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.

Adults: Get It Started at Parkland Open House

natasha
Natasha, a Parkland student, was the first adult student we served in the Adult Re-entry Center’s new office space in the Student Union.

Do you or someone you know have college credits that are figuratively collecting dust — not being put to use?

Have you thought about starting or completing your degree, but aren’t sure how to pay for it? Does your work schedule only allow for online courses, but you’re not sure how those things work? Are you not sure what sort of jobs are out there for Parkland College grads? Have you wondered how far a Parkland degree can take you?

For the answer to these and many other questions, you should come out to Parkland’s spring Open House on Friday, March 13. You will find an array of information sessions dedicated to these topics, among others.

Scheduled speakers include:
• Tim Wendt, Parkland’s director of Financial Aid and Veteran Services; Tim will share his wealth of knowledge about “adult-centric” ways to finance a college education.
• Tony Hooker (yours truly) will show you how to put your existing credits to work, earning a Parkland credential while moving toward a bachelor’s degree.
• Lori Wendt from Parkland’s Distance and Virtual Learning office will be on hand to discuss online course delivery. I’ll also share a bit about what’s available online.
• Sandy Spencer, director of Parkland’s Career Center, will speak about what’s hot and trending with regards to careers.
• Jay Downey, a proud Parkland alumnus and managing director of The Downey Group, will speak about the impact Parkland has had on his life.

The time is now for you to make a move toward your academic goals, and Parkland’s spring Open House is the best first step! The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the new Student Union. See you there!

Why One International Student Flies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Early College & Career Academy Coming Fall 2015

Do you know an area high school student who wants a head start on a new career? Education for Employment System #330, along with Parkland College, is happy to announce the launch of its Early College and Career Academy, or ECCA, beginning fall 2015.

The new academy will allow high school juniors and seniors to enroll in dual credit classes at the Parkland campus. Six programs will be offered in its debut:  automotive technology, computer networking, criminal justice, certified nursing assistant, emergency medical services, and manufacturing.

Of course, Parkland has offered dual credit classes for some time now. However, ECCA students will not only receive dual credit; they will learn valuable hands-on skills to prepare them for the workforce. Several programs are even aligned with Parkland certificates and/or state licenses.

Transportation to and from Parkland, as well as funding provided for the program, will be determined by the students’ home high schools. This is a great opportunity for students in our area to experience higher education while still in high school and get a head start on their career goals.

Students who are interested should contact their high school guidance counselor. Information is also available at www.parkland.edu/ecca. The EFE #330/ECCA office can be reached at 217/355-1382.

 

[Renae Kirkton is the special projects coordinator for EFE System #330.]

Go ahead, get ahead.