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NIU Rockford Club


Scholarship Recipients

Jesse Laseman

Jesse Laseman
2013 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Jesse Laseman was selected as a 2013 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship recipient based on his academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, and strong community involvement. Jesse is a 2013 graduate from Belvidere North High School where he succeed both inside and outside of the classroom. He completed 9 accelerated classes and 4 advanced placement courses, was an honor roll student, and was a recipient of the High Merit Award. With his leadership abilities Jesse held a number of positions among his peers. He served as treasurer for the National Honor Society, interact club president and both president and vice president of student council. Jesse continued to develop his leadership skills while serving as a student ambassador and a mentor to other students.

With drive and ambition Jesse ran cross country throughout high school, also finding time for participation in Business Professionals of America, 4H, interact club, and his church youth group.

Jesse's work experience began as a youth baseball umpire and later developed in customer service roles at Edwards Apple Orchard and Magic Waters Waterpark. Jesse excelled in his professional roles, shining as one of the youngest employees at Edwards Apple Orchard and obtaining the 2012 Customer Associate of the Year Award at Magic Waters Waterpark.

Jesse has shown pride and service to his community by volunteering for 14 different organizations or programs while in high school.

With Jesse's unwavering work ethic, he plans to pursue a degree in Finance or Business Administration. He would like to work for a large company and have an impact on making important economic decisions.

Megan O'Brien

Megan O'Brien
2013 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Megan O'Brien was selected as a 2013 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship recipient based on her outstanding GPA, extra-curricular involvement, passion and drive.

A class of 2013 graduate from Freeport High School, Megan has a lengthy list of accomplishments during her years there. She served as the class secretary and vice president for student council, was a member of the principal's cabinet, and served as the northwest district student council executive secretary. In addition, Megan participated in many leadership programs including the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy, Millikin University's Summer Leadership Camp and the "Big 'Ol Workshop on Leadership." Megan was a member of the National Honor's Society and active in both volleyball and cheerleading.

Megan served her community by acting as a mentor in the Big Brother Big Sister program. She was also an active participant in Highland Community College's Servant Leadership, as well as sitting on a peer jury. Megan attributes her time in the servant leadership program as opening up her interest to volunteering, and she plans to continue to volunteer her time and talents.

Megan gained valuable employment experience as a crew member at Culver's where she was responsible for providing excellent customer service taking orders, running the cash register, and preparing custard for patrons. Megan also worked at Pierce Athletics, not only gaining additional employment experience, but also honing in on her leadership skills. There she was an assistant coach teaching weekly tumbling and cheerleading classes to children ages 3 through 14.

A focused, thoughtful, and engaged student, Megan plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and a Master of Accounting Science. Aspiring to earn her CPA certificate, Megan would like to work for a large corporation and work her way up into management.

Connor Nelson

Connor Nelson
2012 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Connor Nelson was selected as a 2012 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship recipient based on his academic achievement, extra-curricular activities and community participation.

Nelson is a 2012 graduate of Hononegah High School and has been on the varsity golf team, making All-Conference for 4 consecutive years. He was also selected as the MVP in October 2011 and as an NIC-10 Scholar Athlete. Over the summer, he played in the U.S. Junior Amateur tournament. His leadership and good habits on the golf course prepared him well for study at NIU.

Aside from golf, Nelson volunteered at Carpenter's Place, a non-profit organization that assists the homeless by teaching them life skills. He wrote a grant for Carpenter's Place, proposed a budget and presented it to the staff. The experience was both humbling and rewarding.

Nelson looks forward to studying Finance and managing investments while playing professional golf. He believes the College of Business will help him achieve his goals.

Bruno Matic

Bruno Matic
2012 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Bruno Matic was selected as a 2012 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship recipient based on his grade point average, as well as his desire to continue to grow academically.

After moving to the U.S. from Croatia as a 15-year old, Matic graduated Guilford High School and then graduated from Western Illinois University in 2007 with a degree in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, minoring in Computer Science. After working in various security jobs, Matic decided to return to college to study business. Recently, he completed business classes at Rock Valley Community College, but aspires to receive a second bachelor's degree at NIU, concentrating on Accountancy.

His desire and dedication to improve his academic statute has been an inspiration to the scholarship committee and we wish him well as he furthers his studies.

Nicholas Ramsby

Nicholas Ramsby
2012 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Nicholas Ramsby was selected as a 2012 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship recipient based on his grade point average, as well as his involvement in extra-curricular and community service activities.

During high school, Ramsby was involved in football for 3 years (captain the last year), wrestling for 2 years and hockey for 3. In addition, he was involved with Family Career and Community Leaders of America and WISE, both charity-based organizations. Outside of school, he spent much of his time in community-related services, including food drives, fundraisers for childhood diabetes and a local Fourth of July celebration. He volunteered approximately 100 hours at Centerplate, a non-profit organization while working as a teacher's assistant for Durand's kindergarten class.

Ramsby will study marketing, management or finance. He's excited about the travel abroad and internship programs and looks forward to working in the business environment.

Shaylene Hoover

Shaylene Hoover
2011 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Shaylene Hoover was selected as a 2011 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship recipient based on her academic achievement. She is a 2009 graduate from Byron High School where she was an honors student, participated in band, theatre productions, Superintendent Advisory Committee, Key Club, and an active member of the Heartland Community Church. Shaylene is transferring from Rock Valley College where she participated in Rock Valley Intervarsity and was named to the Dean's List and President's List.

Shaylene is active in many community service projects. She raised over $1,000 for the Rockford Area Pregnancy Care Center, and has participated in blood drives, Adopt-A-Highway, Random Acts of Kindness, and other service activities.

Shaylene is transferring into the NIU Accountancy program. Her educational goal is to become a CPA. She feels this scholarship will provide the financial support so she does not have to work full time, which will allow her time to concentrate on her studies.

Smiljka Gavranovic

Smiljka Gavranovic
2010 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Smiljka Gavranovic was selected as a 2010 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship recipient based on her strong work ethic and her commitment to education.

Smiljka is a transfer student from Rock Valley Community College and is pursuing a degree in Accounting at NIU.

A mom of two teenage girls, full-time student, and an employee at JC Penny, Smiljka still finds time to help out at her church, volunteer at her daughters' school and serve as a Croatian translator for others.

Smiljka plans to become a CPA and wants to work for a company in which she can continue learning and growing professionally.

Daniel Hannan

Daniel Hannan
2010 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Daniel Hannan, a Boylan Central Catholic High School graduate, was selected as a 2010 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship recipient to attend NIU's College of Business.

Daniel was active in a large number of extra-curricular and leadership activities throughout high school. A musician, Daniel was in concert band, jazz band, and pit orchestra. He was also co-founder of the Boylan Pep Band "Dream Team." Daniel was involved in Scholastic Bowl, serving as their captain all four years; math team; pro-life club; natural helpers; Ultimate Frisbee club; and Boy Scouts. To accompany his roster of extra-curricular activities, Daniel received numerous awards and recognition, most significantly on the math team and in Scholastic Bowl. Daniel was also a member of the National Honors Society.

Daniel gained experience in Accounting while working at his mom's practice and attained high marks in his Accounting course at school. As a result, Daniel has chosen to pursue a degree in Accounting at NIU. Daniel hopes to get a true education, one which consists of academics, as well as a deep understanding of the society in which we live. He feels NIU will help him to achieve this goal because of the diversity on campus and the high qualifications of faculty.

Danika Tillis

Danika Tillis
2010 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Danika Tillis, senior at Belvidere High School, was selected as a 2010 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship recipient to attend NIU's College of Business.

Danika is an active member of DECA, an association of marketing students, where she serves as Chapter President and State Vice President. She has a number of awards and honors, including first place for her Written Community Service Project at a State Career Development Conference, Outstanding Marketing, Management, and Entrepreneurship Series Award, and Honor Roll achievement since 2006.

Danika's long-term career goal is to be a CFO at a Fortune 500 Company. Driven from her enjoyment in her accounting and statistics courses, as well as her student leadership experience, Danika has chosen to pursue a degree in Accounting and looks forward to getting involved in leadership roles on campus.

Emiley Engle

Emiley Engle
2009 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Emiley Engle was selected as a 2009 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship recipient based on her academic achievement and her demonstrated work ethic. Emiley is a 2006 graduate from Freeport High School where she was in 4H and a program coordinator on the school's Pride Committee. Emiley is transferring from Highland Community College into the College of Business at NIU on the DeKalb campus.

Emiley's professional work experience includes assisting brokers at a title escrow company, administrative support at Mechanical, Inc., and a teller at Fifth Third Bank.

Emily plans to obtain internship experience and work hard to get a degree from the NIU College of Business to help her achieve a successful professional career.

Danielle Wilken

Danielle Wilken
2009 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Danielle Wilken was selected as a 2009 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship recipient based on her proven commitment to academics and her drive to someday be a small business owner. Danielle is a 2007 graduate from Forreston High School where she was involved in Future Farmers of America (FFA), 4-H, Scholastic Bowl and Servant Leadership. Proudly, her Scholastic Bowl team won the conference championship.

Danielle is transferring from Highland Community College into the NIU Business Administration program, (B.S.B.A.) in Rockford.

Danielle's professional work experience includes financial responsibilities at Professional Hearing and Audiology in Freeport and performing operations support at Highland Community College Library.

Danielle plans to get a Business Administration degree from NIU to help her achieve a long-term goal of owning a massage therapy business.

Michael Severt

Michael Severt
2008 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Michael is a graduate of Hononegah Community High School in Rockton. He was involved in the Future Business Leaders of American organization, and placed 12th in a regional accounting competition. His group placed 1st runner up in a Global Economics Summit sponsored by SIFE in 2008.

Michael plans to major in accounting at NIU, and obtain a law degree. His goal is to become a Chief Financial Officer.

Jenner Sio

Jenner Sio
2008 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Jenner graduated from Christian Life High School in Rockford with numerous academic and athletic awards. In addition to her many athletic achievements, Jenner received a Congressional Citation for participation in the 2006 "21 Century Leaders" Conference. She participated in and organized several volunteer service projects in the Rockford area.

Jenner plans to major in business management and minor in coaching. Her ultimate career goal is to open and manage a small business.

Joseph Krey

Joseph Krey
2008 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Joseph served in the United States Navy. He was deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. Following his honorable discharge and graduation from Rock Valley College, Joseph is transferring into the NIU B.S.B.A. program in Rockford. He plans to use his business degree to help achieve his long term goal of becoming a Theoretical Astrophysicist.

Robert Anderson (on right)

Robert Anderson
2007 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Robert graduated from Freeport High School in June 2007. He served as President of the Business Professionals of American Club. He assisted as a student worker at the Freeport Junior High School and was a volunteer tutor for first graders at Lincoln-Douglas Elementary School. Robert worked through high school at a screen printing business, A&B Designs.

Robert's passion for the past few years has been drag racing. Finishing in the top 10 in points for the past two years are proof of his skill and passion to succeed. Robert plans to succeed in his college and business career as well. He plans to obtain an accounting degree to be able to work with a large motorsports company or eventually own his own CPA firm.

 

Ian Mills
2007 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

With a dream to someday be a top executive at a major company, Ian loves learning about businesses. He is pursuing a degree in Finance with plans to become an investment banker. While attending Sterling High School, Ian was a three time member of the NCIC All Conference Academic 1st Team. He also was an Illinois State Scholar, a member of the National Honors Society, and Student Council.

Tutoring fourth graders and shoveling snow for a local YWCA are activities Ian performs to serve his community. He has also worked at Menards for over a year, where he is responsible for guest services.

With his NIU Business degree, Ian hopes to make the business world more profitable and a better place for everyone.

David Loehr (on right)

David Loehr
2007 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

David graduated first in his class from Stockton High School in May 2003. During his high school career, he was a member of the Academic Team and National Honors Society. He was an Illinois State Scholar, and received the Prairie State Achievement Award in Social Science and the Stockton High School Science and Spanish Awards. David works full-time during the summer and weekends during the school year on the maintenance crew at Apple Canyon Lake.

After attending community college, David is now entering the B.S. in Business Administration Program in Rockford. He plans to pursue a career in law enforcement, and with his business degree wants to advance into the administration area.

 

Jamie Terhark
2006 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Having diligent plans for the future, Jamie Terhark has been named a David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient. With graduation in May 2006 fresh at his back, Jamie is already foreseeing his career in business management.

During his high school years Jamie excelled in the classroom and in multiple extracurricular activities. In addition to three years commitment to the Guilford High School football team, Jamie also participated in Student Council, the Honors English Society, the Renaissance Club, and Carpe Diem.

In addition to school and activities, Jamie still found time to work seasonal, self employed jobs. His work found him mowing lawns, shoveling snow, and other various manual labor tasks teaching him the essence of hard work. More recently he has served as a host at Habaneros Mexican Grill and Salsa Bar, a place where he can familiarize himself with the restaurant industry. It is quite possible that Jamie will some day join the family business, owning and operating a Rockford restaurant establishment.

With this likelihood in mind, Jamie would like to use this opportunity to achieve his degree in Business Management. His sights do not stop there however. Jamie's plans after college include graduate school and a Masters in Business Administration to give him the management skills to necessary to run a personal business.

With his sights set high and past successes as groundwork, Jamie is thankful to be given the financial opportunity to place him in a situation where he may achieve great things.

Jennifer Timm

Jennifer Timm
2006 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Taking to heart her Key Club Pledge, "to build her home, school, and community," Jennifer Timm has qualified herself to be selected as a 2006 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship recipient.

Jennifer is a recent 2006 graduate of Hononegah High School in Rockton, IL. She excelled in several activities within the school, making her a well-rounded student and recipient. A member of the Wind Ensemble II, Jennifer was able to showcase her musical abilities as a talented flutist. Her repertoire, however, also includes community service participation in the Global Economic Summit Group as a group leader, and in the Hononegah High School Key Club.

The Key Club is an organization committed to helping others through doing volunteer work in your local community. As a member, Jennifer worked at Winnebago separating recyclable items, directing traffic, and managing a metal drive. In addition to these services, Jennifer participated as a cold-nosed bell ringer for the Salvation Army during the winter holidays to help her community.

To gain work experience, Jennifer was a responsible, mature babysitter for three years while enrolled in school. She also worked at Pets Mart, learning valuable knowledge in regards to customer service, money management, and business operations.

All this amounts to a young business hopeful, who by utilizing her experience in different areas aspires to one day start her own business. She appreciates the support NIU has provided her with this scholarship. With this opportunity, Jennifer feels she will be able to continue to helping the community around her, which now includes the NIU family.

Charles Dorn (on right)

Charles Dorn
2005 David & Diane Graf Rockford Endowed Scholarship Recipient

Charles Dorn graduated first in his class from Rockford Jefferson High School in June 2005. In addition to excelling in academics, Charles participated in numerous extracurricular activities during high school, including Track, Cross Country, Football, and Wrestling. He tutored other students in math as well.

In addition to school activities, he demonstrated leadership through community service helping with Hunger Connection, Ponds for Kids, and volunteered to pick up trash along the roads. Charles managed to participate, excel in academics, and work during his high school years.

Charles plans to study accountancy at NIU and someday open his own accounting firm in the Rockford area. He believes a business degree from Northern Illinois University will help him achieve his dream to become a business leader in the Rockford community.

Megan Elizabeth McKnight (on left)

Megan Elizabeth McKnight
2001 Recipient

Megan McKnight was selected as the 2001 Outstanding Student Scholar based upon her grade point average as well as involvement in extra curricular and community service activities.

Megan is the Vice President of Alumni Relations for the NIU Marketing Honor Society, is a puppy-raiser volunteer for "Leader Dogs for the Blind," and is a volunteer at SMILES Riding for the Handicap program. In addition to excelling academically and participating in extracurricular and community activities, Megan also works as a horseback riding instructor and as a waitress.

Megan plans to receive a B.S. degree in Marketing from the College of Business. She states, "Advancing as far as possible in both my education and in my career are top priorities in my list of goals. I hope these goals will allow me to learn much from others and teach others as well."

Eric Rowe (on left)

Eric Rowe
2000 Recipient

Eric Rowe was the first recipient of the NIU College of Business Rockford Club Outstanding Student Scholarship. His selection was based upon his grade point average as well as involvement in extra curricular or community service activities.

Eric has had internships in Washington DC with the United States House of Representatives, Trustmark Insurance Company in Freeport, Illinois and KPMG in Chicago. He has worked with Congressman Don Manzullo's 1998 Campaign in Stephenson County while also being a Deputy Registrar.

Eric plans to receive a MAS degree in Accounting from the College of Business. He will sit for the CPA in November of 2002. Eric has been interested in accounting since his first accounting class. He is also interested in acquiring international work experience.