Transfer Help, President's Ball

February 15, 2010

Transfer Help

As a high school senior, Asma Hashim turned down a long list of universities, choosing instead to start her higher education at Harper College. She's since transferred to Loyola to finish up her bachelor's degree - the next step toward a medical school goal. Harper this month is helping more students get where Hashim is. The College's annual Transfer Fair will boast representatives from more than 80 four-year universities and colleges across the nation, all of them hoping to attract students who plan to continue their education after getting started at Harper. The Tuesday, February 23 event - positioned in the midst of the downturned economy - is attracting many institutions that never attended before. "Many more private colleges, in particular, are looking to recruit our quality students," Transfer Information Specialist Agnes Szemborski says. "With this fair, we hope to provide Harper students with a number of options - including some they might not otherwise have considered - that will help them achieve their next educational goal." Among the Fair's newcomers: California's Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and Chicago's American Academy of Art. The Transfer Fair runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Building A Student Center; an additional version, geared specifically to adult students ages 25 and older, runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Avanté Center concourse. Across the nation, two-year colleges have seen enrollment gains as students opt to begin their educations there before transferring to costlier four-year institutions, and a 2005 National Center for Education Statistics study showed U.S. students increasingly are attending more than one college before completing their undergraduate degrees. At Harper, nearly 55 percent of new students surveyed in 2007 intended to transfer. Northern Illinois University, DePaul, Illinois State and the University of Illinois at Chicago are among the most popular destinations - but many students, often encouraged by the Fair's options, also head to other institutions. Harper Student Senate President Carl Evans, a future attorney, has been accepted at Northwestern University, but also is considering Harvard and the University of Chicago for finishing up his political science and history studies. "Harper gave me the academic foundation I needed," says Evans, the first in his family to attend college. "None of these goals would have been attainable without my experience at Harper College."


Media Note: Reporters are welcome to attend the Transfer Fair and talk with Colleges recruiting students in a bad economy or interview students who plan to attend a four-year College after starting at Harper. Harper experts also are available to comment on transfer options and trends. Contact Media Relations Specialist Erin Brooks, 847.925.6159,


President's Ball

A dinner-and-dancing gala aimed at raising tens of thousands of dollars for Harper College student scholarships, programs, and educational experiences will be held on Saturday, March 6 in Schaumburg. The President's Ball, hosted by Harper's Educational Foundation, will feature live music and remarks from both a Harper scholarship recipient and College President Ken Ender, who will discuss how student success can bolster an entire community. Tickets are $250; tickets for a live raffle, which boasts a $2,500 grand prize, are $25. Sponsorship opportunities also are available. Bob Fiorani, an Educational Foundation board member and a retired vice president at Square D/Schneider Electric, also will address the crowd. Since its inception in 1973, Harper's Educational Foundation has supported the College and its students with dozens of scholarships, programming and other financial contributions. "Today, our Foundation is working even more diligently in the face of decreased state funding and increased demand for higher education opportunities," says Catherine Brod, Harper College Educational Foundation Executive Director. "Our success has come from building strong relationships with others in our community. Our President's Ball is another excellent opportunity to make new connections and bring our community together for the purpose of championing the College and our students." Harper's most recent Foundation gala, held two years ago, raised $500,000 for College students. The ball will start with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center, 1551 Thoreau Drive North. Dinner and dancing will follow. Event Co-Chairs are Fiorani and his wife, Roberta, of Barrington; Mike and Sue Gilfillan of Arlington Heights; and Jack and Linda Lloyd of Palatine. To RSVP, or for more information on gala sponsorships or other donation opportunities, visit


Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


New Economy Job Help

In the last year, Harper College has helped hundreds of Northwest suburban residents hunt for jobs in a downturned economy, serving up monthly support, networking and advice with a "Career Stimulus" group that helped members revamp their resumes and work toward new careers. Now the program - egged on by the gradually optimistic economy - is changing gears. "As companies begin to hire again and more people begin to get jobs, local residents will be facing new concerns, like how to ace an interview or negotiate a salary," Adult Learning Special Assistant Nancy Wajler says. "With a new year and a hopefully newly stimulated economy, we're looking to fill those new needs with even more sophisticated support." The next edition of the program, at 9:30 a.m. Friday, February 26 in the Wojcik Conference Center, will feature Jonathan Salem Baskin, a global brand strategist who will offer tips and tricks for branding yourself and standing out from the crowd as you ramp up your job hunt in a recovering economy. "This is such an important part of a successful career search," Wajler says. "As always, our goal is to assess the economic situation and offer appropriate advice and support that help people advance and secure good jobs." Harper has added another career coach, and Career Stimulus meetings will feature new breakout topics, including launching your own business, money matters like salary negotiations and asset management, "tool kit" topics like how to work your network and write winning cover letters, and personal strategies focused on making sure job-hunters have a plan to ensure a successful job transition. The new format also will feature monthly members-only evening workshops on subjects like navigating - and benefitting from - the popular LinkedIn social network. Harper's Career Stimulus, launched in March 2009 to provide workers with post-layoff help, has drawn 300 regular members. The program is free for first-timers. Subsequent sessions are $10. Memberships also are available for $85 ($50 for renewals); they include a year of meetings, one-on-one sessions with a Harper career coach, workshops, and materials for and admission to an intensive "NetWorthing" session focused on making networking work. For more details, visit or call 847.925.6438.


Media Note: Previous Career Stimulus participants who found jobs through Harper's program are available for interviews. Harper's Adult Learning Special Assistant, Nancy Wajler, also is available for comment on the success of job clubs and how they may need to change as the economy slowly climbs out of its downward spiral. To book interviews, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Exploring Health Careers

High school students and community members interested in pursuing healthcare professions can get an up-close look at their options this month at two hands-on Harper College Health Careers Open Houses. The events, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, February 18 and from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, February 20, will showcase the College's state-of-the art facilities - including the dental hygiene and nursing laboratories - and feature current students, who will offer explanations of their programs and demonstrate skills they've learned at Harper. Phlebotomy students will draw blood; sonography students will perform a sonogram on volunteers and radiology technology students will illustrate the proper procedures for performing X-rays. The open houses also will include presentations of actual trauma situations that local EMTs and other healthcare professionals have responded to, offer information on program requirements and curriculums and allow potential students to talk with coordinators of specific Health Career programs and meet with admissions representatives. "Hands-on, visual demonstrations are the best way to show potential students the dynamic opportunities the healthcare field offers," Associate Health Careers Dean Barbara Small says. "Participants will be able to essentially step into a student's shoes, get their questions answered and see first-hand the opportunities that Harper Health Careers students have." The open houses are geared to both local high school students and community members, with an eye on offering new options for adults pursuing new careers. Harper's 10 Health Careers programs can lead to careers in numerous fields, including radiologic and cardiac technology, nursing, medical office administration, emergency medical services and dental hygiene. Open house participants can focus on the fields that interest them most. The open houses will start in Room X250, Building X in the Avanté Center, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. To RSVP, visit For general questions about the open houses, contact Small at 847.925.6682.


Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Balloon Art

Harper College's next art exhibition requires a lot of hot air and significant lung capacity. Beginning Friday, February 19, a rotation of Harper art faculty and students will join guest artist Jason Hackenwerth in manually blowing up as many as 7,000 balloons - preparation for a large-scale balloon sculpture that Hackenwerth, known for his sophisticated and enchanting aerial art, will create in Harper's exhibition space. "An air pump would be helpful," Assistant Professor Jason Peot acknowledges, but human air is one of the secret ingredients that helps make Hackenwerth's alluringly ephemeral sculptures work. The artist's finished product, created by twisting, blowing and shaping the inflated balloons into an intricate configuration, will be on display from Tuesday, February 23 through Thursday, March 18 in Harper's Art Exhibition Space, Room C200, Building C on the main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. Viewing times for the free "Tide of Poseidon" exhibit are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. A slide lecture will be held at 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, February 23 (the exhibit's opening day) in the Harper Painting Studio, Room C201 in Building C. A reception and discussion with Hackenwerth runs from 12:15 to 1 p.m. the same day in the exhibition space. "Jason Hackenwerth is an intriguing artist whose work I've admired many times," Peot says. "To be able to work alongside him, helping him create the framework for his latest project, is an awesome experience for our faculty and especially for our students."  Hackenwerth, a New York City resident who holds a master's degree in fine arts and has exhibited throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia, draws from plant and animal forms to create his all-balloon sculptures. The pieces come to life with the help of human air and then slowly expire, all within the time and space of the exhibition.


Media Note: The artist, with help from students and faculty, will blow up between 5,000 and 7,000 balloons for his Harper sculpture, starting on Friday, February 19. Reporters and photographers are invited to observe that process and talk with the artist. Contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, at 847.925.6159 or for the best photo times and dates.


Bilingual Financial Aid

Harper College is offering sessions aimed at helping potential students navigate the murky waters of financial aid - whether they speak English or Spanish. The dual-language Financial Aid Workshops, geared toward high school juniors and their parents, will feature information on financial aid eligibility, the FAFSA application process, deadlines, the varying forms of federal and state aid and Harper scholarships for new freshmen. Those who aren't eligible for financial aid will get tips for researching other scholarship options online. Participants also can receive onsite help filling out the FAFSA. Two bilingual workshops, offered in both English and Spanish, will be held at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, February 21 at Rolling Meadows High School, 2901 W. Central Road in Rolling Meadows, and at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 11 at Palatine High School, 1111 N. Rohlwing Road in Palatine. "Financial aid can be intimidating even for the savviest person. Offering the pertinent information in Spanish can be helpful to parents, in particular, when it comes to understanding the details," says Juanita Pérez Bassler, a Harper College Recruiting Specialist. "We offer these workshops to let high school students know that college really is an option, and to let them know we're here to help." The workshops are free, but seating is limited. For details or to RSVP, visit or contact Pérez Bassler at 847.925.6940 or To complete the FAFSA at the event, students must bring a driver's license, social security card and 2009 tax information (tax returns should be completed first).


Media Note: Harper's Director of Student Financial Assistance, Earl Dowling, is available for interviews on financial aid topics. His answers to frequent questions, including details on the new FAFSA form changes, are available in video form on Harper's web site,, under the Financial Aid tab. For interviews or for more Harper financial aid information, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Photo Opportunities

Event: Computer Kids Program. Elementary District 21 students whose parents are in Harper literacy courses are able to learn digital concepts and computer technology in this new class.

Date: 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays through March 17.

Location: Harper College Northeast Center, 1375 Wolf Road in Prospect Heights

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Event: Students and faculty blowing up thousands of balloons in preparation for visiting artist Jason Hackenwerth's balloon-art sculpture

Date: Friday, February 19-Monday, February 22 (Call for best days and times)

Location: Art Exhibition Space, Room C200, Building C

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Event: Health Careers Open Houses

Date: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, February 18 and 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, February 20

Location: Building X in the Avanté Center (Start in Room X250)

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Event: College Transfer Fair

Date: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, February 23

Location: Building A Student Center (10:30 a.m.); Avanté Center concourse (5:30 p.m.)

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Event: President's Ball

Date: 6 p.m. Saturday, March 6

Location: Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center

Press Contact: Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,