Student Turning 90, Fulbright Award

April 26, 2010

Student Turning 90

Jim Ostler will spend the morning of his 90th birthday like he spends every other Wednesday. He'll pull on his workout pants and a T-shirt, grab his cane and head to his Harper College fitness class. The longtime Arlington Heights resident is in his 13th year with Harper's Healthy Living Exercise Program, a course offered through the College's Continuing Education Department and designed to build up and maintain core muscles and keep members - who range in age from 40-somethings to Ostler's 89 - physically fit. The three-times-a-week class has Ostler doing regular stretches, maneuvers and cardio workouts, and he scoffs at the idea that age is a reason to stop moving. "Being older is not a good excuse," he says. "Sure, it'd be easy to stay home, but my family believes this is good for me, and so do I. I enjoy it." His 8 a.m. Harper class will ring in Ostler's ninth decade with cake, coffee and a congratulatory birthday visit from College President Dr. Ken Ender on Wednesday, April 28 - but the students will be put through their fitness paces first. "I said, 'You're here to work out,'" Instructor Vickie Scott says, "So we have to get a little class in." Impressed by Ostler's milestone birthday, she scanned the roster and discovered that 16 of the roughly 50 students in Harper's Healthy Living Exercise Program are 80 or older. Ostler is the eldest - "I could call everyone 'Junior,'" he jokes - and says he's also among the students who've stuck with it the longest. "He's very young at heart," Scott says. "He and the others are making a decision to stay healthy and stay active, and they do it on a regular basis. They're my inspiration." The class includes warm-ups that incorporate hand weights, stretches and leg work; students also use Harper's Fitness Center for cardio workouts. Ostler, who favors the stationary bike, walks with a cane but doesn't exercise with it. In lieu of the class' traditional floor exercises, he sits in a special folding chair - a classmate had it embroidered with his name - for stretches and weights. A retired production executive for Time Inc. magazine publishing company, Ostler has seven children, 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Harper's Healthy Living Exercise Program meets three times a week, with 6:45 a.m., 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. options. The class stresses movement and fitness, so that participants can, as they progress through life, continue to do the things they've always done. "Being active is good for your cognition, your memory, and everything," Scott says. For more, call 847.925.6300 or visit


Media Note: Olster's classmates and instructor will celebrate his 90th birthday around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 28, in Harper's Building M. For a specific location or interview requests, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Fulbright Award

Harper College International Student Coordinator Jill Izumikawa will spend two weeks in Korea this summer - representing Harper and the United States higher education system as the recipient of a Fulbright grant for International Education Administrators. Izumikawa, one of only four recipients nationally, will visit colleges and meet with Korean university officials and government organizations in the capital city of Seoul and in outlying cities. She says the trip is a perfect opportunity to tout Harper as the College embarks on a new era under the leadership of a new President, and looks forward to gaining a new perspective on the country that many Harper students call home. Nearly 40 of the international students enrolled at Harper for the fall semester were from Korea. "I get to know all our students as individuals, but I yearn to know their culture on a deeper level," she says. "This experience will be the final link I need. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to forge powerful relationships and see Korea's higher education system firsthand. That in turn can be a catalyst for discussion, understanding and perhaps even campus programming and curriculum on Harper's campus." The daughter of a military family, Izumikawa grew up in England and, as a college student, studied in Mexico, sealing her love for international education. She worked for 15 years at the University of West Florida - managing the growing international student population, launching an annual "Celebration of Cultures" and helping establish the college's English as a Second Language center. Her Fulbright application included a five-page personal statement, a two-page statement from Harper and three recommendations. Those materials were reviewed by the Council on International and Exchange Scholars in Washington, D.C., the Fulbright Korean-American Educational Foundation in Korea and, finally, the 12-member Presidentially appointed J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board.

"It was such a good opportunity, and I never even imagined it would truly be mine," Izumikawa says. She'll leave for Korea on June 12. Harper has had a steady number of international students from Korea - a reflection of the northwest suburbs' demographics. Most of the College's international students live with family in the district while studying at Harper.


Media Note: For interviews with or pictures of Jill Izumikawa, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159, Photos of her trip, and a video interview regarding her experience, will be available to reporters upon her return.


Harper Fashion

Dozens of garments - including funky wearable art pieces that take fashion to the extreme - will hit the runway at Harper College's 2010 Fashion Show, a showcase of looks by award-winning Harper fashion design students. This year's edition of the annual professional-caliber show is themed "Refined Chaos," and highlights the fabric manipulations, like draping and gathering, that make garments stand out on the runway. Showtimes are 1:15 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, May 7 in the Wojcik Conference Center on the main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. Tickets are $20 for general admission. VIP passes are $40. They are available for the 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. shows and include special seating and a 7 p.m. reception featuring hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction, a gift bag and a cash bar. Proceeds from this year's show will benefit a new fashion student scholarship in honor of Neil Tufano, a longtime fixture in Harper's fashion department who played an integral role in the annual show. He died last year after a battle with cancer. Donations to the Tufano scholarship fund also are welcome at the show.


Media Note: Photos of some of this year's most unique fashions can be viewed and downloaded via Harper's Flickr feed: Contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,, for more or for interviews with student designers.


Redefined Chaos Photo Opportunities:

Show Set-Up, Noon to 10 p.m. Thursday, May 6. Harper students and professional lighting/sound crews will turn the Wojcik Conference Center into a fashion house.

Dress Rehearsal, 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, May 6.

Behind the Scenes, Noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 7. A backstage look at working the runway: is it like it appears on television? Female photographers/reporters only.

Refined Chaos, afternoon show, 1:15 p.m. Friday, May 7.

Refined Chaos, early evening show, 6 p.m. Friday, May 7.

VIP Reception, 7 p.m. Friday, May 7.

Refined Chaos, evening show, 8 p.m. Friday, May 7.

Zumba for All

Harper College will offer a free, open-to-the-community Zumba course at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 4 in the Building M Gymnasium on the main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. The class, offered through the College's "Wellness Lives Here" yearlong wellness program, is part of a continued effort to promote a healthier campus and community. Zumba is a dance fitness program that fuses Latin and other international music with easy-to-follow moves for an energetic alternative to the usual cardio workout. The routine incorporates cardio moves and muscle toning and strengthening. Created in the 1990s, the classes - recognized by leading fitness educators but intended to make exercise fun - now are offered throughout the world, and the popularity is continuing to grow. Harper's hour-long edition is the latest in its line of wellness programs, all of which are open to the community and free. Participants are encouraged to register to participate in Zumba. To reserve a spot, email


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


Harper Hospital

Upstairs in Harper College's Avanté Center, a series of rooms has been transformed into a hospital wing - complete with stocked patient rooms, a nurse's station, a call light system, a birthing room and nursery, and a supply room where students can pull their own meds for ailing patients. It's real-life experience with a college-campus twist: the patients are talking mannequins that can be posed and programmed to simulate a variety of ailments, and students' medical techniques can be watched by professors and videotaped through one-way mirrors for critique later. The new simulation hospital - one of the first of its kind in the state - offers hands-on, team practice for students in Harper's healthcare programs by mirroring the workings of a real healthcare facility. Nursing students will be able to consult with cardiac technology students regarding particular patients, refer a "patient" to ultrasound students or work with peers in the dietary technician program. "Students are going to walk into a space that looks exactly like a hospital, and they'll do things exactly as they would have to do in a real hospital, because we want them to make real decisions and we want them to have to solve real problems," Simulation Coordinator Barbara Gawron says. "We've recreated a healthcare reality in a controlled, safe environment. They can practice and they can make mistakes, and they can learn in an atmosphere that teaches them so much more than traditional formats." Harper's simulation hospital will be formally unveiled at an event on Wednesday, May 5; the public will be able to tour it at a fall open house. The revamped area will include a computerized system for charting medical records, iPod Touches that will be used as clinical reference tools, and a computerized medical administration system. The area also will allow faculty to set up simulations that mimic national and world healthcare issues; the simulation hospital could, for instance, become a mock triage wing for H1N1 cases. Harper nursing students already have been using mannequins and other simulation technology, but Gawron says the fully-stocked simulation hospital will step the experience up a notch. Students will be exposed immediately to a hospital format and be able to practice the skills they're learning day to day in an environment that replicates reality.


Media note: Students will use the virtual hospital for a simulation exercise from 8 a.m. to noon Thursday, May 6. Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend. Healthcare students and faculty also are available for interviews. For details of the simulation, or to book an interview, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Unemployed Volunteer Program

Good things happen when people volunteer. They gain confidence. They gain skills. They feel needed, and they realize their potential for doing good work. All of that can spill over into job interviews, giving volunteers a clear job-hunting advantage in a competitive market. That's the reasoning behind Catch 22, a new Harper College program that places unemployed Northwest suburban residents in volunteer positions - allowing them to build their resume, boost their confidence and get a foot in the door of a potentially new career. "When you're unemployed, a lot of people don't want to hire you," says Nancy Wajler, Adult Learning Special Assistant. "This new program is helping those who are out of work gain valuable experience, explore new passions and strengths, and show potential employers they can be valuable in the workplace. It can really increase their marketability." The program kicks off this month on a pilot basis, with volunteers working in various departments on Harper's campus. "Harper is a city within a city, with numerous opportunities for volunteers to expand their skills in various areas," Wajler says. The goal is to eventually take the program on the road, placing volunteers in businesses across the suburbs. The potential volunteer pool already comprises about 400 local residents with a variety of skills and employment histories. All are members of Harper's Career Stimulus program, launched last year to provide post-layoff help to local workers. The process used to link Catch 22 volunteers with internships will mirror the process of hiring a full-time employee. Applicants will meet with a Harper career coach to review their resume, undergo a background check, and be interviewed by their potential supervisor before a decision is made. Volunteers will work for 30- or 60-day periods, or be assigned to complete a specific project. "It's really a great situation for everyone involved," Wajler says. "This will provide invaluable experience for the volunteer, but it also will provide supervisors with additional help, at no extra cost." Catch 22 participants must be Career Stimulus members - annual memberships can be purchased for $85 - and have completed Harper's NetWorthing seminars on making networking worthwhile. The next Career Stimulus meeting is from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Friday, April 30 at the Wojcik Conference Center on Harper's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road. Each monthly meeting includes networking opportunities and breakout sessions on things like acing interviews and building resumes. For more on Catch 22, contact Mahreen Mehdi at 847.925.6000, ext. 2388, or For more on Career Stimulus, visit


Media Note: Catch 22 participants are available for interviews about the program. To arrange interviews with them or with Harper officials regarding the Catch 22 program, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Career Programs, Up Close

With an eye on training students for the jobs of the future, Harper College in 2008 renovated space in its Avanté Center and created a Nanotechnology degree program - the first of its kind offered by an Illinois two-year college. This fall, Harper will launch an Alternative Energy Certificate, giving students in the Electronics Engineering Technology program an environmentally focused option that can lead to new careers in a go-green world. Faculty and students involved with both programs will showcase their facilities and their technology at an Open Labs night scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 13 in Rooms Y105 (Electronics Engineering Technology) and Y124 (Nanotechnology), Building Y in the Avanté Center. The event is open to the public, and will allow prospective students and others to talk with Harper's nanotechnology and electronics engineering technology faculty and get an up-close look at the equipment - like a wind turbine used for the Alternative Energy Certificate program - that's involved. Current electronics students also will be presenting their year-end mechatronics projects, and students in both programs will demo classroom technology. "These are two examples of career programs that are solidly future-focused," says Sally Griffith, Assistant Vice President for Career Programs. "They stress the skills students will need in tomorrow's world." Illinois is one of the leading research and development areas in nanotechnology, and local companies already have approached Harper students looking for interns and employees. Jobs in green industries, like alternative energy, also are on the rise. As part of the Open Labs event, Harper's growing Graphic Arts program also will be showcased. Classrooms, digital and traditional presses, and other technology will be on display. For more on Graphic Arts, Nanotechnology or Electronics Engineering Technology, visit


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


Photo Opportunities

Event: Birthday Party for 90-Year-Old Fitness Student

Time: 8:30 on Wednesday, April 28

Location: Building M Gymnasium

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


Event: Free Community Zumba Class

Time: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 4

Location: Harper Gymnasium, Building M

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

Media Note: The class is open to all. To reserve a seat, email


Event: Simulation Hospital Open House

Time: 3:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, May5

Location: Avanté Center (Call to confirm specific rooms and best photo times)

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


Event: Traffic Stop Simulations for Law Enforcement students. Students will participate in stops simulating various incidents that police encounter, including an armed driver and a DUI.

Time: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 5

Location: Parking Lot 7, adjacent to Building G.

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


Event: High School Graphic Arts Competition. A panel of professionals and Harper faculty will judge submissions from local high school students. Students will be able to tour Harper facilities.

Time: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 13

Location: Room Y128,Building Y,Avanté Center

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


Event: Open Labs event showcasing Nanotechnology, Electronics Engineering Technology and Graphic Arts facilities.

Time: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 13

Location: Avanté Center (Call to confirm specific rooms and best photo times)

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