Category Archives: Careers

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.]

HS Students Invited to Try Ag/Engineering/Tech Jobs

Regional high school juniors and seniors will soon compete in pit crew contests, spark plug challenges, carpentry contests, and other hands-on events introducing future career options in agriculture, engineering, and related technologies.

The annual Parkland College Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies Open House is happening Friday, October 14.

Parkland’s state-of-the-art lab spaces will host the day’s events. The Parkhill Applied Technology Center, the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center, and the Construction Education Alliance (Parkland on Mattis) simulate on-the-job conditions using industry-recognized equipment.

Students will choose two innovative sessions from automotive; collision repair; diesel power; electrical power; industrial technology and welding; construction management; engineering science; and agriculture, precision ag, and horticulture. Each session will last 40 minutes and provide a hands-on, career-exploration activity.

High schools are encouraged to bring groups of interested students. However, parents/guardians are also invited to bring their high schooler to the event should the local high school choose not to participate. Every participant will receive a free T-shirt and lunch.

Please visit www.parkland.edu/agestopenhouse for more information and to register. Registration is required by September 28.

Drones for Business: Big Option in Small Package

If you use drones (or have thought of using them) for your business, you may not be aware of recently established federal regulations, known as Part 107, that could benefit you. These FAA UAS rules allow businesses to operate drones for commercial purposes.

What does Part 107 mean for you and your drone?

  • Drone operators must be certified under the new UAS Operator certification.
  • Drone operators no longer need to file a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)
  • All aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs.
  • Flight is allowed under 400 feet above ground level. If flying within 400 feet of a structure, flight can be up to 400 feet above the height of that structure.
  • Flight must take place within visual line of sight of the operator.
  • Approval is required from specific airports to fly within their airspace boundary.
  • Flight must only take place during daytime and twilight hours: flight is allowed 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
  • Single-person operations are now allowed; a visual observer is no longer needed.
  • Drones must be registered with the FAA, a process that can be done online in about five minutes
  • Drones can carry an external load and transport property for compensation, allowing for package delivery.

To help residents comply with the new standards, Parkland College Business Training and Community Education is pleased to bring the UAS Certification Exam Prep to our area September 15–16.

Discover what commercial drone/UAS operators will need to know in order to pass the certification test.  Learn pertinent information regarding regulations, airspace, weather, and more with Mandy Briggs, Certified Flight Instructor at the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College.

The UAS Certification Exam, available directly after the second day of class, is being handled by the Parkland College Assessment Center.  Testing will occur on a first come, first served basis at the center.  The certification exam is $150.  Click here for all testing and registration information.

[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert is a program manager with Parkland Business Training and Community Education.]