…drop your work into the tank…

fishtank
Photo by Parkland graduate Bill Gibbens; used with permission.

…OR,  if you don’t think these are good ideas, come on over to the Center for Academic Success (CAS) in D120! We’ve got pep talks, reality checks, course helps, and lots of students working their way to academic success, just like you! See you there, if you dare!

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Come over to CAS for steps to success! Photo by Sue Jones.

Health Professions: A Career for You?

Have you ever considered a future in health professions? For that matter, do you even know what we mean by health professions here at Parkland? Sometimes we throw terms around and expect everyone to know what we are talking about—that is especially true in health professions! We offer so many opportunities here at Parkland to work in the health care field. Some programs take only one semester while others offer full two-year degrees.

For example, our Nurse Assistant program and our Emergency Medical Technician Basic program are each only one semester long! Both of these professions provide students a great opportunity to work in a health care field and decide if they want to proceed further or do something different—all while being paid!

Maybe your passion is for animals instead of people? I get phone calls on a regular basis from veterinary clinics asking about our Veterinary Technology students. Our program is nationally known for excellence, and many places want to hire our graduates. When you complete our two-year Vet Tech program, you will have earned an associate degree and be ready to take the national board exam.

Other Health Professions options here at Parkland include one-year certificate programs. So what can you complete in one year? You could become a Medical Office Assistant, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), a Massage Therapist, or a Paramedic.

What about other two-year degrees? We offer degrees in Dental Hygiene, Registered Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assisting, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Therapy, and Surgical Technology. Students may also receive two-year associate degrees in Massage Therapy and in Emergency Medical Services (Paramedic).

The healthcare industry continues to experience employment growth, and this growth is anticipated to continue for many more years. It is one of the fastest growing job sectors in the country. I’d love to tell you more about each of our programs…better yet, come our Open House this Friday, November 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. at our main campus and also at our H wing on Mattis Ave. You can learn more about each program and speak to the faculty and students for firsthand experience!

What Makes “SADHA” So Special?

[SADHA President Mary Liesse and members of the Parkland Dental Hygiene program would like to share with you a little about what they do at Parkland and for its communities.]

We love SADHA!

SADHA stands for the Student American Dental Hygiene Association. As Parkland College Dental Hygiene students and proud members of SADHA, we try to have active community involvement by volunteering with the Smile Healthy organization and Frances Nelson Dental Center and participating in community activities. What we do to help others is pretty rewarding.

SADHA raises money every year to host a free clinic day. This year, we raced in the Car X Crazy K, which consisted of a 5K obstacle course; we raised $6,300 and donated more than half of it to our charity of choice, the Smile Healthy/Frances Nelson Dental Center. Our next free clinic day will be held April 11, 2015, and treatment we offer to our Parkland patients includes, fillings, extractions, and some tooth replacement with mouth flippers. Many dentists, Carle Oral Surgery employees, nurses, Regal Dental Laboratory technicians, students, and dental hygienists also volunteer their time and skills to help during this event.

SADHA also sponsors a local family in need for Christmas. We help make their Christmas wishes come true by filling their Christmas list!

Our community involvement is just one real-world component in Parkland’s two-year Dental Hygiene program. The program also features a clinic on campus, where Dental Hygiene students fully assess and clean a patient’s mouth.  Cleanings are $10 and include an oral cancer screening, blood pressure screening, medical history review, full intra-oral and extra-oral assessment, caries detection, nutritional counseling, X-rays, deep and regular cleanings, and an exam by our dentist. We also sell professional strength Crest White Strips for $35 and electric toothbrushes ranging in price from $20 to $85. 

We are looking for patients who haven’t had their teeth cleaned in five years or more. Appointments are about three hours long, and some patients may require more than one appointment.  Our clinic phone number is 217/351-2221 to make an appointment for a cleaning.

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.

International Students on Parkland’s Football Teams

International students play football for Parkland College! Wha???? Parkland College has a football team?

Yes, Parkland does have a football team—two, actually. We have a women’s team and a men’s team.

Oh, sorry for the confusion about the reference to ‘football’. What the rest of the world calls ‘football’ we, in the US, call soccer.

Parkland College Soccer actionParkland College has had a football/soccer program for many years, and our international students have played, and continue to play, key roles in establishing our program as one of the best community college programs in the US. As you may know, football is played, from an early age, in all parts of the world. The US is a relative new-comer to the sport, so the global perspective and experience our international students bring to the game is highly valued.

Currently, the women’s team has four international students on the roster. The team is 12-3 overall on the season. They begin post-season play with the first match of the Region 24 tournament against Lincoln College at noon on Sunday, October 26. More information is available at: the women’s soccer schedule page.

The men’s team also has four international students on the roster and are currently ranked #22 in NJCAA poll. The men’s team is also tearing it up on the soccer field at 12-3. They begin post-season play with a match against Lincoln Land in the Region 24 tournament on Saturday, October 25 at noon. Find out more information at: the men’s soccer schedule page.

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!

7 Reasons to Take Zumba at Parkland

Zumba  ParklandJoin the Zumba dance party at Parkland! Here’s a fun way to get a great workout and meet new people. Think it’s not for you? Think again! Here are seven good reasons to join us!

  1. Each Zumba workout contains a mix of different music styles: Salsa, merengue, hip-hop, cumbia, bachata, samba, cha cha, and more.
  2. You don’t have to worry about being a good dancer. Just do your best and have fun!
  3. I keep the songs in the class playlist for 6-8 weeks. As you attend more classes, you will get practice and feel more comfortable with the choreography.
  4. Zumba burns 310 – 465 calories in a 60-minute class. If you move less, you burn less. If you move more, you burn more.
  5. My Zumba class can be easily modified to have no jumping or fast turns. There are always people who enjoy low-impact Zumba in my Parkland class.
  6. I add a new song each week to keep it fresh. I always give tips or do a preview of new songs.
  7. We have space in Zumba at Parkland College for YOU!

Zumba is a noncredit class that meets on Mondays from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Our next session for fall starts October 27 and ends December 8.  Call Community Education to register: 217/353-2055.
If you want more information, you can visit my Zumba page. You can also visit the official Zumba website for information.  See you soon!

Lisa Hoppe, Instructor

What has made an impression on you this semester?

Yesterday, I spent some time in the Student Union talking with students as they made their way toward lunch. Quite a few students commented on how much better they liked the new food service area. Of course, cost is an ongoing concern, but the variety, quality, and especially the vastly improved and increased seating area all received high marks.

Toby2

Along the way, I met up with Toby Rothery. Toby is a freshman, majoring in business. I asked how the semester was going and what were some of the things that made an impression on him these first few weeks of the semester.

He said, “I learned right off the bat to not be afraid to go to your teachers for help; they are willing to [help]. The other very important thing to do is find a group to study with. It helps a lot and if you don’t get something they are always right there to help you with most problems you have.” We talked a little about the Center for Academic Success and how they can help with tutoring as well as the value of the Writing Center.

Toby also works in the Fine and Applied Arts departmental office as a student worker, which, according to Toby, “is light years better than his old job” working at Toy-R-Us.

Next time you are in the C-Wing, stop by the Fine and Applied Arts office and say “hey” to Toby.

Student Union Ribbon Cutting 2014: Live Updates!

Thanks so much for joining us for today’s celebration of the new Student Union!

 

FREE! Chair massages, photos with friends, food at Student Union! 4:50 p.m.

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Beautiful group shot taken of entire crowd before refreshments and open house exploration begin, 4:35 p.m.group

 

Cutting the ribbon!

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Dr. Thomas Ramage, Parkland College president
Dr. Thomas Ramage, Parkland College president

Dr. Ramage announces $2.1 million Title III grant awarded recently to Parkland College, 4:30 p.m.: “We’re very pleased to have won this competitive grant from the Board of Education.”

 

Parkland Student Government President, Abby Vanderkloot from Monticello, addresses visitors next: “Say goodbye to the cold pizza and hello to the stone ovens that bring out fresh hot pizza all week long. With all of this new space comes new opportunities for student success.”