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Parkland CobraVenture Names Student Entrepreneur of the Year

CobraVenture Pitch Showcase Names Jeane Breiland as Winner

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Parkland College’s Student Entrepreneur of the Year set out to accomplish a very personal mission at this May’s CobraVenture Pitch Showcase: restoring the community hub her grandparents founded in 1946.

Successor to the Village of Camargo's Thompson's General Store, which her family owned and operated for over six decades until its closure in 2016, Jeane Breiland plans to revive the local grocer into Opal's on Main, a neighborhood hot spot featuring local produce, meats and cheeses, curated antiques and artisan goods, handmade candies, a breakfast and lunch cafe, and much more.

Parkland's Entrepreneural Network (PEN) held its third CobraVenture Pitch Showcase on May 23 in the Student Union, where Breiland competed with seven other students in the 2022 CobraVenture cohort for prizes such as $3,000 in seed money, $1,000 in monetary technology, and six months of free mentoring from the University of Illinois Gies College of Business.

"I am super excited about winning the competition!" Breiland said. "Honestly, it was very surprising to me that I won, because my cohort classmates are fantastic public speakers."

The 2022 cohort includes second place winner Muriel "Mimi" Balende; third place winner Nathaniel Carsten; fourth place winner Brad Holt; and alumni award winners Delma Cobb, Nephtalie Salem, Leslie Carlson-Danner, and Shaersti Anderson.

A self-identified planner, Breiland is "especially excited" to begin working with the Gies College of Business. "This opportunity will help me to set the business up in a successful manner before we open the doors of Opal's on Main," she said.

And with the rest of her prize, she's gearing up for the hard part. "We've already started to clean the store out as we prepare for the restoration of the interior," she explained. "Now the work begins to hopefully find grants that will offset the cost of returning the outside and inside of the store to what it once was when my grandparents opened for business in 1946."

The pitch contest highlights students from the CobraVenture student accelerator lab, which launched in January 2020. The semester-long accelerator provides students with an avenue for networking and business mentorship, featuring collaborative workspaces, topics taught by local serial entrepreneurs, and one-on-one guidance with business mentors.

Judging the competition was 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.

"I am so thankful for the whole experience I had in Parkland's CobraVenture program," Breiland said. "I've met so many knowledgeable professionals. I'd absolutely recommend anyone interested in opening their own business sign up this fall."

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. CobraVenture is a collaboration of the Office of the Vice President for Communications and External Affairs, Parkland College Community Education, and the Parkland College Foundation.

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 parkland.edu/cobrapitch.
 
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 parkland.edu/ceRegister 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 communityeducation@parkland.edu, 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 parkland.edu/SWFT; information about Parkland College Adult Education can be found at parkland.edu/adulteducation.

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


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