Summer Enrollment Increase, Unemployment Comedian

More recent high school graduates - and other high school students who are close to graduation - are taking advantage of Harper College for summer credit courses this year. The latest enrollment numbers show a nearly 15 percent gain over last summer in the number of new students coming to Harper straight from high school.


Summer Enrollment Increase

More recent high school graduates - and other high school students who are close to graduation - are taking advantage of Harper College for summer credit courses this year. The latest enrollment numbers show a nearly 15 percent gain over last summer in the number of new students coming to Harper straight from high school; that comes on the heels of a more than 30 percent increase in summer applications from the same age group. The influx is in part a product of the American economy, Dean of Enrollment Services Maria Moten says, as fresh high school grads and others who are about to graduate look to get an affordable, accessible jumpstart on college credits. Harper's adult enrollment also is up this summer, with nearly 230 more students ages 25 and older sitting in credit classes than last year. There also are 165 more young adult students (ages 19 to 24) on campus compared to summer 2009. Overall, the College's summer semester headcount is up about 5 percent over 2009, with 10,125 students in credit classes. "What we're seeing, across the board, is still a bit of a reflection of America's economic picture," Moten says. "These enrollment numbers began escalating amid the recession. The ongoing increases are proof that people continue to see Harper as the best option, financially but also academically, for launching or extending their college education." Harper also is seeing notable gains in specific program areas. Among them: a 41 percent enrollment hike in computer courses, a 42 percent increase in law enforcement students, a nearly 58 percent enrollment increase in graphic arts, and an overall enrollment increase of 28 percent in health career fields.

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

Unemployment Comedian

Marc Mulvey's unemployment journey is pretty funny. And he hopes you'll laugh - a lot. The Palatine resident was a freshly laid-off production manager looking for a break when he joined Harper College's "Career Stimulus" job-hunting support group in 2009. Help came from an unexpected source: a just-for-fun comedian hosted by the group in December. "I left that meeting and I remembered how much I enjoyed comedy," says Mulvey, who had tried his hand at open mic nights in the past. Inspired, he drafted an entire sketch about being laid off, being unemployed and finding your place again - timely humor in a continued rough-and-tumble economy. A firm believer that it never pays to take yourself too seriously, he's hopeful his act will bring a few smiles, especially from the unemployed. "Sometimes," he says, "you just have to laugh at what you went through in this recession." His one-man show uses his own story as its base - beginning with his termination, when his facility was shut down and his work was outsourced - but also lampoons the generic unemployment journey, from the lines delivered by unapologetic bosses to the reality check when you're stuck at home afterward. "Frankly, at times like this, people get so serious they can lose their perspective," he says. "I think humor can help you keep your composure." Mulvey, who holds a computer science degree and has worked in the engineering industry for more than 20 years, says he's still looking for a full-time job. But he's also enjoying this newest leg of his journey. He performed a piece of his show in Chicago already, and now is planning suburban gigs. "I think it's fantastic. We're all about helping people do what they're passionate about," says Adult Learning Specialist Nancy Wajler, who oversees Harper's Career Stimulus program. "The whole purpose of our program is to offer options, encouragement and inspiration." Career Stimulus has seen significant success since its March 2009 launch, with many participants acing interviews, landing jobs and launching new careers. Mulvey's story, Wajler says, "is another success story that's truly worth smiling about."

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

Understanding Elder Care

America's population is aging fast. Bolstered by baby boomers, estimates suggest the number of people over age 65 will soar to 71.5 million by 2030 - one in five Americans - and experts aren't sure we're prepared. Harper College can help. The College this month is offering a free elder and long-term care seminar focused on aiding the caretakers of aging parents, friends or spouses. "Elder Care and Long-Term Care: What You Need to Know for Those You Love," hosted by the College's Educational Foundation through its Professional Advisor Series, is geared toward those already caring for a loved one and those who haven't yet started. Drawing on the expertise of presenters Michael H. Erde and Rodney Crandall - experts in elder law, long-term care insurance and investments - the session aims to ease the anxiety that can come from caring for a loved one. The 45-minute session will cover elder law, special needs trusts, Veterans Administration issues and other long-term care issues. The seminar is offered at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 9 and 12 p.m. Thursday, June 10 in Room A242, Building A, on the Harper College campus, 1200 Algonquin Road in Palatine. Refreshments will be provided. For more information or to reserve a seat, call 845.925.6490 or email

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

World Cup Buffet

This summer's World Cup matches are so close, Harper College students can almost taste them. And they will. For two of the scheduled 1 p.m. games - the Thursday, June 17 matchup between France and Mexico and the Wednesday, June 23 game between Ghana and Germany - students in the College's culinary program will concoct a cornucopia of dishes inspired by the competing countries, serving up some serious spirit for the once-every-four-years soccer series. The foods - appetizers, entrees and desserts - will be dished out at a free buffet to those viewing the games in Harper's Student Center. The large television in Harper's Student Center, above the fireplace on the main floor of Building A, will air the games; they'll also be broadcast elsewhere on campus. "The countries involved in these early matchups should make for a truly interesting combination of foods," Hospitality Management Professor Pat Beach says. "This is a great, timely way to showcase the culinary techniques of our students." Potential dishes include jollof rice and yams (Ghana), sauerbraten (Germany), a multilayered taco dish (Mexico) and summer greens with vinaigrette (France). In the past, students have gathered informally to watch World Cup games on Harper's TVs. This year, faculty across campus opted to make the series a little more fun. In addition to the free buffets, Harper German Club students plan to gather for the June 23 match, and more activities are in the works, says Eric Bohman of Harper's English as a Second Language Program, one of the organizers. "There is a growing interest in the World Cup in this country, but its popularity is unmatched worldwide," Bohman says, noting that some members of Harper's increasingly diverse student population - which draws from several World Cup countries - are particularly vested in the games' outcome. "You can see their enthusiasm, and it's hard to not be swept up in it. Now, the Harper community can share in the experience."

Media Note: Culinary students will prepare the buffets the morning of the scheduled games. Reporters and photographers are welcome. For the best photo opportunity times, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,


Nanotech Explained

Nanotechnology - a science that relies on intricate magnifications - impacts a wide variety of fields, from electronics and pharmaceuticals to textiles and agriculture. It's so big many believe it will produce thousands of jobs and play a key role in the next industrial revolution. The problem: few have any idea what it truly is. With an eye on offering an explanation, Harper College is hosting an all-day "Nanotechnology for Educators" workshop geared toward helping teachers understand the science and its applications. "It is critically important that educators, who have a role in shaping the careers of tomorrow's technicians and engineers, have a better understanding of nanotechnology and its far-reaching opportunities across chemistry, physics and biology," says Sam Levenson, who heads up Harper's nanotech program. "Otherwise, we risk losing out on the competitive opportunities that are available within the field." The free workshop, expected to draw several dozen science teachers from local districts and across the state, will teach participants about the growing applications of nanotechnology in multiple industries and provide an overview and demonstrations of basic nanotechnology processes. The Tuesday, June 22 event is hosted by Harper in conjunction with the Penn State Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization and the National Science Foundation National Center for Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge. In 2008, Harper launched the state's first nanotechnology associate degree program. Since then, the program has expanded to allow students the option to work side-by-side with researchers in a University of Minnesota laboratory and the chance to seamlessly transfer to colleges like Northern Illinois University and the Illinois Institute of Technology to complete a bachelor degree in the field. Harper also has partnered with the College of Lake County to offer the associate of applied science degree in nanotechnology to Lake County residents for in-district tuition rates. Nanotechnology has a role in dozens of new products, from mold-resistant food containers and stain-resistant clothing to microscopic "nano bombs" that kill malignant cancer cells. The Harper nanotech workshop will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 22 (lunch is included) in Room Y203E of Harper's Avanté Center on the main campus. To RSVP or for more, visit

Media Note: Reporters are welcome to attend the event, which will include live demos. Contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,

Inside 'Avatar'

For her role in the Academy Award-winning movie "Avatar," actress Julene Renee slipped into a leotard covered in special sensors and donned a skull cap that monitored her mouth and eyes - all part of the motion capture technology that helped make the film so real. Renee will talk more about that high-end technology and offer other behind-the-scenes stories from the film during a Harper College appearance at 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 14. Tickets to the event, held in the College's Performing Arts Center, are $9 for general admission, with discounts for students and seniors. Renee, formerly a competitive gymnast, was a dancer in another James Cameron film, "Titanic," before landing a role in "Avatar" and serving as a model for its Na'vi creatures. At her Harper appearance, she'll explain how "Avatar" - the top-grossing movie of all time - incorporated technology more akin to high-end videogames than usual Hollywood productions, and talk about her own background as a dancer, gymnast and improvisational actress. Renee has appeared in several television shows; voiced the "Biggles" characters on PBS' "Kidsongs;" and appeared in other films like "Polar Express." For tickets to her talk or for more information, call 847.925.6100 or visit

Media Note: A high-resolution image of Renee working alongside James Cameron is available.

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


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,


Photo Opportunities

Event: Graphic Arts Boost for high school students. Local high school students interested in pursuing graphic arts will participate in hands-on events led by industry professionals.

Date: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 23

Location: Room Y128, Building Y, Avanté Center

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


Event: InZone summer kids camp. Courses include fishing, cooking, film and fashion options.

Date: Mondays-Thursdays through August 12 (call for best days/times)

Location: Campus-wide

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


Event: New Student Orientation. About 4,000 students will visit Harper's campus for the College's required summer orientation, which includes testing, advising and registration.

Date: Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning June 8 (call for best days and times)

Location: Campus-wide

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


Event: Educational Foundation Golf Open

Time: 11:30 am Monday, June 14

Location: Inverness Golf Club, 102 N. Roselle Road, Palatine

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


Event: World Cup viewings and buffets

Time: 1 p.m. Thursday, June 17 and Wednesday, June 23

Location: Student Center, main floor of Building A

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