The Parkland College Blog

Small Satellites Subject of November Kaler Science Lecture

UI's Michael Lambeck to discuss designing CubeSats for LASSI

When Sputnik launched and shocked the world in 1957, many claimed to be able to see the basketball-sized satellite in orbit. Over the decades, satellites grew ever larger and can now be visible in the night sky, but engineers such as Dr. Michael Lembeck are making strides with satellites scaled back to Sputnik's size. He will present his work along with a history of satellite designs for the James Kaler Science Lecture Series at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium.

Dr. Lembeck, director of the Laboratory for Advanced Space Systems at Illinois (LASSI), will give a talk titled, "What goes 'round, comes 'round…the story of how small satellites are making big news" on Friday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge.

Dr. Lembeck's work with LASSI includes designing and assembling spacecraft the size of a breadbox called CubeSats. Since most weigh less than 10 pounds, several can included as a secondary mission in rocket launches. Their size allows them to be built by universities, military, commercial, and amateur organizations. Over 1000 CubeSats have been launched in the last 20 years, including two to Mars.

Dr. Lembeck has led or worked on multiple government and commercial spaceflight programs, including JPL’s Galileo Jupiter Orbiter, Space Industries, Inc.’s Wake Shield Facility, Orbital Sciences’ OrbView/Warfighter commercial remote sensing program, and the Northrop/Boeing CEV and Boeing commercial crew programs. As the Requirements Division Director for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Dr. Lembeck participated in the formulation of President George W. Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration and managed the original development of requirements for the Constellation/Orion program. Dr. Lembeck is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and a Professor of Practice in the University of Illinois’ Aerospace Engineering Department.

After the presentation by Dr. Lembeck, the Staerkel Planetarium will show the full-dome feature, "Dark Matter Mystery" at 8 p.m. The 2019 premiere of "Santa's Secret Star" begins on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. 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.

Parkland College Ensembles Offer Free October Concerts

Concert Band, Wind Ensemble Oct. 20; Orchestra, Guitar Ensemble Oct. 27

Parkland College's fall concert season opens with October performances by several ensembles.

"The British are Coming": A Joint Concert by the Concert Band and Wind Ensembles
Sunday, October 20, 3 p.m.
Harold and Jean Miner Theatre
Parkland October Concerts
The Parkland Concert Band, directed by Larry Stoner, will perform "The British Eighth March" by Zo Elliot; "Seasongs" by Ralph Vaughn Williams; and the "William Byrd Suite" by Gordon Jacob, among others.

Parkland's Wind Ensemble, directed by Jonathan Beckett, will perform "An October Sky" by Barry Milner; "Pinnacle" by Michael Kamuf; and "Riverside Overture" by Robert Sheldon.

"Autumn Classics": A Joint Concert by the Orchestra and Guitar Ensemble 
Sunday, October 27, 3 p.m.
Harold and Jean Miner Theatre 

The Parkland Orchestra, directed by Rodney Mueller, will perform "Music for the Royal Fireworks" by George F. Handel; "Overture to Poet and Peasant" by Franz von Suppe; "Danse Bacchanale" from "Samson and Delila" by Camille Saint Saens; and the Concert Suite from "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

Director Young Kim will lead the Guitar Ensemble in performing "My Heart Ever Faithful" and "Air on G the String" by Johann Sebastian Bach; "La Paloma" by Sebastián Iradier; and "Morning Dew/Drowsy Maggie/Taproom Guitar" a traditional medley. 

For more information on Parkland College music performances, visit

"Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future" Film Screening

Planetarium, gallery to co-host documentary of "Father of Modern Space Art"

Film Screening: Wednesday, October 9, 7 p.m., William M. Staerkel Planetarium
Free theremin performance featuring Gloria Roubel and Jason Finkelman: October 9, 6:15 to 6:45 p.m., planetarium lobby
Trailer: Available at

What do the Chrysler Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the film "Destination Moon" and America's space program all have in common? They were each touched by the creative vision of a little known artist named Chesley Bonestell.

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium and Giertz Gallery at Parkland College will present the film screening "Chesley Bonestell: A Brush with the Future" Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at the planetarium. This award-winning documentary about the "Father of Modern Space Art" explores Bonestell’s impact on America’s enthusiasm for space that began as early as the 1940s and grew into a national phenomenon in the 1950s and 1960s.

Bonestell (1888-1986) inspired us to get to the moon by the use of his paintbrush. His mesmerizing depiction of "Saturn As Seen From Titan" became known as "the painting that launched a thousand careers." His visionary paintings and illustrations in science magazines, books and science fiction movies inspired and continues to inspire scientists, artists, architects, engineers and sci-fi enthusiasts alike.

This documentary chronicles the extraordinary, nine-decade life of this quiet, artistic visionary, whose beautiful paintings continue to inspire us to reach for the stars. It includes interviews with people who were influenced by or knew Chesley personally and is punctuated with rare interview footage of Chesley. 

Adult admission is $10 and children, students, and seniors are $8.

The planetarium is located on the west side of Parkland College's campus; the M1 parking lot is closest to the planetarium. A drop-off circle drive is located south of the M1 parking lot between the theatre and the planetarium. Call 217/351-2446 for a current schedule or visit the planetarium website. 

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency and through Student Life at Parkland College. Partial funding also provided by Student Life and the Division of Arts and Sciences at Parkland College.

Parkland is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution. For accommodation, call 217/353-2338.

[Chesley Bonestell paintings courtesy of Bonestell LLC]

"Enterprising Machines" Exhibit at Giertz Gallery, Sept. 30–Nov. 2

Solo exhibit features works created using hand, mechanical approaches

Exhibition: Monday, September 30–Saturday, November 2, 2019
Reception: Thursday, October 3, 5:30–7:30 p.m., gallery lounge, with Gallery talk at 6:30 p.m. by Jessica Gondek and music by Derick Cordoba Trio
Additional artist lecture: Thursday, October 3 at 1:15 p.m. in lecture hall L111

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — "Enterprising Machines," a solo exhibition of works on paper by Chicago-based artist Jessica Gondek, will open Sept. 30 at Giertz Gallery at Parkland College.
This exhibit runs through Nov. 2 and includes an artist reception Thursday, Oct. 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The reception features a gallery talk by Gondek at 6:30 p.m. and music by the Derick Cordoba Trio. Gondek will provide an additional lecture earlier that day, at 1:15 p.m. in lecture hall L111.
As with all Giertz Gallery programs, the exhibit, reception and lecture are free and open to the public.
Jessica Gondek often incorporates current technology, using both hand and mechanical approaches to develop her work. Stemming from an interest in geometry, machine aesthetics, architecture and nature, her recent body of work is sparked by machines from the early part of the 20th century, old trade catalogues, domestic utilitarian objects, Da Vinci’s inventions and war machines, Duchamp and contemporary art movements. Marrying both traditional media and digitally mediated computer approaches to the work, she blurs the line of distinction between the hand and the machine.
"I use a range of computer programs to create images; 3D modeling software has direct engineering applications and allows me to construct images in a manner that brings me to a sculptural understanding of the forms I create on the desktop," Gondek explained. "Photoshop subsequently allows me to investigate appropriation, transparency and layering, and the manipulation of imagery. These works are comprised of charcoal and pastel drawings on paper developed on top of digital print substrates, as well as oil and digital print on canvas."
Gondek is an associate professor at Loyola University Chicago and teaches drawing and painting in the Department of Fine and Performing Art. Solo exhibitions include A.I.R. gallery in Brooklyn, the Phoenix Gallery in New York, the Northern Illinois University Art Museum, the Butler Institute of American Art Beecher Center in Youngstown, Ohio, and the Abdijhoeve Ten Bogaerde Cultural Art Center in Belgium. Gondek has received a number of awards including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Artist Grant, a Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Grant, and a Mid-America Arts Alliance National Endowment for the Arts Grant. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is a member of ARC Gallery and Educational Foundation and Woman Made Galleries in Chicago. 
Fall gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 2 p.m.
To find the gallery we suggest using the M6 parking lot on the north corner of campus. Walk past the gym and the fountain area, enter through Door X7, turn left, and follow the ramps up to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. The gallery windows overlook the outdoor fountain area.
Programs at the gallery are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. All events in the accessible gallery are free and open to the public. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution. For accommodation, call 217/353-2337 or email
For more information on the exhibit, please call the gallery office at 217/351-2485 or visit the gallery web page.

[Image: Enterprising Machines, charcoal, pastel, and digital print, 46"x29", 2016 ]

Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" Musical at Parkland Theatre

Enjoy this hilarious musical adaptation of the beloved Mel Brooks movie, April 4–21

"The New Mel Brooks Musical: Young Frankenstein," written by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan, comes to the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre at Parkland College April 4–21. 

Welcome to Transylvania! With music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, this hilarious musical adaptation of the beloved Mel Brooks movie, "Young Frankenstein," is the story of Frederick Frankenstein, grandson of the infamous mad scientist. When Frederick inherits his grandfather’s castle—complete with mysterious passages and secret labs—he decides to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps by bringing the dead back to life.

Chelsea Collier Zych directs a cast that includes Bradyn Wambach, Krystal Moya, Mallory Sellers, James Castree, Jenny Lamberson, Autumn Ellis, David Heckman, and Evan Seggebruch.

The Parkland Theatre will be holding a talkback immediately following the Thursday, April 4, show. Zych, as well as members of the cast and crew, will be on hand to discuss the show and answer audience questions. 

Performances take place in the Harold and Jean Miner Theatre April 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, and 20 at 7:30 p.m. and April 14 and 21 at 3 p.m. 

Ticket prices are: Adult $16, Student/Senior $14, Youth $10, and Group (20 or more) $12. Opening night is half-price night.

This show is recommended for mature audiences due to graphic language and sexual content.

To make reservations, visit or call the show hotline at 217/351-2528.