The Parkland College Blog

Meteorologist Discusses Tornado and Storm Chasing

Tornado videos shown at March 6 Kaler Science Lecture

Meteorologist Andrew Pritchard will present "Chasing Tornadoes: It's not what you think!" on Friday, March 6 at 7 p.m., as part of the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium, where he will discuss tornado formation and myths about storm chasing. 

As the weather gets warmer, the Midwest has an increased risk of severe storms. Meteorologists study the weather patterns that lead to these events and inform the public about what can be done to prepare for storms in the future. Pritchard uses this same information to hunt down tornadoes. 

The lecture will provide a background on why tornadoes are prone to form in our part of the country, dispel some misconceptions about storm chasing, discuss severe weather safety tips, and share some videos of Pritchard's recent tornadoes.

Pritchard, the operator of Chambana Weather, is an alum of Parkland College and Northern Illinois University, where he completed his B.S. in Meteorology. Chambana Weather provides weather forecasts of east central Illinois each day for local media such as WILL. He works for Nutrien Ag Solutions, studying the effects of weather on production agriculture around the globe.

After the presentation, the Staerkel Planetarium will premiere the fulldome feature, Phantom of the Universe, at 8 p.m. Tickets for regular programs are $6 for adults and $5 for students, seniors, and children under 12. Lecture Series tickets are $2 per person. All tickets are sold at the door; they can be purchased in the Planetarium lobby 30 minutes prior to the show. For more information and a full show schedule, visit or call 217/351-2446. 

Parkland College Midterm Classes Available for Full Credit

Spring semester midterm courses begin on Monday, March 9

A variety of spring-semester midterm courses at Parkland College will begin on Monday, March 9. All courses provide full college credit for successful completion within an eight-week period.

Subject areas include art, music, biology, communications, computer science, health careers, kinesiology, theatre, welding, and more.

The deadline to register is Sunday, March 8. For more information on midterm classes at Parkland, call 217/351-2482 or visit Those interested in applying to Parkland College may visit for more information.

Parkland Pathway to Illinois Program Information Event Feb. 22

High school students invited to Parkland Pathway to Illinois Program Information Event, Feb. 22

High school students can learn more about a Parkland College program guaranteeing them admission in selected colleges at the University of Illinois while saving money on tuition.

The Parkland Pathway to Illinois Program Information Event will be held Saturday, Feb. 22 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Parkland College Student Union. Prospective students and their parents are welcome to attend. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.

Representatives from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Parkland College will answer questions about the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program, including eligibility, housing options, financial aid, admissions, and other topics.

For qualifying Illinois high school graduates who begin college at Parkland and are interested in transferring to the University of Illinois, the program is an opportunity to gain guaranteed admission to certain University of Illinois programs. While preparing to transfer, participating students will be able to integrate their time as full-time Parkland students with resources and classes at Illinois. Pathway students typically complete the program in two years, but AP credit and college credit earned in high school may affect program length.

To RSVP for this event, please go to

For more information about the program, please visit, contact Student Services Advisor Mary Kay Smith at 217/351-2509, or email

Parkland College to Host Spring Campus Visit Day

Campus Visit Day starts at 10 am, Feb. 17

On Monday, Feb. 17, Parkland College will host a Campus Visit Day for prospective students to give them a chance to get comfortable with the campus and ask questions.

The Campus Visit Day will include an overview of how to apply to Parkland, sign up for financial aid, and select among its many academic programs. Students will receive a guided tour of campus and some tips for the general admissions process. Visits begin at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; a typical visit lasts 1.5 hours.

Please RSVP here:

This event is free to attend. For more information, please call Admissions at 217/351-2482 or email

Black History Month 2020

"The Black Experience": Historical achievements of African Americans observed through February

"The Black Experience" is the theme of Black History Month 2020 observances at Parkland College.

The school will celebrate the historical achievements of African Americans with events including faculty lectures, student presentations, and a popular soul food luncheon. 

The public is invited to participate in the following events, unless otherwise noted.


"Black Queens Rock: Unapologetically Black"
Celebration Luncheon
Monday, Feb. 3
noon–2 p.m.
Academic success coaches Jessica Jackson and Melanie Whited host this celebration of Black women students and staff at Parkland College; RSVP only.

Behind the Camera: Notes on a Historic Shift in Film Industry
Tuesday, Feb. 4
noon–1 p.m., Room U140
Dr. Marietta Turner, dean of students, will discuss African-Americans and their contributions to the cinema industry over the years; part of the Student Life Dine and Discuss series.

Black Student Success Project: Black Male/Female Relationships, Part I
Wednesday, Feb. 5
1–2 p.m., Room U140
This in-depth discussion of important topics in the African American community is a popular one with Parkland College students. Facilitated by Donna Tanner-Harold.

23 and We: Genetic Culture Testing and Cultural Identity
Thursday, Feb. 6
noon–1 p.m., Room U140
Dr. Joe Walwik, chair of Social Sciences and Human Services, leads the discussion of how genetic testing can be linked to culture identity. The participants are African-Americans who have participated in genetic testing.

Chair Massages 
Friday, February 7 
11 a.m.–Noon, Room U140
As part of our Wellness activities series for Black History Month, students will be able to receive massages from Parkland College Message therapy students and Program Director Tamala Everett.

It’s A WRAP: How I Started My Business
Tuesday, Feb. 11
noon–1:30 p.m., Room T117
Parkland College alum Jordan Butts will discuss how he started his car-detailing business.

Culturally Informed: Mental Health Practices
Tuesday, Feb. 11
1–1:30 p.m., Room u142
Counselor Marya Burke will present on mental health practices and how they relate to African Americans.

History of and Opportunities for Black Professionals in Dentistry
Wednesday, Feb. 12
noon–1 p.m., Room U140
Health Professions faculty Andre Townsend, DDS, will highlight the history and tremendous contributions of African Americans to the field of dentistry. 

From Stress to Self-Care
Thursday, February 13
1–2 p.m., room U140
As part of our Wellness activities for Black History Month, students will get self-care tips on how to deal with stress. Presented by Alexus Hasler 

Black History Month Luncheon
Friday, Feb. 14
11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Student Union cafeteria
Sample an array of foods from traditionally Southern African American cuisine. Luncheon tickets may be requested via email to

African-American Housing at the University of Illinois
Tuesday, Feb. 18
noon–1 p.m., Room U140
Jessica Ballard, visiting assistant professor/Archives resident at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will discuss the history of housing for African Americans at the University of Illinois. This is  part of the Dine and Discuss series. 

Black Student Success Project: Black Male/Female Relationships, Part II
Wednesday, Feb. 19
1–2 p.m., Room U140
This in-depth discussion of important topics in the African American community is a popular one with Parkland College students. Facilitated by Donna Tanner-Harold.

Black Muslims in the United States
Thursday, Feb. 20
10–11 a.m., Room U140
Sociology Professor Evelyn Reynolds' presentation will explore the intersection of African Americans and the Muslim faith.

Mindfulness Mediation
Friday, February 21
1 p.m., room U140
As part of our Wellness activities series for Black History Month, students will be able to participate in mediation with Parkland College Wellness Coordinator Sara Maxwell.

Malcolm or Martin
Monday, Feb. 24
10–11 a.m., Room U140
Political Science Professor Dr. Willie Fowler will explore the two iconic civil rights leaders and their differentiation in philosophies and approaches.

Nigeria’s Giants: Burna Boy, Binti and……..Beyonce?
Tuesday, Feb. 25
noon–1 p.m., Room U140
This presentation will highlight the amazing creativity exploding out of the literary, arts, and music scene in Nigeria right now. Come hear about some great Afropop artists and Afrofuturist writers, from Literature Program Director Amber Landis.

Student Expression: Student Performances Featuring Spoken Word
Wednesday, Feb. 26
11 a.m.–1 p.m., Student Union cafeteria stage
Hosted by Jessica Jackson, Melanie Whited, and Tanino Minneci, the event features Parkland College students expressing themselves via spoken word, song, and other forms of entertainment.