The Parkland College Blog

Teens from our popular Land Surveying and Mapping with Technology camp were treated to a visit from some surveying tech gurus and engineers from St. Louis mid-June. And there were drones involved.

Todd Horton, instructor of the camp and program manager for Parkland’s Construction Management Programs, arranged to have Thouvenot, Wade & Moerchen, Inc. teach campers in the classroom and provide hands-on training outdoors on a perfect summer day near the gymnasium.

“We need to raise awareness in land surveying, and these guys are great at it,” he said.”

“These guys” were Derek Twente, Andrew Joost, and Josh Hoffmann, who taught the teens about telegrammetry and LiDAR imaging—cutting-edge technologies in the field of surveying and mapping.

“We work with GIS, surveying crews, civil engineers, and many, many more groups of people,” said Joost, a geospatial data manager who has worked in the field ten years. “There are many people involved.”

After spending some time in the classroom, the campers headed outside and received some hands-on instruction with a drone. Hoffmann, a geospatial construction services manager, held a captive audience as he put his drone on autopilot. It lifted into the air as he explained to students that the drone would take a series of 31 pictures at 250 feet, moving in a grid-like pattern. The resulting images would provide ortho-image data and plot points.

“It’s amazing technology,” he said. “When I show these kids the detail afterward, they’re going to be blown away.”

The trip up from St. Louis was an investment for these engineers. “Most kids out there don’t really know anything about what they can do in this field,” said Twente, who is also the president-elect of the Illinois Professional Land Surveyor’s Association. “I know of only one other camp in Illinois that does this.” He was referring to Todd Horton’s intensive surveying and mapping camp, which puts equipment in the hands of teens and shows them a potential future in surveying. The job market is booming, but there is a lack of awareness of what the industry entails and how to get in it.

With the advent of new technologies, such as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, or drones) and the increased capabilities of cameras, imagery, and software, surveying has exploded into new methods of discovery and accessibility. The equipment can be fun, the work takes place indoors and outdoors, and the pay can be pretty good. The catch?

“Kids just don’t know about this stuff,” Horton said.

Except for these kids. They’re right in the middle of the fun, thanks to Horton and the engineers from Thoutvenot, Wade & Moerchen, Inc. They’ve gotten a leg-up on their peers when it comes to future job opportunities, and they got to do it in a fun summer camp.

Did your teens miss the camp? No problem! There are other ways to get involved. Here are some other opportunities:

  • For internships and inquiries, contact Derek Twente, Geospatial Services Manager, at 618/624-4488, or email dtwente@twm-inc.com.
  • For UAS/Drone classes, FAA licenses, and using mapping software, contact Parkland College Business Training & Community Education, at 217/351-2235, or register online at www.parkland.edu/btceRegister

For more information on surveying and mapping, future camps, and similar opportunities, email Todd Horton at thorton@parkland.edu.

Long Awaited "Taking Flight" Now Installed

Flock of 505 birds represent college's district number

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Three years is a long time for newly hatched birds to start flying.
 
But that's how long Champaign artist Ann Coddington had to wait before her artwork, a flock of 505 black, ceramic-glazed birds, could suspend from the ceiling in Parkland College's Student Union lobby.
 
Although each bird in the piece, titled "Taking Flight," is different from the others, the flock visually moves as a collective, from east to west, across the lobby's sky. Coddington, an Eastern Illinois University drawing and design professor, called her design choice an apt metaphor for an educational experience.
 
"The students who have come to Parkland College and have formed relationships go off on their own and are individuals again, but while they are at Parkland, they are part of this really special group," said Coddington, who also taught design classes at Parkland for 10 years.
 
Installed this past Memorial Day weekend, "Taking Flight" was originally scheduled to soar summer 2015, after Student Union construction was complete. That's when Illinois legislators froze the state budget, including monies earmarked for the project under the State of Illinois Art in Architecture program. 
 
"I was three weeks ahead of installing the work when they froze the budget," Coddington said. “The piece was finished and ready to go when it was put on hold, and the 27 boxes had to be stored in my mother’s basement!” 
 
When the state finally released the funds this past November, she still had to wait until school was out for the summer to finish the project; conditions needed to be right for the delicate work of hanging the birds to begin.
 
"The installation was quite involved," she said of the work that lasted May 21 to 29. "I had my crew of five assistants. We had to lay a floor, utilize a scissor lift, have special insurance. I also had to be able to cordon off the area."  
 
If the installation phase of the project was intricate, the design and preparation phase was even more so, taking nearly a year to complete. 
 
"Monday through Wednesday I would work at my job, then from Wednesday night on, I'd work along with two assistants for 40 hours or so until I went back to work," Coddington remarked. "It was a really intense production schedule."
 
First, she had to consider the natural elements--wood, stone, sunlight--that make up the bright, airy space she would be working with.
 
"The architecture is kind of open, bringing the outside in, so I wanted to continue that concept with the work," she said. "I wanted to respect the established architecture so that the piece I was installing was consistent with design of the space." Next, she wove 10 different bird shapes in an off-loom basket-making technique called twining, made plaster molds of each shape, then poured liquid ceramic slip into the molds, crafting thin shells of clay birds. She would painstakingly retool each bird before it was fired, glazed, then fired a second time.
 
"When you open the mold and remove the shell of clay, there's a seam where the two halves come together," she explained. "I would redraw the woven texture around each seam so there's not an obvious line; I had to recreate the texture." The number of birds, 505, represents Parkland's district number within the community college system.
 
While "Taking Flight" is not Coddington's first flock of birds (she had other installations in Cincinnati and St. Louis), it is her first permanent commissioned sculptured flock, one she was happy to complete for Parkland College.
 
"I loved my time at Parkland, and many of my old friends still work in the Art Department, so I feel honored to have a piece there," she said. "I wanted to create a unique piece for this special place."

Parkland College Dean's List Announced

More than 1,090 students named to the dean's list for the Spring 2018 semester

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To honor their outstanding scholastic achievement, approximately 1,095 students have been named to the Parkland College Dean's List for spring 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 parkland.edu/deanslist. Congratulations!

Cobras Summer Sports Camps Open to Area Youth

Softball, volleyball camps for youth entering 2nd through 12th grades

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Openings are still available to take advantage of Parkland College Cobras Summer Softball and Volleyball Camps this year for youth entering 2nd through 12th grades. For camp registration information, call Parkland Athletics at 217/351-2226 or visit www.parkland.edu/athletics.

Softball Camp
Cobras Advanced Skills Fast-Pitch Softball Camp for ages 12 through 18 will be held Tuesday, June 19 at the Dodds Athletic Field. Pitching, hitting, and defense will be emphasized. The Cobras have played in the NJCAA National Tournament eight times since 2002 and have had 18 players named NJCAA All-Americans! Registration is $60 per participant; reservation forms are available at the Parkland Athletics website. For additional information, call Coach Chuck Clutts at 217/351-2370 or email cclutts@parkland.edu.

 
Volleyball Camp
Cobras Volleyball Camp sessions at the Dodds Athletic Center (Parkland gym) will be held throughout the month of July for campers entering grades 2 through 9. Learn from the best; the Cobras were the 2015 and 2016 NJCAA National Champions. Camp information and a registration form are available at the Parkland Athletics website. For additional information, call 217/351-2226.

"Illinois at 200" Art Exhibit

Statewide working artist exhibit celebrates Illinois bicentennial; through Aug. 8

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Exhibition: Illinois at 200
June 18 to Aug. 8, 2018, Giertz Gallery at Parkland College
Closing Reception: Wednesday, Aug. 8, 5:30–7:30 p.m.; gallery talk at 6:30 p.m. with exhibition juror Doug Stapleton, Associate Curator of Art, Illinois State Museum
 
To celebrate the Illinois bicentennial, Giertz Gallery at Parkland College is collaborating with 40 North: Champaign County Arts Council to host a summer exhibition highlighting the achievements of contemporary working artists from across the state.
 
"Illinois at 200," which will run June 18 to Aug. 8 at the gallery, comprises works by 44 artists and reflects the high quality and unique variety of art currently being created throughout the state of Illinois.  
 
Doug Stapleton, associate curator of art at the Illinois State Museum, served as the exhibition juror. He has curated a number of exhibitions and has written numerous essays relating to the work of Illinois contemporary artists. His selections for this exhibition include a strong representation of work from the entire state, with many artists from mid-central Illinois and the Chicago metro area as well as individuals from the southern and western regions.
 
An opening reception for the artists will take place Thursday, June 21 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Kelly White, director of 40 North, and Lisa Costello, director of the Giertz Gallery, will provide brief remarks. A closing reception Wednesday, Aug. 8, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. will feature a gallery talk by Stapleton at 6:30 p.m.
 
Costello said she was both impressed with the artist submissions and excited to present the works Stapleton has chosen.
 
"He took his responsibility very seriously and selected a wide range of works that reflect the scope of creative output in our state," Costello noted. "I'm looking forward to both receptions: The opening reception is really a celebration of the artists and the many creative people who live in Illinois. The closing reception will be interesting because Doug will be coming from Springfield to discuss the work in the exhibition. He has been energetic throughout the whole process of jurying the exhibit, and I am eager to hear his insights. Both Kelly and Doug are a valuable resource to our community."
 
Participating artists include Jan Ellyn Adams (Champaign), Aviva Alter (Chicago), Kelly Anderson (Ottawa), Wallace Bowling (Chicago), Saxon Burns (Urbana), Jenny Chi (Champaign), Glen Davies (Urbana), Larry Davis (Knoxville), Michael Dinges (Oak Park), Sabrina Donnelly (Danville), Hale Ekinci (Chicago), Thomas Foley (Galesburg), Jeanette Habash (Skokie), David Hauptschein (Chicago), Siti Mariah Jackson (Champaign), Sara Jahn (Champaign), Jeff Little (Bloomington), Nika Lucks (Champaign), Paula McCarty (Champaign), Cammie Meerdink (Seymour), Ingrid Melief (Urbana), Charlie Mitsdarfer (Tolono), Patricia Monigold (Champaign), Scott Mossman (Chicago), Raul Ortiz (Chicago), Darby Ortolano (Murphysboro), Natalie Pivoney (Dekalb), Megan Rivera (Elgin), Kimberly Rodey (Chicago), Ann Rund (Champaign), Heather Sandy (Olney), Rosalyn Schwartz (Urbana), Kathryn Scott (Chicago), Shaheen Shorish (Champaign), David Smith (Champaign), Lynn Smith (Champaign), Judie Spencer (Urbana), Robb Springfield (Champaign), Bonnie Switzer (Urbana), Gina Szulkowski (Chicago), Paul Torgus (Skokie), Mohan Tracy (Champaign), Juliann Wang (Chicago), and Charity White (Chicago).
 
Stapleton said he was pleased to jury the "Illinois at 200" exhibition for several reasons.
 
"I was again reminded of the artistic vitality and creative energy present in Illinois," he remarked. "Having spent many years as an artist and curator in our state, I was happy to see superior work, some by artists with whom I was familiar but also a number of gorgeous and noble works that were fresh to my eyes. The works chosen for this exhibition provide a snapshot of the high caliber of artistic achievement in Illinois today."  
 
Giertz Gallery is located on the Parkland College campus at 2400 W. Bradley Ave. in Champaign. Summer hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find the gallery, we suggest using the M6 parking lot on the north corner of the campus. Enter through door X7, turn left, and follow the ramps uphill to the highest point of the first floor, where the gallery is located. The gallery windows overlook the outdoor fountain area. All events in the accessible gallery are free and open to the public. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution. For accommodation, call 217/353-2337 or email accessibility@parkland.edu.
 
Programs at the gallery are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. For more information, call the Giertz Gallery office at 217/351-2485 or visit www.parkland.edu/gallery.

[Image: Aviva Alter, Watchman, wire, glue, found objects, thread, pigment, fabric, 2017]

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