Tag Archives: featured

Year-Round Pell Grants Available for Summer!

While making your summer plans, you may be considering taking a summer class to move closer to your degree or certificate. If you’re eligible for the Pell Grant, paying for that class may just have gotten a bit easier.

Parkland College students may be able to receive a third disbursement of the award, based on a recent Department of Education announcement.

If you’ve already received a full Pell Grant during the fall and spring semesters, you may now qualify for “Year-round Pell” and so receive a full Pell Grant during the summer 2018 semester as well, the DOE reported.

Year-round Pell allows students to receive up to 150 percent of a regular grant award over the course of the academic year so they can continue taking classes in the summer and finish their degrees faster than they would otherwise. With careful planning, Pell Grant recipients may take advantage of this new regulation to earn their degree faster.

You should be aware, though, that any Pell Grant you receive over the summer will be included in determining your Pell Grant lifetime limit.

To be eligible for the additional Pell Grant funds, you:

  • must be otherwise eligible to receive Pell Grant funds for the payment period
  • must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) during the summer term
  • must be maintaining satisfactory academic progress

You’re going to have to fill out a Summer Information Form, available on our forms web page, to get started. And remember, you should always speak to an academic advisor about the classes you should take.

If you were awarded Pell Grants for the 2017‐2018 academic year, contact the Financial Aid office at 217/351-2222 or finaid@parkland.edu for help with summer 2018 financial planning.

Registration for Parkland College Summer Session 2018 starts March 26, so don’t delay!

[Patricia Murbarger is an advisor with Financial Aid and Veteran Services.]

Science Olympiad: Welcome, Middle School, High School Students!

Watch out for flying objects and moving vehicles in the gym! Don’t worry; it’s just science. The regional Science Olympiad competition will take place at Parkland College on Saturday, February 17.

Teams from 18 area schools will participate in 23 events spread out across campus: Some will test roller coasters in the Flag Lounge. Others will operate helicopters in the gym. Still others will conduct forensic tests in the M wing. They will even study reptiles and minerals in the L wing.

Science Olympiad draws hundreds of students, working hands-on to solve problems across a variety of disciplines including biology, chemistry, and technology. The regional Science Olympiad is a great way to get students excited about science!

Our awards ceremony will be held for the middle schools in the Miner Theatre at 3:15 p.m. The Dodds Athletic Center will host the high school awards ceremony at 4 p.m. The top teams will also compete at the state tournament at the University of Illinois on April 21.

***Volunteers are needed across campus to help run the competition. Find more information about the tournament as well as a link to volunteer at www.illinoisolympiad.org/parkland-college.html.

For more information, contact Erik Johnson at ejohnson@parkland.edu.

[Erik Johnson is an associate professor in astronomy at Parkland College.]

 

50th Annual Agriculture Banquet Celebrates Student Award Winners, Alumni

 

The Agriculture and Horticulture programs at Parkland College are excited to celebrate the 50th Agriculture Banquet on Tuesday, February 27, in the college’s Student Union.

All supporters, contributors, program alumni, and business partners are invited to join us as we recognize outstanding students, honor program supporters, and celebrate the past, present, and future of agriculture, horticulture, and precision agriculture at Parkland.

Contact Chris at 217/351-2481 or cmurphy@parkland.edu to RSVP.

 

[Aimee Densmore is program manager for Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies at Parkland College.]

Celebrating 10 years of the Pathway to Illinois Partnership!

For a decade now, hundreds of students have started at Parkland College through the Parkland Pathway to Illinois Program and graduated successfully from the University of Illinois.

Parkland Pathway to Illinois is a two-year program where you attend Parkland College for your general education classes but can also take one class a semester at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  The program gives you the benefit of small classes with dedicated faculty from Parkland combined with the enormous opportunities available at a world-class institution like the University of Illinois. Plus, your tuition will be based on your Parkland residency rate. Parkland Pathway really is the “best of both worlds.”

At the end of your two years in the program, you are guaranteed a slot into the junior class in your major as long as you have maintained the college GPA for transfer.

Selection for the Pathway program’s 2018-2019 session is starting Feb. 15, and Parkland College is hosting its annual information session on Sunday, Feb. 11  for you to learn more.

If you are a soon-to-graduate high school senior or are a junior who would like more information, please sign up to attend the Parkland Pathway Information Open House, Sunday, Feb. 11 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Student Union on the Parkland campus. In addition to an overall explanation of the program, counselors from each of the UIUC participating colleges will be present with their Parkland College counterpart. Come and get answers to both your Parkland and UIUC questions.

For more information and to RSVP for this event, please click here.

[Mary Kay Smith is a student services advisor in Admissions and Records.]

 

Free LIFE Clinic Helps Those with Pain

Do you know someone who lives with pain every day or has difficulty completing simple to more complex day-to-day activities? Tell them about Parkland College’s Learning Information for Everyday (LIFE) Clinic, offered by our Occupational Therapy Assistant program, because we can help.

We started the LIFE Clinic two years ago as a FREE service to our community. That’s right, free. For those in our communities who come and see us, we can offer simple strategies to conserve energy or recommend or construct an assistive device to help them navigate their activities better.

What do people think about our LIFE Clinic services? One of our clients, who experiences pain in her right hand, had this to say last spring:

Modification fabricated by OTA students.

“I had no idea of what occupational therapy assistants did. They developed creative contraptions to help me be able to walk my dogs and pour water from gallon glass jugs with much less pain. The students were kind, professional, very pleasant ,and helpful. I was impressed! It was a good day when I met Michelle and her students! Thank you so much!”

If you or someone you know could benefit from the LIFE Clinic at Parkland College, just give us a call at 217/353-2782. For Spring Semester 2018, the LIFE Clinic will offer services Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., March 1, 8, 15, and 29.

[Michelle Roberts is the OTA program director at Parkland College.]

Out of Gas? Locked Out? Call Vehicle Services

The Parkland College Department of Public Safety strives to be accessible and responsive to the community we’re a part of. Towards that goal, we offer a range of services that go beyond traditional policing in order to better connect and engage with students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the college.

This week’s post will be an overview of the various vehicle services we offer, which are completely free to anyone on campus regardless of affiliation to the college. Just call 217/351-2369, and one of our officers will come out to help.

Locked out of your car? 

In the rush to get to class, did you leave your keys locked in the car? Our officers are trained and equipped with vehicle unlock tools to access your door handles or unlock buttons.

Dead battery?

We carry battery packs in all of our squad cars to jump start your vehicle if your battery is dead. The officer will hook it up to your car battery and help start your car. If it turns out that you have a different mechanical issue, we can call a tow truck for you to get you to a mechanic.

Run out of gas?

If you cruised onto campus running on fumes and need a little gas to get back on the road, we can give you a ride to a nearby gas station where you can put a couple of gallons in a gas can we carry in the squad car. We’ll bring you back and you can refill your tank, at least enough to get on the road and make it back to the gas station for a fill-up.

Flat tire?

We have an air compressor to fill up your tire if it’s a little flat. Unfortunately, we can’t change your tire, but we can provide advice and stand by with you if you need to switch over to your spare.

What to Expect

If you’re having any of the above issues with your car, call 217/351-2369. The dispatcher will get some information to find out where you are ,and an officer will be dispatched to you as soon as possible. They’ll verify your driver’s license and vehicle registration, have you sign a liability waiver, and then get to work to get you back on the road. It’s totally free, and you don’t have to be a Parkland student or employee to receive this service.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Ford ASSET Student Earns Gold at SkillsUSA

**UPDATE! Jacob won gold at the national competition!**

Parkland College Ford ASSET program‘s Jacob Greene will soon represent the state of Illinois in automotive service technology excellence after winning gold at the SkillsUSA Illinois Championship in Springfield late last month.

The freshman and 2016 Litchfield High School graduate is ready to compete with about 6,000 other state contest winners at the SkillsUSA National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, June 19-23. More than 16,000 people are expected to attend this exciting week of competition in career and technical education.

Upon graduation from Parkland College, Jacob has the opportunity to become fully certified as a Ford technician with an associate’s degree in automotive technology. As part of his program at Parkland, Jacob will have had over 32 weeks of hands-on training at his sponsoring Ford dealership, Victory Lane Ford in Litchfield.

Jacob’s high school automotive instructor, Eric Gray, and his Parkland Ford ASSET instructor, Thomas Fischer, are both 2008 graduates of Parkland’s Ford ASSET program! Fischer, a Mahomet resident, serves as Jacob’s SkillsUSA advisor.

Congratulations, Jacob! Parkland is proud of your accomplishments and wishes you great success at Nationals!

Parkland, Lewis U.: New Flight Transfer Accord

Parkland College Aviation graduates have gained a new bachelor’s degree opportunity through Lewis University.

Representatives of Lewis University and the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College signed an articulation agreement Feb. 3 at Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.

This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to continue their studies and complement their flight training in other aviation fields.

The agreement allows Parkland graduates the opportunity to transfer into one of Lewis University’s seven aviation undergraduate programs to complete a bachelor’s degree. These programs include Aviation Administration, Aviation and Aerospace technology, Aviation Maintenance Management, Air Traffic Control Management, Aviation Flight Management, Transportation Administration, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

Dr. Stephany Schlachter, provost of Lewis University, said his school “welcomes graduates of Parkland College as they continue on their flight path to success.”

Lewis University has the oldest aviation program among universities in Illinois. It is the only aviation program in the state that has an airport on campus. The university also offers a graduate degree in Aviation and Transportation on campus and online.

 

Racing Toward a Bright Future

Parkland graduate Kyle Bemount is going places, FAST! Bemount, who earned his associate’s degree in Industrial Technology in 2011, is making a name for himself, both in racing circles and through the efforts of his business, Bemount Performance. I recently caught up with him and we talked about his experiences at Parkland, including his role as a part-time instructor, in addition to his ventures outside of school.

 

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T: What did you study at Parkland?
K: I originally enrolled in the Industrial Technology program at Parkland in the fall of 2008, right after I got out of the Marine Corps. I wanted to do welding and fabricating and that sort of thing. I had some hands-on experience and liked it, so I wanted to further educate myself.

T:  Thank you for your service! Where did your degree in Industrial Technology lead you?
K: While I was earning that degree, I also worked pretty much full time at my stepdad’s shop, painting and fabricating. When I graduated, I used the tools I learned and kept heading in that direction. I had never really given motorsports a chance to reach out and grab me. Then, Parkland built the new facility, and I was here for a car show and thought maybe it was worth checking out. I scheduled a meeting with Jon (Ross, director of the automotive program) and he gave me all the information I needed. I liked what he had to say, so I decided to try for another degree in Automotive Motorsport technology.

T: Where did your interests outside of Parkland take you?
K: I finished the motorsport classes, and it was a year ago, almost to the day, that I made the decision to open my own business. I do have a passion for working on cars and making them go faster, and working on FRIENDS’ cars especially is what has led me to this! Last October, I moved to a shop in Champaign, at 4102 Colleen Drive off of Staley Road.

T: Did your Industrial Technology training come together with the auto training?
K: It all kind of pieced the puzzle together. You might have previous car experience or have a relationship with someone who taught you about cars, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I had it too; I was already into cars and I had a fast vehicle, but there were a lot of gaps. I would be in class with Jon going over wheels and tires or brakes and suspension or something, and I would think I knew it, but by the end of class, I’d be like, “I didn’t know ANYTHING about that!” Parkland’s instruction bridges a lot of gaps for people who haven’t been taught in a structured manner like a classroom environment. You aren’t going to get that know-how by working on one specific vehicle. Here, you’re taught that this is how they all work and the situation dictates which one you can use it on.

T: You get a good, broad understanding of why this works, and that can help you diagnose whatever rolls into your shop?
K: Exactly. You need to crawl before you can walk. A lot of times, I ran before I even walked! I went right into it and did it. I got lucky and made it work, but if someone asked me a generic question about it, I might know the answer. Now, I try to be more able to find you a basic answer.

T: Was your Marine Corps training related to mechanics at all?
K: In no way, shape or form! I was an infantry marine.

T: You were a ground pounder?
K: I did infantry and security work. I had an option to become a police officer when I got out, but I really didn’t want to do it. I wanted to do something I was really passionate about.

T: You’ve started Bemount Performance, and from that the race car came about?
K: I actually bought that car when I was still stationed in Okinawa. I had my mom go to Missouri and pick it up. I had it for months before I even saw it! I had it all through industrial tech school, all through my motorsport classes.

T: What car are we talking about here?
K: It’s a 2000 Trans Am with a WS6. It has undergone multiple surgeries to become what it is now! Every winter, it gets some new “go fast” parts. It’s a 4-way LS motor with a Garrett 5594 turbo. It’s a pretty quick car. It’s been as fast as 8.35 in the quarter mile, at 168 miles an hour.

T: Is it a pro stock drag car? What classification is it?
K: It drives on the road more than it is on the track, so it’s a street class.

T: What advice would you give someone interested in chasing the dream of opening their own business?
K: To be honest with you, it was totally terrifying. I went from having a 40-hour-a-week job that makes decent money and was very secure and we had a certain living standard, and we realized that it was all about to change. I had a good feeling about it and I had backing from a couple of friends, so I didn’t have that concern.

T: What do you think about a nontraditional student coming back to Parkland? What sort of advice would you give that person?
K: You can always come back to Parkland. I’ve wanted to come back and do the upholstery class. It’s not really a part of what I do, I consider myself a go-fast guy, but nevertheless it’s a part of the world that I know zero about and that bothers me. You’re never too good to come back and learn. Technology evolves. I’m always wanting to learn.

T: Where did you go to high school?
K: I went to Rantoul. I had a fantastic shop teacher named Bill Wiley. Mr. Wiley actually made me interested in automotive. He was hands down the best shop teacher ever. He was very straightforward, but not by the book at all. He helped me out a ton.

T: Do you to build race cars for other people?
K: I do turbo kits, exhaust work, plumbing work, brake kits, and brake lines. I do almost anything, even build motors. My business is almost 100 percent building race cars. When I was starting out, I was as nervous as I could be and I took in jobs that had nothing to do with performance, just because I had to pay bills. Now, I don’t take in a job that doesn’t at least spark my interest or is a specialty of mine in the performance world. I very much try to stay to my field. I don’t want someone bringing their hundred-thousand-dollar race car into my shop and seeing a minivan on one of my racks.

T: What you would like to add?
K: I can’t emphasize taking classes enough. I love helping people out. This past fall, we took nine students to the track for the first time and after they had run down the track, they were grinning from ear to ear. To bring nine new guys into the thing you love is big to me. I want to show students that this is the right way to do it. That’s the big payoff.

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[To get started finishing your degree, contact Tony Hooker with the Parkland College Adult Re-entry Center at ahooker@parkland.edu or 217/351-2462.]

Why Parkland Land Surveying is Top Trainer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parkland, U of Cinti Sign Int’l Transfer Accord

The start of another academic year at Parkland College brings a new crop of international students arriving from all over the globe to begin or continue their studies in the United States. New for fall 2016, Parkland has recently concluded a transfer partnership agreement with the University of Cincinnati specifically for international students.

The UC International Transfer Degree program gives international students the opportunity to begin working towards a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati as soon as they arrive at Parkland College, with the guarantee of future admission and scholarships.

So how does the transfer partnership work?  Any international Parkland student can sign up for the partnership at any point during their studies and receive information about fulfilling the transfer requirements. Although the UC College of Engineering and the Art and Design programs are excluded from the direct-transfer partnership, students can seek transfer into more than 300 different UC academic programs. Once interest is indicated, the student(s) will be contacted by a transfer advisor from the University of Cincinnati, who will advise them in required coursework, regularly check in on students’ progress, and even facilitate a campus visit to UC!

Upon successful completion of the Parkland associate’s degree, the student will then be guaranteed admission to the University of Cincinnati, main campus. What is more, those students will automatically be eligible for a scholarship between $5,000 and $15,000, renewable for three years!

Transfer students from Parkland are also eligible to participate in UC’s Cooperative Education Program, ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. As a part of this program, students have the opportunity to take a paid job for a year as part of their academic program, gaining valuable experience while expanding and completing their education. In addition to positions in Cincinnati and all around the United States, the Cooperative Education Program places students in jobs around the world, including India, Germany, and Chile!

About the UC
Ranking among the top 150 National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, the University of Cincinnati has made clear strides, under Jon Weller, towards increasing its value among international students. More than 3,000 international students from 110 different countries around the globe call UC home.

Cincinnati itself possesses unique international flavor and celebrates a strong German heritage. Restaurants and nightlife drawing inspiration from all around the world are found in downtown, near campus, and along the Ohio River. Major international companies such as Procter & Gamble, General Electric Aviation, and Macy’s are also headquartered around the city.

Be on the lookout for upcoming events for international Parkland College students with the University of Cincinnati!

For more information about events or the UC International Transfer Degree, contact Chris Jackson (cjackson@parkland.edu) or visit the International Admissions Office, U234.

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.

 

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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.]

 

UIUC Student Touts Parkland Transfer

Hundreds of University of Illinois students, like marketing senior Brent Loth, take Parkland College classes each year to shorten the road to their Illinois degrees. Below, Brent shares why university students should explore Parkland transfer options.

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As a University of Illinois student, I sometimes find myself in a bind. I want to get my degree as soon as possible, but it can be hard to get in all the courses I need throughout the school year. I also have additional pressures, like being financially responsible and finding the right learning setting to prepare myself for life after college.

Luckily, I have lived in Champaign for most of my life and know that Parkland College carries a fantastic reputation for its education and atmosphere. After talking with my academic advisor, we decided Parkland would be a great fit for my college objectives, and I found some classes I could take during the summers to earn my degree in a timely way and stay productive during my time off from the U of I.

I was able to transfer classes with ease and had a smaller learning environment, getting individual attention that helped with classes I found difficult. I got to know my teachers on a personal level while getting the same credits I could earn at the U of I for a fraction of the cost.

So far, I have taken Intro to Marketing, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Spanish 1. Now, as I prepare to graduate this upcoming year, my positive experiences influenced me to also finish language requirements with Parkland this fall. I plan to do so along with my other U of I classes.

I recommend Parkland classes for the following reasons:

1. Taking classes at Parkland can help you earn your degree faster, especially during summer and winter breaks.

2. You get more individual attention to narrow your focus for class, which helps with subjects you find challenging.

3. It helps ease financial stresses for yourself and your family.

4. Many classes transfer and have equivalency toward your degree.

I encourage you to talk to your academic advisor to see if Parkland would be a good fit for you. It turned out to be an amazing resource for me, and I know you will be happy with what the school has to offer. – Brent Loth

***Visit the Parkland College website for more information on concurrent enrollment for UIUC students.***

[Hilary Valentine is the associate director of marketing at Parkland.]

 

 

Busy Restaurateur Thanks Parkland for Degree Push

farren

Although he’s too much of a gentleman to say it, Brian Farren probably scoffs at the notion of being “too busy” to return to school.

After all, this is the man who has a full-time job as an operations manager at FedEX and helps run the successful downtown eatery that bears his name while constantly taking classes and raising a family.  The 2015 Parkland graduate will complete his bachelor’s degree at Eastern Illinois University in May 2017 (Organizational and Professional Development) and is now contemplating grad school in addition to earning both personal fitness and life coaching certificates.

Brian recently took time for some Q&A with me about life as an adult learner:

How involved in Farren’s pub are you?

A: We have had Farren’s for a little over 16 years. My involvement comes and goes as needed. Day-to-day, I would say I am hardly involved at all; my wife deserves the lion’s share of the success we have had with that venture. We first met while employed at the same restaurant, so we are both capable, but hospitality is definitely her calling. I would consider myself the best pinch hitter she has. I am working an event for her this weekend because she will be out of town with our kids.

How has the Adult Re-entry Center helped you accomplish your academic goals?

A: I returned to school at Parkland College in August 2013. I first contacted Billie Mitchell, who was the director of the Adult Re-entry Center at the time. She listened to my goals and, using my transcripts from previous credits earned, helped me tailor a course of study to accomplish them. My journey was then handed to Tony Hooker, who finished what Billie had started. Tony was encouraging and helpful while I completed my studies at Parkland and always made himself available to answer my questions.

What advice would you give to prospective adult learners?

A: Get in and get started as soon as possible. Start slowly in order to reacquaint yourself with the learning environment, but don’t wait. The sooner you start, the sooner you will finish. Do not let the fact that you may be older than some of the other students bother you. You can be a great resource to them and you have the opportunity to bring maturity to the classroom that few others can provide. Adult life brings distractions that were not there in younger years, so keep your attention on your priorities and stay calm. Don’t try to do too much; you will finish if you stay focused.

Is there anything you would like to add?

A: I never thought I would have the desire to return to school, but as I near the end, I am glad that I decided to complete my education. The job market continually gets more competitive. Completing your education can provide what is needed to take advantage of future opportunities. I am grateful that I found the Adult Re-entry program at Parkland and that I took advantage of such a great local resource.

[To get started finishing your degree, contact Tony Hooker with the Parkland College Adult Re-entry Center at ahooker@parkland.edu or 217/351-2462.]

 

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.]

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.]

 

Cash and Relevant Work Skills for YOU!

With the holiday season upon us, now could be just the right time to save a little extra cash for ________(fill in the blank): a spring break trip, car repair, textbook money, paying down credit card debt, and more. Seasonal employment is a great way to fulfill these needs plus gain valuable workplace skills.  

087But how do you even begin a search for temporary work this holiday season? Look no further! The Career Center and SaltMoney (free to all Parkland students, alumni, and staff) have lots of great resources to make the process as easy as possible for you:

  • Visit the  Career Center for application tips and other job search tips to help you prepare.
  • Check out SaltMoney to receive time management tips for balancing school and work as well as budgeting advice.

What workplace skills can you gain from taking a job outside of your major/career goals?  Employers are always looking for soft skills such as being a team player, working well under pressure, and critical thinking. You can build on these skills with seasonal employment.

Good luck with that holiday job search, and make sure to sign up for SaltMoney and follow the Career Center on Twitter at @connectwithPCC.

 

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in the Career Center.]

Worried about losing your MAP Grant? Apply now for scholarships!

Have you heard? Your financial aid this spring may be less than you expect.

The Illinois Assistance Commission (ISAC), which administers the Monetary Award Program (MAP), has notified all Illinois colleges and universities that due to the uncertainty of the state budget, spring 2016 MAP awards will be delayed until the state budget is approved. This means that your spring 2016 MAP award will be changed to “estimated aid” at this time and will not be applied to any account balance you may incur while registering for spring classes. As a result, your financial aid refund may be less than anticipated.

If state budget does fund MAP awards and you are owed more in a refund, you will receive it after the state budget is approved. Should the state not include MAP awards in the budget, you will be responsible for any balance owed on your account.

The idea of having your financial aid reduced is a pretty stressful one. What can you do? One potential way to offset this possible reduction is to apply for scholarships. Even if you don’t receive the MAP award, applying for scholarships is always a great resource to help fund your education.

NOW is the time to apply for spring scholarships. The Parkland College Foundation is currently offering approximately 70 scholarships for the spring semester. November 15 is the deadline for a majority of these scholarships, but scholarships are posted throughout the academic year.  The funds are there … just waiting for the right student to apply.

Parkland students have access to the scholarship search feature in their student portal at my.parkland.edu. By logging in to the portal and selecting “Scholarship Search” under the Student Services tab, you will be directed to a listing of all scholarships that are currently available. By selecting “eligible scholarships” from the drop down menu, you will also find a list that is more customized based on available scholarship criteria. The search feature is an excellent resource to find scholarships funded by the Parkland College Foundation. In addition, any scholarship information provided by external organizations is posted as well.

Most scholarship applications require you to write an essay … don’t be intimidated! The Center for Academic Success at Parkland offers a Writing Lab in D120 that is open and available to all students. You can receive free help from English instructors with any writing project you might have. For more information you can visit D120 or log in to the student portal, my.parkland.edu.

There are also many reputable online resources for scholarships as well such as Fastweb (http://www.fastweb.com/), CollegeBoard (http://www.collegeboard.org/), and the Federal Student Aid Gateway (http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/). Keep in mind, that most reputable scholarship organizations do not ask you to pay a fee to apply.

[Tim Wendt is Parkland’s director of enrollment services.]

Inside the classroom: Fuel and Emissions

IMG_5130previous blog entry about the Volkswagen emissions controversy tied in with some of the elements we teach in class, so I thought I’d provide a glance for automotive enthusiasts about some of our classroom activities. 

Yesterday in our Fuel and Emissions class (AFD 231), instructor Adam Karch worked with students to understand how onboard emission monitors are actually completed on a running and driving vehicle. Students used a chassis dynamometer, an exhaust gas analyzer, and scan tool to monitor when and how the vehicle’s emission system checked each of the required emission monitoring systems.

IMG_5134

The screen above shows the emission monitors that are being checked on a scan tool that is communicating with the vehicle’s onboard computer. The vehicle must be driven under different conditions that are programmed into the vehicle computer. The student has to drive the vehicle under different loaded conditions to get the vehicle’s onboard computer to check each of the required emission systems. The dynamometer displays a colored line on its display screen that is based on a program in the dynamometer that follows the proper drive cycle for emission testing.

IMG_5131

The above image shows the line that must be followed on the dynamometer screen. The student increases or decreases vehicle speed and load to follow the requirements of the test. The drive cycle test is very specific in vehicle speed and load conditions. It often takes multiple attempts to drive a vehicle on public roads to get a vehicle to complete all the required tests. Slowing down to avoid traffic or obey posted speed limits will interrupt the test. It is much safer and easier to complete a drive cycle on the chassis dynamometer.

IMG_5128

The chassis dynamometer also allows the instructor to be with the student in the learning environment to answer questions while the test is being competed. The student can then focus on learning and properly complete the test rather than traffic and general driving.

This learning activity also helps reinforce the importance of test-driving a customer’s car after a repair attempt has been made. If a technician determines an EGR valve has failed and replaces the valve, but does not test drive the vehicle under the correct conditions, the technician really does not know if the repair attempt has fixed the customer’s complaint. Driving the vehicle under the conditions that allow the onboard computer to complete a self-check is the only way to know definitively that the vehicle has been repaired.

This is only one example of many tests that your vehicle is continuously attempting to complete. Other tests might require the vehicle to sit unoperated for several hours or to be under a specific load and speed for several minutes.        

If you are interested in checking out our automotive technology programs or scheduling a tour of our facility, please email est@parkland.edu or call 217/351-2481. IMG_5132 IMG_5133

LPNs in Illinois: Setting the Record Straight

I’ve heard many myths over the years about licensed practical nurses, or LPNs. I’m here to clear up misconceptions about what LPNs do, where they work, and how much money they make. By setting the record straight, I hope to present a more accurate picture about the role of the LPN in our heath care system.

What Do LPNs Do?
LPNs in Illinois are allowed to perform many of the same skills as their registered nursing (RN) coworkers, such as initiating IV starts, administering medications, collecting data on patients, and monitoring for changes in condition. They check vital signs and perform wound care and dressing changes, specimens collection, urinary catheter insertion and care, care of patients with ventilators and tracheostomies, ostomy site care and maintenance, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), finger stick blood sugar testing, and much more. Proper charting and documentation of nursing care is also the LPN’s responsibility.

The LPN works under the supervision of an RN or physician;
however, the LPN is often the only licensed nurse present in many facilities. LPNs also supervise nursing assistants in certain healthcare settings. With the right mix of experience, LPNs can be promoted to administrative positions such as wellness directors, assistant directors of nursing, wound care clinicians, staffing coordinators, and case managers.

Where Do LPNs Work?
nurseOne of the most believed but inaccurate myths is that LPNs can only work in long-term care. While many LPNs do work in long-term care, it is not the only work they can or choose to do. LPNs work in acute care hospitals, and in fact, are increasingly being hired in our local hospitals. LPNs also secure employment in nursing homes, hospices, home health, private duty cases, psychiatric hospitals, prisons/jails, rehabilitation facilities, group homes, clinics, doctors’ offices, assisted living facilities, agencies, military instillations, and schools. I have even had pharmaceutical drug companies call asking for names of graduates for drug rep positions.

How Much Do LPNs Make?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses is projected to grow 25 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.” The bureau also states, “the median annual wage for licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses was $41,540 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,970, and the top 10 percent earned more than $57,360.”

What is the Difference between an LPN and an RN?
In the state of Illinois, LPNs can’t give IV push medication, take care of central lines, or hang blood. They do, however, monitor the blood.

A large percentage of LPNs plan to further their career and become RNs. Choosing to become an LPN first has many advantages. It can allow more time for the student to advance and also be able to manage their busy lives, be more involved in family affairs, and gain experience and make more money until they choose to go back to school. Once the decision is made to continue their education, bridging into Parkland’s RN program allows them to start in the 3rd semester of the program. Currently, there are students who came to Parkland and graduated as an LPN, completed the RN Bridge, and are now in BSN programs and master’s degree programs. The biggest difference is just the route the student decides to take.

***Check out LPN offerings for spring NOW in the Parkland College spring 2016 catalog. Night/weekend nursing class options are available in the upcoming semester, making it more convenient to earn your degree!***

[Joanne Heck is director of Parkland’s Practical Nursing program.]

Knowledge Base: DIY Online Technical Support

It’s no surprise that Parkland students take online classes for the convenience they offer: Students can work during the day and take their classes at night—at home, in their pajamas. However, taking classes this way can create an issue when students run into problems of a technical nature and all of the help desks are closed.

That is why Parkland now offers a unified support desk and a 24/7 DIY (do-it-yourself) knowledge-base that is full of articles to help students with simple technical issues. Here are some ways you can use the knowledge base:

Example 1: Say you forgot your password. You can go to http://kb.parkland.edu and type “forgot password” into the search bar (see below) and click Search.

kbexample1

You’ll find that the results link you to an article titled Resetting your ParklandOne password. Click the article link, and you’ll get a step-by-step guide, including visuals, that walks you through the process.

kbexample2

The nice thing about the ParklandOne program is that when you forget the password, the reset will be good for all Parkland systems (Wi-Fi, student email, and my.Parkland; Cobra Learning will be added to this list in December 2015).

You can also search for Cobra Learning assistance as well. The search engine for the knowledge-base will search WITHIN the article as well…so even if you don’t know the exact terminology of the issue, you should be able to get a smaller number of articles from which to choose to get a resolution.

Example 2: Say you lost your Internet connection while taking a timed quiz in Cobra Learning! If you go to the knowledge-base search and type in “lost Internet connection”, it will give you a link to an article titled Cobra Learning – Tips for Taking Quizzes (see below).

kbexample3

In this article, you can find steps on how to try to regain entry into a quiz after losing Internet connection or if your browser freezes up, as well as other recommended tips for taking quizzes in Cobra Learning.

kbexample4

So, while we can’t offer you 24/7 tech support, we can offer you the next best thing: a knowledge-base with articles written specifically for Parkland users and arranged in a way that is easy to search and locate the assistance you need when you need it.

We are always open to requests for additional article topics, so if you can’t find your answer, let us know, and we’ll work to create one and add it for future reference.

 

[Lori Wendt is the online support specialist for the Professional Development and Instructional Technology department at Parkland.]

 

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

2015: An Online Learning Odyssey

“Hello, Dave. You’re looking well today.”

These iconic words are from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 science fiction movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Nearly 50 years ago, people were envisioning a time when we communicated with artificial intelligence in the same way we communicate with humans. And today, we are close to that, with Apple introducing us to Siri and Windows 10 giving us Cortana. (Hopefully, they won’t refuse to open the pod bay doors).

"2001: A Space Odyssey," MGM 1968
From “2001: A Space Odyssey,” MGM 1968. Images available at http://www.imdb.com/

Even the idea of taking online classes seems like a page from Kubrick’s screenplay. One of the benefits of taking an online class is the ability to take it alone, when it fits our schedule and without having to interact with others. One of the drawbacks to taking an online class is also the ability to take it alone, without having to interact with others. This creates a paradox, for sure, but is online learning truly AI communication? I don’t think so, and here’s why.

Every day we see more and more evidence of human-to-computer interaction: people with cell phones and other mobile devices. Even toddlers in shopping carts are being held captive by electronic devices. What we’re seeing less of is the human-to-human interaction, where people talk to each other without electronics in their hands. Often they’ll say it’s easier to communicate with texts and emojis than it is to talk. But they don’t realize that as long as there is someone on the other end, you ARE communicating with someone. You are interacting with others. In fact, you are interacting with others in ways our ancestors never dreamed of, and you are doing it frequently. So, this human-to-human-via-computer interaction can be a positive thing.

However, it seems that students in online courses stop just short of that interaction when in their classes. They log in—alone. They do their work—alone. And they log out—alone. So, the challenge for Parkland College’s online teaching faculty is, “how do we get students to interact with the course and with other students?”

Faculty are working on this. They are creating courses online that are rich with engaging content. They are creating adventures (video lectures, study guides), mysteries (assignments, quizzes), and conversation (discussions, groups). The key for students is to engage with the content and with other students. And provide feedback to faculty. (Remember those emails you get asking you to complete a course evaluation form?)

Parkland students should never feel like Dave, all alone in the vast space that is online learning, because online learning is not like HAL. The pod bay doors will always be open and welcoming. All you need to do is come in.

Top Skills Employers Want in New Grads

Students work hard in their classes, but many times they need help articulating the skills and knowledge they acquire in the classroom to “employer speak.” Keep the following in mind as you make that connection between your coursework and your career.

Top Skills Employers Seek (in order of importance):

1) Ability to work well on a team
2) Ability to make decisions and solve problems
3) Written and verbal communication skills
4) Technical knowledge related to the job
5) Ability to plan and prioritize work
6) Diversity sensitivity and ability to build rapport with others
7) Adaptability and Flexibility
8) Professionalism and a positive attitude

(Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers 2014 Survey)

Have you held a leadership position? Received a scholarship? Presented at a conference? Led committee work? Participated in fund-raising? Think about class projects where you have been a team leader. Keep the skills employers want in mind!

For instance, if you staffed a campus snack bar, say you “worked on a team of five people and handled food orders.” Maybe at a summer camp you coordinated the daily activities for 140 young campers. Make sure you spell out responsibilities briefly but specifically!

Surg Tech Program Continues SUCCESS!

The Parkland College Surgical Technology Program is proud to announce that its graduates recently earned a 100% pass rate for the National Certifying Board exam.  Every student who graduates from the program takes the certification exam on the last day of class. The national pass rate is 69.8%, and Parkland’s pass rate is 92% (100% in the last 4 out of 5 years!)

Guess what? This career field offers jobs, too!  Parkland’s Surgical Technology Program has a 92.8 % job placement rate. A lot of jobs are out there for these skills, nationally and locally!

If you want to hear more about being a surgical technologist, contact me:
Carolyn Ragsdale, Program Director and Faculty
Surgical Technology at Parkland College
cragsdale@parkland.edu
217/373-3746

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coloring? For adults?

Ready to relax, use your imagination, and revisit your inner child? Then spend a few hours coloring! Parkland College Community Education is offering a unique and creative outlet over three evenings this September.

You’ll have fun and explore the basics of visual art when you register for “Coloring for Adults.” When you do, you’ll join a current trend happening across the country–check out this article about adult coloring released just this past week.

During your first class, on Tuesday, September 1, visual artist Ella van Wyk will help you explore the materials, mark-making techniques, and basic color theory behind this experience. By week two, you will find your coloring abilities have reached a whole new level after a guided work session with the instructor.

At the end of your last class, you get to choose from a selection of original coloring pages by van Wyk to use as your final project and celebrate everyone’s finished pieces, with an informal critique of pictures and process.

Give yourself permission to enjoy this age-old method of stress relief. The fee for “Coloring for Adults” is $59, which includes all supplies for the class. To register, please contact Parkland College Community Education at 217/353-2055 or visit us at 1315 N. Mattis Ave. in Champaign.

In Love with Life: Study Abroad in Dijon

How can a Parkland College Study Abroad experience make you feel? Just ask Klairyn Karmazinas, a second-year Dietetics major (and International Studies minor) who has just returned from our Dijon, France, Study Abroad, June 25-July 25. She’ll make you want to pack your bags today.

******

Klairyn in Paris
Klairyn in Paris

“I’ve never been so truly happy in my life. I have absolutely no words for the past weeks I’ve been in Europe. The people, the memories, the confusion, the adventures, the laughter — I wouldn’t trade a single moment for anything in the world.

I’m in love with life. I’m in love with the people I’ve met, the people I haven’t met, the places I’ve gone, the places I haven’t gone, everything I’ve experienced, and everything I’ve yet to experience. I am coming home an entirely different person.

Klairyn in Provence
Klairyn in Provence

I’ve learned that the beauty of language is that somehow we always make it work. It might not be pretty, but it’s a pretty amazing thing. I spent the last four weeks with people from every corner of the world, and if they’ve taught me anything, it’s that life is pure bliss. I was searching for something when I left the States; I’m not entirely sure what that something was, but I know I found it and I know that I’ve changed. It’s been such a blessing to do this, and I swear my heart could explode with the pure joy that’s inside me.

To the amazing people I’ve met, thank you SO much for the endless memories, and I can’t wait to make more. I miss you tons and love you bunches. You all hold a special place in my heart, so please don’t forget me.”

******

Ready for your life-changing moments in a different country? Check out our upcoming Study Abroad opportunities at:  http://www.parkland.edu/international/studyabroad. Spring semester’s Study Abroad deadline  is October 15, 2015.

[Associate Professor Jody Littleton is Parkland’s Study Abroad coordinator.]

 

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.]

Expand Your World: Foreign Language Study

What are some benefits of studying a foreign language?

In addition to fulfilling the language requirement that some of Parkland’s 4-year partner institutions have, studying a foreign language is a great way to expand your mind and your world. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), language learning can benefit all students. Specifically, language learning boosts the development of reading skills, and it correlates with higher academic achievement on standardized tests.

Interestingly, research has also shown a correlation between language learning and students’ ability to hypothesize in science.

Parkland College offers instruction in 6 foreign languages:
Arabic
French
German
Japanese
Portuguese
Spanish

Don’t be afraid to try a new language; you’ll never know whether you like it unless you try it. Plus, as described earlier, even a small degree of language study has advantages. Check out Parkland’s class schedule for the upcoming semester to see when a language class you are interested in is being offered.

(For more research on the benefits of language learning, visit www.actfl.org.)

[Wendy Patriquin, interim director of the Humanities department,  specializes in English as a Second Language.]

Students: Manage Your Finances with $ALT

Do you need help keeping up with student loans, finding scholarship money, or generally getting a handle on your debt? Parkland has a new tool that can assist you, and it’s free.

SALT_bannerParkland has partnered with American Student Assistance® to provide you with SALT, a free financial education and debt management program. SALT makes it rewarding, easy, and fun to make smart decisions about your money and student loan borrowing and take control of your finances.

Through SALT, you can plan and track student loans and repayment options; create a manageable budget; learn about credit and debt management, saving, and investing; and find scholarships, internships, and jobs. SALT members receive access to the following:

• A scholarship search tool
• A job and internship search tool
• Interactive online lessons on personal finances (My Money 101)
• Proactive communication about student loan repayment options
• One-on-one repayment counseling with student loan experts
• Self-serve online tools and calculators

Sign up today at saltmoney.org/parklandcollege. For more information on navigating the SALT website, a video is available here. Students with questions about managing their loans can:

• Call loan support at 877/523-9473 or email loanhelp@saltmoney.org
• Text Contact to 51303 (This will provide information on how to speak with a loan counselor)
Chat with SALT

 

[Tim Wendt is Parkland’s director of enrollment services.]

 

Welcome to the Maker Movement

In one of his most famous speeches, Robert Kennedy spoke for innovators when he said, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why…I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Like Mr. Kennedy, there have always been humans discontent with things “the way they are.” They have been called different names—inventor, scientist, artist, daydreamer—but they are all united under the burning question of “why not?”

Sculpture student using a Dremel tool to make a hand sculpture.
Sculpture

Today, many people asking that question have found a home in the Maker Movement. Makers imagine new things, experiment, and bring their ideas to life. They often complete this process in the company of others, as Makers recognize the value of sharing ideas and resources. An intentionally broad and inclusive label, anyone, from amateur to professional, is welcome to call themselves a Maker. According to makerfaire.com, Makers are a “growing community of creative and curious people,” and a “wellspring of innovation.” They are immersed in their desire to solve problems, to add beauty to everyday life, and to fashion a better future.

Parkland art student drawing a still life.
Drawing

Parkland’s Fine and Applied Arts Department offers opportunities to participate in the Maker Movement. In this blog post, we highlight our Art Program, where faculty members—all working artists and definitely Makers—lead classes in which students paint, draw, compose photographs, solder metal, mold clay and otherwise transform lifeless materials. Students get hands-on, experiential learning in fully equipped workshops. They receive the space and time to think creatively and communicate visually. Like the Maker Movement, all students are welcome and encouraged to join.

Parkland student soldering in a metals class.
Metalworking & Jewelry

Giertz Gallery Director and Metals instructor Lisa Costello offers her take on the popularity of the Maker Movement, and its connection to Art courses.

“As human beings, we are not only built to be consumers, but we have a strong desire to be sensitive makers,” she said. “A huge part of our brains are geared toward small motor skills, attention to detail and the need for thoughtful creativity and problem solving. We offer classes that meet these needs.

“Some of our students are interested in eventually setting up their own studio, perhaps selling on Etsy or in galleries; some already have a degree and are looking to expand how they understand the world; and some take the classes as an elective to enrich their educational experience. It is a great time to take an art class and feed that creative desire, no matter where it stems from.”

If you’re intrigued and ready to discover how you fit in to the Maker Movement, or if you’re already a proud Maker, you’ll find the materials and support you seek in Parkland’s Art classes. Register at parkland.edu/admissions, or by calling 217/351-2482. The payment deadline is August 18 for classes beginning August 24.

Classes are available in the following subjects:
Metals,  Drawing, Ÿ 3-Dimensional  Design,  2-Dimensional Design, Photography, Ÿ Painting,  Sculpture,  Ceramics

[Kate Ross is the promotions assistant for Fine and Applied Arts.]

Semester Countdown: 6 Tips to Prepare for Fall

Only six weeks remain until Parkland College’s Fall Semester 2015 begins.  Here are six tips to make the most of the time remaining. After all, just a little preparation can yield big dividends, such as a smoother transition into a new round of lectures, labs, and learning experiences!

  1. Register for classes; don’t wait. Walk-in hours are available at the Counseling and Advising Center. Mondays and Wednesdays are generally the best days for continuing students.
  2. Check on your financial aid or any other grants and scholarships you may be expecting to pay for your classes.
  3. Pay for classes online by August 4 or risk losing your schedule!
  4. Fall books will be available in the Bookstore August 10, so make sure you get what you need before the first day of class.
  5. Find your classes and the best places to park. Even if you have attended Parkland in the past, be sure to know where you’re going on that first day.
  6. Check out the Fall Convocation in the Student Union on Thursday, August 27, at noon. You’ll enjoy free food, a chance to win an iPad, and lots of information on Parkland student clubs and organizations.

[Tim Wendt is Parkland’s director of Enrollment Services.]

New Music Recording Class Starts Up This Fall!

MUS 161 (Introduction to Music Recording) is an exciting new course coming to Parkland fall semester 2015.

The purpose of this course is to help students develop a knowledge and understanding of key recording techniques and apply them through hands-on practice in a multi-track studio environment, right here on Parkland’s campus!

Basic audio and recording concepts will be covered, including sound principles; perceptions of direction and space; microphone types, patterns, and placements; console features; effects processing; signal flow; and much more.

This project-based class will enable students to run real recording sessions on campus and learn how to do everything from setting up, tracking, and mixing to mastering a song.

MUS 161 will utilize a new recording space in Room C140 that is equipped with a top-of-the-line console and microphone collection. (Right now we’re in the beginning stages of building the studio.)

For any questions or more information on the course, please do not hesitate to contact instructor Adam Porter at aporter@parkland.edu.

Fresh herbs are better, right? 

 

herbs

“Yes, but I’m drowning in basil – HELP!”

Here are some quick tips to get the most flavor out of your culinary herbs in order to enjoy them all year round:

Inside, outside, upside down.  Some herbs are just easier to grow than others.  It’s important to create the most hospitable environment for those finicky herbs on your list.

Timing is everything.  When it’s time to harvest, you want to capture the most optimal flavors.  Some need to be picked early in the morning before the dew dries, while others need to bloom first.

Proceed with caution!  Some herbs have toxic portions.  Make sure you know which ones those are and how to enjoy them safely.

Persevere as you preserve.  You can dry, freeze, or make oils with fresh herbs in order to use later.  The secret is knowing which process to use for each herb.

Does this container make me look flat? Choosing the correct container to store your herbs is essential in preserving the vibrant color and delectable tastes.  Don’t zap the flavor.

Want to learn more about maximizing your herb expertise? Jean Hovde has just the class for you! Sign up now, through Parkland College Community Education.

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Parkland Rocks It at Phi Theta Kappa Regionals!

A dozen Parkland students and I hopped into a Parkland bus and headed south to Frontier College and Mt. Vernon this past weekend. It was Phi Theta Kappa’s 2015 Illinois Regional Convention. This was the largest Parkland group ever to attend a regional or international meeting!  Phi Theta Kappa is the official honor society for two-year colleges. Membership is by invitation only, and to be eligible, students must complete at least 12 hours of 100-level coursework and have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale).

Proudly displaying our 2015 Regional Awards. Front row: Victoria Price, Kalista Lutes, Danielle Segerstrom, and Jenny Olmsted. Back row: Jordan Bidner, Megan Counter, Sarah Pawlicki, Danielle Carter, Courtney Davis, Ashley Eisenmenger, Lori Garrett, Erin Kristovich, Kyle Harriger.
Proudly displaying our 2015 Regional Awards. Front row: Victoria Price, Kalista Lutes, Danielle Segerstrom, and Jenny Olmsted. Back row: Jordan Bidner, Megan Counter, Sarah Pawlicki, Danielle Carter, Courtney Davis, Ashley Eisenmenger, Lori Garrett, Erin Kristovich, Kyle Harriger.

Along for the ride were our chapter’s four outgoing chapter officers: Jenny Olmsted (President), Kyle Harriger (Executive Vice President), Kalista Lutes (Vice President of Leadership), and Sarah Pawlicki (Vice President of Communications). We also had eight new members along for the road trip: Jordan Bidner, Danielle Carter, Megan Counter, Courtney Davis, Ashely Eisenmenger, Erin Kristovich, Victoria Price, and Danielle Segerstrom. Jenny and I each presented educational forums at the convention, some of us tried pork burgers (a southern Illinois staple), and on Saturday, we attended the regional banquet and award ceremony.

Alpha Psi Eta chapter had a really big night!  We received the following recognitions:

  • Five Star Chapter (this was announced at International, but we received the certificate at Regional);
  • Hall of Honor Chapter Officer Award for Kyle Harriger;
  • Outstanding Chapter Officer Award for Jenny Olmsted;
  • Regional Spirit Award for Jenny Olmsted;
  • Regional Leader of Distinction Award for Kalista Lutes;
  • Mary Anne Player Award for co-hosting, with Kankakee Community College, last year’s Illinois Region Honors Institute and Leadership Conference;
  • Illinois Advisor Continued Excellence Award for yours truly (I was the only Illinois advisor to receive this);
  • First place in the Regional Yearbook Competition (our yearbook was designed and constructed by Kalista Lutes, and the award gives us three free registrations to next October’s Regional Honors Institute and Leadership Conference);
  • Honors in Action Project Award;
  • College Project Award; and
  • Outstanding Chapter Award.

We have never received this many regional awards. The awards represent a year’s worth of complex programming and activities—a lot of hard work by the chapter officers and members. To add some perspective, there are 57 total chapters in Illinois (we include a few private and tech schools). Many chapters in Illinois receive no awards. Those that do are most likely to receive individual awards. Only 8-10 chapters receive regional chapter awards (Honors in Action, College Project, or Outstanding Chapter). Only five Illinois chapters—including us—received all three of these. The Outstanding Chapter award is based on a chapter’s combined scores for both Honors in Action and College Project awards.

All of our chapter officers but one graduated and are moving on, so the new school year will find us with an all-new officer team.  Phi Theta Kappa offers so many opportunities for personal growth, leadership development, and fun for its active members—who wouldn’t want to stay involved?  We will have some meetings and social events over the summer, including a summer sport social, and we are hosting a region-wide Leadership Development and Officer Training Academy at Parkland on July 17.  Even though I am off campus for the summer, Phi Theta Kappans keep me hopping!

I want to extend a special thank you to this amazing outgoing officer team and former chapter president, Amber Simmons, for all their hard work and for keeping me going during some extraordinarily trying times on the home front.  You guys ROCK—but I’ve told you that often and you each know how proud I am of you.

It’s been a great year!  If you want to see pictures from our experiences or follow us, you can find us on Facebook (Phi Theta Kappa ~ Alpha Psi Eta).  And if you are a Parkland student and you meet the eligibility requirements, why not embrace your inner nerd and join us?

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[Top image: Copyright © 2015 by Phi Theta Kappa. All rights reserved. None of the official Phi Theta Kappa logos and emblems may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Phi Theta Kappa. Phi Theta Kappa has registered the name, logo, and various titles herein with the U.S. Patent Office.]

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.

Student Union Ribbon Cutting 2014: Live Updates!

Thanks so much for joining us for today’s celebration of the new Student Union!

 

FREE! Chair massages, photos with friends, food at Student Union! 4:50 p.m.

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Beautiful group shot taken of entire crowd before refreshments and open house exploration begin, 4:35 p.m.group

 

Cutting the ribbon!

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Dr. Thomas Ramage, Parkland College president
Dr. Thomas Ramage, Parkland College president

Dr. Ramage announces $2.1 million Title III grant awarded recently to Parkland College, 4:30 p.m.: “We’re very pleased to have won this competitive grant from the Board of Education.”

 

Parkland Student Government President, Abby Vanderkloot from Monticello, addresses visitors next: “Say goodbye to the cold pizza and hello to the stone ovens that bring out fresh hot pizza all week long. With all of this new space comes new opportunities for student success.”

Abby Vanderkloot of Monticello, Student Government President
Abby Vanderkloot of Monticello, Student Government President

 

Vice President for Student Services Linda Moore speaks to Student Union’s design flexibility and sustainability, 4:25 p.m.: “Look carefully today and you will see a lounge that converts to book buy-back space for the bookstore, and a conference room that converts to a stage.”

Dr. Linda Moore, Vice President for Student Services
Dr. Linda Moore, Vice President for Student Services

 

Senator Chapin Rose comments at 4:20 p.m.:  “What a wonderful, wonderful facility…and if you’re standing around looking up instead of at who’s speaking it’s because of this beautiful facility. We appreciate what Parkland has done for our entire region. Congratulations, Parkland.”

 

Board of Trustee Chair Tom Bennett gives official welcome, 4:11 p.m.: “We have stood firmly behind the concept of giving our students quality ‘elbow room’ as they learn within our walls.”

 

Parkland President Tom Ramage leads off the festivities, 4 p.m.: “Our Student Union shines as an example of what is best about Parkland College and its mission.”

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It’s 3:59 and the Student Union lobby is abuzz with anticipation!

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Stop by campus at 4 p.m. today for the big event! Check out this gorgeous new space,  take in some food, and get to know how Student Services units help students at Parkland.