Perspectives Authors

Beloit Memorial High School Students

Feb 18, 2019
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Breja Fink uses WNIJ's Perspectives as a teaching tool for her AP Language and Composition class at Beloit Memorial High School. Her fall '18 students had a great idea: write their own perspectives! So they worked on their minute-and-a-half essays, which went through a number of edits and rewrites, and recorded them in a makeshift studio down the hall from their classroom (OK, it was a supply closet).

Broderick Hooker

Feb 4, 2019

Broderick Hooker is a Rockford native, recent graduate of Loras College and aspiring writer.

He currently works as an outreach specialist in the transportation industry. In his free time he enjoys reading, writing, acting, and cooking, in no particular order.  

 

Angela Clay-Thomas

Jan 21, 2019

Angela C. Thomas is Executive Director of the Pregnancy Information Center, which provides medical services and education to individuals facing an unexpected pregnancy. In 2016, she became the first African-American woman elected to serve on the Kane County Board. Thomas has built her career in policy, management consulting and nonprofit development.

Sarene Alsharif

Jan 17, 2019

Sarene Alsharif, LDN, MPH, is a mom, dietitian and local business owner in the Rockford-area. She loves running, and kayaking when the weather is nice. 

Rosie Klepper

Jan 8, 2019

Rosie Klepper is a writer and editor. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, Iowa City Magazine, University of Iowa’s Alumni Magazine and the Chicago Tribune. 

She has a B.A. in music and French with a minor in English from Elmhurst College and also holds a M.A. in French literature from the University of Iowa.

She is an active member of the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, and she relishes the opportunity to play her violin in the mighty second violin section. 

Kate James

Dec 11, 2018

Kate James is an honors student at Northern Illinois University and is studying accounting. She is an active member of the Women's Leadership Institute and the Women In Business Professions.

Kate is from Springfield, Illinois but grew up in Ottawa, Illinois. She enjoys learning new things, spending time with friends, and volunteering.

Robert Laurie

Nov 7, 2018

Robert Laurie wrangles funding from private and government sources to support Home of the Sparrow’s shelter and programs for homeless women and children. He previously worked in college administration, I.T., and book publishing. He grew up on a sheep farm in the Scottish Highlands a long time ago.

A resident of Illinois for ten years, Robert’s a trustee of the Woodstock Public Library and an active member of the library’s Friends group. He enjoys soccer, fixing up his house (trying not to harm himself or others at both), and reading just about anything from Hardy to Knausgaard.

Shelley Hendricks

Oct 31, 2018

Shelley Hendricks is adviser of Northern Illinois University's student-run newspaper, the Northern Star.

Before joining NIU in 2012, Shelley worked for 14 years at the Rockford Register Star, where she held various editing positions. Shelley lives with her family in Sycamore.

Ron Cagle

Oct 30, 2018

Ron Cagle lives in Crystal Lake, where he's a new product development engineer.

Caitlyn Baylor

Oct 23, 2018

Caitlyn Baylor is the Business Manager of Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity, where she has worked for four years. Caitlyn is a Rockford native who graduated from Auburn High School.

Karl Winkler

Oct 3, 2018

Variety is the spice of life for this Dartmouth College graduate from a high school class of 67 people. 

He’s an airplane pilot, scuba certified, fly fisherman with a four sport background. He found law school a perfect fit for his English Literature - creative writing major. As a general practitioner emphasizing trial work of all kinds, he views trial work as a drama -- telling a story within the confines of the law and facts of the case.

Dave McClure

Sep 12, 2018

Dave McClure, of Ottawa, retired in July 2013 as executive director of the Youth Service Bureau after 30-plus years leading the service organization that helps troubled and needy children in northern Illinois.  

He remains active as a volunteer in his community and pursues his personal passion for writing in the shack he built in his back yard.

Yusuf Zahurullah

Aug 22, 2018

Yusuf Zahurullah is a senior in the Gifted Academy at Auburn High School in Rockford. 

When he isn’t on the field as drum major of the marching band, he can be found playing soccer as captain of the boys varsity team. He is president of Auburn’s Model UN club as well as a member of Youth Court. After graduation, he plans to study political science or international relations and have a career in public policy.

Michael Andrzejewski

Aug 8, 2018

 

Michael Andrzejewski is an aspirational writer/inventor.

 

He is very interested in technology, particularly in virtual reality (VR). He's found that virtual reality can greatly improve the quality of life for seniors and has since started a small organization dedicated to bringing VR to Retirement Communities. He can be reached about that project at  communityvr@gmail.com.

 

 

Emily Klonicki

Aug 1, 2018
Dreibelbis + Fairweather Photography

Emily Klonicki is the Executive Director of the Freeport Public Library. She is passionate about library services, the arts, and community building. She loves working in public libraries because these passions can be combined to fuel real change and opportunities in the community.

Erin Arnold

Jul 23, 2018

Erin Arnold is resident of Sycamore and a mother to two outstanding daughters. She spends her days as a sales assistant and Brand Ambassador at First National Bank in DeKalb & Sycamore and is a proud volunteer with Adventure Works of DeKalb County.

Erin advocates for kindness and has a particular soft spot for youth and mental wellness.

 

Greg Stanmar

Jul 18, 2018

Greg Stanmar was born in 1946 in Chicago, graduating in 1968 from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a degree in journalism.

Shortly after graduation, he was drafted and served nearly three years as a combat reporter/photographer with the Army 25th Infantry Division in South Vietnam. He was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service.

Lynnea Erickson Laskowski is the Director of Communication and Prevention Services with Safe Passage, DeKalb County’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Crisis Center. 

Originally from Iowa, Lynnea moved to DeKalb in 2011 to complete a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. When she’s not working, Lynnea spends her time traveling and has been to Sierra Leone, West Africa eight times in the last nine years.

Lynnea is passionate about violence prevention, global development, and West Ham soccer.

Lori Drummond-Cherniwchan

Jul 5, 2018

Lori Drummond-Cherniwchan is a teacher-librarian at Auburn High School in Rockford.

She lived and taught in Kobe, Japan, for two years in the late 1980s, but has lived in northern Illinois since the mid-1990s.

During the school year, Lori likes nothing better than giving book talks and helping students distinguish between real and fake news. During the summer (when she’s not reading), she enjoys going to garage sales with her husband and listening to NPR and White Sox games on the radio.

Sarah Bingaman

Jun 8, 2018

Sarah Bingaman is an adjunct faculty member at Sauk Valley Community College. She retired from teaching elementary schools in Oak Park.

She volunteers with Action for a Better Tomorrow - Sauk Valley and with Dixon Community Gardens.

Sarah lives in Dixon.

Tom Warren

May 23, 2018

Rockford native Tom Warren is a Professor Emeritus in the Education and Youth Studies department at Beloit College. 

Since retiring, he has written several books. The first of two non-fiction works is entitled An Old Caddie Looks Back: Reflections from a Town that Loves Golf . . . and Tiger about golfing in Rockford. The next is Discovering Lake Superior, about the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Melis Dik

May 16, 2018

Melis Dik is a first-generation American and second-generation immigrant. Both of her parents are math professors at Rockford University. 

She is a junior in the gifted program at Auburn High School in Rockford, and she tutors local kids in various levels of math. She plans to focus her college studies in the STEM field.

Melis is president of her school’s volunteer organization, Key Club and District Secretary for the Illinois-Eastern Iowa chapter of Key Club International.

Kaylar Recker

May 11, 2018

Kaylar Recker, a sophomore at Northern Illinois University, hails from Manchester, Iowa, so the cornfields in DeKalb remind her of home.

Her parents still live in Manchester, along with her younger siblings and two dogs. In her spare time, Kaylar enjoys spending time with her friends, watching HGTV, and taking frequent naps.

Kaylar is striving to complete her degree in Political Science, with minors in both Communications and English. In the future, she plans to become a speech writer for a political leader.

Arkar Kyaw

May 9, 2018

Arkar Kyaw is a Fulbright scholar who came from Myanmar, also known as Burma, with the mission of promoting Burmese language and culture at Northern Illinois University and beyond.

The 25-year-old Mandalay native started his career as an English teacher in his home town at the age of 19. Now, he holds the vice-principal position at The Big Dipper, one of the most renowned language schools in Mandalay. 

Elizabeth Batjes

May 7, 2018

Elizabeth Batjes, completing her first year at Northern Illinois University, earned an Associate in Arts degree from Joliet Junior College. She’s pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in English, with a minor in Psychology.

Her home is in Plainfield, where her family includes her parents and brothers, three dogs, a cat, and a bird.

Elizabeth loves listening to music, reading mystery novels, and binging on Netflix -- but she especially loves to travel. After she completes her degree at NIU, she plans to move to Japan to teach and get to experience a culture other than her own.

Garrett Wise

May 2, 2018

Garrett Wise is a graduate of the Northern Illinois University Physics and Philosophy programs. He currently lives in Amboy, Ill., with his girlfriend Rachel and her mother while working to pay down his student debt. He works nights as an analytical chemist for a major food and beverage company. 

On occasion, Garrett holds public outreach activities to share his passion for amateur astronomy.  During the day, Garrett and Rachel can be found at the local board game store sharing their vast collection of board games with anyone interested in playing.

John Waelti

Apr 23, 2018

John Waelti was raised on a Wisconsin dairy farm and served three years in the U.S. Marines.

He earned degrees from universities in Wisconsin, Arizona and California and became a professor of economics –at the University of Minnesota for 23 years, New Mexico State University for 11 years, and Sultan Qaboos University in Oman for four years.

His tenure at Minnesota included two years in Kenya and one year as Economic Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Army.

Bonnie Cox

Apr 18, 2018

Bonnie Cox was a founding member of the JoDaviess County League of Women Voters 35 years ago, became a member of the board of the Illinois League of Women Voters in 2013, and was elected president of the state organization in 2017.

She is retired from her career as a mental health therapist and dedicates her “working hours” to league efforts, which she said she likes because of the nonpartisan consensus approach and dedication to the common good.

Fred Lierman

Apr 11, 2018

Fred Lierman was born in 1940, and spent part of his childhood on the Arizona desert and a farm in Central Wisconsin.  His family had a radio, so he knows about stories. 

Fred is a writer who wrote his first short story in drafting class in ninth grade. He says he didn’t like drafting class and didn’t care much for the story either.  As an adult, he's made his living writing technical manuals for commercial and military aircraft and a few things for commuter trains. 

Owen Carter

Mar 28, 2018

Owen Carter was born and raised in Rockford, and he is proud to call that city home. 

After graduating from Jefferson High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served for 10 years, including deployments to Kosovo and Iraq. While in the Navy, he earned his Associate and Bachelor’s Degrees in Political Science: Public Law.

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