Category Archives: Careers

Phi Theta Kappa: Exploring Innovation in the Local Community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

[Hilary Valentine is associate director of Marketing and Public Relations.]

 

 

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.***

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.]

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.]

Why Parkland Land Surveying is Top Trainer

If you’re looking for one of the nation’s top land surveying educators, look no further than Parkland College. We recently earned the 2016 NCEES Surveying Education Award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Just 10 universities or technical institutes across the country won this inaugural award, and Parkland was the sole Illinois school earning the distinction.

So what makes our Construction Design Management: Land Surveying program an important choice for those pursuing professional licensure in surveying? I asked 2014 program graduate and Army veteran Jim Harpole, now project manager at JLH Land Surveying Inc. in Plainfield, to share his perspective on that. Here’s what Jim had to say.

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Strong foundation, ideal environment. The Land Surveying AAS program gave me the strong foundation I needed to succeed in my surveying career. Thanks to the wide range of topics and challenging curriculum, I was given an opportunity to experience different survey applications and an insight into the possibilities that a career in land surveying offers. The Parkland College campus is well-suited for the application and practice of land surveying.

Parkland Land Surveying students work on equipment.
Parkland Land Surveying students work on equipment.

Real-world experience. I especially benefited from the many off-campus projects that the program undertakes, projects like creating topographic surveys for the Monticello Railway Museum and establishing the photogrammetric control network for Champaign and Piatt counties. We even did the property boundaries for a few Habitat for Humanity projects in Monticello.

Students in the program also work with various types of software platforms and surveying equipment in current use. The experience that Parkland graduates possess greatly improves their marketability and brings recruiters from all over the Great Lakes region.

Reaching out, giving back. With the average age of licensed surveyors somewhere in the upper 50s, the land surveying profession is currently facing a large age gap, due to both the increase in educational requirements and a lack of public outreach to bring in more young people. The Parkland College Land Surveying program continues to play a vital and leading role in Illinois and the surrounding area by reaching out to high school programs; supporting the Boy Scouts of America by hosting a surveying merit badge; and assisting with logistics and judging for Illinois FFA sectional and state agricultural mechanics competitions, hosted annually on the Parkland campus.

Parkland also works with the University of Illinois’ Engineering program, which accepts CIT 255 Engineering Surveying course credit from Parkland as junior/senior engineering credit.

Helpful faculty and staff. I had such a great experience while at Parkland. Every instructor I had during the two years I spent on campus was always approachable and willing to set aside their time to assist me in understanding the coursework. As a student veteran, I was especially pleased with the service I received from the Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.

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***For more about the Construction Design and Management: Land Surveying AAS degree and certificates visit parkland.edu/academics/departments/est/construction.aspx***

[Todd Horton is program director for the Construction Design and Management programs at Parkland College.]