The Parkland College Blog

Aspiring student entrepreneurs from Parkland College will soon pitch their ideas before local venture capitalists and startup experts as they vie for more than $8,500 in monetary awards to fund their businesses and the title of Parkland Student Entrepreneur of the Year. 
Parkland College's Entrepreneurial Network (PEN) will hold its third CobraVenture Pitch Showcase at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 23 in the Parkland College Student Union. The contest will highlight students from the CobraVenture program's student accelerator lab, which launched in January 2020.

Entrepreneurship Facilitator Marc Changnon will serve as emcee. CobraVenture's 2022 cohort, which began at the start of the 2022 spring semester, includes students from a variety of academic programs who want to start their own business while still enrolled in college. A list of the students, their businesses, and program details can be found at
Judging their capstone competition will be Damien Banks of Sacred Heart Medical Center, Carly McCrory-McKay of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, Marissa Siero of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gies College of Business, Professor Julie Weishar, chair of Parkland’s Fine and Applied Arts department, and Mark Pelmore of Lincoln & Hill, Inc.
The CobraVenture accelerator provides students with an avenue for networking and business mentorship. It features a collaborative workspace, topics taught by local serial entrepreneurs, and one-on-one guidance with business mentors. The program is supported through the Parkland College Foundation.
CobraVenture is funded through existing funds from the Parkland Foundation Entrepreneurial Founders Program, Murray Wise Associates PEN Program, and those raised through its annual Entrepreneur of the Year event. Parkland Community Education, the college's noncredit arm, is helping to plan and administer the workshops. The program is operating with oversight from an advisory committee comprised of community leaders and Parkland College faculty and staff, spearheaded by Stephanie Stuart, Vice President for Communications and External Affairs.

Camp Monarch: Evolving with Dyslexia Summer Camp

Community Education summer camp for students with dyslexia

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Parkland College Community Education is adding a new camp designed specifically for students with dyslexia to its summer lineup.

Camp Monarch: Evolving with Dyslexia helps students ages 7-14 gain confidence in reading, math, and writing through individualized tutoring using multisensory and Orton-Gillingham-based teaching methods. Small group activities will encourage students to build friendships with peers who have similar learning styles.

The camp will run for two sessions: June 20-30 and July 11-21, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Parkland College; both sessions are recommended to get the most benefit from the camp. The camp is open to students with an individualized education program (IEP) or 504 plan, are in a reading intervention program, or who struggle with reading. Documentation is required upon enrollment. Scholarships are available for students with financial need or who would benefit academically from the camp.

Register at and browse by category Youth and College for Kids. Search for Camp Monarch. Camp Monarch is not a part of College for Kids, but runs simultaneously. Supervised lunch periods are provided for students who also attend College for Kids.

For more information about the College for Kids and Summer Discovery camps, please contact Community Education at, or by phone at 217/351-2235.

Parkland College SWFT and Adult Education Center Open House

Visit the Parkland College SWFT/Adult Ed. Center Open House on April 25

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Parkland College invites community members to an open house celebrating the new Support for Workforce Training (SWFT) and Adult Education Center.

The SWFT and Adult Education Center Open House will be held on Monday, April 25 from 3-5 p.m. in the new center, room D120. Guests are invited to drop in to tour the new SWFT and Adult Education space and learn more about the programs. At 3:30 p.m., SWFT and Adult Education directors, current students, Executive Vice President Pam Lau, Vice President of Communications and External Affairs Stephanie Stuart, and State Rep. Carol Ammons will give remarks.

With Illinois Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) grant funds, the college has been able to expand and equip a new space for the SWFT program. The space will be co-located with Parkland's Adult Education department, with the aim to provide Adult Education learners access to more career opportunities.

"Thanks to the support of the WEI, we have been able to create a dedicated career suite to prepare our SWFT-funded students for employment," said SWFT Director Alicia Beck. "Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, this flexible learning space is already hosting weekly employment skills classes, mock interviews, and regular meetings with staff and students. We look forward to incorporating new program as the use of the space evolves."

Backed by a $1.2 million Illinois Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) grant, Parkland's SWFT program aims to help more than 130 district residents move into high-demand careers with family-sustaining wages within a year or less. The WEI grant aims address historic underrepresentation of African Americans in high-demand, high-wage careers, thus requiring African Americans to comprise 60 percent of the population served by the SWFT program. 

The initiative was spearheaded by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus with strong support from State Rep. Carol Ammons.

Adult Education Associate Dean Tawanna Nickens is optimistic about the merger and the ability to help more students. "The co-location of Adult Education and SWFT streamlines resources and supports for adults as they transition to short-term career training programs at Parkland."

Parkland College's Adult Education department provides free classes, mentorship, tutoring, and career pathways for adults with little or no college or technical education. This can include English Second Language, college prep, basic skills, and high school equivalency classes. The program is funded by Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

More information about the SWFT program can be found at; information about Parkland College Adult Education can be found at

Celebrate the Arts: Youth Art Contest Announces Winners for 2022

Congratulations to the winners of the second annual Youth Arts Contest!

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Community Education and Giertz Gallery are thrilled to announce the winners for the second annual Celebrate the Arts! Youth Art Contest.

Student entries were featured in an online awards ceremony on March 8, during which placements and honorable mentions were named. First place winners (out of over 80 participants) in the three age categories received a full scholarship to a Parkland summer camp.

Entries were judged by Tanya Scott, curator of education for the University Galleries at Illinois State University; and Matthew Watt, professor of Art and Design at Parkland College.

Congratulations to our winners, and to all the wonderful young artists who continue to inspire us with their talent and creativity!


Ages 7-10:

  1. Emma Lan, “Rooster & Hen Family,” Chinese brush painting

  2. Faith To, “A Rainy Day,” painting

  3. Max Cajavilca, “Bear and the Girl,” drawing

  4. Honorable mention: Avery Anderson, “Flowers,” collage; Walker Chapman, “Mountain Top,” painting; Emma Emry, “Untitled Cat,” painting; Chloe Lee, “Under the Full Moon,” painting; Adela Pena Martin, “A sunset of feelings,” drawing; April Yu, “The Classic of Mountains and Seas-Dijiang,” drawing






Ages 11-13:

  1. Grace Pierce, “Blueberry Pie,” ceramics

  2. Lily Jones, “Pink Dream,” painting

  3. Eireann Byard, “Eco-business park,” drawing

  4. Honorable mention: Matthew Gray, “Falcon,” sculpture; Adrian Schneider, “Rose and Thorn,” digital; Kylah Sparks, “Worm in Apple,” ceramics; Addison Townsend, “Cat Conversation,” photography








Ages 14-18:

  1. Sylvie Leyerle, “Finding Place,” painting

  2. Tracy Li, “Yellow Girls,” painting

  3. Amelia Case, “Two Eleven,” painting

  4. Honorable mention: Honora Hoey, “Implied World,” collage; Grace Kahler, “Spiral,” photography; Joshua Pierce, “Summer Peace,” oil painting; Erin Shin, “The Truth We Hide,” painting; Jeana To, “Self Portraits in Quarantine,” drawing

Parkland College Summer Camp Registration Opens Feb. 15

College for Kids and Summer Discovery camps start in June

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Parkland College is once again hosting summer fun and learning opportunities for area youth, as registration opens for its 2022 College for Kids and Summer Discovery camps.

Registration begins Tuesday, February 15 for elementary, middle, and high school students. An early bird discount of $15 per registered class is available until March 13 for College for Kids.

College for Kids. Hosted by Parkland College Community Education, the popular two-week, half-day College for Kids camp offers around 50 different enrichment classes for students ages 6-13, with subjects ranging from robotics, coding, science, and engineering to visual, culinary, and performing arts.

Younger children are welcome to register this year! College for Kids has expanded their lineup to include classes designed for ages 6 and up.

Summer Discovery. The Summer Discovery program includes exciting camps for youth ages 13-18, designed to challenge students while they have fun. Students will explore new interests and potential careers in interactive, hands-on courses.

The popular Vet Med camp will return for a second year, and a new health professions camp for students ages 14-17, "Stethoscopes and Scrubs: Health Professions Exploration", will make its debut. The wide variety of camps include topics such as electronics, culinary arts, and music, and also career-exploring classics such as Machining and Welding or Land Surveying.

All classes are taught by professional educators in small class sizes, providing personalized attention for each student. The innovative STEAM-model gives students of all ages the opportunity to explore something new, get excited about learning, and discover new interests and hobbies in a safe and comfortable environment.

Social distancing guidelines and safety precautions established by the Center for Disease Control and Illinois Department of Public Health will be observed in all on-campus classes.

Registration. Registrations are accepted on a first come, first served basis; starting February 6, view and bookmark classes ahead of registration. Summer Discovery camps run for 1 or 2 weeks; class times, dates, and registration deadlines vary depending on the camp. A few half-day options are available. Camps begin June 6 and run through July 29.

Two sessions are offered for CFK: June 20–30 (Session I) with a registration deadline of June 6; and July 11–21 (Session II) with a registration deadline of June 27. CFK classes meet Monday through Thursday at 12:45 p.m.–2:45 p.m. and 3 p.m.–5 p.m.

Register at and browse by category Youth and College for Kids. Some scholarships and reduced rates are available for students who meet income eligibility for free/reduced lunch.

For more information about the College for Kids and Summer Discovery camps, please contact Community Education at, or by phone at 217/351-2235.