The Parkland College Blog

"Spiders" Topic of Planetarium Science Talk

UI entomologist takes a look at spiders in the movies, our backyards

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"Spiders" will invade the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College next month, as a science talk. 

University of Illinois entomologist Dr. May Berenbaum will present "Spiderman vs. Spiders: Marvel vs. the Real World," the next presentation in the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series, Friday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door with Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge. 

Hollywood's depiction of spiders has little to do with the real world. Known locally for her annual "Insect Fear Film Festival," Berenbaum will look at spiders in the movies but then come back home to backyards in central Illinois to examine real spiders and their awesome diversity. There are over 45,000 species of spiders; what misconceptions might we have about these air-breathing, eight-legged arthropods? 

Berenbaum has been on the faculty of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1980, serving as head since 1992 and as Swanlund Chair of Entomology since 1996. She is known for elucidating chemical mechanisms underlying interactions between insects and their host plants, including detoxification of natural and synthetic chemicals, and for applying ecological principles in developing sustainable management practices for natural and agricultural communities. Her research has produced over 230 refereed scientific publications and 35 book chapters.

Devoted to teaching and fostering scientific literacy through formal and informal education, she has authored numerous magazine articles and six books about insects for the general public. Berenbaum received her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University in 1980. In 2014, she received the National Medal of Science from President Barack Obama.

Following Berenbaum’s talk, the Staerkel Planetarium will present the show "Cosmic Colors: An Adventure Along the Spectrum." Tickets for regular planetarium programming are $5 and $6. Call 217/351-2446 for a current schedule or visit the planetarium website

Parkland College Students Earn Flight Credentials

More than 45 credentials earned during summer, fall terms

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The following students earned flight credentials from the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College during the college's summer 2018 and fall 2018 terms.

Soloed for the First Time in a Piper Archer
Leonardo Andrade, Champaign
Sam Arend, Urbana
Evan Burge, Mahomet
Adam Cafin, Champaign
Daniel Cooper, Downs
Ryan Coulson, Mahomet
Sarah Day, Danville
John Dee, Urbana
Joshua Dye, Lockport
Peter Herrmann, Rockford
Rashid Hussain, Savoy
Ian Kunz, White Heath
Andrew Laub, Oregon
Aaron Padilla, Rantoul
Cody Pankau, Tuscola
Landon Tate, East Peoria
Daniel Wyckoff, Buckley
Jiaqi Yang, Shanghai, China

Earned a Private Pilot Airplane Single-Engine Land Certificate
Donald Brown, Beecher City
Ashley Dani, Champaign
Sarah Day, Danville
Joshua Dye, Lockport
Ian Kunz, White Heath
Jacob Renfrew, St. Joseph
Earned an Instrument Rating Certificate
Cullen Brucker, Melvin
Bryson Chancellor, Tolono
Lucas Charles, Sidney
Theoplus Coleman, Champaign
Trenton Edelman, Forrest
Louis M. Farrakhan, Crete
Spencer Mohr, Chicago
Colin Rudicil, Mahomet

Earned the Commercial Pilot Airplane Single-Engine Rating
Chloe Graver, St. Joseph
Jose Mora, Arcola
Kyle Schum, Mahomet
Dongjin Shin, Champaign
Jacob Walwer, Watseka
Allison Whitfield, Staunton

Earned the Certified Flight Instructor Airplane Single-Engine Certificate
Moises Diaz II, Schiller Park
Justin Jacobson, Downers Grove
Jacob Walwer, Watseka

Earned the Certified Flight Instructor Instrument Airplane Single-Engine
Tristan Polk, Champaign

Earned the Commercial Pilot Multi Engine Land Airplane Certificate
Justin Jacobson, Downers Grove
Kai Lopez, Urbana
Jacob Walwer, Watseka
Hui Wang, Urbana

Photos of the flight students who earned awards is available on the institute's Facebook page.

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 community 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.

Degree Completion Day Set for Feb. 20

See what courses are needed to finish your degree

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Parkland College students and area residents who have not completed their Parkland College degree and/or certificate are invited to a special event Wednesday, Feb. 20. They can meet with an academic advisor to see what courses are needed to finish their degree.
Degree Completion Day will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Parkland's Student Union. Past and current students who want to finish their Parkland College credentials will be able to:

  • receive academic advising

  • confirm their degree program

  • learn how to track their progress toward a degree or certificate

  • see which universities guarantee junior-level transfer status with a completed Parkland credential

  • complete a Petition to Graduate form, if applicable

The event, which includes giveaways and refreshments, will be live-streamed from WPCD FM.
For more information on Degree Completion Day, please contact the Office of Admissions at 217/351-2482 or

Parkland Pathway to Illinois Program Open House

Graduating seniors can gain guaranteed admission to certain University of Illinois programs

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High school students can learn more about a Parkland College program guaranteeing them admission in selected colleges at the University of Illinois while saving money on tuition.
The Parkland Pathway to Illinois Program Information Open House will be held Sunday, Feb. 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Parkland College Student Union. Prospective students and their parents are welcome to attend.
Representatives from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Parkland will answer questions about the Parkland Pathway to Illinois Program, including eligibility, housing options, financial aid, admissions, and other topics. 

For qualifying Illinois high school graduates who begin college at Parkland and are interested in transferring to the University of Illinois, the program is an opportunity to gain guaranteed admission to certain University of Illinois programs. While preparing to transfer, participating students will be able to integrate their time as full-time Parkland students with resources and classes at Illinois. Pathway students typically complete the program in two years, but AP credit and college credit earned in high school may affect program length.

For questions about the program, please go to, call Mary Kay Smith at 217/351-2509 or email