Guitar Kids; Tell Your Story, Win a Notebook

News Tip Sheet - Week of May 3, 2010

Guitar Kids

In 2005, Harper College launched a low-cost, offsite guitar course aimed at making music accessible to more local children. Today, the class boasts a cadre of proud alumni musicians - some of whom have stuck with it through five more years of group classes and semi-private lessons. That group, including young students from the latest batch of beginners, will take the Harper stage this month for a semester-ending recital. The concert, at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 15 in the Building J Theatre on the College's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine, is free and open to all. Launched with the help of a campus grant program, Harper's special guitar beginner course - which includes a loaner guitar for each student and all the music necessary to progress through the class - still is offered every semester. Held at the College's Northeast Center in Prospect Heights and the Palatine Park District's Falcon Center, it typically draws about 20 students, all between the ages of 7 and 10. Community Music Center Coordinator Henrietta Neeley says the beginner course, led by Instructor Edgar Huerta, makes music instruction - which often can be dauntingly pricey - attainable for suburban children who may otherwise never pick up a guitar. "Music is so important in children's lives. These students come into the class often never having even tried to play an instrument, and they leave knowing so much," Neeley says. "Seeing them on that stage at the end of the semester, and knowing we were able to provide invaluable music education at an approachable cost, is so rewarding." The course costs $99 for 16 one-hour lessons during Harper's Fall and Spring semesters. Lessons are $79 for an abbreviated 8-week program during the College's Summer semester. The prices include a $40 guitar deposit that is returned when the student returns the guitar. For more on the course or other Community Music Center classes, call 847.925.6300 or visit

Press Contact: For interviews with students, alumni or parents, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, at 847.925.6159 or


Tell Your Story, Win a Netbook

Telling Harper College about your summer plans could net you a new netbook. The College is embracing social media - and its savvy suburban users - by issuing a YouTube-centric challenge: tell Harper what you're doing this summer, and do it via a video you upload yourself. The video with the most views at the contest's end wins a netbook computer. Though scripted, creative videos are welcome, the contest encourages the kind of simple, short, grassroots videos that thrive on YouTube already, says Marc Westenburg, the Marketing Specialist who created the campaign. "It could be as simple as someone sitting in front of a home webcam - or even a cell phone video camera - or as complex as a carefully edited video or animation," he says. Submissions can come from anyone, anywhere - they need not be Harper students - but must address what the subject is doing educationally over the summer toward a specific personal, professional or academic goal. That could include brushing up on a foreign language, taking classes toward a degree, completing an internship or enrolling in a local cooking or theater class. "We want to showcase real people who are maximizing the summer months in order to succeed in life and realize their dreams," Westenberg says. "It's a perfect example of the user-generated content that's so popular right now on all kinds of social media sites." Watch the video at, or get more information by visiting Harper's campaign runs through June 6. 

Media Note: Social media campaigns like Harper's are quickly becoming a new higher education marketing tool, as colleges and universities embrace Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter as a way to reach potential students, give them their own voice and generate an online buzz. For other examples or interviews with Harper marketing experts as to why social media campaigns are proving a hit, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Harper Golf Open

The Harper College Educational Foundation will host its annual Golf Open on Monday, June 14 at the Inverness Golf Club, 102 N. Roselle Road in Palatine. The event, a fundraiser for student programming and scholarships, includes 18 holes of golf, lunch, a cocktail reception, an awards banquet and buffet dinner for $500. Those who don't wish to golf can attend the cocktail reception, banquet and buffet dinner for $125. Various levels of sponsorships are available. The Open also will feature a raffle (prizes include free rounds of golf) and a live auction for 2010 Cubs. vs. Cardinals and Sox vs. Cubs tickets. All proceeds benefit Harper's Resource for Excellence Fund, which bolsters the College with programming, scholarships and other support where it's most needed, in accordance with community needs. "Today, in the face of decreased state funding and an increased demand for community college services, we are even more grateful for the support we receive from our community through events like this one," says Catherine Brod, Executive Director of the Harper College Educational Foundation. "Our Golf Open is another wonderful opportunity to come together for the purpose of championing our students." The Open will kick off with a 10 a.m. registration and free golf clinic. The shotgun start is at 11:30 a.m. To attend, purchase raffle tickets, become a sponsor or make a donation, call 847.925.6490 or visit

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


Steel Drum Band

The Pan Go Steel Drum Band, considered one of the preeminent professional steel drum bands in the Midwest, will perform a mix of styles in a free concert at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 4 in the Harper College Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine. The band, formed in 1988, will channel the tropics with a selection of songs like Brian Wilson's "Surfer Girl" and Bob Marley's "Is This Love." The group also performs original works by group founder Paul G. Ross, who teaches steel drum at Harper. Pan Go has released two CDs and regularly performs at festivals and concerts throughout the Midwest. The concert is free and open to all. For more information, call 847.925.6100 or visit

Press Contact: Terry Karow, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist, 847925.6627,


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 of 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.

Media Note: For interviews with or a high-resolution image of Jill Izumikawa, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


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 - an annual showcase of looks by award-winning Harper fashion design students. This year's edition of the 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., 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 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 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. shows and include special seating and a 7:00 p.m. reception featuring hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction, a gift bag and a cash bar. Show proceeds 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 information.


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 seems on TV? (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" year-long 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 health care 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." 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 medication administration system. The area also will allow faculty to set up simulations that mimic national and world health care 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 regularly practice skills they're learning 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 more information, 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 equipment - like a wind turbine used for the Alternative Energy Certificate program. 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: 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: Pan Go Steel Drum Band
Time: 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 4
Location: Performing Arts Center

Press Contact: Terry Karow, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist, 847.925.6627,


Event: Healthcare Students Using New Simulation Hospital
Time: 8 a.m. to noon Thursday, May 6 (Call to confirm best times)
Location: Avanté Center

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


Event: Traffic Stop Simulations for Law Enforcement students. Instructors will simulate 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 students. Students will 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,


Event: Guitar Recital featuring the youth beginner guitar course
Time: 11 a.m. Saturday, May 15
Location: Building J Theatre

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