Experts and Insights graphic, new speaker series featuring MCC faculty

Experts and Insights

A Speaker Series Featuring MCC Faculty…

This free educational series is a unique opportunity to connect MCC employees, students, and residents to cutting-edge topics that directly impact our local economy and community. The speaker series is free and open to the public but registration is requested.

If you need an accommodation or a sign language interpreter, contact the Access and Disability Services department at (815) 455-8766 or

Missed a lecture? Watch past lectures

Beyond Rosa: Women Won the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Thursday, February 17 at 6 p.m. via Zoom | Register now

Sarah SullivanSarah Sullivan

What you think you know about The Montgomery Bus Boycott is wrong. Two high school girls and a college English teacher were among those who set the stage for the boycott well before Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on December 1, 1955. These women planned, coordinated, and implemented one of history's most successful boycotts—in conjunction with a court case comprised of four female plaintiffs—that made it all the way to the Supreme Court. The backstory of this boycott is fascinating—and will change your understanding of history.

Register for Beyond Rosa

About Sarah

Sarah Sullivan has taught History and Business at MCC for 22 years and was MCC’s Faculty of the Year in 2016. She presents publicly on a variety of topics that focus on Abraham Lincoln, Alexander Hamilton, women in the colonial and antebellum periods, Henry VIII of England, and the founding generation. She holds graduate degrees in American History, Management and Human Resources. She loves nothing more than weaving a history story or two into every conversation!

Is It Hot in Here or Is That Just Me? Menopause: Myths vs. Facts, Tips, and Tricks

Thursday, March 17 at 6 p.m. | in-person in the Luecht Auditorium | Registration requested but walk-ins welcome

Christine Grela, Christen Louderman, and Elaine Whalen

The thought of going through menopause is stressful for many women—but it doesn’t have to be. In this interactive panel discussion, we’ll examine many aspects of menopause and perimenopause, dispel common beliefs about this experience, and share wellness tips from a psychological and biological standpoint.

Join this text group to send in any questions you'd like us to address.

Register for Hot in Here

 Meet the Speakers

Christine Grela
Christine Grela,
Ph.D., Instructor

Christine has been teaching psychology at MCC for 17 years. She received her degree from the University of Chicago in Human Development: Psychology. In addition to lifespan development, she teaches Human Sexuality. It is that combined interest that brought her to this presentation on menopause.

Christen Louderman
Christen Louderman
PT, DPT, Instructor

Christen is an instructor in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program and has been teaching at MCC for six years. She received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Creighton University and continues to treat patients along with teaching. Christen’s area of expertise in physical therapy is women’s health. She works with women who are both pre- and post-menopausal in regards to the physical aspects of menopause and pelvic health.

Elaine Whalen
Elaine Whalen,
M.S., Instructor

Elaine is an instructor and department chair of Health and Fitness Education. She has been teaching at MCC for 21 years and received her degrees from S.U.N.Y. and Penn State University. Elaine’s area of specialty is nutrition, women’s health, and complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) with regards to alternative treatments in women.

Stuck in an Echo Chamber? How to Find Your Way Out: A Path to Objectivity

Thursday, April 21 at 6 p.m. | in person and via Zoom | Registration requested but walk-ins welcome

Roger Morales and Kim Tipton

MCC librarians Roger Morales and Kim Tipton discuss bias in the media and how to recognize it. They’ll also explain how "filter bubbles" and our own bias affect us when we seek out information.

Register for Echo Chamber

Can Wild Flowers Save the World? The Importance of Native Plants in the Landscape

Thursday, May 19 at 6 p.m. | in-person in the Luecht Auditorium | Registration is requested but walk-ins welcome

Garrett BeierGarrett Beier

What are native plants and how can they make a positive impact on your home landscaping? In this session, we’ll discuss plants that are native to Illinois and explore how adding these sustainable plants can increase the health and abundance of local insects and bird species, improve our ecosystem, and make your garden look lush and beautiful!

Register for Native Plants

 Meet Garrett

Garrett Beier grew up working at his family's greenhouse and nursery in South Dakota. He is the Department Chair of Entrepreneurial Agriculture and Horticulture at MCC, and teaches a wide variety of courses in plant science, horticulture, and agriculture. While Beier has been working with plants for over 20 years, he has recently found a passion for native plants.

Tai Chi for Health, Relaxation, and Fitness

Thursday, June 16 at 6 p.m. | in person and via Zoom | Registration requested but walk-ins welcome

Jim Blaz

Tai Chi Juan can help you improve flexibility, strength, balance, breathing, posture, and increase overall relaxation. Explore a brief history of this martial art and learn the many and various health benefits you can receive by practicing it.

Register for Tai Chi

Introduction to Hydroponics

Virtual event will only be held via Zoom. A Zoom link will be sent by 5 p.m. the day of the event.

Rich TobiazRich Tobiasz

Thursday, January 20, 2022, at 6 p.m. online | Registration required

Hydroponics is used to grow a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, flowers, and small fruits. In this session, we’ll examine the use of hydroponics as a soilless method of growing plants while incorporating first-hand information from the MCC Greenhouse hydroponic production bay. Attendees will also learn how hydroponic systems can easily be adapted for home use.

Register for Intro to Hydroponics

About Rich

Rich Tobiasz began his growing career at age five in his grandmother’s garden. He has since obtained a MS in Crop Science from the University of Illinois and is a volunteer Master Gardener for the U. of I. Extension. He also co-authored the Organic chapter for the U. of I. Master Gardener manual.

Tobiasz teaches Horticulture and Agriculture courses at MCC, where he introduces hydroponics as a method of growing greens, herbs, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes. He regularly tours groups through the MCC greenhouse (including the hydroponic showcase in Bay 3). He lives on a small organic vegetable farm in Spring Grove.

American History Through Folk Music

Patricia Gaughan and Nancy Maio

Pat and NancyThursday, November 18 at 6 p.m. in person  | Registration requested but walk-ins welcome

Immerse yourself in the history of American heritage in this live musical performance/lecture combination.

The performance starts with songs of the Revolutionary War and travels through time to the post-Civil War era. While learning about the historical context of the music, you’ll explore the lives of early settlers through their songs about work, love, faith, politics, and more. Transcending time and place through song allows us to understand the commonality we share with them—as well as each other—today.

Accomplished musicians Pat Gaughan and Nancy Maio frequently combine their talents to present programs of traditional Irish music, folk, and original compositions. They have performed throughout the Midwest at clubs, festivals, colleges, and headlining concert series. As a duo, they combine Pat’s rich voice and intricate guitar playing with Nancy’s instrumental virtuosity on the fiddle. Together, they have a warm stage presence that makes them a very memorable musical duo.

Register for Folk Music

Language, Literature, and Learning: Calling for LatinX Inclusion

Kate Midday

Thursday, September 30, 2021, at 6 p.m. in person in the Conference Center (Rooms A211, 213, 215) and via Zoom | Registration requested but walk-ins welcome

The Latinx population makes up the largest portion of our county’s diversity—but unfortunately, this group is often left out of American curriculums. Latinx literature, in particular, is not often found on required reading lists, and Latina literature even less-so. In a literary study of Latina/x storytelling and theory, Kate Midday will use original research to point to the vast differences amongst this large group of peoples and geographies. Attendees will leave with a new appreciation and understanding of the LatinX experience and a recognition of how much we still have to learn, through a thoughtful approach to ensuring all our students and neighbors are included, respected, and understood. A list of recommended readings will be provided.

La población latina constituye la porción más grande de la diversidad del condado-pero desafortunadamente, muchas veces no se representa en el currículo estadounidense. La literatura latina, en particular, no se encuentra en las listas de lecturas obligatorias, e incluso menos la literatura escrita por mujeres. En un estudio literario de la narración y teoría latina, Kate Midday usará la investigación original para describir las diferencias vastas entre este grupo enorme de pueblos y geografías. Los asistentes se irán con una nueva apreciación y conocimiento de la experiencia latina y un reconocimiento de cuánto tenemos para aprender todavía, por la llegada meditada al asegurar que todos nuestros estudiantes y vecinos sean incluidos, respetados, y sobreentendidos. Se proveerá una lista de lecturas recomendadas.

Register for Language, Literature, and Learning

 Meet the Speaker

Kate Midday
Kate Midday, M.A. 
Learning Communities Program Chair
MCC Academic Council Vice President

Kate Midday is a full-time English faculty member at McHenry County College where she teaches Women's Literature, Children's Literature, Introduction to Literature, and both articulated levels of college composition. She was named MCC Faculty of the Year in 2011 and is a NISOD award recipient.


Tai Chi for Health, Relaxation, and Fitness

Jim Blaz

Thursday, August 18 at 6 p.m. | Registration is requested but walk-ins welcome

This presentation will cover a brief history of Tai Chi Juan, the many and various health benefits of practicing this martial art, the use of Tai Chi Juan to improve flexibility, strength, balance, breathing, and posture, and the relaxation benefits of practicing Tai Chi Juan.

Tai Chi for Health, Relaxation, and Fitness