Meth Lab Simulation, Speech Winners

Harper College forensics students will put their skills to work this week in a simulated methamphetamine lab bust aimed at giving them a hands-on look at a growing problem.


Meth Lab Simulation

Harper College forensics students will put their skills to work this week in a simulated methamphetamine lab bust aimed at giving them a hands-on look at a growing problem. Illinois ranked fourth in the country for meth-related arrests and meth lab seizures according to a 2007 Department of Justice report, and the state reported a 91 percent increase in meth-related arrests between 2002 and 2005. Locally, police are seeing an increased number of meth-fueled crimes - burglaries, for instance, committed by addicts desperate to finance their habit - says Mike Smith of the Schaumburg Police Department, who developed the College's forensics degree program. "Our goal is to simulate situations that our students will actually face when the graduate from the program, and this is a great example," said Professor Dr. Wayne A. Johnson, who coordinates all Harper's Law Enforcement programs. "This drill will enable them to assess a scene they might someday encounter, and process it as they'd have to in real life." The meth scene is set up in the garage area of the forensics lab; garbage bags are taped over the windows, ingredients used to make the drug are scattered on countertops, and makeshift manufacturing equipment sits on shelves and floors. Smith also is replicating a meth lab smell, for authenticity's sake.

Media Note: The meth lab simulation will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 26 in Room D170, Building D on Harper's main campus. Photographers and reporters are welcome. Contact Media Relations Specialist Erin Brooks, 847.925.6159,

Speech Winners 

Harper College's Speech Team took third place at the Phi Rho Pi national community college speech and debate tournament this month, and boasted national champions in three categories - the best performance in team history. Nearly 60 community colleges competed at the contest, held over 10 days in Greenwich, Conn. "We are so proud not only of the team's competitive accomplishments, but also of their development as strong communicators and leaders," Professor and coach Jeff Przybylo said. Nine of the squad's 23 speeches made it to the contest's final rounds, and Harper students took gold in three of the 13 events, nabbing national championships in the Informative Speaking, Speech to Entertain and Dramatic Interpretation categories. Student Logan Frey of Palatine took home two of those gold medals; student Julio Reyes of Franklin Park earned the other. Team members also scored two silver medals and four bronze medals. Harper's has a history of success, having earned six state titles in the last 15 years and logged solid nationals performances. The squad finished fourth at Phi Rho Pi last year.

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


Scholarship Videos

Telling Harper College about your summer plans could land you something else worth talking about: a $1,500 Harper scholarship. The College is embracing social media and its savvy suburban users through its second YouTube-centric challenge: Upload a video of yourself to the popular home video site, telling the world what you're doing educationally this summer. The video with the most views at the contest's end wins. Though scripted, creative videos are welcome, the contest also encourages the simple, grassroots videos that typically thrive on YouTube, says Marc Westenburg, the Harper Marketing Specialist who created the campaign. "It could be as simple as someone sitting in front of a home webcam or a cell phone video camera, or as complex as a carefully edited animation," he says. Submissions can come from anyone, anywhere - they need not be current Harper students - but they must address what the person is doing educationally over the summer toward a personal, professional or academic goal. That could include brushing up on a foreign language, taking classes toward a four-year degree, completing an internship or enrolling in a local theater class. "We want to showcase real people who are taking advantage of the summer months to make their lives better or more interesting," Westenburg says. "Social media sites that encourage user-generated content are continuing to grow in popularity and increase in number, and we want to capitalize on that trend and offer our community a chance to have fun with it." The original competition video and subsequent submissions can be viewed at Harper's campaign runs through June 5. For contest information and instructions, visit

Media Note: Social media campaigns are becoming a new higher education marketing tool, as colleges and universities embrace Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to reach potential students and generate online buzz. For other examples or interviews with Harper marketing experts, contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159 or

Careers Open House

With an eye on training students for the jobs of the future, Harper College has created the state's first two-year college Nanotechnology degree program; launched an Alternative Energy Certificate program that gives students an environmentally focused option in a go-green world; cultivated its Computer Assisted Design track for architecture students; challenged Fashion students to create couture dresses from old clothes and bedding; guided dozens to 21st century careers in the welding field; and continued to grow the Graphic Arts program, securing new state-of-the-art technology along the way. Faculty and students involved with all six programs will showcase their facilities, technology and student work at a free Open House scheduled for 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 12 across campus. The event is open to the public, and will allow prospective students and others the chance to talk with Harper career program faculty, sit in on classes, view student architecture and graphic arts work, see a preview of the annual fashion show and get an up-close look at the equipment - like a new wind turbine used for the Alternative Energy Certificate program - that's involved in some of Harper's career program curriculums. "Our career programs are solidly future-focused. We're stressing the skills that students will need in tomorrow's world," Dean of Career Programs Sally Griffith says. "This open house will showcase the work that's being done on that front by Harper and by our students." The open house will be staged predominantly in Building Y in Harper's Avanté Center (Parking Lot 3). For more information on nanotechnology, electronics engineering technology, fashion, architecture, maintenance technology or graphic arts, visit

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

College Expo for Kids 

With a goal of acclimating local children early-on to higher education, Harper College is hosting a free College and Career Expo on Saturday, April 30. The event, designed for fourth- through eighth-graders, will feature hands-on activities and demonstrations showcasing health care, chemistry, graphic arts, nanotechnology, astronomy statistics and more. Harper faculty will share the floor with a host of professional representatives from companies like Northrop Grumman, BP, Cisco Systems and Patten Industries-Caterpillar Corporation. "Our goal is to offer an educational look at what can happen after high school, what outstanding 21st century careers are out there, and how higher education can prepare you," Harper Instructor Margaret Bilos said. "This event will allow young students to meet with Harper faculty and professionals in the science, math, technology and engineering fields years before they typically would do so." Scheduled activities include a tour of Harper's Simulation Hospital, demonstrations of the College's graphic arts technology lab, a presentation on acoustic sound and infrared cameras, an interactive exhibit on wind turbine and solar panel technologies, and robotics activities. BP specifically will offer English and Spanish seminars on the importance of higher education and staying in school, and Harper representatives will provide information on saving and paying for college and career exploration and interest activities. Refreshments will be provided. The Expo will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the College's Avanté Center for Science, Health Careers and Emerging Technologies, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine (Parking Lot 3). More information, including an online registration form, is available by visiting Registration is not required. For more information, call 847.9925.6701 or email

Media Note: Harper faculty members and representatives from the partnering businesses are available to talk with reporters about the importance of exposing children at young ages to higher education and, specifically, the careers available in science, technology, math and engineering. Contact Erin Brooks, Media Relations Specialist, 847.925.6159,

Distinguished Alumni Nominations

Harper College is accepting nominations for its 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award, an annual honor saluting former Harper students for outstanding career and community achievements. The nomination deadline is May 2. The awards first were handed out in 2008 as part of the College's 40th Anniversary celebration. Seventeen recipients, representing a variety of educational journeys and professional paths, have been honored since then. This year's recipients will be lauded at a fall reception; they must also agree to return to campus at least once more within the year to be a guest speaker or participate in an activity designed to engage students. "Recipients of this award have the opportunity to inspire others, including the students who now are part of the same campus that helped so many alumni get their start," Harper Chief Advancement Officer Catherine Brod says. Previous honorees have included an Emmy-nominated screenwriter, an 80-something retiree still taking, and teaching, Harper courses; a local mayor; a National Geographic-honored geoarchaeologist; a songwriter who penned Madonna's "La Isla Bonita;" a fire chief; and accomplished entrepreneurs. To be eligible, nominees must have completed at least two Harper credit courses, achieved success in their chosen field, and had a positive impact on the community through leadership or volunteering. Forms are available at Harper's Alumni Relations Office on the third floor of the Wojcik Conference Center on the main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road, Palatine, or online, For more information, call 847.925.6701.

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


Music Class Discount

Harper College's Community Music Center is turning 30 years old this year, and they're giving you the gift. In celebration of the milestone anniversary, Harper is offering $100 off all private music lessons through the center this summer. The discount comes as one of Harper's most celebrated music students - Wheeling resident Haley Reinhart - continues her successful climb to the top on Fox's "American Idol." "Haley's success really has demonstrated the talent level of the students who study at Harper," says Director of Jazz Studies Ken Spurr, who coached Reinhart in class and teaches for the Community Music Center. "At the same time, we want people to be aware our Community Music Center is also perfect for those just starting out, and who've never picked up an instrument or really sung in public before." The Community Music Center, part of the College's Continuing Education Department, offers a variety of music courses and private lessons for community members of all ages and all levels - from beginners to serious performers. The classes cover a wide range of instruments, including voice, and all music styles; banjo, jazz improv; and steel band are among the options. All courses are taught by professional musicians who hold a master's degree or higher level of education or equivalent experience. For more information, including a list of courses, call 847.925.6300 or visit

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

Photo Opportunities 

Event: Simulated methamphetamine lab bust

Date: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 26

Location: Room D170, Building D

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


Event: Appearance by Andrew Zimmern, host of Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods and Bizarre World." Zimmern will discuss the food adventures he had while filming across the globe.

Date: 7 p.m. Thursday, April 28

Location: Wellness and Sports Center, Building M

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


Event: College and Career Expo for fourth- through eighth-graders. The event will feature Harper faculty and representatives from area businesses with hands-on activities showcasing science, technology, engineering and mathematics and the careers that relate to those fields.

Date: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 30

Location: Avanté Center

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


Event: Astronomy Day, featuring demos, presentations and stargazing

Date: 5:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 7 (call for best photo times)

Location: Building Z (Avanté Center), and Observatory

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


Event: Harper Hawk Idol contest, inspired by American Idol and Harper student Haley Reinhart

Date: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 11

Location: Quad area of campus, between Buildings D and F

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


Event: Career Programs Open House

Date: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 12

Location: Building Y, Avanté Center (call for specific room numbers)

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