The Parkland College Blog

Parkland Surgical Technology Students Win National Scholarships

Parkland Health Professions students awarded ARC/STSA scholarships

Two Parkland College Surgical Technology students recently won national scholarships in the field.

The Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA) has awarded Melissa Jensen of Champaign and Diana Stronovych of Urbana with its 2020 Scholarship, according to a announcement this month. ARC/STSA is the accrediting services agency for surgical technology degree programs, a committee of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

The national $500 scholarship is awarded to applicants based on their essays and their standing in their CAAHEP-accredited surgical technology or surgical assisting program. The scholarship program is intended to support students in their continuing education in surgical technology. 

Having worked in healthcare for several years prior, Jensen said it has always been her dream to work side by side with medical professionals in the operating room.

"My future goals and aspirations are to advance to a surgical first assistant, become a surgical technology instructor, and acquire a leadership role such as serving a term on the board of directors for the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST)," she said. "The ARC/STSA Scholarship gives me the opportunity to continue to reach my goals."

Stronovych said she realized she wanted to become a surgical technologist (and later a surgical first assistant) after learning how it would allow her "to make a real change in people's lives."

"It is an honor to receive the scholarship award, and I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity, since it is not only an investment in my future development as a surgical technologist, but most importantly, a chance to help other people with their health needs," she said.

For more information on Parkland College's Surgical Technology program, visit the program webpage

Parkland College will be adding a COVID-19 Dashboard to its official website to better track coronavirus cases.

The Parkland College COVID-19 Dashboard displays cases that have been self-reported within Parkland’s faculty, staff, and student population. Numbers reflect total cases both on and off campus. Off-campus cases will include individuals who may be working or learning virtually and have not recently visited the Parkland Campus. Fall semester case reporting began the week of August 10, 2020, two weeks before the start of classes for the Fall 2020 semester.

"We are pleased to release the COVID-19 Dashboard today in the spirit of transparency and as an extension of our efforts to ensure the health and safety of our campus community," said Michael Trame, Vice President for Student Services. "Our COVID-19 Response Team has been working diligently to assist CUPHD in its contact tracing efforts and ensuring that the college is rapidly responding to cases as they occur. The data suggests our mitigation and response efforts are working and we commend the entire campus community for their role in that success."

Data reflected in this dashboard is provided by the Parkland College COVID Response Team. The dashboard will be updated every Friday with the previous week’s data. For more information on how to report a case, please contact To view the dashboard, visit

Parkland Trustees Approve FY2021 Budget

Board of Trustees General Meeting, September 16

At its regular meeting Wednesday, Parkland Trustees approved the college's FY2021 budget and heard an update on the newly installed solar array now operating on campus.
President Tom Ramage reported that the solar array is up and running as of Friday, Sept. 11. Located at the northwest corner of the school's main campus, the array spans eight acres and will generate between 10 to 15 percent of the college's electricity. The SolSystems LLC contract was approved in January 2018 and then sold to ConEd for a new contract signed in October 2018, Ramage reported.

Trustees also appointed Benny Mingo to the Parkland College Public Safety Department as a full-time police officer. Officer Mingo is a Parkland alumnus with an associate's degree in Business Administration and a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois, where he also worked in Public Safety, Security Division. A recent graduate of the University of Illinois Police Training Institute, Mingo was awarded the Ervin H. Warren Leadership Award, which is voted for by the recipient's peers, instructors, and staff and is given to the officer who best exemplifies today's concept of tomorrow's police officer.

After an update on the Parkland Foundation by Executive Director Tracy Wahlfeldt, trustees heard from Chief Financial Officer Chris Randles and voted to approve the FY2021 budget.

In other business, trustees approved:

  • the purchase of Agvance software from Software Solutions Integrated, LLC (SSI) for development of the College's Advanced Applicator Technician program through 2023, $84,000

  • the purchase of Turnitin plagiarism detection software from Turnitin, LLC through 2023, $68,127

  • IT consulting services from Leapfrog Technology Group, Inc., $100,000

  • the purchase of services from Rock Gate Capital, DBA 160 Driving Academy, $475,000

  • the purchase of services from Condensed Curriculum International, $25,000

  • the purchase of services from Strategic Development Institute, $30,000

  • the purchase of services from World Education, $25,000

  • the employment of Cyberclan as the College's managed security service provider (MSSP) for 2020-2021, $150,000

  • the purchase of Mimecast Email Security cloud services from CDWG for 2020-2021, $48,000

  • changes to Policies 3.25, 3.26, and 7.02 as presented by the Parkland College Association

  • the renewal of Constellation Energy's utility contract

  • personnel appointments:

    • Julia Hawthorne, Director of TRiO/Student Support Services, TRiO/Student Support Services

    • Hayden Seidel, Bookstore Manager, Bookstore

    • Brian Schertz, Aviation Team Lead, Institute of Aviation

    • Amy Frasca, Curriculum Specialist, VP of Academic Services Office

    • Rebecca Richardson, Admissions and Records Associate, Admissions

    • Karen Talbott, Head Teacher, Child Development Center

    • Chris Thomas, Maintenance Technician/Plumber/HVAC, Physical Plant

    • Cyndy White, Administrative Assistant, Division of Career and Technical Education

Officials of Parkland College announced today that any interested persons wishing to run for a position on the Parkland Board of Trustees may pick up nominating petitions and related documents from Krystal Garrett in Room U336 at the Parkland College campus, 2400 West Bradley Avenue, Champaign, Illinois, during limited business hours commencing September 22, 2020, on Mondays and Thursdays between 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., or by appointment. Contact Krystal Garrett at 217-351-2533 or to schedule. Petitions may NOT be circulated prior to September 22, 2020.
The terms of incumbent trustees Mark Dixon, Timothy Johnson, and James Voyles will expire in April 2021. These board openings will be for 2 six-year terms (expires April 2027) on the ballot and 1 two-year term (expires April 2023).
Nominating petitions and supporting documents must be filed between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. central time on any of the following dates: December 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, or 21, 2020. Said documents MUST be filed with the Office of the Board Secretary, Krystal Garrett, Room U336, Parkland College, 2400 West Bradley Avenue, Champaign, Illinois. The election will be held on April 6, 2021.

Staerkel Planetarium debuts free virtual Kaler Science Lectures in October

Series begins with "Looking at the Night Sky with Artificially Intelligent Eyes" on October 2

Parkland College's William M. Staerkel Planetarium will be resuming the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series virtually this fall, beginning with Dr. Gautham Narayan's "Looking at the Night Sky with Artificially Intelligent Eyes," on Friday, October 2 at 7 pm on Zoom, free to the public.

Dr. Gautham Narayan, assistant professor at the Department of Astronomy at the University of Illinois, earned a B.S. from Illinois Wesleyan and a Ph.D. at Harvard. Before joining the University of Illinois in 2019, he was a postdoctoral scholar at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and was the Barry M. Lasker Data Science Fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Wide-field optical survey telescopes are now producing too many observations for humans to look through. Buried in these petabytes of pixels are rare and exotic sources like kilonovae, explosions which can be caused by the mergers of neutron stars. Discovering these events is now akin to looking for a needle among thousands of haystacks.

To cope with the deluge of data, astrophysicists employ artificial intelligence (AI). Dr. Narayan will cover how the same algorithms that underlie driverless cars, voice recognition, and your bank’s ability to detect fraudulent transactions is now telling us about the variable sky, and ultimately the nature of dark energy and the fate of the Universe.

The Staerkel Planetarium is offering virtual programs while the dome is closed to the public. Following the Kaler lecture, the planetarium will present Fall Prairie Skies at 8 pm on the same Zoom meeting. This live-narrated tour of the night sky includes a focus on Mars, which is getting brighter in the evening. For a full show schedule and for links to the Zoom meetings, visit the planetarium website or email