Tag Archives: Parkland College

Degree Completion Day

Are you a new Parkland student taking a few classes but not sure where those classes might take you?  Are  you a first-year student who hasn’t made a solid plan to get to graduation or a second-year student wanting to confirm you are in the correct last few courses?

ALL of you should attend Degree Completion Day.

Degree Completion Day takes place Wednesday, September 27 in the U building (Student Union) between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Here are some features of this great event:

  • You can learn about transferring to another institution for a bachelor’s degree.
  • Academic advising will be available.
  • Learn how to track your progress toward your degree or certificate.
  • Confirm your degree program.
  • Complete a Graduation Petition and turn it in for a formal degree audit.
  • Learn the difference between “graduation” and “commencement.”
  • Find out what General Education courses are and why you might need them.

Finally, come and get some giveaways and refreshments.  WPCD-FM will be streaming live!

Don’t spend any more time just guessing how to get through college or wondering why you’re here. Get real answers and get on track!

[Dennis Kaczor is a credentials analyst in Parkland Admissions and Records.]

 

Parkland Students Excavate at Allerton Park!

Authored by Erin Riggs, PhD student and Parkland Field Archaeology instructor

Parkland Students who participated in the archeological field dig.

Exotic settings, buried secrets, treks through the jungle—these are all things you (and the typical undergraduate student) might associate with archaeology. We make this association because that is how archaeology is portrayed by such pop culture icons as Indiana Jones and Lara Croft. As Parkland’s field school students would be quick to tell you, there are usually snakes and spiders involved. Otherwise, this portrayal is not very accurate.

Actually, the majority of professional archaeologists in the United States are employed in Cultural Resource Management (CRM) and work domestically (Malloy 2017). CRM archaeologists survey areas that are about to be developed for construction. In these areas, they collect information on existing material heritage and steer development away from sites protected by law. Archaeology in America is primarily this: protecting and contributing to what we know about the the historic landscapes that surround us every day, under our streets, lawns, and public parks.

Students rarely learn about CRM archaeology when they attend a traditional archaeological field school. More often than not, field schools are located overseas and are marketed as study-abroad experiences (Boytner 2012). They also can be prohibitively expensive, ranging in cost from $1,000 to $6,000 (Perry 2006).  While these experiences can be incredible opportunities, they often leave students with little knowledge of the archaeological job opportunities and infrastructures here at home.

At Parkland College this summer, we wanted students to work on an archaeological project within their own community. We wanted our course  to be accessible to students who might not have the funds or time required to attend a field school abroad. We achieved these goals through collaboration with the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS), the primary CRM group in Illinois. ISAS had recently surveyed Allerton Park in conjunction with a trail improvement project. Their survey work rekindled interest in a mound cluster existent on the property, Samuel’s Mounds. Allerton is a unique space within Illinois—an island of relatively undisturbed, unplowed forest land in the midst of a sea of agricultural fields.

Through our Parkland College/ISAS collaboration, students were able to assist professional archaeologists in excavating at this site in late July. They opened 1×1 meter square units around the mounds (leaving the mounds themselves undisturbed) to search for artifacts and features. We hoped to find something diagnostic that could help ISAS associate the mound group with a culture and time period. The materials are still being washed and inventoried. However, our first guess based on observations in the field point towards Middle to Late Woodland—meaning this site is likely 1,000 to 2,000 years old!

Parkland students worked hard and had a great time! In the process, they grew familiar with some of the quintessential features of CRM work—shovel testing, eating packed lunches in the field, the necessity of redundancy and precision in CRM paperwork, the tedium of a day without many artifacts, and the sheer joy of finally finding something of interest!

Here is what students had to say after completing the course:

“Although there were bugs buzzing around my ear every second, intense heat, and labor intensive digging, this field school allowed me to experience real fieldwork and gave me the satisfaction of unearthing an artifact which may help give context to these ancient mounds. I’m a bit sore, but I have greatly enjoyed this experience.” -Josh Boone (Senior, Anthropology)

“I never once thought I would be a part of an archaeological field school. But here I am, 5 days after leaving the field, and I am still thinking about the great experience I had! From our individual projects, to digging hand units, to shovel testing, I had a blast! It was tedious, and quite a few times I thought about backing down, but there is no quitting in archaeology! I learned so much over the past six weeks, and I’d do it all over again if I had the chance.” -Evyjo Compton (Senior, Animal Science)

“The experience I have gained from this field school has been excellent, and I plan to use what I have learned in my future. I have gained many valuable skills while also having a lot of fun. I am so very thankful that the Illinois State Archaeological Survey allowed us to assist them.” -Kaleb Cotter (Junior, Anthropology)

 

Cited

Boytner, Ran. 2012. “The Changing Nature of Archaeological Field Schools.” The SAA Archaeological Record 12 (1): 29-32.

Malloy, Maureen. ” Questions About: Archaeology As A Career.” Questions About: Archaeology As A Career. Accessed August 04, 2017. http://www.saa.org/ForthePublic/FAQs/ForAdults/QuestionsAboutArchaeologyAsACareer/tabid/975/Default.aspx.

Perry, E. Jennifer. 2006. From Students to Professionals: Archaeological Field Schools as Authentic Research Communities. The SAA Archaeological Record 6(1):25–29.

PRECS Summer Research “Invaluable” to Students

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art Rocks! at College For Kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Questions? Call 217/353-2055.

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

 

Pathophysiology, the Bridge to Understanding

It’s one thing to know WHAT disease or injury a person suffers from. It’s another thing entirely to understand WHY he or she became sick or injured in the first place.

If you’re studying to be in a Parkland College Health Professions program, or even if you’re already in a health career, you may not yet have made the important connection that fits these two pieces of knowledge together.  In fact, most clinical programs in the U.S. acknowledge a slight disconnect between foundational health career courses and the applied clinical practice. What is needed, they recognize, is a ‘bridge’ of understanding that can answer the question: What has gone wrong within the basic anatomy and physiology of a particular patient to cause the disease or condition that they present with?

With a basic knowledge of pathophysiology, you can come to understand this link and be on your way to delivering better care for your patients.

Pathophysiology (BIO 225) is that bridge; this course describes the underlying disturbances in the basic homeostatic mechanisms that lead to the signs and symptoms of selected diseases. In other words, you can learn to determine what is it that causes the problems associated with congestive heart failure, glomerulonephritis, or a host of other maladies that we humans can get.  

Professor John Moore teaches BIO 225 this summer, and students find that he makes that health education-clinical practice connection lots clearer. One of his students commented:

I have learned some of the same material in my health career classes, but [Professor Moore’s] presentation of the subject matter makes it much more tangible. When he teaches, I get it. I never want to miss any of his classes.”

BIO 225 meets  Mondays and Wednesdays,  1–3:50 p.m., from June 19 to Aug. 10 in Room X104. For more information, visit Parkland College’s summer class schedule or go to the my.parkland student portal.

[Cindy Smith is program manager for Arts and Sciences at Parkland College.]