The Parkland College Blog

Alum-Designed Memorial for Missing UI Scholar Underway

Garden dedicated to Yingying Zhang now under construction

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It would be one of the most daunting challenges of her career: Design a memorial garden dedicated to missing Illinois scholar Yingying Zhang. But Phyllis Williams knew what she had to do.

She had to draw on her arsenal of Parkland College Horticulture training. After all, she was "one of Kaizad's kids."Memorial Garden for Yingying Zhang

A Champaign County Master Gardener since 2009, Williams first hesitated after receiving her organization's request this summer. It could be "risky" to create a memorial fitting enough to honor the Chinese graduate student, feared dead after being kidnapped from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus over a year ago. Zhang's story was international news, and the tribute garden would be the first of its kind for a student at the campus. 

But then Williams realized that HRT 256, the Landscape Planting Design class she had taken with Horticulture program director Kaizad Irani last spring, held more relevance than ever before. In fact, his class had prepared her for just this moment.

For that semester, Irani, a world traveler, had chosen Chinese gardens as the class focus.

"I thought, 'Well, this is why I took the class—this is it—and so, step up a be a little bit brave," said the longtime Urbana resident and UIUC retiree from Paris, Illinois. "I felt like I had the tools to say, 'Yeah, I'm gonna work on that project.' My toolbox had been packed."

A collaboration of the CCMG, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association and other student groups at Illinois, the 600-square-foot memorial garden will sit at the corner of North Goodwin Avenue and South Clark Street in Urbana, near Campbell Hall. It will lie just behind the spot where Zhang was last seen, as captured on campus video June 9, 2017.Spot for Zhang Memorial Garden

Construction on the garden began Sept. 7 with the pouring of a concrete platform that will hold its granite bench; the platform will also contain the handprints of the student volunteers who are helping with the garden build.

"It's quite emotional, and yet the students really seem to like that element," Williams said. 

Two other poignant elements in the design, ideas contributed by fellow Master Gardener Christine Nordholm, are the garden's color palette of white and green and its winding walkway of "disappearing steps." White is a mourning color in Chinese culture, while green symbolizes purity. The walkway into the garden will include large grey pavers that start out covering the path but then become scarce as they lead visitors toward the bench and platform.

"So basically, by the time you get just over halfway on the path, you'll run out of all but just a couple, and then you'll get to the pad," Wiliams explained. Incidentally, Nordholm, a former art student at Parkland, has also taken Irani's landscape design classes. 

Irani said he was impressed with Williams' design, which includes plantings favored in Chinese gardens: a weeping cherry tree and a white azalea; various types of junipers, hydrangeas and hostas; boxwoods; and more. The plants were selected for beauty, zone heartiness and disease resistance. 

"You have a little bit of color and year-round interest; I thought, 'I couldn't have done any better at all,'" said the professor, who began Parkland's Horticulture program 17 years ago and is set to retire this spring. "This is your goal: you want students to supersede your teaching and take it to a whole other level, and she has."

For Williams, it was Irani's training that brought her Master Gardener skills to the level she needed to compete for landscape design proposals like Zhang's garden. 

"I've learned a lot from the Master Gardeners—botany, plant care, integrated pest management, things like that," she said. "By the same token, I felt like, 'but there's a design element I need to bring to bear.' I really wanted to help plan for success rather than just be surprised if I got it! So, I took Kaizad's classes. Parkland is so accessible."

Now, with the garden's hoses laid and the platform foundation ready, the planting will soon begin. Once the garden is completed, UIUC students and CCMG volunteers will need to maintain it, which could present a challenge, Williams said.

"You don't get a lot of sunshine; it's a bit of a tough site," she explained. "But we couldn't pick the ideal site; we're working with the site that fate gave us."

Yet she hopes the garden will be a point of pride and an important community expression. 

"We're plugging safety to everybody's child who comes here," she said. "It makes a difference." 

A memorial garden dedication is being planned for October.

Ready for a bachelor's or master's degree? Use your Parkland credits! The following colleges will have representatives on hand this fall in the Student Union (unless otherwise noted) to discuss four-year degrees and transfer options.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Tuesday, September 25
Monday, October 29
10 am–1 pm
Representative: ‚ÄčNathan Caron

Wednesday, September 26
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Michael Harbin

Tuesday, September 25
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Sgt. Jeremy T. Stillwagon, RSS Champaign

Eastern Illinois University
Thursdays, September 27 and November 8
Friday, October 12
Wednesday, October 24
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Ryan Howard

Loyola University
Monday, October 1
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Victoria Hogle

Olivet Nazarene University
Thursdays, October 4, November 1, December 13
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Sarah Richardson

Aurora University
Thursday, October 18
Monday, November 26
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Barbara McCarthy

Quincy University
Wednesday, November 28
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Justin Ray








Betsy's Bistro at Parkland: Grand Opening Sept. 10

New cafe to feature specialty menu items, incorporate area food producers

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Parkland College announces the grand opening of its new cafe, Betsy's Bistro at Parkland, Monday, Sept. 10, starting at 7:30 a.m. in the Student Union cafeteria.

Special menu items for its first day of operation will include breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, fresh-made doughnuts and fresh-ground specialty coffees for breakfast, with burgers, crispy chicken sandwiches, fresh-cut fries, wood-fired pizza, wraps and a salad and noodle bar for lunch, according to Doug Richter, executive chef for the Parkland campus cafe.

Hours of operation for Betsy's Bistro at Parkland are 7:30 a.m.–3 p.m., Monday through Friday. The cafe will offer made-to-order breakfasts, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and wraps; a salad and noodle bar; wood-fired pizza, grab-and-go items including sushi; cold-brew and nitro coffee; and a "comfort food" station featuring global foods. It will also incorporate local partners such as Ye Olde Donut Shoppe, Homer Soda Company, Piemonte Sausage, Central Illinois Produce and Columbia Street Roastery in its menu offerings. Prices will range from $3 to $10.

Parkland College trustees approved Urbana campus foodservice provider Hendrick House Dorms as Betsy's Bistro at Parkland under a five-year contract in July. With its focus on freshly prepared food using local ingredients whenever possible, Hendrick House has served as a campus residence and food option to University of Illinois students for 70 years.

Men's Basketball Releases 2018-19 Schedule

Cobras' home opener set for Nov. 7

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Parkland Men's Basketball Head Coach Anthony Figueroa announced the 2018-19 schedule on Friday afternoon. Coming off a 23-6 overall record in 2017-18, the Cobras begin the season Oct. 7 with the first of three exhibition contests.

The Cobras will open the regular season on Nov. 2 at the Greyhound Classic, while the team's home debut is slated for Nov. 7. 

In total, Parkland will host 14 games at the Donald C. Dodds Jr. Athletic Center, including Mid-West Athletic Conference matchups against Danville (Jan. 26), Lincoln Land (Jan. 30), John Wood (Feb. 2) and Illinois Central (Feb. 27). The Cobras finished 5-3 in the conference last season. 

Full Schedule | Schedule PDF

Oct. 7 TBA DACC Jamboree Danville, IL
Oct. 14 TBA Vincennes Jamboree Vincennes, IN
Oct. 27 TBA Olney Scrimmage Olney, IL
Nov. 2 5:00 PM Greyhound Classic West Memphis, AR
Nov. 3 2:00 PM Greyhound Classic West Memphis, AR
Nov. 7 7:00 PM Illinois Wesleyan JV Parkland College
Nov. 10 2:00 PM Lansing Lansing, MI
Nov. 13 7:30 PM Illinois Valley Oglesby, IL
Nov. 17 1:00 PM Lake Land Mattoon, IL
Nov. 20 7:00 PM Indiana Elite Prep Parkland College
Nov. 26 7:00 PM Rend Lake Ina, IL
Nov. 29 6:30 PM Gateway Prep Parkland College
Dec. 2 12:00 PM St. Louis St. Louis, MO
Dec. 5 7:30 PM Rend Lake Parkland College
Dec. 8 4:00 PM Daley Parkland College
Dec. 15 3:00 PM Morton Parkland College
Dec. 17 7:00 PM SE Iowa Burlington, IA
Jan. 8 7:00 PM Kankakee Parkland College
Jan. 10 6:00 PM Lincoln College JV Parkland College
Jan. 17 7:00 PM Malcolm X Chicago, IL
Jan. 21 7:00 PM Illinois Wesleyan JV Parkland College
Jan. 26 3:00 PM Danville Parkland College
Jan. 30 7:30 PM Lincoln Land Parkland College
Feb. 2 3:00 PM John Wood Parkland College
Feb. 6 7:30 PM Illinois Central East Peoria, IL
Feb. 11 7:00 PM Wabash Valley JV Parkland College
Feb. 16 3:00 PM Danville Danville, IL
Feb. 20 7:30 PM Lincoln Land Springfield, IL
Feb. 23 3:00 PM John Wood Quincy, IL
Feb. 27 7:30 PM Illinois Central Parkland College
March 6 TBA Region 24 TBA
March 8-9 TBA Region 24 East Peoria, IL
[Article by Chad Beyler]

Language Class to Transition Immigrants into Health Careers

New ECNA students to grasp nuances in patient symptom descriptions, medical language

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Patients often say they have to go to the toilet using terms a nonnative English-speaking caregiver might not recognize. But locally, one Parkland College professor is helping new English learners grasp the nuances of medical language in a free class debuting this fall.
"An 85-year-old may say one thing for urination; a five-year-old will say another," explained Christina Havenland, who leads the new English for Certified Nursing Assistants class being offered through Parkland's Adult Education department. "A tough old military vet may use another, less polite, word, while a church secretary may have yet another very euphemistic word! An immigrant CNA needs to know the whole range of language they would encounter on the job."
Language comprehension is even more crucial when discussing symptoms, added Havenland, a Humanities associate professor who teaches reading. For example, nearly 80 phrases can be used to describe pain, phrases one might find on the McGill University Pain Questionnaire.
"If a patient says she feels a 'nagging tenderness,' a medical professional without sufficient language training could misunderstand either the relatively rare word "nagging," or could misunderstand "tenderness" as being a positive emotion instead of a type of physical soreness," she said.
Funded through a federal English language education grant and the Illinois Community College Board, the ECNA course has been designed to smooth the path for English language learners desiring to enter the healthcare profession. Enrollees receive 96 hours of training in the culture and language skills they need for success in Parkland's regular Certified Nursing Assistant course. Once they attain their industry-recognized credential, students can then work in the community as a CNA while pursuing other careers.
Havenland said the program also helps combat the nationwide shortage of certified nursing assistants by allowing immigrants to more quickly practice medical skills they may already have acquired in their home countries.
"Some of these adult learners are already professionals with degrees and credentials in their native countries," she said. "Completing the regular CNA course serves as an entry point for them to pursue more advanced nursing credentials offered by Parkland, such as our Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) and Registered Nursing (RN) degrees."
For more information on the ECNA program, contact Parkland College Adult Education at 217/351-2580.
In Fiscal Year 2019 (FY '19), approximately 40% ($161,595) of the total cost of the Parkland College Adult Education and Family Literacy Program is provided through federal funds under Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.