Perspectives Authors

Beloit Memorial High School Students: 2020

Feb 2, 2020
Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Back by popular demand! For the second year, we are handing over WNIJ's daily feature "Perspectives" to a smart group of Beloit Memorial High School students. Their teacher Breja Fink uses WNIJ's Perspectives to help teach opinion writing to her A.P. Language and Composition students. They choose a topic, research it, write it in a radio script style, and whittle it down to under 90 seconds. Then WNIJ Perspectives editor Susan Stephens visits their classroom and records them in a makeshift studio (a.k.a. The Storage Room). 

David Jones

Dec 31, 2019

David Jones is a retired Presbyterian (USA) clergyman.

Ordained in 1966, he served churches in Chicago, DeKalb and Des Plaines, Illinois. He was also a short term missionary in South Korea.

He retired in 2005 to Rockford, hometown of his late wife, Linda Huffman. He serves on several church and community boards or committees and makes 2nd 1st Church of Rockford his congregational home.

Francisco Solares-Larrave

Nov 14, 2019

A Guatemalan native, he arrived in the United States in the late eighties on a Fulbright Scholarship to do graduate studies in comparative literature at the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana. Initially, he planned on staying two years, but now after three decades, he's still in Illinois.

Jodi Ritter

Oct 29, 2019

Jodi Ritter is Program Assistant for a Master's program at a local university.  She is a Rockford native and an avid NPR listener who graduated from NIU with a Master of Public Health in 2016. 

Jodi lives in Rockford with her husband, their young son, two energetic dogs, and two rescue cats.  In her spare time you can find her cooking, reading, spending time with family, and embarking on little adventures.

John Perryman

Sep 26, 2019

Dr. John Perryman is a pediatrician in northern Illinois. After graduating from the University of Michigan Medical School, he completed pediatrics training at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He has been in practice 26 years.

Dr. Perryman is co-president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) in northern Illinois and is also a member of the Wisconsin chapter. He has spoken to many groups in the area about American health care and what Medicare for all offers.

Kristi Correa

Sep 16, 2019

Kristi Correa is a leadership trainer for a financial service company based in Elgin, IL.

She and her husband met in Bethesda, MD as hospital corpsmen and moved to Sycamore to raise their family as civilians in 1993.

Kristi enjoys gardening, literature, art, and learning about the world around her. She believes connecting with people builds a foundation for healthy communities, and the ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes is the secret to world peace. 

Ross Powell

Sep 10, 2019

Ross Powell has been a professor of geosciences at Northern Illinois University since 1980. He earned a BSc and MSc from Victoria University in New Zealand and a PhD from Ohio State University.

He and his students have conducted scientific research on every continent. His primary research focus has been in the northern and southern polar and high latitudes, where the effects of climate change are being amplified. He also has been on numerous national and international scientific advising and planning committees.

Mary Weaks-Baxter

Aug 15, 2019

Mary Weaks-Baxter is the Andrew Sherratt Professor at Rockford University where she teaches English and serves as Faculty Coordinator of Community-Based Learning, part of the Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement.  

Catherine Forslund

Aug 14, 2019

Catherine Forslund is the Isabel Ross Abbott Professor of History and Women’s Studies and chair of the History, Politics, and International Studies department at Rockford University. She is a Chicagoland native who earned her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis.

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.