The Parkland College Blog

Artificial Intelligence Topic of April Kaler Science Lecture

UIUC professor to discuss principles, advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning

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The history, principles and advancement of artificial intelligence will shape April's James B. Kaler Science Lecture at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium.

University of Illinois Assistant Professor Dr. Alexander Schwing, from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will present "Artificial Intelligence: Making a Brain out of Data and Compute," on Friday, April 5 at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge.

Recent advances in artificial intelligence have tempted experts to label the technology "the new electricity," in reference to transformations equaling those caused by electricity 100 years ago. In his presentation, Schwing will discuss the history of the field, explain pictorially one of the main principles in artificial intelligence and machine learning, demonstrate recent advances of the field and envision future developments.

His talk is intended to be accessible to the general public. No prior knowledge is required.

Schwing's research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign centers on machine learning and computer vision. He is particularly interested in algorithms for prediction with and learning of nonlinear, multivariate and structured distributions, and their application in numerous tasks, such as in 3D scene understanding from a single image. He completed his PhD in computer science in the Computer Vision and Geometry Group at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Following Schwing's talk, the planetarium will present the fulldome show, "Two Small Pieces of Glass: The Amazing Telescope" followed by a show based on Pink Floyd’s "The Wall." Tickets for regular planetarium programs range from $5 to $6. Call 217/351-2446 or visit the planetarium website for more information.

Cobras Clinch M-WAC Championship

Parkland defeats Illinois Central, 70-59

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No. 8 Parkland Men's Basketball clinched its fourth Mid-West Athletic Conference title in the last five seasons on Wednesday evening with a 70-59 victory over visiting Illinois Central. Sophomore guard Yaakema Rose Jr. led the Cobras with 16 points as Parkland improved to 22-3 on the season, 7-1 in conference.
After not having won a conference title in the history of the M-WAC prior to 2014-15, the Cobras have finished atop the conference in four of the last five years. Winning seven of its eight conference games in 2019, the Cobras will finish at least one game clear of second place John Wood, who is 5-2 with one conference game remaining.
Shooting 48.1 percent as a team on Wednesday, including 47.1 percent from the three, the Cobras were led offensively by 16 points and four assists from Rose. In his fifth straight double-digit scoring performance, Rose knocked down five shots, including two threes, and converted four of his six free throw attempts. The other Cobra in double figures was guard Charles Campbell Jr. with 10 points. Forwards Joey Saracco and Bruno Williams Jr. each added in eight points.
Trailing Illinois Central for much of Wednesday's first half, the Cobras fell behind early, 18-11, behind cold shooting and second-chance buckets from the Cougars. Five straight points from Williams cut the lead back down to two, 18-16, and then a three from Tommy Makabu three minutes later brought the Cobras even, 24-24, with 5:28 remaining. Trading buckets, the Cobras trailed 30-28 with three minutes left. From threre, the Cobras would hold the visitors without a point for the remainder of the half as part of a 9-0 run. Taking their first lead of the game on a Rose Jr. three, 31-30, and then hit four straight free throws before a Ty Walter Jr. hit a jumper to conclude the run.  
Parkland extended the Cougars scoring drought for two-and-a-half minutes into the second half, as a pair of free throws pushed the lead out nine, 39-30. Taking a double-digit lead with 15 minutes left in the game on a layup by point guard Ty'Ohn Trimble, the Cobras maintained the 10-plus point advantage for the remainder of the night. A 9-2 run over the next three-plus minutes, highlighted by five points from Campbell, gave the Cobras their biggest lead of the game, 53-36. The Cougars would cut their deficit back to 11 with 9:39 left, but wouldn't get any closer as the Cobras closed out their seventh conference victory.
Leading the Cobras to a 22-3 overall record and M-WAC title is a stingy defense that ranks among the best in NJCAA Division II. Holding opponents to the third lowest points-per-game average (64.9) nationally, Cobra opponents are shooting just 41.0 percent from the field, good for 21st lowest in the country. A part of the low field goal percentage is an average of 4.2 blocks per contest that sits 24th nationally.
Offensively, Parkland prides itself on taking care of the ball with its 10.8 turnovers per game ranking 11th in the NJCAA. With the ball security, Parkland is hitting 47.1 percent of their shots – 29th in NJCAA – and is grabbing 14.0 offensive rebounds per game to rank 31st. Individually, two Cobras are averaging double digit scoring, as Rose leads the team at 15.4 PPG followed by Williams at 11.9 PPG. Trimble's 9.7 points per game falls just shy of double digits to go along with a team-high 4.3 assists per contest.
Up next, Parkland will next look to lock up the top seed in next week's Region 24 tournament on Saturday in their regular season finale against Rend Lake at 3 p.m. central time. Both 7-2 in Region 24, the Cobras and Warriors are tied for top spot with John Wood (6-3) one game back.

Article by Chad Beyler

Dental Hygiene Director to Receive Innovation Award

Peg Boyce to be honored during 14th annual event, at Parkland College

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A Parkland College faculty member will receive countywide honor for her community service next month.

Peg Boyce, director of the Dental Hygiene program, has won the 2019 Innovation in Engagement Award-Parkland College, the Champaign County Economic Development Corp. announced Tuesday. This award recognizes an individual or group at Parkland College who has strongly supported the college’s community engagement mission.

She will receive her honor during the 14th Annual Innovation Celebration to be held Friday, March 29, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Parkland College's Student Union, 2400 W. Bradley Avenue, Champaign. The  Innovation Celebration is hosted by the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation in partnership with the University of Illinois, Parkland College, and community sponsors.

Boyce has served as an associate professor at Parkland since 2007. For years, she has helped Parkland College Dental Hygiene students host numerous free dental clinics in the Champaign County area, in conjunction with the Illini Dental Society and Smile Healthy. These include the "Day of Healthy Smiles" adult clinic, the "Give Kids a Smile Day" clinic for area children, and Latino Screening Days (coordinated with Parkland's Club Latino student group and area organizations). She has also taken her students abroad into countries with developing economies to offer traveling dental-care clinics.

The Innovation Celebration recognizes community individuals, organizations, and corporations that have made significant contributions, taken risks, and provided leadership to ensure the continuing economic success of Champaign County, the ongoing success of the University of Illinois' economic development mission, and the growth of entrepreneurial talent and energy in our community. This event serves as a benchmark of success for the nominees and those selected to receive this prestigious award. Learn more at

Private Illinois Colleges, Universities Transfer Fair

Thinking of transfer? Get information; talk with college representatives

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Meet private college/university representatives from Illinois during the spring Private Illinois Colleges and Universities Fair, set for Wednesday, April 10, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the college's Student Union.

Colleges Attending (as of 3-27-19):

Aurora University
Bradley University
Columbia College Chicago
Concordia University Chicago
Dominican University
Eureka College
Greenville University
Illinois College
Lakeview College of Nursing
Lincoln College
Lincoln College- ABE
Loyola University Chicago
MacMurray College
McKendree University
Methodist College 
Millikin University
Olivet Nazarene University 
Quincy University
Resurrection University
Robert Morris University
St. John’s College of Nursing
VanderCook College of Music

This event is sponsored by Parkland College Counseling Services; for more information, call 217/351-2461.

Parkland to Host Regional Science Olympiad

Area high school, middle school students to compete in science subjects

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Area high school and middle school students will face off in a scientific competition at Parkland College on Saturday, March 9 during the regional Science Olympiad tournament.

The annual event, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. throughout the campus, will feature 26 varsity and junior varsity teams from 17 area schools. Contestants will use their problem-solving skills and knowledge of scientific concepts in over 40 events throughout the day, including hands-on experiments and demonstrations. The students, who have been preparing for this event during the school year, will be tested on biology, earth science, chemistry, physics and technology concepts.

Winning teams will receive awards at ceremonies in Miner Theatre and Dodds Athletic Center (gym) following the competition and will advance to the Illinois Science Olympiad state tournament, to be held April 13 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Science Olympiad is an international nonprofit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers. Last year, more than 7,400 secondary schools participated in Science Olympiad tournaments.
For more information about the Parkland regional including volunteering opportunities, visit