Perspectives Authors

Greg Alexander

Aug 6, 2019

After 40 years of corporate experience in product and process innovation, continuous improvement and project management, Greg retired in 2017 to start his own consulting business. He has recently taught his 2-day “Foundation Principles of Project Management” course for various clients in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.  

Jim Angel

Jul 30, 2019

Jim Angel served as State Climatologist for Illinois for 34 years, retiring in 2018. His passion for weather and the climate, especially in the Midwest, continues in retirement. He is a member of the Nature Conservancy's Science Advisory Committee. 

Kelly Furr

Jun 28, 2019
Susan Stephens

Kelly Furr is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition, Dietetics & Wellness.  She lives with her family in Plano.     


Irene Rubin

Jun 25, 2019
Irene Rubin

Irene Rubin is an author and retired professor of public administration and political science at Northern Illinois University. 

She lives in DeKalb, where she has taken on the role of community activist. She is fulfilling her mission to help immigrants through her work with Welcoming Western Counties.


Nina Dulabaum

Jun 4, 2019

Nina Dulabaum graduated from Oberlin College, OH, and after serving three years in Berlin as an international community volunteer, earned her M.A. at the Free University Berlin and Ph.D. at the Technical University Berlin, Germany, in Education and Psychology with emphasis on civic engagement.

Jeff Utterback

Apr 24, 2019

Jeff Utterback is a Software Engineer in Sugar Grove and the author of the book "Swygert: Growing Up in the Middle of Nowhere in a Little Town Nobody Ever Heard of."  

Denise Bunning

Apr 16, 2019

Denise A. Bunning, the Northern Illinois University College of Education’s Spring 2019 Educator in Residence, is an educator, support group leader and advocate who works to improve the lives of children with food allergies.

Bunning earned a B.A. in Early Childhood/Special Education from Boston College, an M.S.Ed. in Special Education from NIU and a Certificate of Advanced Study in School Administration from National Louis University.

Nikki Safford

Apr 8, 2019

Nikki Safford is a graduate of DeKalb High School, with a B.A. in Sociology from Northern Illinois University. She has over 16 years of experience working with adults with intellectual disabilities in her current role as Residential Director for a local non-profit agency.

She is a Member of the Board of Trustees for the Kishwaukee United Way. She is married to a 22-year veteran of the United States Coast Guard and lives with her two rescue Chihuahuas.

Mahesh Subramony

Feb 28, 2019

Mahesh Subramony is professor of management at Northern Illinois University, where he conducts research related to the human side of services; and teaches human resource management and management consulting to undergraduate business students, as well as organizational behavior in the MBA program. 

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



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.