Category Archives: Community Engagement

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.]

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.]

In the Shadow of the Moon

I guess this is where I’m supposed to describe the Great American Total Solar Eclipse of August 21. The problem is, I can’t. I’ve been attempting to come up with words that would give the event its props and, I’ll admit, I’m coming up short.

Camp Ondessonk. Online photo from Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, Inc.

I’ve been asked many times “How were things in Carbondale?” I didn’t go to Carbondale. That venue was a bit overcrowded for me. My and CU Astronomical Society colleagues and I descended on Camp Ondessonk, near Ozark, Illinois. The Catholic youth camp was previously directed by my brother-in-law, and my kids spent a lot of time there. We set up telescopes in an impressive row in a horse pasture, meaning you had to pay close attention to where you erected your tent! We had numerous telescopes from CUAS, the twin city group from Bloomington-Normal, and University of Illinois students. And my daughter made the trip from Chicago to go with us.

We arrived Saturday morning to avoid traffic, and my wife and daughter took part in some of the camp’s amenities like archery, hiking, and craft-making. Carl Wenning (ISU) and I did three workshops each on Sunday, and Carl did a keynote after dinner. The food was awesome! They treated us well! Stargazing was a bit disappointing as we were greeted with heavy dew and clouds both Saturday and Sunday night. But the main event was Monday.

The observing field (half of it anyway). Photo by Dave Leake.

We all smiled as we opened our tents Monday morning, greeted by blue skies with a few clouds. I did two radio interviews via cell phone before breakfast and then spent the rest of the morning setting up equipment. Our camp director said that with the influx of “Monday only” traffic (no overnight accommodations), he expected 800 people in the camp. I used my telescope to project an image of the Sun, about a foot in diameter, on a poster board. It was here that I shouted, “first contact” to the group right at 11:53 a.m.

The partial eclipse as projected by a colander. Photo by Dave Leake.

We watched as the Moon seemed to consume a wonderful sunspot group on the Sun’s face. People used pegboards, mailing tubes, and even colanders to project the partial eclipse.

As the Moon overtook the Sun, everything seemed “weird!” It is difficult to articulate! Shadows became sharper and the countryside took on a pale appearance as if it were twilight, but it was everywhere (not just one direction) and the Sun was high in the sky! It got darker and cooler. At the first diamond ring, a roar came from the crowd and there was applause as we bathed in the Moon’s shadow. The horizons stayed relatively bright, but the sky overhead darkened and Venus became brilliant. Jupiter was visible east of the Sun.

Eclipse totality at Ozark, Illinois. Photo by Saiko Rosenberger.

Some colleagues began snapping photos. I did not. This was my first total eclipse and I was advised just to watch. That was great advice. It was an emotional scene:

  • My daughter was there, with whom I had shared telescopic views of Saturn when she was just a tyke. She spent seven years as a camper here, so this was a homecoming for her.
  • Chuck Greenwood was there from Florida; he was Staerkel Planetarium’s show producer when I started. We presented shows together for 12 years. Frank Oriold was there from St. Charles. Frank and I were in the UI Astro Club together in 1981 and I had not seen him in years. Mike Rosenberger was there with his wife. Mike and I co-founded CUAS back in 1986—a lifelong friend.
  • And I was wearing my dad’s eclipse T-shirt. I lost him in 2015. The coronal streamers were nothing short of spectacular and the Moon’s perimeter took on a pearl white color. He would have loved this!

My wife kept a timer on her phone and, at 2.5 minutes, I yelled “have your glasses ready!” The second diamond ring was more dramatic than the first. The Sun’s brilliant light appeared as a point that grew in size. Given the high ice crystal clouds in the area, the point was surrounded by brilliant colors and the crowd gasped. Afterwards, club members gathered and either hugged or provided a “high five.” It was only 2.5 minutes but it will be etched in our memories forever!

The next eclipse in the area will be April 8, 2024. I hope I’m around for it. What an amazing experience! I didn’t even mind the 6.5-hour drive home!

[David Leake is director of the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College.]

PRECS Summer Research “Invaluable” to Students

Ten science-focused students from community colleges across Illinois and two other states came to Champaign recently to participate in the inaugural summer of PRECS (Phenotypic Plasticity Research Experience for Community College Students), a research experience for undergraduates program (REU) funded by the National Science Foundation. PRECS provides community college students with authentic research experiences in the area of phenotypic plasticity, the phenomenon in which a single genotype produces multiple phenotypes depending on environment.

Our summer program started with a two-week boot camp at Parkland College on May 24. The boot camp prepared participants for the eight-week research immersion portion of the program, where students became integrated into research laboratories at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The immersion portion ran through July 26.

PRECS is different from the NSF’s other REU programs in two ways. First, although most programs include research immersion experience, it is less common to have a boot camp. Second, many REU programs are designed for undergraduates in their junior and senior years, while PRECS is specially designed to meet the needs of community college students, who may not have had any research experience and relatively few college-level science courses. In fact, as far as we can tell, PRECS is the first NSF REU in the field of biology to be open exclusively to community college students and to have a community college faculty member as one of the creators and administrators of the program.

As our program wraps up, two PRECS participants,  Elliot Ping and Aaron West, share a bit about their experiences and what they are taking away from this excellent summer opportunity (below).

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“PRECS provided a platform for growth and learning, both academically and professionally, while also providing a candid look at what it’s like to be a part of a research lab. The program has been a whirlwind of learning opportunities (including the mistakes and frustrations that often come paired with them) from start to finish. These experiences, from the outright failures to the great successes, are all good preparation for what it means to be a person in research.

An average workday for me was 9 am to 5 pm, sometimes earlier or later depending on what we were doing. If we could only get a timeslot on the confocal microscope at 8 am or at 6 pm, for example, then the day would be adjusted differently. The specific project I was working on involved a lot of downtime between steps while things ran their course, so I had the opportunity to learn other skills (like R programming and other software skills), read papers, and shadow other members of the lab.

My favorite moment was when we finally got our antibodies to work. We were at the confocal microscope doing a continuous scan to get a look at the brain tissue, and we found real colocalized staining on the sample. It felt good to see my efforts come together and to get good images of something, especially after something like two weeks of repeated failure.

This summer, I have gained more perspective about science as an institution than I gathered through the entire course of my associate’s degree. Research is not the simple, straightforward thing many people think it to be. It is failing and trying again, or trying something else, until you get it right, and, like with most other things worth doing, it takes practice, patience, and outright stubbornness to gain the skills necessary to make success a possibility.

I will hold close to my heart for a very long time the relationships I have built and the education I have received, both formal and informal, from working and studying in the PRECS program. The opportunity to work, learn, and present, especially when coupled with the guidance of so many knowledgeable, experienced people, has been, and will likely continue to prove itself to be, utterly invaluable to my development as a student and as a professional-in-the-making in the sciences. I am so grateful to Parkland College and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for working to make this opportunity for community college students possible. It has been a privilege to be involved with PRECS, and I would encourage any community college student who thinks research may be for them to look into this or other opportunities as something that can both broaden their horizons for the future and deepen their understanding and appreciation of the things they are learning in the classroom.”   — Elliot Ping

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“I am honored to have been picked to participate in PRECS (Phenotypic Plasticity Research Experience for Community College Students). Coming from a community college located in the south suburbs of Chicago, I only had a vague sense of what being in a lab entailed. What PRECS would go on to teach me this summer is the community a lab has. Every lab is different, specializing in different fields, participating in different research.

PRECS has been a great program to participate in over the past 10 weeks. It has prepared a mindset geared toward graduate school. PRECS has exposed me to real-world scientific practices, and stresses. PRECS gave me a true experience, exposing me to what my life would be like after graduating with my bachelor’s degree. I feel more prepared moving forward with my education. Whether I go on to continue scientific research or not is not foreseen, but I know that it is a viable option.” — Aaron West

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For more information about PRECS, visit precs.igb.illinois.edu.

[C. Britt Carlson, PhD, is an associate professor of chemistry in the  Natural Sciences department at Parkland College.]

Art Rocks! at College For Kids

College for Kids has invited super-cool instructors to work with your kids this summer, like “Art Rocks!” instructor Kamila Glowacki. Kamila is pursuing her MA in Art Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned her BFA in Art Education and Painting in 2013. Her drawings, paintings, prints, and sculptures have been featured at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago and local venues such as the Indi Go Artist Co-Op, the Art Theater, Common Ground Food Co-Op, and the Women’s Resource Center. And she loves getting kids excited about art! Kamila describes a bit about her work and the class below.

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Above: Jay Ryan poster for Polyvinyl Records’ 4-track single series. Featured image: Poster by Jay Ryan.

Over these next few days, I will be preparing screenprinted T-shirts, enamel pins, and other merchandise for an upcoming tour of the East Coast that my band is about to embark on. As an artist and musician, it has always been a fun challenge for me to design something that represents my music and put it on a shirt or CD. It’s an exciting feeling to see someone wearing something I drew!

Through this creative process, I have learned many practical skills that can be applied to artmaking as well as design. I’m excited to explore these skills with students who will soon take the “Art Rocks!” class at Parkland’s College for Kids summer enrichment camp.

In this class, we’ll design and screenprint T-shirts, create buttons, and zines, and design large-scale posters as part of the “Art Rocks!” class. As students participate, they will develop their own art skills as well as the freedom to create objects that can be duplicated and shared. Whatever T-shirt, storybook, or poster they might imagine will become an attainable item they are capable of creating themselves.

While many K-12 students have a chance to paint, draw, and sculpt, the opportunity to learn about specific artmaking methods and careers within the music industry is not likely to be found in school curricula. Throughout “Art Rocks!” we will look at the work of contemporary artists such as Jay Ryan who have made careers around concert poster or album artwork design. These encounters with contemporary artists will introduce students to the possible careers in the arts as well as encourage their interest in art and music.

I am looking forward to sharing these skills with students this summer, and I can’t wait to see what fantastic designs they create!

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College for Kids registration is open now! Check out our classes by visiting www.parkland.edu/btceRegister. Classes will be held Monday–Thursday, June 19–29 and July 10–20. Class times are 12:45–2:45 p.m. and 3–5 p.m. Tuition for each class is $159 and includes all supplies. You can register online or in person at 1315 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign. CFK inspires students to develop a lifetime love of learning and exploration.

Questions? Call 217/353-2055.

[Terry Thies is program manager for youth education with Parkland College Business Training and Community Education.]

 

Join the College for Kids Fun!

Make College for Kids a part of your family summer plans!
Looking for that really awesome, one-of-a-kind summer camp experience for your kids? Do you want your child’s summer to be filled with fun activities, new and enriching experiences, and opportunities to make new friends? Look no further – we’ve just described Parkland’s very own College for Kids!

College for Kids (CFK) is a summer enrichment camp for students, ages 8-13 years. For over the last 35 years, CFK has offered two-week classes ranging from engineering to art, TV broadcasting to cooking, and everything in between. Classes are hands-on and interactive and put the fun in learning!

We’ve got a lot of new classes this summer that offer tons of fun for your children. They will be learning and challenged at the same time! You child will be able to:

• design an app
• create short animations
• learn Photoshop or design objects
• explore world cultures and art as they learn various forms of
Zumba dancing
• learn to fly a drone with Parkland’s own Jennie Fridgen
• learn to make prints, jewelry, and a 5-course dinner!

Classes meet across the Parkland College campus, and CFK students use the same facilities as Parkland students. Parkland’s new Fine and Applied Arts building provides state-of-the-art facilities for classes such as Paint Like the Masters, Pocket Sketching, and Art Rocks, a printmaking class that combines students’ love of art and rock music. Students will be exposed to many of Parkland’s amazing resources, including science and computer labs, the hospitality kitchen, and even the library!

College for Kids inspires students to develop a lifetime love of learning and exploration. Check out the rest of CFK’s classes by visiting www.parkland.edu/btceRegister.

Registration is open now! CFK will be held Monday through Thursday, June 19 through June 29, and July 10 through 20. Classes are held from 12:45–2:45 p.m. and 3–5 p.m. Tuition for each class is $159, and includes all supplies. Registrations are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early. You can register online or in person at 1315 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign.

Questions? Call 217/353-2055.

[Terry Thies is program manager for youth education with Parkland College Business Training and Community Education.]

Middle, High Schoolers Coming to Science Olympiad at Parkland

Towers will be tested, robots will be reaching, and hovercraft will be hovering for science! The regional Science Olympiad competition will take place at Parkland College this Saturday, March 4.

The Science Olympiad draws hundreds of students from over a dozen area schools. Students will work hands-on to solve problems across a variety of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, and technology. Our awards ceremonies will be held in the Dodds Athletic Center beginning at 3:15 pm;  top teams will then compete at the state tournament, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on April 29.

During the regional tourney, each team will participate in 23 events spread out across campus. Our X wing will have students testing Rube Goldberg devices. Our gym will host students operating helicopters. Students will be using their wind turbines in our M wing. Others will be studying microbes in the L wing or looking at constellations in the Staerkel Planetarium.

The regional Science Olympiad is a great way to get students excited about science! Campus volunteers will be helping to run the events in this competition. For more information, contact Erik Johnson at ejohnson@parkland.edu.

[Erik Johnson is a full-time faculty member in Parkland College’s Natural Sciences department.]

 

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.]

Night in the Middle of Day

***Accommodations in southern Illinois are a hot commodity right now, filling up fast to see the August solar eclipse described below! Securing your reservations now at the Ondessonk Camp might be a good idea (It’s first come, first served), so we’re giving this blog post a very early send-out.***

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There are many experiences in nature that make you go “wow!” Maybe it is your first view of the Grand Canyon, or the ocean, or even a rainbow. But what is it about an eclipse of the Sun that draws so many people? Why do some “eclipse chasers” travel thousands of miles to see an event that can, at most, last seven and a half minutes?

If you are curious, you will get your chance this August, with very little travel required. On Monday, August 21 at 11:53 a.m., the Moon will begin to cover the Sun. The Moon will be completely in front of our Sun at 1:20 p.m., and “totality” will only last two minutes and forty seconds.

However, to see this total solar eclipse, you must travel southward. You need to be in the Moon’s shadow, which begins in Oregon and travels through the Midwest, on to South Carolina. This is the first coast-to-coast eclipse in our country since 1918! It is estimated that over 12 million people will either be in the eclipse’s path (including Kansas City and St. Louis) or will travel to the path.

Eclipse Explained
But what’s going on in August? Why is this happening? The Moon takes 29.5 days to orbit our Earth, which is our basis for our month, or “moonth.” During New Moon, the Moon is in the same area of the sky as our Sun, hence we only see the dark, unlit side of the Moon. The Moon’s orbit, however, is tilted five degrees to the Earth’s orbit.

To put this in perspective, if you hold out your fist at arm’s length and close one eye, one fist is about ten degrees. So a “half-fist” doesn’t seem like much, but it’s enough that the Moon usually appears to pass above or below the Sun each month. This is why we don’t have solar eclipses at every New Moon and lunar eclipses at ever Full Moon. The Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun but it is also 400 times closer to us. Thus the Sun and the Moon appear to be the same size in our sky.

During times that the Moon does cut across the face of the Sun, the shadow of the Moon crosses the Earth, and those in the path will experience this grand event. There will be an eclipse this coming February 26 but you have to be in far southern South America or South Central Africa to see it. Which bring us to August 21.

How to View the Eclipse
If you want to see the eclipse, you must take precautions, as the Sun exhibits a blinding light. If you stay in Champaign County, 93 percent of the Sun will be covered by the Moon. While this is significant, 7 percent of the Sun will still blind you. There are several safe ways to observe the eclipse. The easiest is to locate some mylar eclipse glasses. The Staerkel Planetarium has these glasses for sale at $1 per pair. You are also safe if you have a #14 welder’s glass.

If you own a telescope, you can point the telescope at the Sun by using the telescope’s shadow. When the telescope is roughly aligned with the Sun, the shadow of the tube will look like a circle on the ground. Do NOT look through the telescope, but put a white index card roughly 6-8 inches behind the eyepiece and project an image of the Sun. Be wary of solar filters that thread into the telescope’s eyepiece! Here you are filtering the Sun at the point where the Sun’s brilliance is being focused. If the filter cracks, your eyesight is at severe risk. Appropriate solar filters attenuate the Sun’s glare before it enters the telescope.

There is also the age-old method of a pinhole camera. Hold two pieces of cardboard roughly 2-3 feet apart and put a pinhole in the sheet nearest the Sun. You should see an image of the Sun on the second sheet. Better yet, use a peg board!

Seeing the Total Eclipse: An Observing Opportunity
If you want to see the total eclipse and not a partial, you will have to head south. But where do you go? The maximum duration of this eclipse occurs near Carbondale. Good luck finding lodging in Carbondale! Any that might be available will be sold at an, shall we say, “inflated” rate. The University of Illinois Astronomy Department will set up shop in Goreville, south of Marion, Illinois.

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium is partnering with the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society and Twin City Amateur Astronomers (from Bloomington-Normal) to offer a weekend of observing from Camp Ondessonk (https://ondessonk.com), a Catholic youth camp located southeast of Marion and just south of Ozark, Illinois. The camp can provide rustic lodging and all meals for $115 per person. CUAS and TCAA will provide educational workshops on Sunday, the day before the eclipse, plus a dark-sky star party on Sunday night (weather permitting). Meals will be served in the camp dining hall. Tent camping is also allowed. If you would like to join us on our eclipse trek, you need to register by August 1. Point your web browser to https://ondessonk.com/event/2017-great-american-eclipse-event/ for more information. The planetarium will not be accepting registrations and there will be no event at the planetarium on the day of the eclipse.

Let’s hope for clear weather! IF we miss this event, the next “Great American Eclipse” will be on April 8, 2024!

The planetarium will be including information about the eclipse during our Friday night “Prairie Skies” star show. For more information on this event and how to observe it, go to the Staerkel Planetarium’s website and click on the image of the solar eclipse.

[Dave Leake is director of the William M. Staerkel Planetarium.]

Image from NASA.gov, with credit: Steve Albers, Boulder, CO; Dennis DiCicco, Sky and Telescope; Gary Emerson, E. E. Barnard Observatory

“The Stargazer” Returns to the Dome . . . Sort Of

A “new, old” planetarium show returns to the dome of the William M. Staerkel Planetarium for the first time. Granted, this sentence doesn’t make much sense, but maybe a little history is in order, as the background for the show actually begins with our planetarium.

stargazer
The Stargazer

Dr. James B. Kaler is professor of astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Now retired, Kaler has published over 120 papers and over a dozen popular books all concerning his first love—the sky. His appearances on television, in lecture halls, and in our planetarium dome for our “World of Science” lecture series make him a community icon when it comes to skywatching.

The Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) is the largest of seven regional organizations in the country. Members from the Big Ten states meet annually in the fall to exchange ideas, sample the latest technology, and see the newest shows.

Kaler was introduced to GLPA when he was asked to give a talk by then director David Linton when Parkland College hosted the conference in 1989. Jim gave the first Astronomy Update talk, a summary of the astronomical discoveries from the previous year. Little did he know that he’d be asked to give the update for the next 19 years thereafter! It is now an annual conference tradition.

In 1999, Kaler was GLPA’s Spitz Banquet speaker. His talk was so inspiring that two planetarians, Dave DeRemer from Waukesha, Wisconsin, and Bob Bonadurer, who then was working in Minneapolis, decided to build a show around it. They applied for and received a NASA IDEAS grant to produce the show in 2001, and The Stargazer premiered to delegates at the 2002 GLPA conference in Menasha, Wisconsin using 120 35mm slides. Does anyone remember slide projectors? The show was distributed as a slide set for a short time and then included digital images not long after that.

Thanks to a team led by Ken Murphy at Southwest Minnesota State University and funding from GLPA, The Stargazer is now available as a fulldome show using the latest technology in the field. Initially we thought Ken would merely digitize the images from the show and render it out as a fulldome production, but he has completely re-envisioned the program, with different scenes not included in the original program.

Kaler himself and Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura from the original Star Trek) narrate this personal look at skywatching. The show begins with a child’s curiosity, moves on to the science of gravity, light, the spectrum, and how they help us decipher the lifestyles of the stars. This is the best treatment of the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram (central to stellar astronomy) I’ve ever seen in any planetarium program! The show ends with reflections on the deeper meanings of astronomy in our own lives. The 37-minute program is aimed at 4th grade and up but it also serves as a wonderful public show.

The Staerkel Planetarium will open The Stargazer in our 8 pm time slot beginning January 20.

There are many aspects of this “new, old” show that involve the Staerkel Planetarium:

  • First, as A/V curator for GLPA, I am in charge of distributing the show to planetariums who want to purchase it for their own facility.
  • Second, part of the video included in the show was shot in the Staerkel Planetarium dome. See if you can see our Zeiss star projector in the show!
  • Third, in the show, Dr. Kaler refers to a planetarium he built himself as a teenager. With his homemade device, he can project roughly 500 stars in a room using an old Crisco can! That unique homebuilt planetarium appears on display in our lobby.
  • Fourth, this is the first planetarium show that we know about that comes with captioning for the hearing impaired. On one weekend per month, we will be running the captioned show (see our schedule for these weekends).

This is GLPA’s first show offered to other planetariums on a short-streaming contract. Interested planetariums can live stream the show on a three-day license.

We hope you will come see The Stargazer again . . . .for the first time!

[Dave Leake is director of the William M. Staerkel Planetarium.]

 

Come out to the Early Bird Enrollment Event

While you may be still snacking on your Halloween candy, we are gearing up for Spring 2017 registration, which opened Monday, Nov. 7 for all students. To help you register for those classes, we are hosting an Early Bird Enrollment Event:

Tuesday–Thursday, November 8, 9, and 10
10 am–2 pm
Registration Central @ Student Union (2nd floor)

Students can:

  • Confirm their academic program, address, and phone number
  • Register for Spring 2017 classes – students with less than 30 hours will need to see an academic advisor prior to registration
  • Set up tuition payment plans ($0 down payment until December if enrolled by Nov. 14; $25 setup fee and 2.7% fee for credit and debit card transactions)
  • Get a free pizza coupon if registered with payment arrangements

View class offerings and make your selection today by visiting parkland.edu/schedules! Once your classes are selected, be sure to make payment arrangements in order to not be dropped from your classes. Tuition due dates are Tuesday, Dec. 13 and Tuesday, Jan. 10.

Parkland College’s Spring 2017 semester starts Tuesday, Jan. 17. We look forward to having you here!

 

[Julie Marlatt is the dean of enrollment management at Parkland.]

Top 5 Things to Do at Campus Visit Day

Seniors, still undecided on where to attend?  Juniors, wanting to get a head start on your college planning?  Here are the top 5 things to do while attending Parkland’s Campus Visit Day on September 23 or October 10.

Top 5 Things to Do While Attending Parkland’s Campus Visit Day

  1. Speak to students who are currently attending Parkland. Get an idea of campus life, student clubs and organizations, and much more! Do your parents have questions about safety?  Do you wonder where the best place is to live or just where to get the best cup of coffee? Ask our students! You will really get the inside scoop from students who made the decision to attend this amazing campus. Get an idea of why Parkland was the best choice for them.
  1. Worried about the price of college? Find out how much it is going to cost you to attend Parkland as well as residency information and learn how to finance college through scholarships, grants, and loans.  This will save you from any surprises down the road!
  1. Tour campus! Campus tours generally give you much more info than you could see if you walked a campus on your own.  Not only will you see classrooms, cafeterias, bookstore, labs, art gallery, and much more, you also learn about services on campus for you to utilize and fun facts you may have never known!
  1. Meet one on one with an Admissions advisor to get all of your specific questions answered! We know that you and your parents have many questions, and we are here to answer them and make you feel as comfortable as possible.
  1. Apply to be a student! Get a step ahead of your peers and fill out an application while on campus. That way, if you have any questions while filling out the application, the pros will be right there to answer your questions! Visit our Application Station and complete an application onsite!

Ready to visit?  RSVP here: http://www2.parkland.edu/forms/admissionsRSVP/campusvisit.html.

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

New Tech at 2016 IL Regional College Fair

For thousands of people like you who are just starting the college search, the Illinois Regional College Fair has been an excellent way to begin.

But new technology at this year’s fair will offer visitors an even better way to stay connected with the university and college reps who will be there than this one-time, face-to-face meeting.

Parkland College will again host the Illinois Regional College Fair on Wednesday, September 21 from 6 to 8 pm in the Student Union. One of the most well-attended college fairs in east central Illinois, the IRCF is sponsored by the Illinois Association for College Admissions Counseling.

Last year, we had more than 80 schools from all over the country in attendance at the fair. You can ask questions about programs, campus life, admissions requirements, and much more! This is a great way to feel out different schools and see what may be the best fit for you and your interests.

For the first time ever, the Illinois Regional College Fair will be using StriveScan, which is a great way for students and institutions to exchange information. Admissions representatives can scan your barcode to get your contact information in a much more efficient manner and so that they can send you additional materials about their school.  Students should go to www.strivefair.com and register, and then they will be sent a barcode for use at the fair. Don’t wait! Be sure to register before you come to the fair!

To see the current list of schools registered for the fair, go to http://www.usd116.org/uhs/guidance/ircf.htmlAlso, engage on social media with the #ParklandFair and we hope to see you on September 21st for the 2016 Illinois Regional College Fair!

The event is free and open to the public. Whether you are still in high school, or a community college student looking for your next stop, come out to the Illinois Regional College Fair and see what options you may have. Going on college visits can be expensive and time-consuming, so let them come to you!

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.]

 

Pantry Produce Plot: More than Honors Work

To complete an A with Honors project for her Hospitality degree, Parkland College sophomore Del Jacobs has been working with Parkland Horticulture faculty this summer to plant a garden for the Wesley Food Pantry at Parkland.  She shares the process and her progress below. As a student, Del’s exemplary efforts in sustainability and feeding the hungry are well documented; the garden project is a continuation of her drive to serve. Parkland is proud to train those with a heart to help.

 

***************

I approached Theresa mid-spring about getting help from the Horticulture students to plan and plant a garden to feed 30 families. The Wesley Food Pantry at Parkland feeds an average of 30 families at each distribution.

Theresa’s class ran the numbers and figured out what to plant and how much to plant. In May, before my trip to Morocco, I helped Theresa and her staff plant the garden. Unfortunately, I was unable to monitor the garden for the first six weeks, and the weeds got very large and deep. Therefore, the garden doesn’t look pretty, which is why there are no pictures of it.

I began to coordinate volunteers to help me weed. We began by meeting every Saturday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. to pull weeds. We weren’t making much progress, so I added another day. We now also meet on Tuesdays from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m.  So far, I have had nine volunteers; most have joined me once. My most faithful volunteer is Thor Peterson, sustainability coordinator at Parkland.

In spite of the problems, I have been able to harvest approximately 450 pounds of produce!

IMG_0131IMG_0146 IMG_0136IMG_0150

I am also providing recipes to the pantry clients. I try to furnish recipes that use more than one vegetable from the garden along with nonperishable
items available at the pantry.

As the season moves on and the summer vegetables are harvested, we will be planting vegetables to harvest in the fall.

Lastly, I began working with Dawn Longfellow, Wesley Food Pantry’s operations manager, on a name and graphic for the garden. Dawn is still working on the graphic, but we have decided on the name: “Parkland’s Pantry Produce Plot.” I’m hoping this project will continue for many years, and I plan to be involved past the end of my A w/Honors project.

[Theresa  Meers is an associate professor of ag/horticulture at Parkland.]

 

Joining Forces: Business Training, Community Education

shutterstock_76890058-618x430

Have you heard? Effective July 1, Parkland College Business Training and Parkland College Community Education will join forces, with the united goal of providing opportunities to transform lives through personal and professional development.

Parkland College Business Training and Community Education is positioned to be a “one-stop” for the community’s various demographics, interests, and needs. Through an array of high-quality, customer-driven programs, the department will provide professional growth, career-enhancing training, workshops, social and travel outings, and personal enrichment opportunities.

Services include workshops for individuals who want to upgrade their job skills or train for a new career; corporate and customized training and consulting for area employers; special programs for the underemployed and unemployed, including the Highway Construction Careers Training Program; the Traffic Safety Program; and enrichment classes for all ages, such as College for Kids, computer skills, health and wellness, home and garden, recreation and leisure, and travel classes.

By joining forces, the new department is positioning itself to be self-sustaining, expanding its team and services, and following best practices for the continuing education industry.  The department’s solid core values allow for collaboration, professionalism, diversity, progress, and excellence in all aspects of day-to-day operations and in the opportunities provided to the community.

If you want to learn specific skills to be more productive in your job, we offer workshops just for you!

Popular business training programs of Interest:

For a full list of workshops for your personal and professional interest, check out www.parkland.edu/businesstraining or call 217/351-2235.

Pride, Honor at 2016 GED Reception

Last Tuesday (June 7), six students participated in a reception honoring our 2016 GED graduates, held in Parkland’s student union cafeteria lounge.

Hosted by Parkland College Adult Education, the reception offered us a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of students who have passed General Education Development, the high school equivalency program, since last June at the Parkland campus.

Each GED recipient wore a cap and gown as they walked across the union’s stage, the action symbolizing the next step in their academic development. They were deservedly proud of their achievements and, in like manner, we were proud of them. Getting a GED is no small feat; a post about last year’s reception can attest to this. Reaching this moment was exciting, as it marked their transition to college or new career opportunities.

The GED reception concluded with refreshments and time to receive personal acknowledgements from friends, family, and Parkland administrators, including President Tom Ramage and Vice Presidents Pamela Lau and Seamus Reilly. The presence of our administrators emphasized the significance of this moment.

Parkland College congratulates our 2016 GED recipients and gives its best wishes for their successful futures.

Brooke Jean, Daniel Carnell, Brittany Coleman, Isabelle Seamon, Shannon Stoeckert, and Amanda Wyatt were honored at the 2016 GED Reception.
Brooke Jean, Daniel Carnell, Brittany Coleman, Isabelle Seamon, Shannon Stoeckert, and Amanda Wyatt were honored at the 2016 GED Reception.

***Interested in obtaining YOUR GED? Our free GED Preparation classes help qualified individuals learn the reading, math, and other skills necessary to pass the GED exam and are tailored to the individual’s level of readiness. Find out more at our web pages or call 217/351-2580 to schedule an appointment.***

[Tawanna Nickens is dean of adult basic education and workforce development at Parkland.]

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.]

Community Day to help Parkland College Flying Team

Join the Institute of Aviation Flying Team for great pizza and to support a wonderful group of students Monday, May 9.

Supporters of the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College are invited to gather at Monical’s Pizza locations in either Champaign, Urbana or Mahomet for the Parkland College Flying Team “Community Day” fundraiser. “Community Day” is a perfect opportunity for you to support the team.

It’s simple: go online to www.monicals.com, click on fundraising, then “Community Day Calendar” and find this event. Print a flier for the event, and dine in or carry out.

Enjoy delicious pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches on Monday, May 9 and Monical’s will donate 20% of your check to the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College and the Flying Team. Just think, you will be supporting the team by simply going out to eat.

Since their start over 40 years ago, Monical’s Pizza has evolved into a community dining tradition for people in Central Illinois. Their continued dedication to the people and communities they serve enable groups like ours to succeed. For a flier or more information, please visit Monical’s website or email aviation@parkland.edu.

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

Get Ready for Summer Fun with College for Kids!

It’s time to make family plans for summer fun!

Would you like your child’s summer to be filled with fun activities, new and enriching experiences, and opportunities to make new friends,? Look no further; we’ve just described Parkland’s very own College for Kids!

Does your child want to learn digital photography? Does she want to discover the ins and outs of electricity and building circuits?  Or, does he want to design e-textiles or learn to imbed circuits in his very own work of art? We’ve got a class for that. College for Kids participants can design mosaic tiles, write their own movie script, discover the physics behind how a Frisbee flies, learn how to operate a teleprompter, and even be a part of the Pitch at Parkland, our first a cappella experience designed for kids! We offer these fantastic experiences and many more.

College for Kids (CFK) is a summer program for students entering grades 3 through 8. For the last 35 years, CFK has offered two-week classes ranging from engineering to art, radio broadcasting to astronomy, and everything in between. Classes are hands-on and interactive, and they put the fun in learning!

This summer’s sessions are June 20-30 and July 11-21. Classes meet 12:15-2:15 p.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Sure, we’ll still feature summer favorites like Kids in the Kitchen, Mad for Math, Engineering Medieval Mayhem, and Video Games from Scratch. But look for new classes, too, like the Buzz about Bugs, Behind the Lines–The CFK Improv Troupe, Pocket Sketching, and Making Jewelry with Metals. Students will have an opportunity to design their own strategy game, explore the relationship between writing and our senses in Writing Detectives, and use brand new iPad’s in our digital photography and movie-making classes.

CFK classes meet across the Parkland College campus, and students use the same facilities as Parkland students. Parkland’s new Fine and Applied Arts building provides state-of-the-art facilities for 3D Paper Sculptures, Painting Like the Masters, and Color Your World, an experimental painting class using unique techniques. Students will be exposed to so many of Parkland’s amazing resources, including science and computer labs, the hospitality kitchen, and even the library!

College for Kids inspires students to develop a lifetime love of learning and questioning. Check out the rest of CFK’s classes here and mark your calendar for the first day of registration—April 4!

Registration for this summer’s program opens at 12 am on Monday, April 4. Session 1 meets Monday through Thursday, June 20 through June 30, and Session 2 meets Monday through Thursday, July 11 through 21. Classes are held from 12:15–2:15 p.m. and 2:30–4:30 p.m.

Tuition for each class is $159, and includes all supplies. Registrations are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early. You may register online or in person at 1315 N. Mattis Avenue, Champaign. Questions?  Call 217/353-2055.

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.]

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

Seniors, Stop by to “Preview” this College!

Seniors, there are only three months left until you’re done with high school. Are you ready for college? We want to help you organize your plans at the Parkland Preview this Friday, March 11:

  • When you register for the event, tell us what major you are interested in, and we’ll set you up with instructors from those areas.
  • Totally unsure of what you would like to do?  Take a free career assessment so that we can help you find a starting point.
  • If you have already applied to Parkland, that’s great, you’ll have a chance to tour campus and get your questions answered.
  • Not sure if Parkland is the right place?  Meet some of the students during the first-year experience panel and make your own impressions.

This is your opportunity to explore college and Parkland in particular so that you can figure out if it’s the right place to start your college career. The Parkland Preview will be from noon to 2 pm in the Parkland Student Union this Friday, March 11.  Come with friends, bring your parents, or come on your own to get those questions answered.

You can register for the Parkland Preview right here!
[Mary Kay Smith is the student services advisor for Parkland’s  Admissions and Records office.]

 

Mapping the Future: Careers in Transition

It is never easy trying to plan for the unknown. This is especially true in the uncertain times our community and state are currently facing. Will there be funding? Will I have a job? If I change jobs, how long until that position is affected?

Positioning yourself for the next chapter in life can be overwhelming; where do you even start? A road map for success would be helpful, especially during times of unwanted career transitions (i.e. downsizing, layoffs, closings, etc).

Your Future Ahead Road Sign

Looking for a job—a really good job you actually want—will take time and a lot of effort. Changing careers is challenging because rarely will you meet ALL the must-have requirements, but there are things you can do and anticipate in your search that will help you shine.

We welcome you to learn from Rick Galbreath, SPHR, who is a nationally published author, public speaker, trainer, consultant and founder of Performance Growth Partners Inc. with over 25 years of experience. Rick will be at Parkland College Business Training from 8am to noon March 29, 30 and 31, presenting on “Mapping the Future: Career Transition Workshops.”

The Job Search: What I Want Next
Tue Mar 29     8am-noon

The Resume: Showcasing Your Talents
Wed Mar 30     8am-noon

The Interview: Landing the Job
Thu Mar 31     8am-noon

For more information, contact Business Training at 217/351-2235 or businesstraining@parkland.edu.
[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert, CPP, is program manager for Parkland College Business Training.]

Middle and high school students come to Parkland for the Science Olympiad

Rockets will be launched and bridges will be destroyed for science! The regional Science Olympiad will take place at Parkland College on Saturday, March 5.

The Science Olympiad draws hundreds of students from over a dozen area schools. Students will be working hands-on to solve problems across a variety of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, and technology. The top teams will get a chance to compete at the state tournament, which takes place at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on April 16. The awards ceremonies will be held in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre beginning at 3:15 PM.

Each team will participate in 23 events spread out across campus. If you check out the Student Union, you may find students testing gliders or operating robot arms. The X wing will have students testing Rube Goldberg devices. Students will be using their wind turbines in the Dodds Athletic Center. Others will be studying invasive species in the L wing and looking at constellations in the Staerkel Planetarium.

The regional Science Olympiad is a great way to get students excited about science! Volunteers for this event will be provided with breakfast and lunch. If you are interested in helping us run these events, you can sign up to volunteer here: http://vols.pt/pd3zs8.

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!

Go Ahead, Work: Boost Your Web Presence with LinkedIn

Think of LinkedIn as your professional Facebook account.  It is a great way to make connections, research companies, and find job openings.

LinkedIn Co. logo
LinkedIn Co. logo.

After creating your account at www.linkedin.com, follow these 10 tips to set up and maximize your online presence!

  1.  Add a professional-looking photo of only yourself (NO SELFIES). Profiles with photos are 14 times more likely to be found in searches.
  2. Stand out with a headline that describes how you want to be known on LinkedIn.  Use your area of study and/or your career ambitions. Check out profiles of people who hold the job you’d like to get and see which keywords they use.
  3. Choose the industry in which you intend to enter.  If seeking a specific location for work, choose that location for your profile.  This way, you will appear in searches for that area.
  4. Write a brief summary describing your professional background and aspirations.  Describe your skills and abilities in short bursts of keyword-rich text.  Use bullets to separate the information.
  5. List all the work experience you’ve had, along with brief descriptions of each role.  List all the schools and colleges you’ve attended.  LinkedIn helps you connect with former colleagues and networking contacts who may be able to help you find a job opportunity.
  6. Add at least five skills to your profile.  Check out profiles of people in the field you plan to work and use the key words they use, but only if they are true to you!
  7. Ask for recommendations and endorsements from colleagues, clients, managers, professors, and classmates, not family and friends!
  8. Customize your URL to include something recongnizable, like a name or shortened version of your name.  Put the URL on your website, resume, email signature, and business cards to drive traffic to your LinkedIn profile.
  9. Make sure your profile is error free.  Don’t include photos, comments, or information you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see!
  10. Don’t just establish a LinkedIn presence; stay connected.  Reach out. Interact. You will get out what you put in.  Update your status about major projects you’ve completed, professional books/articles you’re reading, and professional successes you’ve had.

The following targeted career fairs will be held on the following dates from 10am to 1:30pm in the Student Union Atrium:

  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science Information Technology/Business

Make sure to stop by room U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536. Our hours are Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm.

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

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.

 

GO AHEAD, Work: 10 Key Skills Employers Want

The Parkland Career Center is hosting career-specific job fairs this spring.  Keep these 10 key skills and qualities in mind as you approach today’s competitive job market:

  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!

The following targeted career fairs will be held on the following dates, from 10am to 1:30pm in the Student Union Atrium:

  • March 2 – Health Professions
  • April 11 – Computer Science Information Technology/Business

Make sure to stop by the Career Center in room U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website.  Call us at 217/351-2536. Our hours are Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm.

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

 

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.]

 

 

Help Us Pick Our Top 50 Alumni!

Do you know an outstanding Parkland College alumnus? Help us celebrate Parkland’s 50th anniversary by nominating him or her!

Parkland will highlight 50 outstanding alumni in promotions during 2016 and 2017, to celebrate 50 years of students success and service to our communities. Nominate someone you admire for this honor by sending his/her name, contact information, and a brief description of outstanding achievements to  foundation@parkland.edu.

Please submit your nomination(s) by October 1, 2016.

Thank you for helping the Parkland College Foundation as it prepares to showcase the amazing outcomes the college produces in people’s lives every day.

[Ellen Schmidt is executive director of the Parkland College Foundation.]

 

GO AHEAD, Work: Top 10 Cover-Letter Tips

The Parkland College Career Center is hosting career-specific job fairs this spring.  Make sure your cover letter is up-to-date with these 10 tips.

  1.  A cover letter should always accompany the resume.
  2. Cover letters should be one page, using standard business-letter format.
  3. Many employers look to the cover letter as an example of your written communication skills. Make certain that your cover letter is spell-checked, grammar-checked, and proofed by someone other than yourself.
  4. Address the letter to a specific person, using his or her correct title. If you are unsure as to whom the letter should be addressed, call the company and ask. Request spelling and title verification if necessary.
  5. Tailor the letter to the needs of the organization or the description of the position. Explaining what you want throughout the letter doesn’t tell the reader the BENEFIT of what you can offer.
  6. Capture the reader’s attention by highlighting your skills and abilities (think accomplishments and give examples); emphasize their usefulness to the employer.
  7. Be precise and concise; don’t waste the employer’s time with fluff or wordiness.
  8. Be professional, but don’t be afraid to show enthusiasm and interest in the position. Keep the tone positive.
  9. Keywords are key. Becauase many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to find and screen candidates, skill-oriented keywords will boost your chances for being discovered.  Match your qualifications to the job description using key words.
  10. If submitting by email, type the letter in the body of the email and attach your resume. Use short paragraphs to give a brief bio on who you are and what you can do for them.  Wrap it up in the second paragraph.  An example for the subject line:  “CPA seeks accounting position. “

****Our targeted Career Fairs will be held on the following Wednesdays 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.****

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

Pink Floyd is Back! Well . . . Sort of . . .

laser_posterThe William M. Staerkel Planetarium, being a science facility, is going to try an experiment: On the weekend of February 19/20 and again February 26/27, we will offer laser shows in the dome at 9:30 and 10:30pm.

The cost is $8 per person per show, with all tickets being sold at the door. You can find a full lineup of programming if you check out the planetarium website.

Now. some folks may dispute this fact, but this is the first time laser shows have been offered to the public beneath Staerkel’s dome. We’ve come close to it before: Back in 1990, members of the Parkland Astronomy Club met to discuss new projects, and someone mentioned doing a musical show at the planetarium as a fundraiser. We chose Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon as the classic soundtrack for the new show. The planetarium staff proposed creating it as a laser show, but the college refused the request, so club members began looking for different ways to depict the show visually.

chuckdave3
Chuck Greenwood and Dave Leake develop the first light show.

Developing the First Light Show
One of the items we looked at were light beams. At that time, the planetarium sported 70 computer-controlled slide projectors. By placing a few holes at the bottom of a 35mm slide frame that’s all dark and then putting it through a projector, light would only come out through those holes. Then, with chemical fog in the room, you could see the beams. Turning on several projectors at once made it look like we had a multiple-projector laser system! This was evident during the opening of the song Time, where the clock’s tick-tocks were synced visually using one slide in each panorama projector and only one dot in the corner of each frame. By cross-fading the dots back and forth, we had beams crisscrossing in time to the music.

Our Carl Zeiss star projector looked great in the fog, too. As we spun the machine on its three axes (diurnal, latitude, and precession), you could see all the star beams as they left the machine and headed for the dome, again appearing like laser beams (though they weren’t). The original show’s creator, Chuck Greenwood, used a special projector called a “revealer” to perform a classic prism effect as well. Using a motor, he pulled an occulting frame across the focal plane of the projector, basically revealing from right to left whatever image is placed in the projector. So one regular slide projector projected the prism and the revealer allowed the image of a light beam to appear to enter the prism and split into the classic spectrum. We had to align this effect before every show, mounting the revealer upside down so as to display the image with the correct orientation.

2010 reunionOur Premiere Weekend was Hot…in More Ways than One!
Oddly enough, our light show debut was supposed to have a laser in it! Chuck had bought a laser and built the effects to go with it for the show. It failed literally right before our premiere, so we scrambled to put a short section of film in that spot. That section of film worked so well, it stayed in the show all the way to 2010!

On our opening weekend in May 1990, we sold out all four shows! We even had some “special guests” attend our late show one evening. During the spinning of the Zeiss in one song, we had strobes go off, which was an awesome effect. I told Chuck at the time that those looked really cool. He replied that he didn’t do those! It was the fire alarm! The fog had evidently become too thick, which had set off the alarm. Then we had to convince the audience that this was real.  I don’t think the fire department was all that happy to see why they had been summoned.

(Chuck later presented a paper at a regional conference titled “Laser Shows Without Lasers.” It raised a few eyebrows since no one was doing anything like this.)

End of the Light Show Run
Unfortunately, we had to stop doing our light shows (we never advertised them as laser shows) in 2010 when the Staerkel Planetarium went digital. We had to remove all the former slide projectors from the dome, thus making it impossible to do the lightbeam effects. The last light show we did was naturally Dark Side. I had tears in my eyes performing it for the last time. And Chuck flew all the way from Florida to attend the last show. I still have one of the 1990 posters framed in my basement. It had been quite a 20-year run!

Of course, our new Digistar 4 system is phenomenal. We can do so many more things with it than we could with slide projectors … but it won’t play the old shows.

Pink Floyd…Again!
Nearly six years later, I still get asked probably twice a week, “Hey, when are you going to do Floyd again?” The interest that remains for those shows is amazing. This brings us to the last two weekends of February 2016. With the help of Audio Visual Imagineering, we will be renting a laser system for these weekends. And on February 19, night number one of four, I’m insisting on a “Pink Floyd Night.” It will be Dark Side followed by The Wall. True, it won’t be the same show, but it will be nice to hear that classic lineup of songs in the dome, once again. I hope you’ll enjoy it with us!

[Dave Leake is director of the William M. Staerkel Planetarium.]

GO AHEAD, Work: Top 10 Job Search Tips

The Parkland College Career Center is hosting career-specific job fairs this spring.  Make sure you’re ready for a job search by reviewing these 10 tips.

  1.  Get organized.   Prepare or update your resume and cover letter. Know what type of job you are looking for and what you have to offer. Make a plan and keep records of your activities.
  2. Polish your interview skills. You’re not ready to start your job search until you can answer questions about why you want the job and why you are qualified.
  3. Identify employers in your geographic location who employ people with your skills and/or education.  Search online, contact your chamber of commerce, and read Help Wanted ads and job posting sites.
  4. Research. Use the Internet to visit the websites of employers in your industry.  View the employment pages for job openings.
  5. Identify 3–4 of your professional strengths and develop a “30-second commercial” about yourself. Focus on your skills, experience, and education that qualify you for the job.
  6. Find three people who can give you a positive recommendation. “Professional” references should be work- or education-related.
  7. Network. Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job.  Over 75 percent of job openings are not advertised!
  8. Schedule informational interviews to gather information about a company, current or future job openings, and the education or skills required. Remember, you are not asking for a job; you are seeking advice.
  9. Consider enhancing your work experience through an internship or part-time job.
  10. Show your gratitude. Send an email message or thank-you note to those who provided valuable advice and support.

****Our targeted Career Fairs will be held on the following Wednesdays 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.****

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

 

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!

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

Words that Work

Today’s guest writer is Mary Shores, president and CEO of Midstate Collection Solutions, Inc. based in Champaign and creator of the “Words that Work” principle of customer service.

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If you think your customer-service scenarios are bad, let me tell you about mine: I own and operate a collection agency! Any situation involving stressed-out people and their money can be a nightmare, but once you add in the stereotypes and the fact that collections is one of the most reviled industries in the world, you’ve got a recipe for disastrous outcomes. Let’s face it, people hate us more than they hate going to the dentist!

What I have found, however, is that a collection agency is the perfect testing ground for refining customer-service skills. “Words that Work” is a customer-service philosophy I developed in the lab of my own company and have used with success. So, if I can make these customers happy and obtain positive results in my industry, think of what Words that Work can do for you! (After all, do you want a soldier who has only experienced boot camp or one who has been battle-tested?)

Consider this: A happy customer is a walking billboard for your company. Take Harley Davidson as an example. They call their customers “disciples” for a reason. Harley Davidson customers wear their logo, put it on their other vehicles, even tattoo it on their bodies. Heck, I know people who do this who don’t even own a Harley! I want to help you get on the path to creating your own disciples.

Words that Work:

  • Improves customer service outcomes.
  • Effectively diffuses angry or upset customers.
  • Builds trust and rapport.
  • Empowers your staff.
  • Creates consistency.

My philosophy features a three-step manifesto:

  1. Stop Staying Negative Words
    Negative words like “no”, “can’t”, and “unfortunately” reinforce a negative outcome for customers and incite them to do battle with your company. I will teach you what words to stop saying and why they can impact a customer so strongly.
  1. Start Using Words that Work
    Using language that supports the solution rather than the problem is the way to greatly improve the outcomes for your customers and your company. I will teach you what words to use, how to respond in different situations, and how to build consistent results.
  1. Always Say What You Can Do, Not What You Can’t Do
    Build trust and confidence while you create effective solutions for your customers.

Starting in January 2016 at Parkland College Business Training, I will teach you how to never say no and how to create solutions and have them in place to readily resolve customer-service issues. To hold your seat for my session, register here now!

***Words that Work has transformed my business and has changed my life and the lives of my employees and workshop attendees. When I saw the need for this kind of teaching and its applications, not only in business but in personal life, I wanted to reach as many people as possible. I started writing the book Words that Work this year, and it will be published through Hay House Publishing in 2017. If you’d like to follow my progress and receive my monthly newsletter packed with coaching exercises, sign up at www.MaryShores.com.***

 

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.

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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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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.

Memphis can seem miraculous!

[This spring, experience the home of the blues and the
birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll on a fun, three-day excursion in the magnificent river city of Memphis, Tennessee. Parkland Community Education Program Manager John Eby, no stranger to the sights and sounds of Memphis, provides a taste of what’s to come.]

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Memphis, Tennessee, is a hard-working southern city that requires several hours of travel through relatively monotonous countryside to reach. When you approach it in the daytime, you wonder if there’s anything special about it, because it looks like many other metro areas: a little desolate, a little desperate, with a beltway around its stone, glass, and steel structures. And then, there’s the very wide and very muddy Mississippi splashing up against its western side.

But! As the sun goes down, and the neon comes on, a miraculous thing happens! Memphis transforms into one of the most fun, most delicious, and most welcoming cities in America. If you’ve been there, you know that Beale Street is lined with Blues venues, BBQ restaurants, and small-time vendors with shelves full of kitschy souvenirs, rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, and of course … everything Elvis.

If you’ve never been to Memphis, know that you arrive early, you stay late, you eat meat that’s sloppy with sauce and desserts that are rich and satisfying. Then you’re expected to hop from house to house to hear the Blues played by up-and-comers and old-timers alike. You can eat more, imbibe more, and enjoy the true heart and soul of the city until the early morning hours. (Specific recommendations from a two-time visitor: Blues City Café and King’s Palace.)

At St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, real miracles happen, and Parkland College has a unique and long-lasting connection to the medical facility’s campus. In 2011, students, staff, faculty, and affiliates—36 altogether—spent spring break completing the design and installing the landscaping for a garden outside the hospital’s main entrance and adjacent to the Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion. Read a pretrip profile here. Since its completion and dedication as “The Hope Garden”, this space has served patients and their families as a place for meditation, reflection, and play. It’s a special connection to a miraculous place for the Parkland community.

Join us on a great three-day trip, April 6–8, 2016, and experience these highlights of Memphis and more! Our itinerary includes visits to Graceland (we can’t forget Elvis), the Mississippi River Museum, the National Civil Rights Museum, the Center for Southern Folklore, and the Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion at St. Jude, with free time to enjoy the fantastic meals and music served up on Beale Street.

Reserve your spot today; your deposit is due Dec. 18, with the balance due Feb. 26. For more information about the trip and to complete a registration/deposit form, please contact Parkland College Community Education at 217/353-2055 or communityed@parkland.edu.

We look forward to hearing from you!

5 Observations from a College Recruiter

Life on the road can be fun (and exhausting) for a college recruiter.

My goal is to share the good word about the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College. Building a following takes time, and travel this fall has sent me in every direction in Illinois, and from Wisconsin and Missouri to Ohio and Indiana to Kentucky and back. I’ve put miles on my vehicle, passing the time singing to every Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift song I hear (yes, I admit I sing along, but it’s not my fault; they write catchy tunes).

I’ve noticed something interesting during these travels: While the venues change from day to day, the faces and questions remain similar. Wherever the road takes me, regardless of the state, I’ve come across homogeneity in prospective students and their families.

Based on my observations of these similarities, I’ll share five tips with you about college recruitment fairs (just in case you plan to attend one any time soon).

Observation 1: College fairs are a family affair

Dad with student, Mom picking up materials, grandparents along for the ride, and an older sibling explaining how it works: Let’s face it, college is a huge decision, and having the support of family plays an important role in a student’s college choice. I’ve seen overwhelming support from family members as they ask their student, “what do you want to do?” Refreshing, in my eyes.

Observation 2: Don’t be afraid

Without the push of family or friends, many students are afraid to talk to a recruiter. We don’t bite (well, at least not students)! Your first step to becoming independent is being able to speak for yourself, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact, college will be a series of these types of interactions. Remember, I’m there to help you complete the picture you have painted in your mind about a school or program. I am real-life person standing in front of you—please come talk to me!

Observation 3: Do your homework

It’s not every day that you have 40, 50, or 300 schools all in one place and at your fingertips! Before accepting this great opportunity, then, you need to do a little homework. If your passion is aviation, then make sure you talk to all the aviation programs that are present. Prepare some standard questions you can readily ask each of them. This will give you a baseline for comparing programs and will help you make the most of your time while at the fair.

Observation 4: Don’t get stuck on the names

Students are stuck on the popularity of names. For example, they will spend several minutes waiting to talk to an institution’s rep just because they know them by name, even though they may have little to no interest attending in the school as a whole. “But it’s the flagship!” you might reply. Perhaps, but that is still no reason to attend a particular school; there has to be more intrinsic value for you than that.

Observation 5: Explore where you can thrive

I firmly believe you should throw rankings and popularity of names out the window and explore schools that will allow you to thrive not just as a student, but also as an individual. College is about coming into your own and becoming the best you can be. Find the school that can challenge you, allow you to be you, and reward you for your efforts. It is hard to describe, but there is a level of comfort you should feel when you step onto a campus or inside a department. School rankings can’t get you your dream career; while they may crack open a door for you, only YOU can walk through that door. Opportunity is everywhere, so find a place where you can thrive.

[Wendy Evans is the recruiter for Parkland’s Institute of Aviation.]

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.]

H.S. Students, Parents: Scholarship, Info at SPIN!

High school students: Want to win a $250 Scholarship?

Register to win one next Thursday at our annual Parkland College Student/Parent Information Night (SPIN)!

Student/Parent Information Night
Thursday, November 5
6-7:30 p.m.
Student Union

Designed for high school students and their parents, you’ll get lots of information on:

  • How to Apply to Parkland
  • Paying for College
  • Health Professions and Other Academic Programs
  • Parkland Pathway to Illinois
  • PLUS, representatives from Disability Services, Student Life, Financial Aid, First Year Experience, Dual Credit, and TRiO will be on hand to answer your questions.

Ask current Parkland students your questions and register to win a $250 scholarship!

Want more information or have questions? Contact Sarah Hartman at sjhartman@parkland.edu or 217/353-2002.

Ready to sign up for SPIN?  RSVP here:

 

[Sarah Hartman is an admissions advisor for 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.]

 

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.]

Gaming…Under The Dome!

I have a confession to make. I am a gamer geek. And I am always looking for new ways to introduce new people to the games I love.

One game in particular has grabbed my attention for the last three years and has taken up a big part of my free time in both game play and game development. Its called Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator.

What the heck is that, you say?

Well, think Star Trek. The players are in the roles of Captain, Helm, Tactical, Engineering, Science, and Communications, and they all have to work together to defeat the enemies, survive, and win the game! It uses a series of linked computers that act as duty stations for the roles that the players take on. The action takes place when all of the players work together with the info and abilities their duty stations provide to make it all come together as a cooperative team and crew. Together, you win. Alone, you lose.

Like I said, I have played this game a lot and have taken it to local game conventions, private parties, and at home and seen how much fun people have in building a team to win the game. It was also after a discussion about how to bring people to Parkland College, especially younger, potentially future college students, that it occurred to me that maybe something like the Artemis game could be presented at the Staerkel Planetarium as a fun event and, at the same time, expose the players to the planetarium and the college!

I recall that something like this happened to me as a grade school student. A writing contest was presented to local grade schools and winners were brought to the college for writing workshops. I was one of those students who came to Parkland College those many years ago, and whether it was intentional on the part of the writing workshop organizers or not, I knew then that I would be attending Parkland in the future. If it worked back then, maybe it would work now.

I spoke to Director David Leake and the staff at the planetarium about my idea, and they pretty much did not bat an eye at the suggestion. I set up my personal “bridge” and did a play test for him to show how it would work, and over a few weeks we put together a plan to offer this game event on a day when the local schools were not in session. We sent information and promotions via social media and WPCD and before we knew it, the registration list was full, with all time slots filled.

It remains to be seen what comes of the experience of “gaming under the dome” will have on the players in relation to future students at Parkland College, but I know it will be fun, and they will have a good experience with the college. We hope the event will be well received and would like to maybe do it again. If you are curious about it, stop on by the planetarium on Monday, Oct 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and check it out! (Fee is $2 per spectator.)

If we decide to do it again, you just might want to tell your friends about it and join the fun!

[Deane Geiken is WPCD-FM 88.7‘s radio director.]

Bringing Energy and Passion to the Workplace

Gallup reports that 70% of U.S. workers are not engaged at work, costing an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually from loss of productivity, safety, and quality.[1]

Surely, most people would prefer to be engaged in their work, so it seems in the best interest of both employees and employers to do something about this staggering number.

So how do we get more engaged? Famed business leader and Harvard Business School Professor Bill George said “missions motivate, dollars don’t.” Real engagement comes when your interests and values are aligned with your employer’s vision and mission, so that the work becomes personally meaningful. It might involve making a difference in the world, helping other people, connecting with others, or creating something new. People whose jobs align with their values and interests are the ones who say, “I can’t believe they pay me to do this job.”

For employees, getting this type of synergy requires an ongoing process of inner contemplation about your interests and values, and creative brainstorming about how they can be better met at work. You may need to have difficult conversations about how to refocus or redefine your work, or even pursue a new job. Or it might just require a simple shift in mindset to notice and focus on what’s right about your job rather than on what’s wrong.

For employers, this synergy requires creating work environments in which each person’s contribution is understood and appreciated. It involves getting to know your employees personally, providing opportunities for them to understand their interests and values, and then working creatively to align them with your mission and vision. And when problems happen, it means trying to understand where the misalignment is happening and creatively redirecting rather than blaming.

When people see opportunities to contribute to an exciting vision that aligns with their personal values and interests, magic happens. As Goethe says, “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help that would never otherwise have occurred… Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

Want to learn how to bring energy and passion to YOUR work? Check out our new workshop, here.

[1] State of the American Workplace, Gallup, Inc., 2013.

[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert, CPP, is Program Manager for Parkland College Business Training.]

Catch the Harvest Moon Eclipse This Weekend

The skies should be great for viewing the “harvest Moon” that will pass into the shadow of the Earth, resulting in a total lunar eclipse, this Sunday evening (September 27).

If you want to view the eclipse more closely, stop by the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College, beginning at 8 p.m. The CU Astronomical Society will have telescopes set up outside in the bus drop-off drive. Park in the M-1 lot and walk over.

Unlike their solar counterparts, lunar eclipses are very safe to observe. It is just like looking at a full Moon in the sky, but it will appear as if something is taking a bite out of the Moon! If skies are clear, anyone in the Midwest should be able to see the eclipse from their backyard.

The Moon will begin to enter the dark part of the Earth’s shadow at 8:07 p.m. The Moon will be completely inside the Earth’s shadow by 9:11 p.m. and will begin to emerge from the shadow by 10:23 p.m. The full Moon will appear back in the night sky by 11:27 p.m.

This full Moon will be closest to the autumn equinox, traditionally called the “harvest Moon,” with an eclipse midpoint occurring just 59 minutes after the Moon’s closest approach to the Earth, also called “perigee.” Some have called a full Moon near perigee a “supermoon.”

There are two things to look for while you’re watching this eclipse. The first is the curved shadow of the Earth. In ancient times, this was evidence that the Earth was, in fact, round and not flat. Second, after the eclipse is well underway, look for a reddish tint on the Moon. The red is from sunlight that bends through the Earth’s atmosphere. The blue is scattered out, which is why we have blue skies, leaving the red part of the spectrum to strike the Moon.

The next total lunar eclipse easily visible from central Illinois won’t be until January 2019, so I hope you get a chance to catch this one! (If the weather isn’t perfect, call the CUAS hotline at 217/351-2567 to see if the observing event at the planetarium is still occurring.)

A ‘Celestial’ Find for Harpist, Staerkel Director

The Staerkel Planetarium offered its first light show (featuring the music of Pink Floyd) in 1991. In the years since, other shows have graced the dome, and we’ve done a few live musical acts, too. We had the entire Bowdacious String Band in the dome, plus a guitar trio, a four-piece rock band, and even a laptop orchestra.

However, several years ago, Parkland’s Grants and Contracts Manager Josh Birky approached me about doing something different with our shows, something more classical. I thought, “That’s not a bad idea—maybe something more ‘out of the box,’ as they say.”

I contacted a few colleagues in Fine and Applied Arts and eventually made my way to the University of Illinois’ School of Music in search of a harpist. The first harpist wasn’t available, but she suggested doctoral student musician Ann McLaughlin. Ann and I exchanged a few emails after that. She was also interested in doing something new and different and was excited about the idea of her music being backed by visuals in a theatrical setting.

Ann and I didn’t meet until our first rehearsal in the dome. She immediately struck me as very outgoing, passionate about her craft, and interested in “pushing the envelope.”

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Ann McLaughlin. Photo by Bernard Wolff.

We did our first show in late January 2013 and, much to my surprise, we sold the place out! And, in my standard pre-show introduction, I discovered that a little less than half the crowd had never been in the planetarium before!

Shows like these are challenging, as I had to run the visuals live (nothing could really be programmed) and Ann had to learn how to play in nearly full darkness. I set up two spotlights to illuminate Ann so it wouldn’t be quite as dark and, besides, since she is the “star” of the show, people should see her. We also had to run a couple of microphones (one floor-mounted and the other on a boom) so the harp played through our sound system. Our production designer Waylena McCully set up a screen in our digital system for special effects, with some of the clips she created herself.

Since that first program, Ann has performed in our planetarium a couple of times, one being a wedding in which the bridal party hired her to play. More recently, Ann performed a song at the Illinois state meeting of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association. The intent of this performance was twofold. First, we demonstrated what one could do with live music in a planetarium and, second, it got Ann’s name out there.

Now, as Ann finishes her doctoral degree, she will be leaving the area. But, before leaving, she has set up a “planetarium tour,“ with harp dates at the Peoria Riverfront Museum and the Illinois State University Planetarium. She’ll kick off her tour with a return to our dome on September 18 at 8:30 p.m. and then a special matinee on Saturday, September 19, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person, all sold at the door.

I’ll admit that I don’t have a crate of records at home of harp music, but Ann opened my eyes to a new style, a new sound. Some of the things she does on the harp are amazing! And I’d like to think that we showed Ann another venue for her creativity. I’m looking forward to her last shows beneath the stars. I hope you’ll join us for these special performances!

Sweet Emotion (or Not-So-Sweet) at Work

Remember the first line from Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion? “You talk about things that nobody cares…”

Aerosmith

We’ve heard the same sentiments about  Addressing Emotions at Work: “I don’t need to talk about emotions; that’s foo-foo stuff.” “I don’t have feelings, I just go to work and do my job.” At one point, I would have agreed with these statements, but not anymore.

Have you ever met your day with more than one thing not going right? The kids were running late, you hit every red light on the way to work and spilled coffee on your clothes, and at the office, the files you requested from your colleague couldn’t be pulled by your 8:30 a.m. deadline. Now, at this point, you have an (unsweet) emotion: frustration. What do you do with it?

What you are about to do with it, and how you are able to address others’ emotions in the workplace, will lay the foundation for how effectively you and your team function. You can either make a snippy comment to your colleague: “Are you serious? I should have just done it myself.” Or, you can choose to stop, reflect, and decide on what the better reaction could be:  “Thanks, Jane. I appreciate the heads up. How do you think we could still meet the deadline?”

Once strong emotions leave our control, our personal productivity and the productivity of others suffer. Think about how productive your colleague would have been if you chose to snap at her. Those in tune with their emotional reactions and who help others to do the same will have a positive impact on productivity, relationships, and the overall workplace environment.

Emotions are a part of every workplace—and everyone who cares should talk about them!  Addressing Emotions at Work is just one  of many workshops in Parkland College Business Training’s Leadership Certificate Series; sign up for a session today and bring “sweet emotion” to your workplace.

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.

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Merit @ Parkland: Build Your Personal Brand

Do you plan to make the dean’s list, win an award or scholarship, attend a conference, complete a volunteer project, or earn a certificate at Parkland this fall? We don’t just want to hear about your success, we want to tell others about it, too!

Merit3Parkland can publicize your student accomplishments through a program called Merit. This software creates a free, personalized achievement profile on the Web for every student at the college who claims their page. Parkland faculty, staff, and campus group leaders send achievement stories to Marketing for use on our collegewide Merit page, and any students named in those achievements get recognition on their personal pages, with the stories sent to their hometown newspapers.

You can share your Merit stories on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, so that family and friends can cheer you on.

Merit2PLUS,  you can customize your Merit page by adding a photo, a few details about yourself, your work experience, and your campus activities. Your page is a great way to build your personal brand; use it to make an impression on future college recruiters and for scholarships and jobs.

Ready to claim your personal Merit page? Click here for details…and then get ready to shine this fall! 🙂

 

[Ruthie Counter is the staff writer for Parkland’s Marketing and Public Relations department.]

 

Summer Youth Internship at Giertz Gallery

giertz2logoThe Giertz Gallery Summer Internship Program is wrapping up its pilot year. Funded by a Summer Youth Employment in the Arts (SYEA) grant from the Illinois Arts Council, this paid internship offers two recently graduated high school students interested in the arts an opportunity to gain employment skills in an art-related setting to inform their career paths, build self-confidence, and provide a source of income for the summer.

We thoroughly have enjoyed working with our first summer interns, Katie Tabeling and Alexis Walter (above, l. to r.). Katie, a graduate of the High School of St. Thomas More, will be attending Eastern Illinois University in the fall. Alexis, just out of Champaign Centennial High School, will be attending Parkland College this fall.

Our interns assisted the gallery staff with installing artwork for the current exhibition, “Around the Block”; served as gallery monitors; curated and installed a mini-exhibition in the Hospitality corridor; and learned about the care and handling of artwork.  For the Hospitality corridor, they curated a group of artworks from the Student Art Permanent Collection, which has been compiled over the years through the purchase of student artwork to be used as a teaching tool for future Parkland students. The interns also met with art educators to learn about outreach and art education and with Parkland College Marketing and Public Relations staff to learn about graphic design and promotions. Lastly, the two students helped prepare gallery fundraising activities that will occur this fall.

Katie and Alexis recently shared their experiences of being part of the summer exhibition setup and curating the permanent collection display. I have included some of their reflections below.

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Katie

“Getting an internship at Parkland College has given me great insight into what it is actually like to work in a gallery. Working in an environment that allows me to focus my creative energies in a productive way is something I’ve always thought to be an important quality in my future career.

For the summer show, Giertz Gallery, in collaboration with 40 North, organized the exhibition Around the Block: Artists From our Neighborhood. Like the title says, this show embraces art made by local artists in the Champaign-Urbana area and beyond. Being able to meet the artists behind the work gave me insight to their art in a way that a viewer might not get just by looking at the piece. Along with meeting the artists, I was able to meet the juror of the show, Aron Packer. Talking to him and getting to learn about the exhibit gave me more insight into the selection process.

The works chosen complement one another and showcase the talent in our community. Something all the artwork has in common is a strong sense of color. Because of this, the works needed to be arranged in a way that they would enhance one another without overpowering the space. The pieces are arranged by similarities in color, shape, style, and subjects. This allows the viewer to fully enjoy each piece. All of the hard work that went into making the Around the Block exhibit was emphasized by how successful the reception was. It was a great experience getting to meet some of the many people who are keeping the art community in our region alive as well as learning about the process a gallery goes through when preparing for a show.”

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Alexis and Katie prepare to mount the Hospitality corridor art works.

Alexis 

“When Katie and I were asked to help put up some newer artwork on exhibit at Parkland, we knew we had a lot of different locations to choose from. One of the areas available to us was a hallway near the Hospitality program area. So, because this area is close to a kitchen, we decided to look for food-related pieces to include in the exhibit.

After looking at so many different pieces, we finally narrowed it down to eight pieces that we liked and also thought went together. While we kept the theme of food, we were able to include works that were prismacolor, charcoal, graphite, and watercolor. With the help of art history instructor Laura O’Donnell, the collection coordinator for the Giertz Gallery, we got all the pieces matted and ready to hang on the wall. With the help of both Lisa Costello, gallery director, and Ms. O’Donnell, Katie and I managed to put together a cohesive mini-collection for all of Parkland to see!”

———–

There will be a small curatorial talk by our summer art interns on Wednesday, August 5 at 1:30 p.m. in the Giertz Gallery. This event is free and open to the public. Programs at Giertz Gallery are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

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.]

Plutopalooza at the Planetarium

The New Horizons spacecraft, launched in January 2006, will fly by Pluto tomorrow morning, passing within 7,800 miles of the surface of Pluto and traveling in excess of 30,000 miles per hour. The spacecraft’s antenna is scheduled to be pointed back towards Earth, and New Horizons will “phone home” with the signal, expected to arrive at Earth near 8 p.m. CDT.

Stop by the Staerkel Planetarium Tuesday, July 14, any time from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and help us commemorate the big event! All ages welcome! PLUS, we’ll have Pluto-related shows on Friday!

Plutopalooza Open House!
Tuesday, July 14 • 6-8:30 p.m.
The planetarium will project the NASA New Horizons press conference on the dome; the public is invited to attend this free, open-house-format viewing. Static displays in the planetarium lobby will depict Pluto’s size and distance from the Sun. Kids will be able to see if they can “discover” Pluto in the stars, to see how high they could jump on Pluto, and to take home New Horizons stickers, while supplies last. The planetarium will also display the locally-produced musical “Found and Lost: The Story of Pluto” in the lobby.

Friday, July 17 • 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Staerkel Planetarium’s regular Friday night show lineup will have a “Pluto twist” to it. At 7 p.m., “Prairie Skies” will show the audience the summer constellations and where Pluto is located in the sky. At 8 p.m., “New Horizons: Expedition to Pluto” will be shown on the dome. Both programs will display days-old high-resolution images from NASA’s New Horizons fly-by. Tickets will be sold at the door 30 minutes before each show and are $5 for adults and $4 for students, senior citizens, and children under 12. Those who purchase both shows receive the second show at half price!

[New Horizons image courtesy of NASA.]

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!

A Bee’s Life for Me

bee

I am a beekeeper, but the truth is that beekeeping did not come naturally. When someone gifted me with a hive about seven years ago, I spent the first year being terrified every time I opened it.  Honey bees pick up very quickly on a beekeeper’s fear, so I knew I had to get over it.

When I started talking to my bees, I started to relax.  Then I started to listen. They were talking back through their buzzing.  Over the course of many conversations, my bees wrapped their tiny legs around my heart.  Today I talk to them every chance I get.

Being a beekeeper brings you into direct contact with nature.  You start looking at the world like a bee, seeing flowering plants and insects like you’ve never seen them before.  The weather becomes super important.  You know just by looking at the sky if it’s a good day to fly.

Beekeeping has also brought me closer to the land.  I maintain about 50 hives, so I need good agricultural landscapes for my bees.  The five farms around Champaign-Urbana where most of my bees reside are organic or natural farms far from conventional corn fields and deadly pesticides.  Like me, the farmers on these farms take pleasure in observing their bustling little charges at work among the flowers.

My company is called Second Nature Honey, and gourmet-infused honey has been my main product.  Chocolate honey is my most popular flavor, followed by honey infused with chamomile or hibiscus flowers.

This year I am partnering with Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch to implement a USDA grant to capture varietal honeys. I work closely with the Curtis beekeeper, Rachel Coventry, to improve pollination.  We use a microscope to examine pollen in honey to determine which plants they prefer to pollinate.

I love to teach beekeeping.  I teach at Parkland and at Common Ground Food Co-op.  Parkland is a great place to connect with beginning beekeepers and help them get started.  My students’ enthusiasm for the bees keeps me going!

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Maggie Wachter is a master beekeeper and a certified honey judge. Her goal is happy, healthy hives all year long. Maggie’s expertise has led her into “Second Nature Honey”, an award-winning local business that specializes in gourmet honeys and mead making. Her beekeeping is based entirely on  sustainable and natural principles.

Check out Maggie Wachter’s bee classes in the 505, Community Education’s summer class listing.

The bees are hungry!

Our pursuit of manicured weed-free lawns and ever expanding agricultural development has created a hostile environment for bees and other pollinators like the monarch butterfly, the Illinois state insect. Beautiful green lawns and cornfields with no violets, clover, or dandelions are virtual food deserts for insect pollinators.

The good news is, we’ve realized our bees and butterflies are in trouble, and we’re doing something about it! It’s in our best interest to do sowe need our pollinators to thrive if we want to continue to eat the food we enjoy today. No pollinators—no food—no exaggeration!

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The White House recently released a blog post  announcing the publication of a Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. The strategy has three main goals:

  1. Reduce honey bee colony losses to economically sustainable levels;
  2. Increase monarch butterfly numbers to protect the annual migration; and
  3. Restore or enhance millions of acres of land for pollinators through combined public and private action.

Here’s more good newsyou don’t have to be a scientist or an expert gardener to get involved: this plan calls for all citizens to step up and help save our bees and butterflies. If you’re interested in protecting pollinators, here are two resources you can explore:

  1. Download a plan for a small garden called a “pollinator pocket” at the University of Illinois Extension website here, along with other tips for making your yard into a healthy pollinator habitat.
  2. Learn about bees and beekeeping through Parkland College Community Education from expert beekeeper and owner of Second Nature Honey, Maggie Wachter.

And don’t fear bees—you’re more likely to get hit by lightning than stung by a bee!

“I wanna rock and roll all night…”

First Gig Rock N’ Roll Camp for Kids is a six-day camp for ages 10–18 years who love music and are ready for the full Rock n’ Roll band experience, including the thrill of performing live in front of an audience.

This summer’s camp at Parkland College will take place July 20–25, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.  Registration information available here.

First Gig was built in Danville in 2012, incorporating talent from central Illinois. While the notion is not original, the formula most definitely is. The resources and connections used here were developed over 20 years in the industry. The camp brings together local and regional artists in the field of music, overseen by members of the Chicago Blackhawks Band (the official band of the the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team). They not only teach students valuable knowledge but also guarantee a fun time for all.

More than 25 area musicians will serve as camp instructors, sharing years of stage experience and teaching children the difference between playing music and performing live in front of an audience. It’s a luxury for us not only to have talented people at our fingertips but to have these people share an appreciation for working with the next generation of musicians.

How it Works
First Gig staff members place all incoming students in a band, then assign each band a professional leader. The band then works as a team to choose a name and pick songs to learn.

Participants spend their time rehearsing as a band and studying individually with guest musicians from some of the area’s most popular bands, who excel in their field. Students develop their skills and talent in guitar, bass, drums, or vocals. They also participate in other hands-on activities, including photo shoots, studio recording, sound production, and merchandising.

Guest speakers from across the music industry will cover various topics of relevance, like management, talent buying, marketing, etc.

The week culminates with a live public performance by the bands.

For more information, visit www.parkland.edu/communityed/firstgig.aspx

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!

13 Reasons You Should Take Yoga at Parkland College

I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years.  I have loved it since my first practice.  About five years ago, I decided to become a yoga instructor.  Having a regular yoga practice has many benefits. Instead of telling you why I think you should take my yoga class, I recruited my Tuesday evening class to share why they practice yoga at Parkland:

  1. I take yoga for balance, strength, and relaxation… something I can do just for me. 🙂
  2. After sitting at a desk all day, it is so beneficial to my body and mind to come to yoga class and stretch, de-stress, and gain strength.
  3. Good for strengthening and stretching.
  4. No matter how sore or still you may be, after a yoga session, you will feel incredible—mentally and physically!
  5. It’s relaxing.
  6. The poses I have learned in this class have helped me improve my balance, strength, and flexibility. The class itself is a nice escape from the stresses of a long day at work. I love it!
  7. Yoga is an awesome class—after class, I feel so relaxed and energized.
  8. Relaxing, fun, and good energy! Great way to calm, de-stress, and build strength. Knowledgeable and fun instructor.
  9. It’s fun, relaxing, helps you stretch muscles you haven’t used in a long time.
  10. Yoga helps with improvement of balance and flexibility.
  11. It seems that Tuesdays are very hectic at work. Some days, I feel like skipping, but am soooo thankful when I come! I feel better physically and mentally. Love yoga!
  12. For balance. As you age, that’s the first thing that goes.
  13. Lisa creates a great environment. I look forward to coming and de-stressing.

****A NEW Flow Yoga session starts Tuesday, May 26! Register NOW with Community Education: 217/353-2055.

Tuesday evening Flow Yoga class doing favorite poses.
Tuesday evening Flow Yoga class doing favorite poses.

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!

Cool Cars and Healthy Lungs: RT Had It Covered!

Parkland’s Respiratory Therapy Club showed up in fine fashion at the 16th Annual Car Show Saturday, teaching the public about lung health. The air we breathe is very important; exposing our lungs to noxious materials, chemicals, and gases can cause irreversible damage and may lead to lung disease.

Respiratory Therapy students at the annual car show pose with Cruella Deville and a few dalmatians.
Respiratory Therapy students at the annual car show pose with Cruella Deville and a few dalmatians.

Hundreds of spectators came out to the free Car Show, so it was a great venue to tell people how they can keep their lungs healthy–and we did this in fun ways! One team of students handed out fact sheets at our booth in front of the Parkhill Applied Technology Center. Another team conducted our Peak Flow Contest. Peak flow is a tool to measure how forcefully we can exhale while we’re breathing. Everyone who measured their “windiness” put their name in the drawing for great prizes donated by local businesses. (A third team of RT students had been responsible for finding those sponsors; they did a great job.) Finally, we sold soft drinks at the event to raise funds for the club.

RTserve at Car show
Students serve up soft drinks, snacks, and healthy lung education at Car Show.

Besides having a fun day at the auto show, our students were able to develop leadership and teamwork skills through the process. Most importantly, they learned the importance of service learning; they educated the public about lung disease in general, mostly concentrating on occupational hazards in our lives. These hazards can include exposures in certain workplaces (farming, welding, mining, even some factory workers may be at risk) as well as hobbies that introduce noxious substances into the lungs–hobbies using chemical solvents, different materials, and gases.

Please be aware of the air you’re breathing: Stay in well-ventilated areas, wear masks approved for the type of work that you’re doing (respirators), and stop to get fresh air when you feel lightheaded.

Repiratory Therapy students relax after giving lung health info to car show spectators.
Repiratory Therapy students relax after giving lung health info to car show spectators.

My College for Kids Experience

College for Kids participant Amelia Case, 11, looks forward to returning to CFK at Parkland College this year for more fun summer activities! Here’s why. 

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My name is Amelia and I will be going into sixth grade next year. I’ve been going to College for Kids since third grade and have enjoyed every class I took. Two of my favorites were Ceramics and Construction Junction.

In Ceramics, we learned how to make bowls, plates, and pencil holders out of clay. We shaped them and then put them in the kiln. After that, we got to paint them and take them home. It was really fun! In Construction Junction, we learned about Rube Goldberg machines and watched videos of them. Then we were split into groups of six to make one ourselves. We decorated ours to have a sea theme. On the last day, parents could come and watch it work. I liked this class a lot.

Another class I took was Create Your Own Webpage. We learned HTML and made our own webpages. It was really cool! The last class I took was Create Your Own Comics. I loved this class because it taught me a lot about cartooning and making comics. We made a book out of all the comics we made at the end and then took it home.

All the classes were great. College for Kids is so fun!

CFK 2013 Session 1 076a

Images by Amelia

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CFK Summer 2015 Sessions: June 15-25 and/or July 6-16
Monday-Thursday, 12:15-2:15pm and/or 2:30-4:30pm
Enjoy fun, interactive classes in arts, science, theatre, writing, computers, and much more, for students entering grades 3 through 8. Email collegeforkids@parkland.edu to be added to the mailing list.

***Remember, sign up starts May 4!

Teach Them to Fish (So You Can Have a Break!)

man-fishTired of the constant line of employees knocking on your door? Can’t seem to do your own work? I get it!

When you are the leader of, well, anything, you are called on numerous times. Sometimes is it warranted, and sometimes you think to yourself, “You’ve got to be kidding me; I pay you for what, now?” Okay, so maybe that is a bit extreme (but you know it’s not).

The part of being a leader that isn’t always explained when you agree to take the corner office with the big desk and hefty paycheck is that you are now responsible for the cultivation (yes, cultivation) of your employees. They don’t always come fully equipped to do what we need them to do (What? You’ve never experienced this, EVER? Stop reading this now and call me, 217/351-2235. Seriously, I need your secrets!).

Cultivation means development, especially through education and training, per Dictionary.com (yes, I looked it up). In order for you to have more time, you need to cultivate your employees—essentially be their Miracle Gro—and help them grow into what YOU need, so that you can be successful and so your team, department, company, etc., can be the best.

Now, let’s go back to the title of this blog, Teach Them to Fish (So You Can Have a Break): Instilling confidence and assuring your employees that they have the ability to make decisions and solve problems on their own are keys to getting that much deserved break… and being left alone on your next vacation.

Learn how to cultivate your employees through our Leadership Series classes here or call 217/351-2235.

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[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert, CPP, is Program Manager for Parkland College Business Training.]

 

Dental Hygiene “Day of Healthy Smiles”

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Parkland College’s Dental Hygiene Program recently hosted its third annual “Day of Healthy Smiles.” There were plenty of smiles gained from that day, and not just from the patients.

More than 100 volunteers participated in the April 11th event, including dentists, oral surgeons, assistants, SmileHealthy staff, Ragle Dental Labs and Orthotechnologies, and Parkland Dental Hygiene, Surgical Technology, and Nursing program students, graduates, and faculty. One hundred and seven patients received free treatment of extractions, oral surgery, and fillings, and 15 patients received appliances to replace teeth.

Comments from our students confirm the impact this day of service has on their professional growth:

“The clinic day made me feel like I changed someone’s life,” Lauren Hea said. “That’s a big deal, to help people love themselves more and to gain confidence. It gave me the most indescribable feeling of happiness.”

“Today was a blast; everyone did such a wonderful job,” Ashton Rothweil said. “I never wanted it to end! But it really just reassured me that I went into the right profession. I’m so in love and cannot wait to get out there. Everyone I met was so inspiring!”

Lindsay Salinas called the clinic day a “once in a lifetime thing that I won’t ever be able to do again!

“I’m so glad to be a part of clinic day the past two years I’ve been at Parkland and to see how much patients are truly grateful!” Salinas said. “It was priceless and makes the entire day and all the planning worth it! It’s exciting to help be the reason someone is smiling again!”

The Parkland College Dental Hygiene Program is proud of the extra effort faculty, students, and the administrative assistant in the dental hygiene clinic give to prepare for and participate in this day.

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Dental Hygiene students and medical volunteers were hard at work restoring healthy smiles April 11.

 

Local dentist, graduate and dental hygiene student works together to provide care
Local dentist, graduate, and dental hygiene student work together to provide care.

[Peg Boyce is director of the Dental Hygiene Program at Parkland College.]

What Are Your Kids Doing This Summer?

Do they want to write their own movie scripts? Make and decorate clay pottery? Perhaps they’d like to learn Kung Fu or how to operate a teleprompter. Or better yet—how about designing and 3D printing a cool toy?

College for Kids offers these classes and more!

A College for Kids participant works with Legos.
A College for Kids participant works with Legos.

College for Kids (CFK) is a summer program for students entering 3rd through 8th grades. For the last 35 years, CFK has offered two-week classes ranging from engineering to art, radio broadcasting to astronomy, and everything in between. Classes are hands-on, grade-free environments. This summer’s sessions are June 15–25 and July 6–16. Classes meet 12:15–2:15 p.m. and 2:30–4:30 p.m.

This summer, CFK is offering favorites like Lego Engineering, Lego Mindstorm, and Lights, Camera, Action, as well as new classes like Geometric String Design, Video Games from Scratch, and The Human Body. Portraits in Clay and Decorative Pots provide a new take on the classic ceramics class. Students have an opportunity to ferment their own food in the Extraordinary Science of Ordinary Food, or write their own screenplays in Introduction to Screenwriting.

IMG_1274Classes meet across the Parkland College campus, and CFK students use the same facilities as Parkland students. Parkland’s new Fine and Applied Arts building provides brand new, state-of-the-art studios for Kinetic Painting, Portraits in Clay, Decorative Pots, Papier Maché Studio, and Sculpture. The new Black Box Theatre will be an incredible and dramatic backdrop for Performance Art.

College for Kids in PCTV studio
College for Kids students learn video production.

College for Kids inspires students to develop a lifetime love of learning and questioning. Check out the rest of CFK’s classes here (www.parkland.edu/collegeforkids) and mark your calendar for the first day of registration—May 4!

College for Kids photo
Kids really enjoy College for Kids classes!

Registration for this summer’s program opens at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 4 . Session 1 meets Monday through Thursday, June 15 through June 25, and Session 2 meets Monday through Thursday, July 6 through 16. Classes are from 12:15-2:15 p.m. and 2:30- 4:30 p.m. Tuition for each class is $135 and includes all supplies. Registrations are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early. You can register online or in person at 1315 N. Mattis Avenue, Champaign.

Come, Help at the Science Olympiad March 7!

Come and share your love of science with middle school and high school students! Parkland College will again host the annual regional Science Olympiad tournament Saturday, March 7.

Our Science Olympiad draws hundreds of students from over a dozen area schools. Students will be working hands-on to solve problems across a variety of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, and technology. The top teams will get a chance to compete at the state tournament, which takes place at the U of I on April 18.

Each team will participate in 23 events, spread out across campus. If you check out the Student Union, you may find students testing bungee cords or operating robots. The X wing will have students building bridges and Rube Goldberg devices. Students will be operating vehicles they designed to move on the ground or through the air in the gym. Others will be studying insects and fossils in the L wing and solving crimes in the M wing.

The regional Science Olympiad is a great way to get students excited about science! Volunteers for this event will be provided with breakfast and lunch on Saturday. If you are interested in helping run these events, you can sign up to volunteer here: http://vols.pt/GMJidW.  You can find a list of participating schools here.

What goes up must come down! New exhibition in the Giertz Gallery

Gallery helpers remove vinyl lettering to make room for new exhibit title.

The incoming work sits in gallery storage until it is time to install the show during installation week. The gallery puts a “Closed for Installation” sign on the door, and our tool carts appear along with our ladder. We “spot the show,” which is museum jargon for designing the exhibition and placing the artwork. We make measurements, let our hammers fly, place vinyl signage and labels, mount artist statements on the wall, and add lighting to the works. Hopefully, the dust settles before we open our doors on Monday morning!

Have you seen the latest exhibit in Parkland College’s Giertz Gallery? It features large-scale paintings by Wisconsin artist Tom Berenz. Berenz is a busy artist with a lot of exhibits on his resume. His artwork is full of contradictions, both in terms of formal elements and content. His artist statement says it best: “I am interested in blurring the lines between realism and abstraction, life and death, beauty and horror, devastation and sublime. Everything we live with as Americans is delicately balanced—the cars (magic carpets/death traps), houses (castles/prisons), and wilderness (paradise/oblivion).”

Art work being inspected
Large canvas in crate (upside down and wrapped in plastic) being inspected upon delivery

I look forward to giving tours and being able to hear interpretations coming from our students on the exhibits. I have already overheard some students analyzing Berenz’s work and disagreeing! One says, “The work captures the moment in time immediately after an explosion; you can see things settling in the aftermath!” and another says, “I see litter and the damage that we do to our environment. Also, it looks like a picnic. Is that a watermelon?” It will be interesting to read what they write in their papers!

I hope you are able to visit the gallery, enjoy the work, and draw your own conclusions.

Presently Absent: Works by Tom Berenz will be on exhibit at the Giertz Gallery at Parkland College now through March 31. The gallery is always free, and everyone is welcome. For more information about the gallery visit www.parkland.edu/gallery and sign up for our email updates.

Hear, View History with Community Education

Parkland Community Education classes are challenging, dynamic, often fun, and, of course, always educational.  We engage students and the community in learning more about topics with which you’re familiar and in gaining new knowledge and experiences about topics you’re encountering for the first time.

We present our classes during times we hope are convenient for you, and we hold them in various, easily accessible locations.  Our listing is always available online at www.parkland.edu/communityed, or you can receive a printed listing by calling 217/353-2055.

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We have quite the treat for you this spring: an exciting tour of American Civil War history, led by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable historian! PLUS, we’ll take you on a trip to visit places well-known to then President Abraham Lincoln, and let you experience contemporary interpretations of the man in Springfield, Illinois.

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Since 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, Community Education is offering four occasions for you to listen, discuss, and debate the Civil War and the culture surrounding that time, with historian Christina Smith.

A master’s candidate at Illinois State University, Smith’s areas of interest, research, and writing include 19th-century culture, the American Civil War, and the post-war Reconstruction era.  Her passion for the subject takes her on yearly pilgrimages to Gettysburg, as well as most of the major Civil War battlefields.

Also, don’t forget to reserve your spot soon for our spring bus trip to visit the Lincoln Presidential Museum, the Old State Capitol, and Lincoln’s final resting place.

The Civil War history sessions and the trip information are posted below. Course dates, times, and registration fees vary.  Please contact Parkland Community Education for more information: 217/353-2055.

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North & South: Really so Different?  (1:30 PM — Tuedsay, February 24 — BTCE room J127)  Analyze the similarities and differences between the North and the South. How peculiar was the American South? What were many of the self-proclaimed Southern distinctions? Was slavery the only divisive factor?   fee = $9

Battle of Shiloh: Dividing the Nation  (1:30 PM — Tuesday, March 3 — BTCE room J127)  The Battle of Shiloh shocked the nation. April 6 – 7, 1862, were the  most devastating early days of the Civil War. Discuss and debate personal, cultural, and political perspectives and aspects of the War.    fee = $9

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Cultural Divisions: A Woman Not of Her Time  (1:30 PM — Monday, April 3 — BTCE room J125)  Elizabeth Packard was imprisioned and declared insane because she refused to conform to gender roles and traditional cultural and religious norms. Hear how she helped reshape the idea of womanhood in the mid-19th century.   fee = $9

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Going Home: Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral Train  (1:30 PM — Monday, April 13 — BTCE room J127)  Possibly the longest train ride in American history began in Washington, DC, on April 21 and ended in Springfield, Illinois on May 3, 1865. Hear how the North/South political climate was changed, and the 1654-mile journey that brought the slain president back to the Prairie Capital.  fee = $5

Lincoln’s Life and the Presidential Museum  (8:00 AM — Friday, May 1 — departure from BTCE parking lot)  Travel to Springield and visit the Lincoln Presidential Museum, honoring America’s 16th president. Special exhibits, memorabilia, and unique performances make this museum a truly unforgettable experience. Continue the history lesson with a visit to the Old State Capitol and Lincoln’s Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery.    fee = $39 (lunch additional)  registration deadline = April 17.

 

 

 

 

Harps and Stars in the Dome on Valentine’s Day!

Are you maybe looking for something different to do for Valentine’s Day weekend? How about offering that someone special the stars and live music?

The Staerkel Planetarium is pleased to bring harpist Ann McLaughlin back to the dome on February 13 and 14 for shows at 8:30 p.m. All you have to pay is $5/person at the door.

Oddly enough, Ann’s first trip into the dome to play in the darkness was a “blind date.” Josh Birky, who works at Parkland in grants and contracts, called us and said, “Have you ever thought about a live concert with something different than a rock and roll band?” I asked what he had in mind, and the harp came up. Ann responded to my “to whom it may concern” email, and the rest is history.

Ann was phenomenal to work with and was very open to different ideas about what visuals to sync to her music. The big question, of course, was . . . .is anyone going to come see a live harp concert? That question was answered quickly, as the first of two shows sold out and we had a standing-room-only audience!

Next came  the challenge of making the harp work in the dome. I was surprised as to how loud the harp sounded in the dome, but we decided to mike it anyway. One microphone is floor-mounted while the other is on a stand where Ann has the option of addressing the crowd. Running the visuals aren’t trivial either, as you can’t really program anything. Although scripts can be preprogrammed into the planetarium’s digital system, they have to be started and stopped manually. Plus, we’ll get to use some visuals that may not fit into our regular programming. It’s challenging, but fun.

It’s amazing how often I get asked if we’re going to do Pink Floyd again! We haven’t done our musical light shows since spring 2014. The digital system is wonderful in the capabilities for flying the audience through the universe, but it won’t play the old programs. We can’t control the old projectors that allowed us to do those old shows. Having live acts like these are the closest we can come to the days of old.

So when we discovered that Valentine’s Day 2015 would occur on a weekend, I immediately got on the phone to Ann, and she was game for a return engagement. We look forward to hosting her AND her harp on the 13th and the 14th.

Veterans: Discover Your ‘Voice’ at New Book Group

I read a New York Times article last year by Iraq War veteran Phil Klay, winner of the National Book Award and one of the authors we will read from during the new Veterans Book Group, coming next week to Parkland College. A paragraph from Klay’s article speaks to the crux of this project:

“If we fetishize trauma as incommunicable, then survivors are trapped—unable to feel truly known by their nonmilitary friends and family. At a recent Veterans Day performance put on by Arts in the Armed Forces, Adam Driver, the organization’s founder, a former Marine turned actor, spoke of his feelings of alienation after leaving the corps. ‘Not being able to express the anger, confusion and loneliness I felt was challenging,’ he said, until theater exposed him ‘to playwrights and characters and plays that had nothing to do with the military, that were articulating experiences I had in the military, that before to me were indescribable.'”

Klay goes on to state, “It’s a powerful moment, when you discover a vocabulary exists for something you’d thought incommunicably unique.” We believe this is what literature can do, and it’s what we hope to provide book group participants: a safe place to read about others’ experiences about war and discuss their own.

John Fundator and I will serve as co-facilitators for the group.  A senior communications specialist with the University of Illinois Foundation, John served in the U.S. Army (1977–1981) and the Illinois Army National Guard (1981–1998).  He was a weekend soldier in the Guard when he was called up for a yearlong deployment during the Bosnia conflict of the early 1990s. John was part of a public affairs unit and wrote about the conflict for that year.

John had a wife (me!) and three small children (6-year-old twins and a one-year old) at home during that time. This gives us some understanding of the difficulty of separation many vets and their families feel. My position as full-time professor of humanities at Parkland will bring a literary background to the book discussions that we hope vets will also find useful.

No matter your age or military experience, as a veteran, you are welcome to take part in this free book group! We’ll read works from various eras, ranging from Stephen Crane’s Civil War-era short story, The Veteran, to Ernest Hemingway’s Soldier’s Home, a narrative of one young World War I veteran’s return to civilian life. We’ll even read recently published selections by Klay, whose writing reflects the wartime and post-war experiences of contemporary combat veterans.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has generously provided funding for this book group in conjunction with its initiative, Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War. The initiative aims to promote understanding of the military experience and to support returning veterans.

We invite you to become part of the Veteran’s Book Group at Parkland by contacting the Illinois Humanities Council’s Matt Meacham at mwm@prairie.org or 312/422-5589.

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“Standing Together: A Veterans Book Group”
January 27, February 10, February 24, and March 10
5:30 to 7 p.m.
Parkland College Student Union, Room U230
Hosted by the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC), Parkland College, and Crosspoint Human Services

What’s the Rumbling in the Dome?

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will open a brand new show on the Jan. 16/17 weekend titled Supervolcanoes!

Supervolcanoes will show at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights through February. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for students, seniors and children under 12, with all tickets being sold at the door.

supervolcanoes

Imagine a scene 74,000 years ago, on the island of Sumatra: A volcanic eruption triggers the sudden and violent collapse of a vast plateau. Toba was the largest volcanic eruption in the last 25 million years. But Earth has seen far larger! About 250 million years ago, an eruption in what’s now Siberia lasted a million years and was probably responsible for the greatest episode of mass extinction in Earth’s history.

Narrated by famed English actor Benedict Cumberbatch, Supervolcanoes looks back at rare classes of eruptions that have marshaled the energy that churns beneath the surface of planet Earth. Is a supervolcano lurking beneath Yellowstone Park?

Thanks to Parkland’s Earth Science coordinator, the planetarium also has a display in the lobby containing different kinds of volcanic rock, including two types of rock from Hawaii and some ash from the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens.

For more information on planetarium programs, visit our website or call the show hotline at 217/351-2446.

Annual MLK Celebration Honors Parkland Faculty

mlk-flyer2015Parkland College is a planning committee partner for the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Countywide Celebration. Parkland Director of Human Resources Kathleen McAndrew and I serve as representatives for the College on the committee each year.

As the City of Champaign’s website explains, this commemorative annual event celebrates the life and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and recognizes excellent community service and humanitarianism by persons and groups in our community. Hundreds of residents attend each year.

This year, during the 14th annual event, Parkland’s own Brian Nudelman, an English professor and our service learning coordinator, will be receiving the Doris Hoskins Prestigious Community Service Award! The award honors individuals and organizations that engage in outstanding volunteerism and, in so doing, contribute to the well-being of the Champaign County community. We congratulate Brian on his hard work and service to the college and community residents. Below are the event details:

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The Fourteenth Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Countywide Celebration
FRIDAY, JANUARY 16, 2015
4 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn
1501 S. Neil Street, Champaign

KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.

PRESIDENT OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS
FAMILY INITIATIVES
Descendant of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington

This event is free and open to the public.
Reception immediately following the program.

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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Learning to Fly

Jeremy Russow
My name is Jeremy Russow and I am pursuing my goal of becoming a pilot through Parkland College.

 

[A former Marine and a Parkland Aviation student, Jeremy Russow takes to the air and fulfills a goal he set for himself.]

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There are so many things we want to accomplish in our lifetimes, yet it seems as though many things are just too far outside of our reach.

I remember taking a family vacation to Florida as a young child and that first experience flying. I was glued to the window as we taxied and prepared for takeoff. I remember the feeling as the plane accelerated, pressing me back into my seat, and I watched people, cars, and buildings begin to shrink as we climbed higher into the sky. This moment sparked an interest in aviation.

My mom still has a paper I wrote in discussing my dreams for the future. My third-grade teacher had asked us to answer two  questions: “If you could be one age and stay like that forever, what would it be, and why?” To this day, I don’t recall if I chose the age of 28 for a reason or arbitrarily, but I landed on that number because at that age I would be a pilot and could fly my family and friends all around the world.

So here I am today at 28 and, although I have yet to find the fountain of youth, I am finally making good on that goal from years past.

I find it exciting to be a part of this family at the Parkland College Institute of Aviation. Day One was all about getting to know your fellow students and staff. Of course there is paperwork to be done (would you expect anything less when it comes to the government?), but the staff makes the process very streamlined. Ground school classes are put together in a way that goes hand in hand with your lessons in the air for that week, so this definitely helps to reinforce the material as you learn it from book to practical application. The instructors and staff create a professional and fun learning environment, whether in the classroom or in the cockpit.

My first flight with Mandy (my flight instructor) was a bit surreal. We walked through the process of how to pre-flight the plane, from documents to weather to inspecting the aircraft. She took gradual steps to acclimate me to the entire process, and before you knew it, we were making our way to the runway and into the air. Even on the first flight, I got to start operating the controls. It was an awesome experience I will not soon forget.

After several months of flight and ground school, it was time for me to do my first solo. Mandy kinda sprung it on me one afternoon while practicing touch and go’s at the airport. After we landed the last time and taxied to the ramp, she asked if I wanted to solo. I was caught off guard at the thought, but extremely excited about it at the same time. We went inside, prepared my log book, and went over any questions I had before sending me off to continue practicing touch and go’s in the pattern around the airport. As I began to taxi on my own, it really hit me, “This is all on me now.” Caught between nerves and excitement I successfully landed the Piper Archer nine times on my own before having to head to my ground school class. The feeling would be best described as that first time at 16 when you take the car out on your own after getting your license. No one is there to help you if you mess up, and it is an absolute feeling of freedom, although now I am traveling in the air rather than on four wheels.

I encourage anyone who has a passion to fly and who may be looking for a place to learn, to put some serious thought into enrolling at the Parkland College Institute of Aviation. They have a professional, caring, and fun staff that will meet your needs as a student pilot. I come from a military background having served six years on active duty in the Marine Corps. There is a military veteran community there among the staff and alumni as well.

If you are a fellow service member, Parkland College can help you  use your GI benefits to make your dream of flying a reality. I know growing up I could never afford the cost of flight training, but this way, whether a veteran or not, I can budget the program through the college, and they can guide me with all of the information I need. I am nearing completion of my first semester here with Parkland, and I’m looking forward to completing my first milestone, a private pilot’s license, come spring/summer 2015.

What’s In a Prairie?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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!

Comadre, Compadre Mentors Shine in KC, MO!

Parkland’s Comadre and Compadre Program mentors and coordinators recently (and successfully) presented their conference proposal, “Meaningful Connection Between Latina/o Students at a Community College in Illinois” at the 2014 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies’ (NACCS) Midwest FOCO Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

For all the student mentors, this was the first time they attended or presented at a regional conference. Their preparation and passion for the topic moved all of those in attendance. A former college dean called their work “commendable and inspiring.” Another participant called the mentors “rock stars!”

The Comadre and Compadre Program at Parkland College offers individualized mentorship between academically successful Latina/o students with incoming Latina/o students. The program operates under the guidance of program coordinators Moises Orozco and Eduardo Coronel. As of today, the Comadre and Compadre Program has a total of 60 incoming Latina/o students and 10 mentors.

In their roundtable presentation, Comadre and Compadre mentors underscored some important trends and challenges within a rapidly growing Latino student population. They also discussed in detail the impact they are having with their mentees, and they highlighted the uniqueness of working with traditional and nontraditional college-age students.

Students were also able to attend both scholarly and poster presentations. Most importantly, they were able to network with prolific scholars in the field of Chicana/o studies as well as Latino leaders in the community.

The Parkland Academy Team (PAT) received the Parkland’s Inspire, Develop, Engage, Assess, Sustain (IDEAS) Grant last fall, to actively address the low persistence rate of Latina/o students on campus as well as to engage in community outreach. To achieve these two objectives, PAT created the Comadre and Compadre Program.

The mentors viewed their conference experience as extremely motivational and validating of their hard work. They are all eager to submit another proposal to a conference, but this time include the mentees in the presentation, so they can inspire others!

Presenters at NACCS Conference:

Mentors (pictured): Jonathan Mendoza, Wendy Ramírez, Angeles Rivera-Centeno, Alberto (AJ) Jiménez

Coordinators: Moises Orozco, Eduardo Coronel

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.

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

Student Union Ribbon Cutting—A Video Version

Well, last Wednesday was quite an exciting day for Parkland College with the ribbon cutting for our new Student Union. While the event was wonderfully covered on the brand new shiny Parkland College BLOG, I thought some folks might like to see it in its entirety (in case they missed it or maybe just really enjoy the cutting of ribbons).

Either way, here’s the video of the event. Is the Union officially open? Probably yes. Did Parkland College get an exciting new grant? Um, maybe. Did the ribbon actually get cut or did President Ramage have to brilliantly improvise? Geez, I don’t know. Watch the video and get answers to all of these burning questions.