My professor used the term 'local star'. What range of distance is generally considered 'local' for a star? And what would be considered distant?
This is too vague a term to be useful, because the Sun does not have any kind of sphere of influence (beyond the solar system) and nor do the nearby stars affect us with their light or gravity (Oort cloud perturbations aside).
Instead it would normally refer to the stellar population in the solar vicinity. This is a mixed bag of objects, with few shared characteristics. For example, objects within 10 light years of the Sun now, will not be so in 10 million years time.
A working definition might be those stars that are close enough to the Sun that we think the census is complete to that distance. Unfortunately, incompleteness remains in all such samples at low masses.
The RECONS programme has been working hard for the last decade to complete the census of objects that are within 10pc (33 light years).
The definition of a distant star is even more vague - all stars are distant. The Sun is 5 orders of magnitude closer than the next stars, so if anything, that is the only natural division between local and distant!
When your professor refers to your "local star" he is referring to the Sun.By a "local star" he may mean any star within the "local bubble" which has a size ~100 parsecs (300 or so ly). Though he may also just be using the term loosely with no defined meaning other than nearby.