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

Enjoying Your Major

Communication major Matt Weldon shares his ‘a-ha’ moment.

Like many students here, I started my journey at Parkland with aspirations to transfer to the University of Illinois to study mechanical engineering. Ever since I could remember, math and sciences were my best subjects. I like to build and tinker, especially with cars. My end goal was to get my degree and work in the automotive industry.

However, I soon understood that I didn’t have any passion for what I was studying. The thought of having a six-figure starting salary kept me going or a while, but eventually even that wasn’t enough. Just because I could do something didn’t mean I enjoyed it, and I realized that enjoying what I do is more important to me than making a lot of money.

With that epiphany, I decided to change things up a bit. One of my favorite things to do in my free time is to read articles or watch features on different things I enjoy. This includes topics like cars, world events, traveling, and more. I always imagined that the guy who writes about these things he enjoys and gets paid for it must be one of the luckiest guys in the world. It then occurred to me that I could be one of those guys.

That’s why I decided to make the drastic leap from studying mechanical engineering to journalism.

So if there’s one thing I’ve learned through my journey here so far, it’s that sometimes you can’t put a price on doing what you enjoy. It’s cliché, but follow your passion.

The Parkland Shed

Completed sheds in the lab
Completed sheds in the lab

I moved into a new house last year, and it quickly became apparent that I could use a shed.  After asking around about where to get a shed, I decided to purchase one from Parkland College.  Everyone had nothing but good things to say about them.

The sheds are built as part of the CIT 115 course with Greg Walburg. The course is part of Construction Design and Management, Construction Design and Management: Contracting, and the Building Construction and Repair programs.

Sheds under construction
Sheds under construction
For sale sign on Mattis
For sale sign on Mattis
Parkland Shed Installed
Parkland Shed Installed

CIT Instructor: Dustin Stuart graduated with honors from Parkland in May 2014 with a degree in Construction Design and Management: Contracting. He is currently working for a remodeling contractor here in CU and is also a Teacher’s Assistant at Parkland for CIT 115.  I asked him about his experience in the course and if he had any advice for students thinking about going into one of the Construction programs at Parkland College.  This is what he told me:

“It was two years ago this semester that I started my program and CIT 115 was my favorite class that semester. I had previous knowledge of contracting work, but this class helped greatly in turning me into a professional. The most valuable lessons I learned from this class was how to read and interpret construction plans, teamwork, and project management.

In CIT 115, you get to experience home building basics in a comfortable lab environment with plenty of tools at your disposal. This is a dream vacation in comparison to getting your education on the roof of a house on a 90 degree day in July. In addition to the excellent lab space you have experienced teachers and students to help guide you along.

The only advice I could offer new students considering this degree is to just do it! Todd Horton and Greg Walburg are excellent teachers that care a lot about their students and their success. Every time I walked into one of their offices to ask about homework, a project, or even personal advice they always took the time to speak with me. You meet a lot of excellent students as well in this program. I still keep in touch both personally and professionally with most of my class mates. In addition to being a great program, Parkland is an excellent school. They have so many programs in place to help you succeed and a staff and faculty that are top notch.”

Learn about enrolling at Parkland College during the College Open House Friday, November 7.

If you’re interested in getting a shed for your yard, contact Greg Walburg at 373-3784 or gwalburg@parkland.edu.

Health Professions: A Career for You?

Have you ever considered a future in health professions? For that matter, do you even know what we mean by health professions here at Parkland? Sometimes we throw terms around and expect everyone to know what we are talking about—that is especially true in health professions! We offer so many opportunities here at Parkland to work in the health care field. Some programs take only one semester while others offer full two-year degrees.

For example, our Nurse Assistant program and our Emergency Medical Technician Basic program are each only one semester long! Both of these professions provide students a great opportunity to work in a health care field and decide if they want to proceed further or do something different—all while being paid!

Maybe your passion is for animals instead of people? I get phone calls on a regular basis from veterinary clinics asking about our Veterinary Technology students. Our program is nationally known for excellence, and many places want to hire our graduates. When you complete our two-year Vet Tech program, you will have earned an associate degree and be ready to take the national board exam.

Other Health Professions options here at Parkland include one-year certificate programs. So what can you complete in one year? You could become a Medical Office Assistant, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), a Massage Therapist, or a Paramedic.

What about other two-year degrees? We offer degrees in Dental Hygiene, Registered Nursing, Occupational Therapy Assisting, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Therapy, and Surgical Technology. Students may also receive two-year associate degrees in Massage Therapy and in Emergency Medical Services (Paramedic).

The healthcare industry continues to experience employment growth, and this growth is anticipated to continue for many more years. It is one of the fastest growing job sectors in the country. I’d love to tell you more about each of our programs…better yet, come our Open House this Friday, November 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. at our main campus and also at our H wing on Mattis Ave. You can learn more about each program and speak to the faculty and students for firsthand experience!

How to Tell if a College is the Right “Fit”

So, how can you know if a college is the right fit for you?

The first step is often an on-site visit.  Once you start walking around a school, meeting professors, and talking to the staff, you usually get a feeling of what it would be like be a student there.  One of the least stressful times to visit a college is on Open House Day.  This is the day the college opens its doors and puts all its energy toward recruiting new students.  From a student’s perspective, that’s when there will be the most going on, the most people to talk with, and the most tour times.

Parkland is no exception.  On Friday, November 7 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., we will be hosting a campus-wide Open House.  That same day, from 1 to 4 p.m., will be hosting our Health Careers Open House.  It’s one of the few times when  labs for nursing, veterinary technology, occupational therapy assistant, and many others are open for visits.  Additionally, there will be tons of instructors and current students available to answer specific questions.

So whether you know exactly what you want to major in,  you’re deciding among several ideas, or you have no idea what to take in college, Open House is a great time to get to know more about Parkland.  Come check us out on Friday, November 7.  No RSVP required!

Go ahead, get ahead.