Women's Career Institute





 Parkland College and the YWCA will cosponsor a career conference and resource fair for women at the campus this fall.

The Women’s Career Institute will be held Friday, Oct. 11 from 4 to 8:30 p.m. at the Parkland College Student Union (U Building). This event is free to community members, particularly women looking to take new steps in their careers.

Event will consist of breakout sessions and a keynote speaker. Registrants may stay for the whole conference or come for a session or two. Refreshments will be provided.

Pre-registration is encouraged.

Please register here


Women’s Career Institute 






Jessica Jackson

Academic Success Coach/Adult Education Specialist

Racial Identity at Work.  Vetting a potential employer for cultural responsiveness.  What White Allies can do to disrupt racism in work spaces and classrooms.



Ishly Tomas

Human Resources Office Assistant

Defying Every Odd.  Overcoming Obstacles to create your Professional Path.



Brooke Shrewsbury

Program Coordinator, Consumer Economics

Secrets of Credit Reports Unveiled.  Credit Report & Score                                                                                                              



Sparkle Sanders

Owner iaddspark, Inc.

Assistant Director of Marketing, Communication and Event Planning

Unlocking the Potential Inside of You.   Using your unseen skills to move forward in your career.

Student Life/U-111


Dr. Karen Eisenmenger 

Physician-Preoperative Medicine

"Will I be ready?"  Life's unexpected developments.     



Jacquelyn R. Monroe 

Keynote: Building a Better You: Internal and External

Cafeteria Stage


Panel of Women Professionals

Nancy Mansfield-retired Director of Information Technology

Jenny Fridgen-Instructor Agriculture Engineering Sciences and Technology

Giselle Rodriquez-Civil and Environmental Engineer

Twists & Turns of Non-traditional Careers

Cafeteria Stage


Tekita Bankhead

Specialist in Education, ACE IT Program Coordinator University of Illinois, Counseling Center

Creator/Editor-In-Chief The Pedestal Project, LLC

Going Farther Faster.  Maximizing Personal and Professional Support Networks



Donna Camp

Program Manager Adult Education Parkland College

Co-Founder-Wesley Food Pantry

Turning your Passion into a Career

Student Life/U-111

 4:00PM Workshops


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Jessica Jackson

Academic Success Coach/ Adult Education Specialist
Parkland College

 Bio: Jessica grew up in the Champaign area and currently resides in Bloomington IL.  Jessica works as an academic coach and advisor in the Center for Academic Success, and for students transitioning from Adult Education.  She was a leader of distinction in 2017 earning the 20 under 40 award provided by the Pantagraph newspaper and The Mclean County Chamber of Commerce. And the City of Bloomington's Adult Human Relations nominee in 2017.  Her work history and educational background are in social work, and mental health counseling. Jessica spends her free time volunteering, and is involved in various work around equity, and disrupting oppression.   

 Title: Racial Identity at Work

Topic: Vetting a potential employer for cultural responsiveness.  What White Allies can do to disrupt racism in work spaces and classrooms.


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Ishly Jimenez De Juan Tomas
Human Resources Office Assistant
Parkland College 

Bio: Ishly Tomas is a Mexican born national, mother of 3. Her careers have ranged from auto mechanics, to restaurant management, childcare and now Ishly is part of the amazing Parkland College Human Resources team. Ishly strives to learn every day from her life experiences and help those in need. 

Title: Defying Every Odd

Topic: Overcoming obstacles to create your professional path


5:00PM Workshops



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Brooke Shrewsbury

 Program Coordinator, Consumer Economics

University of Illinois Extension

Bio: Brooke graduated from UIUC in May 2018 where she majored in Agriculture Leadership & Science Education. In her position with Extension, she manages volunteers in the community as well as works on campus with student interns to educate about personal finance. 

 Title: Secrets of Credit Reports Unveiled

Topic: Credit Report & Scores 

Description: How can you improve your credit score? And, why should you care? Learn how to get your credit report for free and more while we explore the ‘secrets’ of credit.



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Sparkle Sanders


iaddspark, Inc

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications

 The Career Center - University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Bio: Sparkle R. Sanders is a strategist and marketer by day, and writer and motivational speaker by night. Graduating with a BS in Business and an MBA from Eastern Illinois University, she spent more than 15 years navigating through toxic relationships, broken friendships, and hostile work environments. After years of "going around the same mountain", she’s learned how to truly change her life by changing her thoughts. 

Now through her ministry, Beautiful Truth, Sparkle empowers and equips others to do the same so they can live out their best life. In November of 2017, she published her first book, “180 Days of Beautiful Truth”, a daily devotional designed to help others reshape their thoughts and stay encouraged on the toughest of days. 

In addition to Beautiful Truth, Sparkle is currently the Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at The Career Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is a certified Business and Life Coach through The John Maxwell team - helping entrepreneurs, businesses, and individuals find peace, joy and direction in their lives and careers.  

Title: Unlocking the Potential Inside of You

Topic: Using your unseen skills to move forward in your career




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 Dr. Karen Eisenmenger (Parkland College Alumna)

 Physician – Preoperative Medicine

Carle Hospital

Bio: After getting her associate’s degree from Parkland College, Dr. Eisenmenger transferred to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, earning bachelor’s degrees in humanities and bio chemistry. From there she attended Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, where she received her medical degree and completed a Family Medicine Residency. Dr. Eisenmenger joined Carle in July of 2003, working at Convenient Care until 2014. She currently works in Carle's Preoperative Physical Clinic and joined the Carle Experience Team in 2018 as an advisor. As a mother of three boys, two on the autism spectrum, she has given presentations to students at the University of Illinois, at local schools and other various groups regarding autism advocacy and general education.

Title: "Will I be ready?"  Life's unexpected developments
Topic: The intersections of Career & Family


6:00PM Keynote Speaker



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Title: Building a Better You: Internal and External

 Jacquelyn R. Monroe is an advocate for holistic wellness. She believes that one's passion, dedication, and willingness is developed through self-discipline and staggered ladders to success. She is ambitious about assisting people on their journey to being more conscious of their mind, body, and soul. In her exercise realm she specialties include weight-loss, body analysis, cardio conditioning, running form and breathing techniques, strength training as well as body sculpting and core strength. In her wellness practice she focuses on mindfulness and consuming balanced diets that promote longevity and energy. In addition to Monroe experience as an entrepreneur, she served 11 years in the United States Army Reserves and holds a personal training certification as well as a nutrition certificate from the National Personal training Institute. She is a licensed Head Coach through the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics (2016), and a Master of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics: Nutrition Education (2019), both from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. Recently Monroe accepted a Program Manager position at Parkland College in addition to her various other positions throughout Champaign.  

7:00PM Workshops


Panel of Women Professionals: 


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 Nancy Mansfield

Retired Director of Information Technology
University of Illinois Beckman Institute

Bio: Nancy Mansfield recently retired from the position of Director of Information Technology Services, Beckman Institute, University of Illinois.  Her career in technology began with service in the U.S. Air Force and continued at the University of Illinois in electronic services.  The rise of the Internet and the need for computing support drew her interests to information technology in which she has worked for the past 27 years.



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Jenny Fridgen
Parkland College Instructor
Agriculture Engineering Sciences and Technologies

Bio: Jenni Fridgen is the Agriculture Program Director and Associate Professor of Agriculture at Parkland College.  She is currently the Principle Investigator (PI) for two National Science Foundation grants.  Prior to her role at Parkland College, she was a Precision Ag Technician with Helena Agri-Enterprises and an Ag Information Specialist with Illini FS, a retail division of GROWMARK.  Jenni is a Certified Crop Advisor with a specialization in Precision Agriculture.  She graduated with a BS in Chemistry from Southeast Missouri State and MS in Agronomy from Mississippi State University. 




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Giselle Rodriguez 

 Supervisory Civil Engineer 

Acting Chief, Facilities Division 

Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) 

Engineer Research and Development Center 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Bio: Ms. Giselle Rodriguez serves as the Acting Chief of the Facilities Division at CERL. In this role Ms. Rodriguez is responsible for executing the research and development mission of the Division, including ensuring technical quality of the research, working within time and budget constraints, and providing the short- and long-term resources for the research executed. 

In addition, Ms. Rodriguez was the Chief of the Energy Branch during September 2016 to January 2017 and September 2017 to July 2019. The Energy Branch conducts research, develops tools and guidance, and demonstrate new and emerging technologies to assist both fixed installations and the deployed force infrastructure in meeting their resilience, energy, water and additive construction goals and requirements. In this role, Ms. Rodriguez was the first line supervisor of a multi-disciplinary and diverse research team of engineers and scientists that included general engineers, civil engineers, architects, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, community planners and materials engineers. 

Before becoming a branch chief, Ms. Rodriguez served as a Principal Investigator within the Environmental Processes Branch for eleven years. Ms. Rodriguez’s research related to solid waste reduction issues like the improvement of qualified recycling programs, solid waste planning, food waste treatment and waste to energy technologies in support of military installations. 

During her time as a principal investigator, she served as the ERDC Liaison to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment from November 2015 to May 2016 in the Pentagon, Washington DC. 

Ms. Rodriguez received a masters degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Environmental Engineering. She has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Currently, she is the president of the board of directors of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Illini Post. Her outreach activities include promoting STEM career awareness to elementary and middle school students by volunteering as the head judge for the FIRST Lego League (FLL) local and state competitions. FIRST in an international organization that sponsors robotics competitions for students of any age. 

Ms. Rodriguez was born and raised in Puerto Rico and currently resides with her husband Angel and son Alexander in Champaign, Illinois.

Topic: Twists & Turns of non-traditional Careers



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Tekita Bankhead

 Specialist in Education, ACE IT Program Coordinator

 University of Illinois, Counseling Center


The Pedestal Project, LLC

Bio: Tekita Bankhead is a registered nurse, a Student Affairs professional, and currently serves as an Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Specialist in Education at the University of Illinois Counseling Center. Prior to joining the Counseling Center staff, she worked as an Assistant Director at the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center (BNAACC) for 2 years. She received her M.S. in Counselor Education with an Emphasis in Student Affairs Administration from Mississippi State University and her Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Mississippi University for Women. Her professional experiences focus primarily on mental health, social justice, effective coping skills, race-related trauma in Black students, and culturally specific outreach and prevention. Tekita is a noted speaker, instructor, and consultant who delivers innovative and interactive educational workshops designed to tackle complex issues of inclusive leadership, cultural competence, wellness, and identity. In her spare time, she enjoys being a community servant as an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and working as the Creator/Editor-In-Chief of her business, The Pedestal Project, LLC, which focuses on uplifting Black women through an online platform and dialogue-based events in the Champaign-Urbana community.

Title: Going Farther Faster

Topic: Maximizing Personal and Professional Support Networks 



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Donna Camp

Program Manager Adult Education

Parkland College

Co-Founder-Wesley Food Pantry

Donna began her professional career more than 30 years ago as a Master Control Room board operator at public radio station WILL-AM-FM. Since then she has worked as an Agricultural Statistician in the Peace Corps; as the project manager for the first paperless individual income tax filing system, TeleFile; and as the CEO of a Virginia consulting firm whose clients included the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, the Head Start Bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the American Association of Community Colleges. She is the co-founder and former director of the Wesley Evening Food Pantry. She now uses her experience as a social change-agent with Project READ at Parkland College.

Topic: Turning your Passion into a Career

Women’s Career Institute Resource Fair

4:00-8:30PM. Meet with community resource organizations, women-owned businesses and Parkland College departments to learn more about how they support women’s careers. Resource Fair will include: 


Bad Love Creative

Champaign County Rotaract

Champaign Urbana Public Health Department

Childcare Resources Center

Illinois National Guard

League of Women Voters



Parkland College Departments 

  • Public Safety 
  • Construction Department 
  • Ford ASSET
  • Automotive 
  • Case New Holland 
  • TRiO 
  • Adult Education
  • Highway Construction Careers Training Program
  • Queens Group
  • Career Services 
  • Admissions 
  • Health Professions 
  • Hospitality
  • Collision Repair  
  • Community Education
  • Horticulture
  • Health Professions
  • Aviation
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Business Administrative Technology
  • Computer Technology Center

Sistering CU

U of I Extension

Wesley Food Pantry



Pre-registration is encouraged for this event. 

Please register here


For more information, email Tracy Kleparski at tkleparski@parkland.edu or call 217/351-2206.

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