The Parkland College Blog

Planetarium Kaler Lecture to Spotlight the Beauty of Birds

"Birds of East Central Illinois: Natural Beauty You Probably Didn't Notice"

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will host a selection of bird photography for the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 5.

Jeffrey Bryant, a research programmer at WolframAlpha, will present "Birds of East Central Illinois: Natural Beauty You Probably Didn't Notice". The planetarium will offer this lecture to the public for free on Zoom.

During the lecture, Mr. Bryant will show a selection of his high-quality photography. As an avid birder in his spare time, he travels around east central Illinois to observe and photograph various local species. All image subjects were located within a relatively short drive of his home, including in his own backyard. By knowing where and when to look, anyone can get a sense of the diversity of life right here in Illinois.

Mr. Bryant earned a B.S. and M.S. in Physics at Ball State University, focusing his research on variable star systems. As part of his work for Wolfram Research, L.L.C., he composes blog posts about visualizations of astronomical phenomena using the Wolfram Language.

Following Mr. Bryant's Kaler Lecture, the planetarium staff will present Prairie Skies Spotlight on Exoplanets in the same Zoom meeting at 8 p.m. The Prairie Skies show offers a tour of the night sky, and this special program will feature some of the thousands of planets that have been discovered outside of the Solar System. The full schedule of public shows, including Zoom links, can be found on the planetarium website. Recordings of past shows are available on their YouTube channel and private shows can be booked by emailing planetarium@parkland.edu.

Giertz Gallery Hosts Art and Design Faculty Virtual Lecture Series

Parkland College Art and Design Faculty Lecture Series

The Art and Design Faculty Lecture Series is underway through the month of February at Parkland College Giertz Gallery. These online gallery talks, free and open to students and community members, include insightful dialogue by Art and Design Faculty members Joan Stolz, Paula McCarty, Denise Seif, and Liza Wynette.

Links to register for these Zoom events are included below. Registration may also be found on the Parkland College Giertz Gallery website. Please register in advance.

Joan Stolz - "Skin in the Game"
Joan Stolz shared her recent body of work on January 21, in which she discussed her oil paintings on wooden panels. These small scale works of art, each 6x6 inches, represent areas of faces of politicians or political influencers. Stolz recently completed a sabbatical and teaches painting, drawing, and figure drawing at Parkland College. Find her lecture here.

Paula McCarty - "Women Who Painted" project
Tuesday, February 2, from 6 to 7 p.m.
Paula McCarty discusses her artwork and her "Women Who Painted" project. Paula McCarty has taught Painting I and II at Parkland College. She teaches upcoming classes through Parkland Community Education; visit here to sign up. For more information about her work and her "Women Who Painted" project, visit her website.
 
To register for “Paula McCarty – Women Who Painted” artist talk, visit here.

Denise Seif - History of Enameling: Past to Present
Wednesday, February 10, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Denise Seif will discuss enameling from past to present. The simple combination of metal, glass, and fire can produce some of the most seductive, delicate, and bold statements of personal adornment and decorative objects. After providing a brief historical overview, she will explore what some contemporary artists are doing with this fascinating medium. Denise Seif teaches Metalwork and Jewelry I and II, Art History I and II, and the History of Non-Western Art. 
 
To register for “History of Enameling: Past to Present” art history lecture by Denise Seif, visit here.

Liza Wynette - History of Music Poster Design
Tuesday, February 16, from 6 to 7 p.m.
In her lecture, Wynette will examine how culture and technology influenced the look of music posters from Art Nouveau to Contemporary times. Liza Wynette teaches the History of Graphic Design at Parkland College. For more information about her work, visit her website.
 
To register for “History of Music Poster Design” design history lecture by Liza Wynette, visit here

Giertz Gallery is currently highlighting artwork by the Art and Design Faculty on their social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. Follow to see their phenomenal work and sign up here to receive email blasts about upcoming events. 
 
Giertz Gallery looks forward to a fresh semester of new opportunities to work with students, faculty, and the community to create a 2021 that inspires hope, education, and excitement through the arts. For more information about the Gallery, visit their website.

 

[Cover image - Night Shift, oil on canvas, Paula McCarty]

Planetarium Lecture to Examine Climate History in Lake Sediment

Staerkel Planetarium to host paleoclimatology Kaler Lecture

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will host a presentation on paleoclimatology for the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 5.

Dr. Jessica Conroy, associate professor in the Departments of Geology and Plant Biology at UIUC, will give a talk titled, "Climate, Water, Life, and Rock: Past Climate Information in Tropical Pacific Lake Sediments". The public lecture is free to attend on Zoom.

The coral atoll of Kiritimati (pronounced "Christmas") in the central tropical Pacific Ocean contains hundreds of brackish to hypersaline lakes that are a window into past climate variability in the region. These lakes and their sediments are also valuable archives that can be used to explore fundamental questions about how information about past environments is archived in lake sediments.

Dr. Conroy's group research in this region includes how remotely-sensed lake surface area responds to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. Using sedimentology, stable isotope geochemistry, and organic biomarkers, the group can get a record of climate change on Kiritimati over the last millennium.

Having earned her B.A. in Geology from the College of Wooster, Dr. Conroy received her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. Before joining the University of Illinois in 2013, she was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech.

The Staerkel Planetarium is presenting programs virtually to the public on Friday nights, and offers shows for schools and private groups. Public shows are rebroadcast on the planetarium's YouTube page. The Planetarium staff will present a special edition of Winter Prairie Skies on the same Zoom meeting after the conclusion of Dr. Conroy's Kaler Lecture at 8 p.m. This show is an interactive tour of the night sky, and special editions feature a topic of interest based on audience suggestions or astronomical events. For a full show schedule and for links to the Zoom meetings, visit the planetarium website or email planetarium@parkland.edu.

Parkland College Community Education and Giertz Gallery will be hosting a virtual art competition for District 505 youth ages 7-18.

The Celebrate the Arts! Youth Art Competition will run until Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Students have a chance to win full summer 2021 scholarships for either College for Kids Camp or a Summer Discovery Camp. Each of the three age categories will have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, with honorable mentions.

"Giertz Gallery and Community Education are delighted to offer students the opportunity to partake in a virtual art contest and exhibit," said Terry Thies, Youth Program Manager of Community Education. "During a time when in-person participation with the arts is impacted due to the pandemic, we wanted to find a safe way to encourage students to continue creating, enjoying, and engaging with, art."

Selected works will be featured on Parkland's social media pages, and winners will be announced by Tuesday, March 9 at a Virtual Awards Ceremony.

Entries will be judged by Paula McCarty and Laura O'Donnell. Paula McCarty is the art exhibitions curator and designer for the Springer Cultural Center in Champaign, and teaches classes through Community Education. Laura O'Donnell teaches Art History at Eastern Illinois University.

A full list of rules can be found at parkland.edu/youthartcompetition. Questions about the contest can be directed to giertzgallery@parkland.edu.

Kaler Science Lecture Puts Bacterial Viruses Under Microscope

Staerkel Planetarium to host microbiologist Dr. Asma Hatoum-Aslan

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will host a presentation on microbiology for the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 4.
 
Dr. Asma Hatoum-Aslan, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology at UIUC, will give a talk titled, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend: Enlisting bacterial viruses to combat drug-resistant infections". The lecture is available to the public for free through Zoom.
 
The rising tide of drug-resistant bacterial pathogens, coupled with the sharp decline in the discovery of new antibiotics, underscores a pressing need to find alternatives to conventional antibiotics. Bacterial viruses, also known as phages, are major causes of bacterial mortality in nature, and can be harnessed as powerful weapons to combat pathogenic bacteria. Dr. Hatoum-Aslan's talk will highlight the ongoing efforts to discover and characterize new phages that are lethal to Staphylococcus bacteria, and the immune systems that these bacteria use to fight back. These efforts are adding to the arsenal of alternative antimicrobials with potential for therapeutic use.
 
Dr. Hatoum-Aslan earned her B.S. in Molecular Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology, her M.S. in Biochemistry from the American University of Beirut, and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Cornell University. Before joining the University of Illinois in August, she completed her postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University, where she investigated mechanisms of the bacterial immune system called CRISPR-Cas. Her research program investigates CRISPR-Cas and other immune systems that bacteria use to defend against their viruses (phages). Synergistically, knowledge gained from bacterial immune systems is applied to discover and engineer new phages as a basis for novel antimicrobials. Her work is currently supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award and a PATH award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.
 
The Staerkel Planetarium is presenting programs virtually to the public, to schools, and to private groups. Public shows are rebroadcast on the planetarium's YouTube page. The planetarium staff will present a special edition of Fall Prairie Skies on the same Zoom meeting after the conclusion of the Kaler lecture at 8 p.m. This show is an interactive tour of the night sky, including a focus on the closest conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in the sky in almost 400 years. For a full show schedule and for links to the Zoom meetings, visit the planetarium website or email planetarium@parkland.edu. 

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