The Parkland College Blog

Student Startups Chosen for New CobraVenture Accelerator

Ten-student cohort to begin developing business plans

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Pursuing their place in industries ranging from home healthcare to casual dining, the 10 student startups chosen for Parkland College's new CobraVenture accelerator are eager to get to work this month.
This pilot cohort includes students from a variety of academic programs who want to start their own businesses while still enrolled in college. This week, participants will begin attending a series of educational workshops on how to get started with their business plan and become their own boss. Session facilitator Marc Changnon will join powerful speakers at each workshop to help students succeed.
"We are as excited about the group's business ideas, which will have a great impact on this community and beyond, as the students are," Changnon said. "Now it's time for them to learn what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur and put these ideas on paper to make sure they're sound and sustainable."
The 10 startups in CobraVenture's 2019 cohort are:
Dylan Taylor, Good Game and Food
Laura LaBaugh, Handmade Bridal Veils
Mitchell Thompsen, Vanguard Drone Services 
Giscard Roland, Screenboard LLC
Nichole Pearson, Medical Rides
Preston Richardson, The Helping Hand Company
James Buhr, Brace and Byte Woodworks
Gayle McDonald, PS 31 Productions
Elizabeth Allen, Vinyl Record Press
Samy Mackey, Samy's Food
Part of the Parkland Entrepreneurial Network (PEN), the CobraVenture program provides students with an avenue for networking and business mentorship. The semester-long accelerator will feature a collaborative workspace, topics taught by local serial entrepreneurs, and one-on-one guidance with business mentors.

Participants will have the chance to bring their business ideas to fruition by competing for up to $3,000 in seed money in CobraVenture's capstone Pitch Showcase this May, along with opportunities to raise even more capital as their pitches impress area leaders.

In its pilot year, CobraVenture joins two other PEN successes including Applied Media Promotions (AMP), a student-run public relations firm, and Perimeter Road Sound Recordings, a student-run record label. Both are operated by the college's Arts and Sciences division.

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.

"Conceptualizing CobraVenture and getting it off the ground has been an exciting experience because we're bringing together so many different units on campus and assets in the community to make it happen," Stuart said. "The students bring such creativity, passion, and energy to the table. We hope to bring them a rich experience and fuel the local economy with small businesses started right here at Parkland College." 

Local Physician Provides Gift to Parkland College Ceramics

Dr. Victor Feldman began taking ceramics classes after his retirement

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A Parkland College arts department received the major lift of a $150,000 donation from a local physician who had taken classes in the department.

On Jan. 7, family members of the late Dr. Victor Feldman presented the Parkland College Foundation with the gift, designated to support Ceramics, a studio-art department within the college's Art and Design program.
A longtime Champaign-Urbana ophthalmologist who passed away last May, Dr. Feldman began taking Parkland Ceramics classes after his retirement, discovering a new skill he enjoyed for many years thereafter. 

His generous gift will be used to improve Ceramics course curricula and provide other program support. Associate art professor and Ceramics faculty Chris Berti felt humbled by the gift, calling it a continuation of Dr. Feldman's generosity to the program. 

"I'm touched beyond words!" Berti said. "As a continuing student, Victor was a fixture in my Ceramics class. His positive contributions to the class environment were demonstrated by his positive energy, consistent work ethic, skill, and passion for ceramics. Additionally, he generously donated numerous works every year to Parkland Art Gallery (Giertz Gallery) fundraisers and frequently helped other students in the combined beginning and advanced Ceramics class."

A University of Illinois medical school graduate and former US Army captain, Dr. Feldman completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary before joining the staff of Champaign's Christie Clinic in 1967. He practiced ophthalmology locally for 35 years. 

At the University of Illinois Medical School, where Dr. Feldman taught, he won two Golden Apple Awards as outstanding teacher of the year. He also served on the board of the Busey Trust Company for 30 years. He was known for his philanthropy, serving as a Rotarian and volunteering his services to community nursing homes.

And as a lifelong learner, Dr. Feldman was a model student.

"He set a great example for both traditional and nontraditional students alike," Berti said. "I will miss him."

[Images: Upper left: Dr. Feldman's daughter, Ruth Lyons, second from left, presented his gift to Foundation Director Tracy Wahlfeldt, Art Professor Chris Berti, and Fine and Applied Arts Chair Julie Weishar. Middle right and lower left: Ceramic art by Dr. Feldman.]

Campus Closure - Inclement Weather

No MTD bus service to campus Saturday, Jan. 12

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All classes, programs, and services have been cancelled at Parkland College for Saturday, January 12, and all offices will be closed as well. This notice includes all athletic events and partner classes taking place on campus. All access roads to campus will be closed, and there will be no bus service by the MTD.

Adult Literacy Tutors Needed: Project READ Orientation Feb. 2

Expanding adult education services across District 505

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The Project READ literacy program, offered through Parkland Adult Education, is now accepting volunteer tutors.

Project READ will offer a tutor training session on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City. Attendees will learn more about the program that helps adults improve their basic reading, writing, math, and English language skills.

Project READ volunteer tutors work one-on-one with adult learners and may also assist in English as a Second Language and GED prep classes in the Adult Education department. Many of our tutors and learners are adults age 18 to 80. A two-hour/week commitment is all that is needed to help people improve their lives and the lives of their families.

Registration is necessary to attend the training session. To register, please call Project READ at 217/353-2662 or email by Jan. 31.

Parkland College Dean's List Announced

Approximately 825 students named to dean's list for Fall 2018

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To honor their outstanding scholastic achievement, approximately 825 students have been named to the Parkland College Dean's List for fall 2018. To make the list, students must earn a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 grade scale for the semester in which they are being honored. Students who earn less than 12 hours in that semester can make the dean's list by achieving a 3.5 cumulative GPA for 12 or more hours during an academic year.

To view the full dean's list, visit Congratulations!