Alumni

Amber  Johnson
  • Name: Amber Johnson
  • Program of Study: Office Professional (Digital Media)
  • Graduation Date: May 2013
  • Place of Employment: Randstad USA (Staffing Agency for State Farm)
  • Current Position: Organizational Support Specialist
  • Job Responsibilities: Assisting in creating and updating documents: creating presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, diagrams using Microsoft Visio 2010, spreadsheets with calculations and macros in Microsoft Excel 2010, and reports as needed. Storing and retrieving documents in SharePoint 2010, following corporate guidelines for records retention and storage. Scheduling/Scribing project meetings. Creating/maintaining distribution lists in Microsoft Outlook 2010 and/or Lotus Notes.

 Parkland College CSIT Instructors were significant in my accomplishments. They equipped me with the skills required for office work: keyboarding, software applications, office procedures, mathematics, and communications. All of the instructors were more than enthusiastic to aid in me achieving my degree, whether it was permitting me to make up certain items missed or taking the extra time to explain something I did not quite understand. As long as I had open and honest communication with them, they would ensure whatever it took to help me flourish. I could not have asked for anything better. In particular, I would like to applaud Ann Blackman on playing not only the program director role for Office Professionals, but also taking on the role of mentor, coach, and friend. Ann took a real interest in my success and is one of the people who assisted me to get where I am today… extremely blessed and happy.

Jason Pethtel
  • Name: Jason Pethtel
  • Program of Study: Digital Media
  • Place of Employment: Rhythm and Hues Studios - El Segundo, CA
  • Current Position: Matte Painting Technical Director
  • Portfolio of Work: jasonpethtel.com/

 Parkland College and the CSIT program brought me an affordable solution to my desire to learn CG. Through Parkland, I was given access to the right software and the right guidance for what I hope is a long career in an exciting field. The comprehensive, straightforward teaching methods of the instructors, particularly Alex Jerez, helped me to ‘play to my strengths’ and develop my abilities inside and outside the classroom.

Josh O'Neal
  • Name: Josh O'Neal
  • Program of Study: 3D Game and Graphic Development (Digital Media)
  • Graduation Date: May 2012
  • Place of Employment: 004 Technologies USA
  • Current Position: Mobile Software Engineer
  • Job Responsibilities: Developing mobile applications for the Android and iOS platforms, as well as HTML 5.

 The classes were top notch. Dave Bock is at the forefront of his field, and an unbelievable source of knowledge. I love how customizable the degrees were, in that I was able to swap in more math for some of the design courses I wasn't particularly interested in. On that note, the Parkland math department is outstanding, and I might just finish my degree in mathematics there soon.

McShane Washington
  • Name: McShane Washington
  • Program of Study: Office Professional
  • Graduation Date: May 2012
  • Additional Education: Liberty University
  • Program of Study: Christian Counseling

 The most enjoyable aspect of Parkland and CSIT is the great atmosphere of learning, friendship, and togetherness. Ann Blackman really helped me out when I was behind in school work or confused in class. She encouraged me often and told me to hang in there. The encouragement never stopped even when she wasn’t my instructor she still was there for me. My last semester at Parkland I was talking with a classmate and she asked me what next for me after I graduate. I told her I didn’t know and she asked me this question, if I only made a penny what is the one job I could do all day? I replied helping people. I’m currently going to Liberty University to become a Christian Counselor to encourage others, so everything has come full circle.

Kate Hewerdine
  • Name: Kate Hewerdine
  • Program of Study: Office Professional
  • Graduation Date: May 2012
  • Program of Study: Realtime Reporting (Court Reporter)

 All of the CSIT instructors have helped me become more comfortable on the computer. I am taking my skills and teaching others what I have learned from the CSIT instructors. [I also gained] the ability to push myself, and get through school at a faster pace.

Aubrey Lucas
  • Name: Aubrey Lucas
  • Program of Study: Microcomputer Support Specialist
  • Graduation Date: December 2011
  • Place of Employment: U. S. Navy
  • Current Position: IT Analyst
  • Job Responsibilities: IT Support

 Hands on work in the classroom, was very beneficial in helping my confidence in my abilities to learn and perform. I [also] enjoyed the groups I became a part of [at Parkland College]: Student Veterans of Parkland, TRIO/SSS, Brother 2 Brother, IOC, Student Grievance Committee and Phi Theta Kappa. I met some good people and enjoyed some good discussion with plenty of laughs.

Darcie Cohee
  • Name: Darcie Cohee
  • Program of Study: Network System Administrator
  • Graduation Date: May 2010
  • Additional Education: Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC)
  • Program of Study: Information Systems Technologies
  • Graduation Date: May 2012
  • Place of Employment: Boeing - St. Louis, MO

 Through my experiences at Parkland, I have been able to work on furthering my career and am much more goal-oriented than I initially was. After working through my Associate’s degree, I knew that a Bachelor’s was attainable. Now that I am almost done with my Bachelor’s, I want to eventually pursue grad school. I also want to work to move up in my field and eventually become an IT leader. I would also say that Parkland and SIUC are what helped me obtain a summer internship with Boeing in Philadelphia (last summer). I have been very fortunate to receive opportunities of a lifetime, and that is in part due to my educational background.

Tim Robert
  • Name: Tim Robert
  • Program of Study: Programming and Database Management
  • Graduation Date: 2008
  • Additional Education:
    University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) - Computer Science BS & Computer Science MS
  • Graduation Date: 2010, 2012
  • Place of Employment: State Farm Insurance
  • Current Position: Systems Analyst

 Most importantly, Parkland taught me to teach myself. The occasions are innumerable in which I have had the opportunity to solve a problem because my Parkland, and especially CSIT, instructors had provided me with the core knowledge, skill set, and the confidence in my ability that I needed to understand the problem, to research a solution to the problem, and to successfully implement that solution. And, in a field that can change as often and as dramatically as ours can, I think that this has been the greatest advantage that my education with CSIT at Parkland provided me.

Steven Griffith
  • Name: Steven Griffith
  • Program of Study: Object Oriented Programming Certificate, Web Programmer Certificate
  • Graduation Date: 2010
  • Place of Employment: J.T. Smith & Associates
  • Current Position: Programmer
  • Job Responsibilities: Software Engineer/ Programming, Database design/management, Web development, Server Administration, Networking, Tech Support, Data Processing

 Parkland gave me a great formal education, but more importantly Parkland taught me how to learn on my own with confidence. I came to Parkland because I didn’t think I could do what I do now, and now I realize that I can do anything.

M.C. Neal
  • Name: M.C. Neal
  • Program of Study: Network System Administrator
  • Graduation Date: December 2011
  • Place of Employment: Champaign Public Library
  • Current Position: Network Administrator Assistant
  • Job Responsibilities: Supporting over 300 workstations/servers for both staff and public end users spanning multiple domains. Providing hardware/software support and training.

 What I enjoyed most about Parkland were the instructors. Parkland students are taught by professors, not teacher assistants. The professors are all professionals who used to be, some still are, in the field which they are now teaching, so you know you are learning from someone who’s been in the trenches, not someone who’s just regurgitating theories - nothing worse than a professor teaching a business class when they have never owned/run a business themselves. To me it is the instructors, namely in CSIT, which make Parkland great.

Daniel Tavenner
  • Name: Daniel Tavenner
  • Program of Study: Programming/Database Management
  • Graduation Date: May 2008
  • Additional Education: University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS)
  • Graduation Date: December 2010
  • Place of Employment: Horace Mann Educators Corporation
  • Current Position: Junior Application Developer
  • Job Responsibilities: Day-to-day work involves fixing bugs and defects in a web-based software package used by agents to run Automobile insurance quotes for potential customers.

 I realized when I moved on to UIS, thanks to Parkland's CSIT curriculum, I was much more prepared than many of the other students. When talking with [others] who transferred to UIS, I found that they had similar experiences. Even now when at work, I get asked how I know how to write certain programs and the reason is almost always due to the CSIT curriculum and how well it has prepared me for a career in software development.

Daniel Tavenner
  • Name: Payton Focken
  • Program of Study: Digital Media
  • Graduation Date: August 2011
  • Place of Employment: ITG (Imaging Technology Group), Beckman Institute
  • Job Responsibilities: 3D work

 [Parkland CSIT] has given me the opportunity to pursue a career doing something that I love to do. That's all anybody can ask for.

Debra Sexton
  • Name: Debra Sexton
  • Program of Study: Office Professional
  • Graduation Date: May 2012
  • Place of Employment: International Society of Arboriculture
  • Current Position: Executive Assistant

 I started Parkland with the intention of taking a couple of classes to supplement my knowledge with no intention of getting a degree. Parkland opened my eyes to new possibilities.

Kate Brewster
  • Name: Kate Brewster
  • Program of Study: Programming/Database Management
  • Graduation Date: May 2010
  • Additional Education: University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS)
  • Major: Computer Science
  • Graduation: May 2012
  • Place of Employment: Carle
  • Department: Health Information Management

 My experience at Parkland was wonderful. With the help of the wonderful professors and advisors in the CSIT department, I was very well prepared to continue my education at a four year university. Ann Blackman was such a huge help when it came time to decide what university was right for me and then guided me through the transferring process.

Ryan Blackman
  • Name: Ryan Blackman
  • Program of Study: Network System Administrator
  • Additional Education: University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS)
  • Graduation Date: May 2011
  • Place of Employment: Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District
  • Current Position: Software Developer/Network Administrator
  • Job Responsibilities: Software development as well as a small amount of network administration.

 My education at Parkland provides me with valuable background knowledge that has helped me with my software development tasks. The networking knowledge that I gained at Parkland is not something that many other software developers have. I started an internship with the MTD when I was a student at Parkland and upon graduating from UIS I was offered a full time job there.

Sandy Fitzgerald
  • Name: Sandy Fitzgerald
  • Program of Study: Office Professional
  • Place of Employment: Christie Clinic
  • Current Position: Coordinator – Central Transcription
  • Job Responsibilities: Coordinator of the department overseeing the flow of transcription to and from providers.

 I wanted to become an MT and with Parkland's help I accomplished that goal. My experiences as a teacher, in turn, helped me to be a better coordinator as I dealt with a staff of 25+ people. Without Parkland, I would not have accomplished what I have today and I would not have the opportunity to teach and help students grow and find their way to success in their chosen career.

John Anindo
  • Name: John Anindo
  • Program of Study: Network System Administrator
  • Graduation Date: August 2007
  • Place of Employment: Carle Foundation
  • Current Position: Software Support Engineer

 [Parkland has] great instructors, conducive learning environment, and class schedules that accommodate most shifts for those who have jobs.

Mike Roberts
  • Name: Mike Roberts
  • Program of Study: Network System Administrator
  • Graduation Date: May 2010
  • Place of Employment: Busey
  • Current Position: Telecommunications Manager
  • Job Responsibilities: Leading technical team to ensure stability, security and integrity of data and telephone infrastructure. Also ensuring sound financial solutions are implemented.

 Parkland helped supplement my technical and leadership skills. The instructors and my classmates also helped me see that with hard work you can achieve your goals no matter what! My Parkland classes also flowed directly over to the Info System Technologies (IST) Course at Southern Illinois University allowing me to work on my 4 year degree with half the credit hours already completed.

Cindy Reynolds
  • Name: Cindy Reynolds
  • Program of Study: Office Professional
  • Graduation Date: December 2010
  • Place of Employment: Parkland College
  • Current Position: Admissions Associate
  • Job Responsibilities: Processing Parkland transcript requests and enrollment verifications. Answer incoming calls from potential, current, or past students regarding admissions, registration, course schedules, and numerous other topics.

 Many of the CSIT staff and faculty were significant in guiding me in the journey of achieving my employment goal and to continue with my academic studies. While I have wanted to complete my education for years, I never seriously entertained the concept during the past. Now I see continuing my education as a natural progression in my life and the goals for my future.

Katherine Schluter
  • Name: Katherine Schluter
  • Program of Study: Office Professional
  • Graduation Date: August 2010
  • Place of Employment: Parkland College
  • Current Position: Community Based Training Grant Faculty Secretary
  • Job Responsibilities: Produce, assemble and disseminate reports. Process forms, assist in-person visits, Assist coordinates with writing course specifications.

 The most enjoyable aspect of CSIT would have to be how they were willing to help me no matter what and how friendly the faculty and staff are. Going through the office Professional program gave me the skills to get a job in what I love to do.

Eden Lincoln Ferreira de Oliveira
  • Name: Eden Lincoln Ferreira de Oliveira
  • Program of Study: Network System Administrator
  • Graduation Date: July 2009
  • Place of Employment: FTI Consulting - Brazil
  • Current Position: IT Infrastructure Consultant
  • Job Responsibilities: Implementation, design, and support for a test enviroment created using Windows Server 2012 (Beta)

 After being at Parkland, I realized that the world is now closer; I began to realize that there were no limits to attain my goals, either here in Brazil or anywhere in the world. Success came quickly after my return to Brazil.

Justin Moberg
  • Name: Justin Moberg
  • Transfer Date: August 2008
  • Graduation Date: December 2010, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Place of Employment: Navair (Dept. of the Navy)
  • Current Position: Computer Scientist
  • Job Responsibilities: Embedded Programming

 At Parkland, professors often have enough time to help each student individually during class time. The benefit here is two-fold because not only does the student get help when he or she needs it, but the professors get good at helping students. I may not have chosen computer science if it hadn't been for Kari Couch and [her] introduction to programming class.

Rory Jones
  • Name: Rory Jones
  • Program of Study: Digital Media: 3D Graphics Programming
  • Graduation Date: May 2007
  • Place of Employment: 5th Cell Media, Bellevue WA
  • Current Position: Technical Artist
  • Portfolio of Work: roryjones.net

 The technical education I received landed me a higher position and continues to speed my ascension and notoriety within the company. Higher profile projects and duties are entrusted to me thanks to my understanding of both the technical and artistic aspects of game development.

Eugene Peterson
  • Name: Eugene Peterson
  • Program of Study: Digital Media
  • Graduation Date: May 2010
  • Place of Employment: Adayana - Urbana, IL
  • Current Position:< Web Gaming/Training Developer

 The faculty and staff of the Digital Media program consistently encouraged us students to strive for our best while maintaining their awareness of our individual capabilities and responsibilities. This provided an environment where I could still succeed with full-time work, a family, and the unexpected.

Dave Ellington
  • Name: Dave Ellington
  • Program of Study: Digital Media
  • Place of Employment: The Duke and the Duck Productions - Washington D.C.
  • Current Position: Co-Owner and Animation Director
  • Job Responsibilities: 2-D motion graphics animation and animation for web-based informational videos.
  • Portfolio of Work: dukeandtheduck.com

 The work I produced at Parkland cracked open a few doors for me. Precision Graphics, a Champaign design firm, hired me as an animation intern after seeing my work at the Digital Media student show. My friend who was in D.C. at the time (now my business partner) showed a few business owners my stuff and they hired us to produce a video for them. Since then, we've taken off and have a fairly steady stream of work. Now I'm creating for a living!

Chris Whitaker
  • Name: Chris Whitaker
  • Program of Study: Digital Media
  • Graduation Date: August 2008
  • Place of Employment: 5th Cell
  • Current Position: Character Artist
  • Portfolio of Work: FunkyBunnies3d.com

 A number of students and instructors would sometimes take time out of their schedules to meet outside of class just for the chance to exchange knowledge and talk about our passion for digital art. I think that level of passion had the biggest effect on where I'm lucky enough to be now.

Phil Bennett
  • Name: Phil Bennett
  • Program of Study: Digital Media
  • Graduation Date: May 2006
  • Place of Employment: Augustana College - Rock Island, IL
  • Current Position: Assistant Director of Web Services and New Media
  • Portfolio of Work: philipbennett.net

 Ken [Urban] was very helpful in keeping me interested in new technologies and would help with learning more advanced topics than what was taught in his courses.

Michel Heiji Ichiy
  • Name: Michel Heiji Ichiy
  • Program of Study: Digital Media
  • Place of Employment: Tectoy Studios,
    Campinas, SP - Brazil
  • Current Position: 3D Artist
  • Portfolio of Work: michelichiy.com

 I’m a programmer first of all, and when I got to Parkland College, David Bock introduced me to the Digital Media Program. That changed [everything]. Before getting into Parkland College, I really thought I would work as a programmer. Now I’m a artist!

Steve Eisenmann
  • Name: Steve Eisenmann
  • Program of Study: Digital Media
  • Place of Employment: Rhythm and Hues Studios - El Segundo, CA
  • Current Position: PreLighting Technical Director
  • Job Responsibilities: Creating material surfaces for CG characters and environments for live action movies. Help create and test new pipelines tools.
  • Portfolio of Work: steve-eisenmann.com

 Parkland got me started in the right direction for the job I wanted. I got my first real 3D job from one of the professors [and] I also got good advice on credible schools to transfer to from the professors.

Laura Cosner
  • Name: Laura Cosner
  • Program of Study: Digital Media
  • Graduation Date: December 2005
  • Place of Employment: Zoic Studios,
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Current Position: Visual Effects Coordinator - True Blood
  • Portfolio of Work: See Laura Draw

 The coursework helped me learn the technical aspects of Maya and also gave me a good idea of what I specifically wanted to do with Maya professionally. The environment at Parkland was great because it really gave every student opportunities to succeed in the classroom as well as the Parkland community. The program really helped me not only to learn the software, but to really figure out what in CG/3D I wanted to focus on.

Sam Mtunga
  • Name: Sam Mtunga
  • Program of Study: Networking
  • Graduation Date: May 2009
  • Place of Employment: The Scion Group, LLC - Chicago, IL
  • Current Position: Director of Marketing & Resident Services
  • Job Responsibilities: I am responsible for the branding and marketing for our entire portfolio, plus developing our customer service, and handling any PR issues.

 At Parkland College I learned that I didn’t have all the answers and that my [CSIT] teachers were not going to hand them to me either. I learned how to find the answer and not to stop at “I don’t know.”

Myriah Fillenwarth
  • Name: Myriah Fillenwarth
  • Program of Study: Office Professional
  • Graduation Date: May 2003
  • Place of Employment: Parkland College, Champaign, IL
  • Current Position: Admissions Advisor, Admissions and Records
  • Job Responsibilities: Meet with prospective students and their families, Host Campus Visits, Recruit at in-district high schools

 Going through the Office Professional program gave me the experience and knowledge to find a job in which my interests match my skills and abilities. The instructors were so helpful and I stayed in contact with them even after graduation for career guidance. Through the Adult Re-entry Center, I was able to obtain my bachelor's and master's degrees without leaving the area. Even though my associate's degree was a career program, most of the course work transferred.

Brendan Holloway
  • Name: Brendan Holloway
  • Program of Study: Digital Media
  • Graduation Date: May 2005
  • Place of Employment: Monolith Productions – Seattle, WA
  • Current Position: Senior Technical Artist
  • Job Responsibilities: Developing, implementing, and supporting pipelines for getting art into next-gen console games.

 The 3D computer graphics classes at Parkland gave me the skills, information and creative environment to become a full-time game developer. The program David Bock created is made to give you the experience you need for a job in any digital art industry you choose.

Bob Chamot
  • Name: Bob Chamot
  • Certificate: Maya Character Animation
  • Graduation Date: May 2006
  • Place of Employment: High Voltage Software, Hoffman Estates, IL
  • Current Position: Game Designer
  • Portfolio of Work: bob.chamotlabs.com

 What Parkland did was open my eyes to the world of digital media. My bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Illinois was hard-earned, and I'm proud of my achievements there. But it was at Parkland that I discovered a world of artistic creativity possible with computers. Digital art is unique in the way that it requires using both halves of one's brain and I still find that quality appealing.

 

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