Alternative Energy Classes, Pets-Only Food Drive

When he returned to Harper College this fall, Garrett Brucato already had an Associate in Applied Science degree in Electronics Engineering Technology under his belt and was happily working as an electronics installer. His new goal: an additional certification in alternative energy.

 

Alternative Energy Classes

When he returned to Harper College this fall, Garrett Brucato already had an Associate in Applied Science degree in Electronics Engineering Technology under his belt and was happily working as an electronics installer. His new goal: an additional certification in alternative energy - a new College offering that he says is a sure way to make himself more marketable in a go-green era. "It's good for companies to see that you've had your hands in this type of technology," says Brucato of Carpentersville, a member of Harper's inaugural solar energy class. "You're going to need technicians to maintain this kind of solar and wind energy equipment. It's a great way to get your feet wet." The College's solar energy course - a first step toward the new Alternative Electrical Energy Certificate - drew 16 students for the fall term. Buoyed by a recently announced $63,000 Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation grant, which helped with the purchase of new lab equipment, Harper will add a wind energy course to the curriculum this spring. The entire Alternative Energy Certificate program, geared to those already in the industrial electronics industry and those just starting out, requires credits in solar and wind energy and a variety of other electronics courses. "There's new work coming in to various industrial electronics areas that specifically is alternative energy-related," says Associate Professor George Hoeltje, who heads the Electronics Engineering Technology Department. "Solar energy, in particular, is a big deal. This new certificate taps into that trend, and helps people learn the skills they need to compete for these jobs." The formation of Harper's new Alternative Electrical Energy certificate comes amid a national push to be more environmentally friendly. An American Solar Energy Society report suggests the number of U.S. jobs in renewable-energy and energy-efficiency industries could grow to as many as 40 million by 2030. For more on the certificate, contact Hoeltje at 847.925.6528 or ghoeltje@harpercollege.edu.

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159, kpohl@harpercollege.edu.


Pets-Only Food Drive

Last year, Jennifer Pitek's annual effort to help the homeless yielded nearly 700 canned food items - and 180 pet toys, 64 leashes and collars and 111 pounds of dog treats. This year, she's hoping for even grander results for her Harper College-based "Santa Claus for Paws" campaign - an annual drive to benefit the four-legged residents of Illinois animal shelters. With many shelters bustling with pets but also strapped for cash amid the down economy, Pitek, an administrative secretary in Harper's Center for New Students, says this year's donations are important. "In the recession, many shelters are taking in more animals, but donations aren't increasing. They're finding themselves in need of basic supplies, including food," Pitek says. "I want to do all I can to help." Pitek launched the cats-and-dogs-specific drive eight years ago, after watching donations from Harper faculty and staff pile up during routine campus food drives. The drive, which she coordinates with mathematics instructor Jamie Leinss, has seen significant results - with Harper employees, students and area residents donating everything from pet beds to monetary gifts in memory of a beloved dog or cat. Last year's tallies included more than 350 pounds of dry food, nearly 150 blankets and towels, 16 carriers and an assortment of pet clothes and other items. Needed items this year include dry and canned foods; sturdy dog toys; bedding; treats; and collars and leashes. Pet supply gift cards also are welcome. Donated items will be sent to Cinderella's Hope Cat Rescue in the Carpentersville/Dundee area, Crittergal Rescue in downstate Carterville, the downstate Perry County Humane Society, and an assortment of other local and downstate shelters. Donations will be accepted through Thursday, December 23, and again after Harper's campus reopens on Monday, January 3 following winter break. Drop boxes are located at the Center for New Students, Room C104 in Building C; the Building A main entrance; the Career Center, Room A347 in Building A; the Liberal Arts Office on the main floor of Building L; the Building L south entrance; the Math Lab, Room D105 in Building D; the first floor of the Harper Library; the Tutoring Center, Room F315 in Building F; outside the Access and Disabilities Office, Room D119 in Building D; the Math and Science Division Office, Room Y103 in the Avanté Center; and other locations on the main floor of Avanté .

Press Contact: Jennifer Pitek, Administrative Secretary, 847.925.6208, jpitek@harpercollege.edu, or Jamie Leinss, Instructor, jleinss@harpercollege.edu.

 

Less Taxing Taxes

Harper College is offering a free workshop aimed at helping local residents understand ways to reduce their federal income taxes. The "Income Tax Strategies" seminar, which comes ahead of tax return season and in the midst of national uncertainty over future tax rates and changing federal tax legislation, is at 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 8 in Room Z117, Building Z in the Avanté Center on the College's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. Led by accountants Craig Levin and Angela Scott, the session will provide an overview of current federal tax legislation and tax rates; offer methods for accelerating or deferring income, deductions and tax credits to achieve lower taxes in 2010 and beyond; suggest strategies for lowering federal income taxes; and more. Levin is a senior director with the manufacturing and wholesale distribution practice of RSM McGladrey, Inc., and has more than 30 years of experience providing entrepreneurial clients with accounting, tax and advisory services. Scott is a tax manager with the high net worth practice of RSM McGladrey, Inc., and has more than a decade of experience providing accounting and advisory services to mid-sized businesses and high net worth families. The income tax event is the latest in the 2010-11 Harper Heritage Seminar Series - a collection of free monthly information sessions sponsored by the College's Educational Foundation. Sessions are led by industry professionals as a public service to the Harper community. To register for the Income Tax Strategies seminar, or for a full list of the other upcoming free sessions, call 847.925.6490 or visit www.harpercollege.edu/foundation.

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159, kpohl@harpercollege.edu.

 

Winter Music

Harper College's vocal and instrumental ensembles will stage a host of winter concerts this season, offering the public everything from steel drums and big-band jazz to chamber singers and classic symphony orchestra performances of holiday favorites. All concerts will be held in the Performing Arts Center on the main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine.

 

Tickets for the Festival Chorus are $15 for general admission; all others are $10 for general admission. Discounts are available for students and seniors, and children ages 12 and younger are admitted free. For tickets, call 847.925.6100 or visitwww.harpercollege.edu/boxoffice.

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159, kpohl@harpercollege.edu.

 

 

Young Researchers

With his backpack tossed on a laboratory counter and a grin on his face, Mount Prospect resident Corey Yarbrough describes what he's up to this semester: Working alongside Harper College Chemistry Professor Dan Stanford, he'll spend hours each week - outside of class - reducing a complex molecule under intense light. It is, he says with a grin, "knowledge for the sake of knowledge." It's also a unique opportunity. Yarbrough is part of Harper's 2010-11 undergraduate research program - a yearlong study that gives students the rare chance to perform hands-on, real-world, independent research projects in the College's state-of-art labs. "These opportunities typically aren't available to community college students," Chemistry Professor Tom Dowd says, "or even to freshmen and sophomores at four-year colleges." The program was launched in 2005 with a National Science Foundation grant; five years later, with help from subsequent grants and Harper funding, it's flourishing. About five dozen students have signed on since the program's inception, including this year's class of 12 researchers. The program's roughly 50 alumni all have gone on to pursue a four-year degree in a related discipline, earning more than $300,000 worth of scholarships to transfer colleges and universities along the way. Dipti Patel is among the graduates; Patel, one of Harper's first research students left Harper in 2004 and graduated this May with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. She credits Harper, and Professor Stanford, with jumpstarting her passion. "I loved chemistry because of it," she says. This year's researchers will dedicate about 10 hours weekly to their projects throughout the academic year. They'll also have the chance to research with professors and undergraduate students at four-year colleges this summer; Yarbrough will spend his time at Hope College in Holland, Mich. At the year's end, they'll present their projects to 100 or more Harper professors, industry professionals and others, and may also travel to regional or national conferences to formally present their findings. "Not a lot of students our age," Yarbrough says, "get to do this level of research in laboratories like this."

Media Note: Research students are available for interviews and photographs in the labs. Contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159, kpohl@harpercollege.edu.

 

Adult Financial Aid

Casimir Kwiatkowski used to think financial aid was only for teenagers. Now, as a 56-year-old dad and Harper College student, he's discovered the reality: It can be for him, too. The Hanover Park resident is studying business through the College's Fast Track program for adults - and getting funding help through a much-appreciated grant. "I think a lot of adults don't know that they can get help," he says. "I didn't know until I filed." With an eye on helping others like him through the process, Harper this fall launched College Money 101 - a series of free seminars specifically showcasing the financial assistance options available to adult college students. The next edition will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. and from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 8, and will offer information on financial aid and scholarship eligibility for the Spring and Summer 2011 semesters; the different types of federal and state aid; application steps and guidelines; and the variety of available online grants, loans and scholarships. Attendees also will have help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form - the first step in receiving financial aid. "There are so many adults who have been putting off college because they don't think they can afford it," Recruiting Manager Phil Mortenson says. "They're often surprised to learn that they qualify for financial aid - even if they're only part-time students." The December 8 sessions will be held in Room I225, Building I, on Harper's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. All adults (ages 25 and older) interested in enrolling at Harper are welcome. To complete the FAFSA at the event, participants will need to bring a driver's license, social security card, and 2009 tax information, including the federal tax return and W-2 forms. To RSVP, call 847.925.6058 or visit www.harpercollege.edu.

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159, kpohl@harpercollege.edu.


Photo Opportunities

Event: Harper College student researchers in action

Date: Call for best times and dates

Location: Avanté Center

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159, kpohl@harpercollege.edu

 

Event: Latinos Unidos "Sabor Latino" cultural celebration

Date: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, December 3

Location: Student Center, main floor of Building A

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159, kpohl@harpercollege.edu

Media Note: This event is open to the public. Tickets are $7 for general admission; children under age six will be admitted free. Call 847.925.6100 or visit www.harpercollege.edu/boxoffice.

 

Event: Black Student Union Kwanzaa Celebration and Talent Show

Date: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, December 10

Location: Student Center, main floor of Building A

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159, kpohl@harpercollege.edu

Media Note: This event is open to the public. Tickets are $7 for general admission; children under age six will be admitted free. Call 847.925.6100 or visit www.harpercollege.edu/boxoffice.