The Parkland College Blog

Fracking First Topic of Kaler Science Talks for Fall

UI engineering professor to discuss benefits of hydraulic fracturing process

The hot-button topic of fracking for oil and gas heads the list of James B. Kaler Science Lectures this fall at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College.

University of Illinois engineering professor Dr. David N. Ruzic will present "The Truth (and Huge Benefit) Behind Fracking and Pipelines," Friday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge. 

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for gas and oil, and building pipelines to deliver that gas and oil to where it is needed, has led to energy independence for North America and heralded a huge economic boom for the U.S. Yet the average citizen, and especially one who is young, typically holds a negative impression of these two technologies.

Ruzic will explain what fracking and pipelines are, how they are used, why they are beneficial compared to the alternatives, and why common misconceptions persist about the process.

Ruzic is the Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as director of the Center for Plasma Material Interactions. A UIUC faculty member for the last 34 years, he is a Fellow in three different societies and leads an active research group of over 40 people. The university has awarded him the Campus-wide Teaching Award, the College-wide Teaching Award, and several departmental teaching awards. One of his introductory courses on Energy was made into a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) in Coursera and is available for free on the “Go Illinois” website. Ruzic earned his PhD from Princeton University in 1984.
   
Following Ruzic’s talk, the Staerkel Planetarium will present its newest fulldome feature, “Experience the Aurora,” followed by its "Pink Floyd’s 'The Wall'" show. Tickets for regular programs range from $5 to $6 per person. For a full show schedule, visit the planetarium website or call 217/351-2446. 

Degree Completion Day Set for Oct. 3

Get advice, info on finishing your degree or certificate

Area residents who have not yet completed their Parkland College degrees or certificates are invited to figure out what courses they need to finish them, during a special event Wednesday, Oct. 3.
 
Degree Completion Day will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Parkland's Student Union. Past and current students who want to finish their Parkland College credentials will be able to:

  • receive academic advising

  • confirm their degree program

  • learn how to track their progress toward a degree or certificate

  • see which universities guarantee junior-level transfer status with a completed Parkland credential

  • complete a Petition to Graduate form, if applicable

The event, which includes giveaways and refreshments, will be live-streamed from WPCD FM.
 
For more information on Degree Completion Day, please contact the Office of Admissions at 217/351-2482 or admissions@parkland.edu

Language Class to Transition Immigrants into Health Careers

New ECNA students to grasp nuances in patient symptom descriptions, medical language

Patients often say they have to go to the toilet using terms a nonnative English-speaking caregiver might not recognize. But locally, one Parkland College professor is helping new English learners grasp the nuances of medical language in a free class debuting this fall.
 
"An 85-year-old may say one thing for urination; a five-year-old will say another," explained Christina Havenland, who leads the new English for Certified Nursing Assistants class being offered through Parkland's Adult Education department. "A tough old military vet may use another, less polite, word, while a church secretary may have yet another very euphemistic word! An immigrant CNA needs to know the whole range of language they would encounter on the job."
 
Language comprehension is even more crucial when discussing symptoms, added Havenland, a Humanities associate professor who teaches reading. For example, nearly 80 phrases can be used to describe pain, phrases one might find on the McGill University Pain Questionnaire.
 
"If a patient says she feels a 'nagging tenderness,' a medical professional without sufficient language training could misunderstand either the relatively rare word "nagging," or could misunderstand "tenderness" as being a positive emotion instead of a type of physical soreness," she said.
 
Funded through a federal English language education grant and the Illinois Community College Board, the ECNA course has been designed to smooth the path for English language learners desiring to enter the healthcare profession. Enrollees receive 96 hours of training in the culture and language skills they need for success in Parkland's regular Certified Nursing Assistant course. Once they attain their industry-recognized credential, students can then work in the community as a CNA while pursuing other careers.
 
Havenland said the program also helps combat the nationwide shortage of certified nursing assistants by allowing immigrants to more quickly practice medical skills they may already have acquired in their home countries.
 
"Some of these adult learners are already professionals with degrees and credentials in their native countries," she said. "Completing the regular CNA course serves as an entry point for them to pursue more advanced nursing credentials offered by Parkland, such as our Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) and Registered Nursing (RN) degrees."
 
For more information on the ECNA program, contact Parkland College Adult Education at 217/351-2580.
 
In Fiscal Year 2019 (FY '19), approximately 40% ($161,595) of the total cost of the Parkland College Adult Education and Family Literacy Program is provided through federal funds under Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

New Show, Digital System to Debut in Planetarium Opener

"Experience the Aurora" to feature dramatic fulldome images from new Digistar 6

After a month's closure, the William M. Staerkel Planetarium will reopen to public audiences on the Sept. 7-8 weekend with a new operating system and a new fulldome show.

"Experience the Aurora," featuring fulldome, time-lapse imagery of the Northern Lights, will premiere Sept. 7 and 8 at 8 p.m. and run every Friday and Saturday night through October. The show will be presented on Staerkel's Digistar 6 operating system, an upgrade from the Digistar 4 system installed eight years ago. The planetarium has been closed since Aug. 8 to install the new system. 

Winner of two Telly Awards for video production,"Experience the Aurora" shares the science behind the aurora and tells the story of the quest to find and photograph the aurora. Its dramatic images involve high-resolution digital cameras outfitted with fisheye lenses. For the first time, the aurora has been captured as it was meant to be experienced, an immersive display covering the entire sky, according to Dave Leake, director of the planetarium.  

"Though computer visualizations are quite wonderful these days, we were intrigued that this show includes fisheye photography of this beautiful phenomenon," Leake remarked. "We hope audiences will be as amazed as we were!"

Leake explained that the Digistar 6 system contains new features that will be both visible and "under the hood." Tools such as auto-align and auto-blend will drastically reduce maintenance time by aligning projectors with the push of a button. Other D6 benefits for planetarium staff include a cloud-sourced STEAM library, a new NOAA Earth database, and a revised user interface. Audiences will be able to view various terrains including Earth and Mars as well as a volumetric Milky Way (i.e., shown more as a physical model than as a flat image).  

“We have a lot to learn before we reopen; our show producer, Waylena McCully, is busy converting many of our older shows to the new format," Leake said. "We're exited about having a new star field and other features to show off this season.”  

Funding for the upgrade comes from the Parkland Foundation, the Planetarium Revolving Fund and the Campus Master Plan. For a full schedule of fall 2018 planetarium programs, visit parkland.edu/planetarium or call the show hotline at 217/351-2446. 

Illinois Regional College Fair, Sept. 19

High school, transfer students can meet with 90+ US educational institutions

Area students and their parents will have a unique opportunity to explore a wide variety of higher education options at the 2018 Illinois Regional College Fair, Wednesday, September 19, 6–8 p.m. at Parkland College's Donald C. Dodds, Jr. Athletic Center.  

The event is free and open to the public.
 
Designed for high school students and community college transfer students; the ICRF introduces students and their parents to representatives from more than 90 educational institutions from across the country. Participants will receive important information about education planning, visit displays from various colleges and universities, and be able to speak one-on-one with representatives from many institutions. In addition, they will have an opportunity to discuss financial aid and career choices.
 
The Illinois Regional College Fair is sponsored by the Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling, along with Parkland College. For more information, students may contact their high school guidance counselors, view www.parkland.edu/regionalCollegeFair or call 217/353-2636.

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