The Parkland College Blog

Parkland College's Arts and Sciences division announces the creation of a new department: Arts, Media, and Social Sciences (AMSS).

At the request of the Vice President for Academic Services and the Dean of Arts and Sciences, faculty chairs, full- and part-time faculty, and staff in Fine and Applied Arts (FAA), Humanities (HUM), and Social Sciences and Human Services (SSHS) formed a working group in fall 2020 to explore how to more efficiently integrate the three departments with organizational options that best served the student body and staff, while working to save on costs. 

The chosen proposal included integrating FAA and SSHS into one department called Arts, Media, and Social Sciences, leaving HUM as is. The proposal, which called for the new department to officially begin in fall 2022, was approved in spring 2021.

"The merging of the Fine and Applied Arts with the Social Sciences department will create a more efficient administrative structure, and more importantly, a close working relationship between the creative and dynamic faculty working in the separate departments," said Joseph Walwik, dean of Arts and Sciences. "We are excited to see the important role this new department will play in continuing to serve the students of Parkland College."

The merger is not expected to disrupt day to day activities for students or staff. No personnel, classroom, or faculty offices changes are required. The AMSS department office will be located in C120, with the chair's office in C121.

FAA and SSHS faculty and staff elected Isabel Scarborough, the current faculty chair for SSHS, for a three-year term as the new AMSS faculty chair beginning in summer 2022. Professor of Art and Design Matthew Watt will serve as assistant chair.

Scarborough holds a doctorate in cultural anthropology, is a Fulbright Scholar, and Parkland's program director for anthropology and sociology. She was awarded a national Community College Faculty Fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies for 2021-2022. She joined Parkland College in 2012 and has served in a number of college committees, including as co-chair for academic assessment. She is passionate about teaching and community outreach.

For more information about AMSS, please visit

David M. Jones Persuasive Speaking Contest Winners Announced

Joel Langston wins first place in David Jones Speech Contest

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Four Parkland College students earned top honors among the 14 persuasive speakers who recently presented at the 19th annual David M. Jones Persuasive Speaking Contest. The competition, which highlights the speaking styles and skills of students who have taken a communication class at Parkland, gives students the opportunity to speak in support of their favorite charity. Local, national, and international charities were represented. Earning first place honors in this year's May 11 contest was Joel Langston of Champaign, whose speech supporting the Eastern Illinois Food Bank earned him a $500 scholarship. The food bank will receive a $500 donation from the Communication program faculty. "Participating in the David Jones Speech Contest allowed me the opportunity to support a cause I believe in," Langston explained. "It provided valuable experience and improved communication skills that are applicable in both my personal and professional endeavors, and helped bolster my confidence in public speaking settings. I'm very grateful to have taken part!" Delma Cobb of Rantoul came in second with her speech for the Equal Justice Initiative, earning a prize of $250. Jake Van Anrooy of Poplar Grove was third with a speech supporting Jazz at Lincoln Center, and won $100. Fourth place winner Cavan Morber of Champaign will receive $50 for his speech supporting the Ocean Cleanup. Each year, Parkland's Communication faculty selects communication professionals within the community and campus as finalist judges. This year's final-round judges were Parkland president Tom Ramage; Peter Barrett, production manager of WCIA/WCIX TV; Grant Thompson, vice president and general manager of WDWS/WHMS; Tracy Wahlfeldt, executive director of the Parkland College Foundation; and Morgann Quilty, associate dean of Parkland's Learning Commons. The contest is sponsored by the Parkland College Communication program and Parkland's Fine and Applied Arts department and is supported by donations made to the David Jones Persuasive Speech Contest Scholarship Fund. The fund was created in honor of Jones, former chair of the Fine and Applied Arts department from 1988 until his death from cancer in 2002. The annual speech contest honors Dr. Jones' commitment to the communication discipline and student enrichment.  

[from top: Joel Langston, Delma Cobb, Jake Van Anrooy, Cavan Morber]

Parkland Foundation Receives Donation for New Scholarship

I & I Antique Tractor & Gas Engine Club donates funding for new scholarships

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The Parkland College Foundation has received a generous $20,000 endowment for a new scholarship fund.

The gift from the I & I Antique Tractor & Gas Engine Club will provide scholarships for Parkland students in the Agriculture, Diesel Power, and Case New Holland Service Technician programs.

"Throughout the years, our club has received memorial gifts and we wanted to find some way to use these funds to honor the individuals," said club president Chuck Stelter, who presented the Foundation with the award on June 8.

"We believe that helping students in agriculture programs is a wonderful way to utilize these funds and carry out our mission: continuing the tradition and preservation of antique agriculture in Illinois and Indiana."

The I & I Antique Tractor & Gas Engine Club Scholarship will be available in Fall 2022 for students in select Illinois and Indiana counties. Interested students can visit to find out more.

For more information about the Parkland College Foundation, please visit

[pictured from left: Steve Hancock, Gordie Hedrick, Tracy Wahlfeldt, Chuck Stelter, Charlie Mitsdarfer, Pamela Lau, Jerry Lighty]

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.

Parkland College Students Earn Spring Flight Credentials

Aviation Students Earn Spring 2022 Credentials

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The following students earned flight credentials from the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College during the college's spring semester.

Soloed for the First Time in a Piper Archer
Saurav Ahlawat, international
Shivesh Chatrath, international
Jack Cook, Naperville
Vincent Evans, Chicago
Derek Hicks, White Heath
David Keeler, Champaign
Matthew Klos, Champaign
Maxwell Kolarich, Niagara Falls, NY
Pat Kolis, Springfield
Miron Liu, Urbana
Francisco Salinas, Carpentersville
Lucas Schumacher, Franklin
Nathan Vale, Chicago

Earned the Private Pilot Airplane Single-Engine Land (ASEL) Certificate
Nicholas Anderson, Urbana
Cameron Baker, Savoy
Mya Cobb, Mattoon
Jacob Dunklau, White Heath
William Fonner, Effingham
Peter Gallagher, Chicago
Andrew Green, Arcola
Micah Hortega, Ottawa
August Stauffer, Urbana
Aiden Tilstra, Onarga

Earned the Instrument Airplane Rating
Benjamen Barker, Rantoul
Adrian Bituin, Rantoul
Coalton Camden, Mt. Zion
Charles Evans, Chicago
Maxwell Moews, Bloomington
Christopher Murphy, Chicago
Emily Plauck, DeKalb

Earned the Commercial Pilot ASEL Certificate
Parker Allen, Galesburg
Robert Knight, Champaign
Zeth McCloud, St. Joseph
Maximus Torres, Park Ridge
Lukas Wright, Danville

Earned the Flight Instructor ASE Certificate
Leonardo Andrade, Houston, TX
John Dee, Champaign
Andrew Laub, Oregon
Paolo Kinsella, Bement

Earned the Flight Instructor-Instrument Airplane
Armando Collazo Garcia, Champaign
Aubrey Glennon, Bement

Earned the Commercial Pilot Multi Engine Land Certificate
Zachary Chalk, Mahomet
Louis Farrakhan, Champaign
Peter Herrmann, Rockford
Amina Jackson, Chicago
Paolo Kinsella, Bement
Andrew Laub, Oregon

Parkland College assumed ownership of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Institute of Aviation in fall 2014, leasing its aircraft and facilities at Willard Airport in Savoy to continue flight training. The College has continued the excellent instruction provided by the University's institute, which educated more than 13,000 pilots in its 70-year history. Many of its graduates are employed in the aviation industry around the world.

Along with the two-year degree in aviation, students can earn a private pilot certificate and commercial pilot ratings, including multi-engine land and flight instructor.

[photos from top: William Fonner, Jacob Fitton and Benjamin Barker, Emily Plauck, Amina Jackson]