The Parkland College Blog

Planetarium Lecture to Examine Climate History in Lake Sediment

Staerkel Planetarium to host paleoclimatology Kaler Lecture

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The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will host a presentation on paleoclimatology for the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 5.

Dr. Jessica Conroy, associate professor in the Departments of Geology and Plant Biology at UIUC, will give a talk titled, "Climate, Water, Life, and Rock: Past Climate Information in Tropical Pacific Lake Sediments". The public lecture is free to attend on Zoom.

The coral atoll of Kiritimati (pronounced "Christmas") in the central tropical Pacific Ocean contains hundreds of brackish to hypersaline lakes that are a window into past climate variability in the region. These lakes and their sediments are also valuable archives that can be used to explore fundamental questions about how information about past environments is archived in lake sediments.

Dr. Conroy's group research in this region includes how remotely-sensed lake surface area responds to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. Using sedimentology, stable isotope geochemistry, and organic biomarkers, the group can get a record of climate change on Kiritimati over the last millennium.

Having earned her B.A. in Geology from the College of Wooster, Dr. Conroy received her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. Before joining the University of Illinois in 2013, she was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech.

The Staerkel Planetarium is presenting programs virtually to the public on Friday nights, and offers shows for schools and private groups. Public shows are rebroadcast on the planetarium's YouTube page. The Planetarium staff will present a special edition of Winter Prairie Skies on the same Zoom meeting after the conclusion of Dr. Conroy's Kaler Lecture at 8 p.m. This show is an interactive tour of the night sky, and special editions feature a topic of interest based on audience suggestions or astronomical events. For a full show schedule and for links to the Zoom meetings, visit the planetarium website or email planetarium@parkland.edu.

Parkland College Community Education and Giertz Gallery will be hosting a virtual art competition for District 505 youth ages 7-18.

The Celebrate the Arts! Youth Art Competition will run until Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Students have a chance to win full summer 2021 scholarships for either College for Kids Camp or a Summer Discovery Camp. Each of the three age categories will have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, with honorable mentions.

"Giertz Gallery and Community Education are delighted to offer students the opportunity to partake in a virtual art contest and exhibit," said Terry Thies, Youth Program Manager of Community Education. "During a time when in-person participation with the arts is impacted due to the pandemic, we wanted to find a safe way to encourage students to continue creating, enjoying, and engaging with, art."

Selected works will be featured on Parkland's social media pages, and winners will be announced by Tuesday, March 9 at a Virtual Awards Ceremony.

Entries will be judged by Paula McCarty and Laura O'Donnell. Paula McCarty is the art exhibitions curator and designer for the Springer Cultural Center in Champaign, and teaches classes through Community Education. Laura O'Donnell teaches Art History at Eastern Illinois University.

A full list of rules can be found at parkland.edu/youthartcompetition. Questions about the contest can be directed to giertzgallery@parkland.edu.

Kaler Science Lecture Puts Bacterial Viruses Under Microscope

Staerkel Planetarium to host microbiologist Dr. Asma Hatoum-Aslan

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The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will host a presentation on microbiology for the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 4.
 
Dr. Asma Hatoum-Aslan, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology at UIUC, will give a talk titled, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend: Enlisting bacterial viruses to combat drug-resistant infections". The lecture is available to the public for free through Zoom.
 
The rising tide of drug-resistant bacterial pathogens, coupled with the sharp decline in the discovery of new antibiotics, underscores a pressing need to find alternatives to conventional antibiotics. Bacterial viruses, also known as phages, are major causes of bacterial mortality in nature, and can be harnessed as powerful weapons to combat pathogenic bacteria. Dr. Hatoum-Aslan's talk will highlight the ongoing efforts to discover and characterize new phages that are lethal to Staphylococcus bacteria, and the immune systems that these bacteria use to fight back. These efforts are adding to the arsenal of alternative antimicrobials with potential for therapeutic use.
 
Dr. Hatoum-Aslan earned her B.S. in Molecular Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology, her M.S. in Biochemistry from the American University of Beirut, and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Cornell University. Before joining the University of Illinois in August, she completed her postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University, where she investigated mechanisms of the bacterial immune system called CRISPR-Cas. Her research program investigates CRISPR-Cas and other immune systems that bacteria use to defend against their viruses (phages). Synergistically, knowledge gained from bacterial immune systems is applied to discover and engineer new phages as a basis for novel antimicrobials. Her work is currently supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award and a PATH award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.
 
The Staerkel Planetarium is presenting programs virtually to the public, to schools, and to private groups. Public shows are rebroadcast on the planetarium's YouTube page. The planetarium staff will present a special edition of Fall Prairie Skies on the same Zoom meeting after the conclusion of the Kaler lecture at 8 p.m. This show is an interactive tour of the night sky, including a focus on the closest conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in the sky in almost 400 years. For a full show schedule and for links to the Zoom meetings, visit the planetarium website or email planetarium@parkland.edu. 

Parkland College's Giertz Gallery to Host Virtual Architecture Tour

Join Giertz Gallery on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. on Zoom

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Parkland College's Giertz Gallery will be offering an exciting and informative virtual Chicago River Architecture Tour on November 19, at 7 p.m. on Zoom.

The tour, hosted by Hillary Marzec, founder of top-ranked tour company Inside Chicago Walking Tours, will offer supplemental information for those who have been on the Boat Tour in previous years, and an enticing introduction to Chicago architecture for those who have not been on the tour before.

The trip will start on the Chicago River from the point of view tourists experience when boarding the cruise ship, but the virtual tour will allow extension past street-level details to the interiors of well-known buildings, with historical context provided by Marzec. 

This event is sponsored by Ford City. Admission is free, but registration is required. To sign up for the Chicago River Architecture Tour, click here. Donations welcome. All proceeds will go to the Giertz Gallery.

Staerkel Planetarium to host Kaler Science Lecture on Nuclear Energy

Nuclear engineer Dr. Katy Huff to present "Atomic Advancements"

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Parkland College's William M. Staerkel Planetarium will feature nuclear energy research as the subject of the next edition of the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series on Friday, November 6 at 7 p.m.
 
Dr. Katy Huff, assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, and Blue Waters Assistant Professor with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at UIUC, will be presenting "Atomic Advancements" on Friday. The lecture will be held on Zoom and is offered free to the public.
 
The energy density of nuclear fuel is unmatched by any other fuel source. Conventional nuclear reactors supply most of Illinois's electricity and over 80% of its carbon-free electricity. These devices have an unparalleled record of safety, reliability, and sustainability, and the next generation of reactors incorporate decades of experience, research, and technological advancements which enable walk-away safety, meltdown-proof fuels, and flexible integration with renewables. Dr. Huff's talk will demystify transformative new reactors, fuels, and recycling technologies ready to support a clean energy future worldwide.
 
Dr. Huff earned her B.A. in Physics from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Before joining the University of Illinois in 2016, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in both the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science. She now leads the Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycles Research Group.
 
The Staerkel Planetarium is focused on virtual programs to schools, private groups, and to the public until the dome can reopen. The planetarium staff will present Fall Prairie Skies on the same Zoom meeting after the conclusion of the Kaler lecture at 8 p.m. This show is an interactive tour of the night sky, including a focus on satellites and space junk. For a full show schedule and for links to the Zoom meetings, visit the planetarium website or email planetarium@parkland.edu.
 

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