The year featured is their high school graduation year. Each candidate has provided current information about his or her college experience, personal honors, occupation, volunteer work, and reflections on Naperville North High School and the award experience. Please feel free to read about the wonderful young men and women who represent their Naperville North classmates and the promise of Rob’s legacy.
EJ VAUGN:UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, IL
AMANDA BLANK: University of Illinois-Chicago, Chicago, IL
Each year from an excellent candidate pool of nominated students who represent the current senior class of Naperville North High School, the scholarship selection committee is challenged to select two students as award recipients. An important part of the application and interview process is that each student gains experience in a group/individual interview format and the knowledge of their ability to make a positive impact on the broader world as they leave the halls of NNHS. All candidates are to be congratulated on being nominated as a Rob Koranda Scholar. We, on the scholarship interview board, want to extenda thank you to their families, teachers, friends, and teammates for supporting them during their four years at Naperville North High School.
McCormick School of Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Major: Biomedical Engineering Major
“Starting off my second semester at Vanderbilt, I am still very happily a pre-medical student with a potential major in the biological sciences, though the exact major I am unsure of. My classes are definitely challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. In addition, Vanderbilt has offered me a ton of opportunities to get involved and I have been trying my best to keep up! I currently am still playing and loving club soccer here and I am volunteering at a hospital through an organization called “Project Sunshine” where we try to help alleviate the stressful experiences of children in pediatric medical facilities through mentoring, crafts, and games. I am also involved in an LGBTQ+ advocacy group and an organization that focuses on protecting the welfare of animals by helping to run animal adoptions in the Nashville area. Overall, I would say I’m keeping myself pretty busy here!
Knowing at this time the 2016 RAK Scholarship candidates will be announced, I flashback to when I first received my breakfast letter during 4th period AP Biology with Mr. Champion. I think it’s own of those moments I’ll have for a long time, I opened that letter and was excited and nervous all at once, but above all, I was so honored. The interview process last year was truly transformative for me, and I am thrilled to watch the next pool of applicants experience the same things that I did.”
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, MA
“Living in Boston has been awesome! The city is so walkable and full of energy. My first semester of college has definitely been full. The soccer team had a very successful season making it to the Sweet 16 of the DIII tournament which was a lot of fun and a great experience in my first season. Classes went well and I have started a research position at MIT to better understand technology that deals with skin tightening and wrinkle removal. I joined a fraternity, Phi Sigma Kappa, that has a house in Kenmore Square so next school year I’ll live a couple blocks away from Fenway Park! This month I have been working at Argonne National Lab working with an initiative called “Resilient Infrastructure”. I will head back to school at the end of the month and am excited to start my second semester!”
Western Michigan University, MI
Volunteer: Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Community Food Pantry, Team Impact (www.goteamimpact.org)
Sports: Member of WMU Volleyball team ”GO BRONCOS!”
Favorite Memory of College: So far, winning the Mid-American Conference Volleyball Championship, and making it to the NCAA Tournament.
NNHS & Personal Statement: “Naperville North gave me so many opportunities to grow outside of my comfort zone and try things I would have never thought of doing, such as joining clubs, being a part of athletics, and excelling, as well as always challenging my class load. The product of hard work, selflessness, and being myself led me to become part of the Koranda Family – which is an amazing group of people who share Rob’s love with everyone around them. The scholarship is more than what it appears to be; it is a blessing to be recognized as someone (Rob) who was loved, looked up to, and an all-around human being who left a lasting impression to everyone he knew. For that, I am so thankful.”
“…being myself led me to become part of the scholarship family and friends – which truly is an amazing group of people who share Rob’s love with everyone around them. The scholarship is more than what it appears to be; it is a blessing to be recognized as someone (Rob) who was loved, looked up to, and an all around amazing human being who left a lasting impression to everyone he knew. For that, I am so thankful.”
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Major: Mechanical Engineering, James A. Clark School of Engineering
Sports: Club Water Polo. University Intramurals
Involvements: Catholic Student Center
Internships: Exelon Nuclear, Warrenville, IL, Campus – Summer 2015
Favorite memory of college: “Heading to our nation’s capital in the wee hours of the morning.”
NNHS & Personal Statement: “So many people told me to leave a legacy. I learned that a legacy could be something as big as speaking at graduation or helping out just one classmate by pursuing a caring relationship with them. I’d say that the “big” things I accomplished in high school were not as important as the personal relationships I was a part of. Just being a friend or going through a tough time with someone is the aspect of high school that I believe will stay with me the longest.”
“The interview process was a great experience for everyone involved, because after having 10 people you do not know ask you big questions about yourself in front of your classmates, every other interview should be easy”
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Sports: Member of Dartmouth Football Team
Fondest college memory: “So far, beating Princeton (Nov. 2014) in the final game of my sophomore season. It is always a special game when we play the Tigers because of the age-old rivalry the two schools have, but this was compounded because of Rob’s history at Princeton. Getting to travel to New Jersey last fall and walk the same campus Rob once did was an incredible experience. We defeated Princeton by a score of 41 to 10, which was easily the best team performance I have seen as a member of the Dartmouth team. It was a great way to send our seniors off with a dominating victory, and to celebrate an 8-2 season; our best record in a decade.”
Internships: Industrial Controls Company, Sales (current)
Volunteer: “I volunteered at the Loaves and Fishes food pantry in Naperville beginning my freshman year of high school all the way until the end of my senior year. I began going to the pantry once or twice a month as a project in my freshman English class in which the goal was to develop a new skill, hobby, or past time that would help you grow as an individual. I enjoyed the pantry so much I continued to work with Loaves and Fishes three and a half years beyond the end of this project.”
“The Rob Koranda Scholarship Foundation is much more than an organization that provides financial aid to qualified students. It is a family consisting of friends and loved ones that have turned a horrible tragedy into a symbol of hope and triumph. This foundation that was founded in memory of the late Rob Koranda has changed my life in ways I could never have imagined, and I am truly blessed to have had the chance to meet so many of his incredible friends and family. Being awarded this scholarship implies that I carry characteristics that Rob had during his life, which is more of an honor I feel worthy of accepting. Despite that, I try my hardest in the classroom, the weight room, and the football field to always give my maximum effort, which will enable me to grow and succeed in accomplishing my goals while at Dartmouth College. Rob would have done nothing less, and I try to emulate the habits of those I see as leaders in my life. Even though I never had the pleasure of meeting or knowing Rob, what his family, friends, and his legacy represent drive me to reach goals I never thought possible.”
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN '17
Major: Communications (specializing in Public Relations)
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Major: Masters in Sports Law and Business
Sports: A member of Purdue University’s Soccer Team (Division 1)
Honors/ Leadership: 2014 All -Academic Big 10 recognition, President of the Student Athlete body, VP on the Communications Honor Society Executive Board
Volunteer: Purdue’s Winterization which helps elderly in community prepare their homes for winter reading and mentoring elementary school students.
Fondest college memory: “There’s many! Probably beating Ohio State this past season!
NNHS & Personal Statement: “I think it is very important to remain focused on your goals and always follow your dreams. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in things that are not important to you or do not benefit you in any way, but always striving to achieve your goals is a great way to see success”.
Career: Graduate Assistant in the Athletics Marketing Department for Arizona State University
Moving to Tempe, Arizona in July
“This scholarship meant the world to me. I remember sitting at the end of the year award ceremony my senior year and being so anxious to find out if I was the recipient or not. While the scholarship money is nice, the most important part of it to me was what this award really meant. I was honored that I was chosen for this award because I knew it meant that I resembled similar characteristics to Rob”.
University of Chicago
PhD program in Molecular Engineering.
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL – Graduated 2016
Major: Biomedical Engineering, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science
Sports: Member of the Northwestern Cross Country team
Volunteer: Assistant coach for Girls on the Run, a 3rd-9th grade after-school program that encourages confidence and health in young girls
Favorite Memory in College: ”I spoke at a campaign fundraising event to over 600 Northwestern alumni. It was one of my bravest moments.” (Rachel with her winning smile was featured on the cover of the NU Alumni Magazine – SWK)
NNHS: ”When I think back to my experience at Naperville North High School and what stuck with me, I remember the kindness I found in students, teachers, and coaches. Being a member of the cross country team gave me an immediate sense of community and support, empowering me to take risks and grow.”
“The Rob Koranda Scholarship award has allowed me to puruse my passions and find community in college. I am inspired by the legacy Rob has and by the kindness, support, and generosity of his family and friends.”
Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
Major: Computer Science
Achievements: Kenneth Cole Awareness Grant, City of Naperville Certificate of Appreciation, Hispanic Heritage Foundation Youth Award, Chicago Lighthouse Scholarship Award, Kenneth Jernigan Scholarship Award(Illinois), John Brinkworth Scholarship Award. Keynote Panelist: Shift Series, Washington, DC; Co-speaker Student Orientation, Chiang Mai Univ., Thailand; Speaker Top Rank U, Bangkok Bank, Thailand; Speaker Center for Disease Control, Thailand.
Internships: 2013: Google Glass, Software Engineer (Development of application for engaging retail labels verbally);
2014: Maelao Hospital, Thailand, Philanthropic Software Engineer (Developed mobile and web application to create/manage patient information. Presented work to CDC, Bangkok Bank, and leading Thai universities); Stanford Medical School, Undergraduate Software Engineer (Worked on conception/beginning development of software to objectively evaluate laparoscopic surgical procedures;
2015: Palantir Technologies, Infrastructure Quality Engineer (Internship evaluating and improving system architecture and performance for software company whose technology is used in national security)
Interests: Scuba Diving, Fitness, Fashion & Consumer Electronics
NNHS: “As the years go on, I increasingly realize that every moment I spent at Naperville North was precious. My time at North yielded lasting relationships, intellectual motivation, and a clear path to follow What’s more, my time at North always afforded me a great socially-integrated education.”
University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
Major: Bachelor of Arts in English/Bachelor of Science in English Education.
College Honors: Blue Key Honor Society, Dean William Tate Honor Society
Volunteer & Leadership: President of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Senior Marshall to Fraternity Standards Board, Young Life Team Leader, U of Georgia Visitor Tour Leader, school tutor at Clarke Middle School & Oconee County High School
Fondest memories of college: Watching the Dawgs beat LSU in an epic game last fall!
Career: High School Youth Director for Young Life (Georgia or Alabama)
Marriage: Wedding planned for July 18, 2015
“This scholarship has meant so much to me. It has been a tremendous motivation to live a life of purpose, selflessness, and integrity.”
Ohio State University ’15
Major: Strategic Communications and General Business
Involvements: Sport and Wellness Scholar program, Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, Buckeye Leadership Fellows Program
Honors/Leadership: SPINX Senior Honorary, KKG President, Registrar, Houseboard Trustee
Sports: Marathon Finisher: Columbus, Naperville, Boston
Internships: 2013, 2014: Red Frog Events, Event Coordinator
Career: (on Campus) Office of the President, Student Assistant
Favorite memory of college: ”My favorite experience of college was traveling to New Orleans to watch the Buckeyes beat Alabama! OSU fans dominated the city with an incredible win against the #1 team. My favorite single moment in college is winning the National Championship again Orgon. GO BUCKS!”
NNHS: ”Looking back at my four years at Naperville North High School, I cannot be more thankful for the mentors I had who are still great influences in my life. I would not be where I am today without the amazing coaches and teachers who supported me and made me who I am.”
“Receiving the Rob Koranda Scholarship Foundation award is like joining a family. I have been so fortunate to meet and get to know the people who shaped Rob, grew up with him, or played on the same team as him. A part of a quote that has stuck with me since receiving this award in 2011 is, “Good Character is more to be praised than outstanding talent” – John Luther”
ASHLEY WEIZEORICK RemeGI
Illinois State University, Bloomington-Normal, IL
Major: Bachelor of Science Biological Science Education (Minor in Chemistry)
Honors: National Society of Collegiate Scholars; Illinois State Honor Role, 2013, 2014
Associations: ISU Student Education Association
Volunteer: College Mentors for Kids; Jacksonville Illinois School for Visually Impaired (curriculum development and teaching biology).
Fondest memory in college: “My fondest college memory was my involvement in College Mentors for Kids. I was Vice President of a non-profit organization that brought “at-risk” youth to Illinois State’s campus every week to work with a college mentor and learn about higher education, diversity and community service. We mentored over 300 students during my time with the program and this was an amazing experience allowing me to show young students that college is possible for them.”
Career: Downers Grove North High School, Science Teacher – Biology and Physical Science. (My Physical Science class is a co-taught science class and I am currently co-teaching with Megan Hurley (2005 Rob Koranda Scholar recipient). Such a small world!)
Community volunteer effort: Raising funds for Pancreatic Cancer Research through various walks and events in Chicago area, and our family’s annual golf outing held in the name of my grandmother, who we lost to pancreatic cancer in 2013. Downers Grove North HS Snowball Weekend event. An event that brings together approximately 200 students and allows them to see that they are not alone in personalpressures and that they have peers with similar challenges as their own.
Personal Statement: “I received the Rob Koranda Scholarship award in 2010. Being nominated for such an amazing scholarship came as a big shock to me. I never felt that what I did at North meant so much to others and it was a great feeling to know how much of an impact I had on my peers. I was captain of both the diving team and the basketball team my senior year and I enjoyed being apart of both teams for four years. In college I continued to stay involved in both leadership and athletic roles through various clubs and intramurals. In both high school and college the relationships I made with both faculty and friends are what I will remember the most. I am still in touch with many of my high school and college friends and teachers. When you look back it is the relationships you make that you will remember most.Although I never personally met Rob I knew he was such a fun loving and genuine person from the stories I have heard from his family and friends. I try to live each day with a positive outlook and take each challenge as an adventure. In my classroom one thing I am always doing with my students is setting goals and reminding them that if you put your mind to something you will succeed. We also talk about how little acts of kindness throughout the school can turn someone’s day around. I know Rob was a student who would go out of his way to help others no matter what grade or group of friends they were apart of. Now that I am teaching in a high school it is one of my goals to teach my students that a little act of kindness can go a long way.Knowing the scholarship committee saw something in me that reminded them of Rob is an amazing honor. The family and friends have become like a second family to me and it is so amazing to be part of a family who is so dedicated to keeping Rob’s spirit alive in all of us.”
“Each year I look forward to meeting the new recipients and each year it is such an amazing group of young adults who are so dedicated to helping not only themselves but others around them succeed as well.”
Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Major: Bachelor of Art in Marketing
Major: Bachelor of Art in Business Administration (specialization Sports Industry)
Honors: OSU Dean’s List, Leadership/Rush Chair for Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity
Sports: Active participant in OSU intramural/club sports
Fraternity: Phi Kappa Psi
Fondest memory of college: ”During October of my senior year, OSU hosted University of Iowa for a football game. A group of high school friends from UI made the nine hour tip to Columbus for the weekend visit–even convincing a few Indiana Hoosiers to come up for the game as well. Being able to enjoy one of my favorite events – a Buckeye football Saturday – with my high school AND college friends was absolutely incredible. Having the Bucks win was just icing on the cake for what was a very special experience that I won’t ever forget.”
Internships: Kane County Cougars Baseball Club, marketing/development
Career: Northwestern Mutual (Oakbrook, IL), Financial Representative
Volunteer: Girls and Boys Club, Columbus, OH
Personal note:“Within the past 18 months both of my sisters have become parents; I am now the proud uncle of two troublemaking nephews!”
NNHS: ”I absolutely loved my time at Naperville North High School. The relationships I built with my peers, teachers and coaches have remained strong well after graduation.”
“The importance of this scholarship is tremendous. It opened so many doors for me throughout college that would not have otherwise been financially possible. Trying to live up to the standard that Rob set has pushed me to a better version of myself each and every day. I can’t thank the Korandas, and those involved in the scholarship foundation, for welcoming me into their family!”
ELIZABETH DUPPER Buckman
Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
Major: Bachelor of Science Secondary English Education, with Distinction
Certificates: Licensed teacher in Illinois and Indiana
Achievements: 2010 Indiana University Founders Society Scholar; direct admit to IU School of Education
College Involvement: Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, President; Little 500 Bike Team Member; Little 50 Runner; IU Dance Marathon; Writer for “The Odyssey”, Hutton Honors Mentor, IU Visitor Center Tour Guide/Receptionist, Rob Koranda Scholarship Award presenter and speaker.
Volunteer: Youth Group Leader, Feed My Starving Children
Fondest Memory of College: IU is a campus that wears each season better than the last. It is hard to isolate one memory as the best because each day was filled with fun. I loved all of years in Bloomington and feel lucky to have spent my undergraduate time there. I will always remember the moment when I was talking about returning to school after winter break my sophomore year and saying that I would be, “driving home in a few days,” and realizing that IU really had become home to me.”
Internships: Rob Koranda Scholarship Foundation, Writer, Development, Event Planner
Porsche Cars North America, Area Central, Marketing
Career: Churchill Middle School, Elmhurst, IL. English Teacher, 6th Grade
Current Endeavors: 2014 Chicago Marathon Finisher
NNHS: ”I look back at my high school years at Naperville North with fondness. It was a terrific place to take risks, challenge yourself, embrace new ideas, and create meaningful and lifelong friendships. I am still close with friends I made in middle school and high school, and I attribute a great deal of this to the fact that North outwardly encourages and values creating these types of meaningful friendships with classmates, teammates, and friends. I always felt supported, appreciated, and valued at North while being encouraged to become the best version of myself.”
“I have always appreciated that the Rob Koranda Scholarship has “recipients” not “winners.” The company I find myself in each year as more members are welcomed to the family amazes me. My favorite thing about this community is that as new recipients are introduced, I find new role models to look up to. As a high schooler, I valued that this scholarship was based a great deal on character, and not purely achievement. The scholarship community is one that I will be connected to for my entire life because it does not just recognize high school achievement, rather it embraces and encourages an entire lifetime of strong character, new adventures, and meaningful relationships.”
Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
Major: Bachelor of Science Finance and Accounting, with Distinction
Achievements: Direct admit to Kelley School of Business, 2010 Indiana University Founders Society Scholar, Key note speaker annual RAK Scholarship golf outing 2014.
College Involvement: Sigma Pi Fraternity, Social Chairman; Hutton Honors College member; Indiana University Dance Marathon.
Favorite memory of college: ”Picking a favorite memory from college is a question that doesn’t have a right anser, and I think that’s a good thing. When I think back on my four years at Indiana there are two events that tend to stand out. First is senior year IU Dance Marathon when the organization raised over $2,000,000.00 for the first time in the event’s history. It was special because it was the year I was mot involved, and the year I had the most interaction with the kids. It was great to raise such a large amount of money, but the actual interaction with the kids and seeing how happy the event made them resonated with me in a way that I will never forget. Second, on a completely different end of the spectrum, is senior year Spring Break. This was a week where 95% of the IU Greek life invaded Key West and it was an absolute blast. Two very different events, but both were some of the most memorable experiences of my college career.”
Internships: 2012 Finance Commando, Australia
Career: 2013 Alvarez and Marsal, Chicago, IL. Analyst
Promoted: Consultant 11/1/14
NNHS: ” In some ways, I still consider high school to be one of the best times of my life. I absolutely loved college, and the real world isn’t too bad either, but high school was very unique. There were so many opportunities to get involved with teams, organizations, and clubs that made it a truly special time. I was fortunate enough to be involved in several of these organizations, and I am proud to say that, to this day, I still consider a vast majority of the friends I made through tem to be some of my best.”
“I remember when I was a freshman in high school attending the awards ceremony for the first time and getting my first glimpse at the Rob Koranda Scholarship video. Up until that point, my goal for high school was to be a great athlete, but after watching the video I had a change of heart. To me, the thing about the scholarship is that it is not a competition. The award doesn’t go to the smartest person, the best athlete, the most popular, etc. (trust me, if it did I wouldn’t have gotten it), it goes to the male and female who best embody what Rob stood for. I never had the fortune of meeting Rob, but in getting to know the committee, past and recent recipients, and his family, it is clear to see that he was someone who valued kindness, friendship, integrity, hard work, and respect to name a few. Seeing that in the video when I wa a freshman helped me realize that that was the kind of person I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be known as an athlete or a brain, I wanted to be known as a good person, who cared about others, worked hard to achieve success, and at the end of the day just enjoyed life and the opportunities it has to offer.”
University of Dayton, Dayton, OH
Major: Bachelor’s of Art in Marketing/Sales
Sports/Activities: Member of U of Dayton Men’s Lacrosse team (Goalie).
Internship: Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce (Website Coordinator/Sales)
First job: TEKsystems as an IT Recruiter
Current: Liberty Mutual Insurance, Workers’ Compensation Case Manager
Favorite College Memory: ”It began with being part of the Lacrosse Team as a freshman. This was how and when I first met new friends that would become lifetime friends. During high school Lacrosse, I had played attack but assessing the opportunity to play and being an integral part of team, I knew I would have to change positions to a position I had never played before: goalie. Halfway through the season, I had an opportunity to start. After a couple of rough performances, I was able to hold the position. At season end, our #1 nationally ranked club team successfully earned a place in the National College Lacrosse Tournament. Our success continued into the final four and we reached the Semi-Final win in National Title Game. The experience of taking a risk, earning a starting spot and helping the team to reach the National Title game for the first time in Univ. of Dayton history was truly unforgettable.”
NNHS: ”Naperville North High School was a big challenge for me. Coming from a Catholic school, I only knew a handful of people. I truly believe the challenge of meeting a whole new group of friends in high school as molded my personality like nothing else has in my life.”
Ben currently lives in Chicago, IL.
“Going through the process and being a scholar has taught be that Character is the most lasting impression that you can leave on people. Rob was successful in everything he did from school, football, and his career. However, I feel like those things aren’t talked about when Remembering Rob. What is talked about is his Character. Adults that knew Rob when he was younger talk about his level of respect and maturity. Friends close to Rob when he was growing up talk about his sense of humor and upbeat personality. It seems that people where naturally drawn into him by his Character. As I start my career, I sometimes get jealous and frustrated when comparing my situation to others. But I try to remind myself about Rob. When it is all over, none of that will matter to people. What will is my Character. What my outlook on life was. How I treated others and how I positively affected other people’s lives. With all the stresses in life, it’s hard to remember that lesson. Luckily, Rob has been a great teacher to me.”
KATIE KAUTZA LARSON
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Major: Bachelor ofArts Business Administration (Specialization Marketing)
Internships: Target Corporation, Statistical Analyst
First job: Nielsen Marketing (Chicago), Analyst
Currently: Google, Account Planner
Fondest Memory of College: “It is hard to choose just one college memory as my fondest when I loved so many at UW! From Badger game days and studying abroad in Spain to spending evenings at the terrace and meeting my husband, it was an incredible four years!”
Currently living in Chicago area with her husband, Jared.
“I feel truly honored to be a recipient of the Rob Koranda Scholarship Award. This scholarship, the Koranda family, and the Foundation community has had a profound impact on my life. If you ever get the opportunity to talk with someone who knew Rob you will notice that they light up when they tell you stories about him; the impact Rob had on those around him in undeniable. I, to, hope to have that type of positive impact on the lives I touch. In Rob’s short life he accomplished so much. Whether you are a scholarship recipient, a finalist, or you just see the scholarship video, I urge you to learn from Rob. Do not take moments in your life for granted. Live your life to the fullest, be the best YOU, and never give up. I hope to continue Rob’s legacy and I hope that, in my life, I can make Rob and his family and friends proud”.
Illinois Wesleyan University '11
Major: Bachelor of Science in Economics and Business Administration (Specialization Finance)
First job: Advisory Associate (Consultant) at Price Waterhouse Coopers, Ltc. (PwC)
Current: Senior Associate (Consultant) in Insurance at PwC
Volunteer: Junior Achievement – Earn Your Future, Chicago. Visiting Chicago public schools to educate youth about finances, budgets, spending.
Currently Mike is newly engaged to his girlfriend of six years whom he met while at IWU. He is living in the Lisle and Chicago area.
“We might be in a different arena or institution now and our goals might be different than winning a game or getting an “A” on an exam, but the qualities and skills that we hear describe each new recipient are the ones that will be needed to succeed professionally, in our community and within our families after graduation While watching a Naperville North High School basketball game or listening to the introduction of the new recipients at each Rob Koranda Scholarship annual golf outing, I am reminded that this award is not a one time achievement. It is an absolute incredible honor to be named a Rob Koranda award recipient, but it is also a responsibility to continue to deliver the same impact in all of the future arenas of our lives.”
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI ’11
Major: Bachelor of Arts in English, specialization in Language and Linguistics
Miami University, Oxford, OH ’14
Major: Master of Art Speech-Language Pathology
Associations: UWM Student Member of National Speech-Language Hearing Assoc.
Honors: Recipient of Ohio Speech Language Hearing Assoc. Graduate Student of the Year ’13
Recipient of two-year Graduate Assistantship, Miami University
Published: Music Listening Behavior, Health, Hearing and Otoacoustic Emission Levels. International Journal of Environmental Public Health, July 2014
College Students’ Personal Listening Device Usage and Knowledge. International Journal of Audiology, December, 2014.
Sports: Member of UWM Club Softball team; participated in soccer, basketball, volleyball and softball intramurals.
Volunteer: Badger Volunteer Tutor, Member of UWM Colleges Against Cancer.
Favorite Memory of College: “My favorite memory of college was senior year at the night football game vs. Ohio State. My friends, family and I spent the day tailgating and then went to the game that evening, which happened to be the ESPN game of the week. The Badgers, who were the underdogs, were able to pull off a victory and we all stormed the field. The excitement and energy in the stadium that night was absolutely electrifying. I also greatly enjoyed my time studying abroad in Spain in the spring of 2011.”
Internships: University of Illinois at Chicago medical Center, student speech pathology intern in neurosurgical ICU and inpatient rehabilitation units; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, student speech pathology intern; Fairfield North Elementary, student speech pathology intern.
Career: Brookside Care Center, Kenosha, WI. Speech Pathology Clinical Fellow.
NNHS: Looking back upon high school, I feel that Naperville North prepared me exceptionally well to transition into college and eventually the working world. The outstanding academic reputation, diverse extracurricular offerings and phenomenal teaching and coaching staff made heading off to college relatively seamless. Nonetheless, what stands out most to me about my time at NNHS was the sense of community and the friendships that I made. High school and then college truly flew by and now that many of my high school friends have moved all over the country, I look back warmly on some of the football games, dances or bonfires I spent hanging out with my friends. I am certain that many of the friendships I formed during those four years will last a lifetime.
Currently Brittany resides in Milwaukee, WI
“Being a recipient of the Rob Koranda scholarship is undoubtedly one of my proudest accomplishments. The values on which the scholarship is based including community service, leadership, passion and integrity continue to motivate me to reach my full potential in both my personal and professional life. What’s more is that for me, the scholarship becomes even more meaningful each year as I am able to participate in the golf outings and meet more of the many people that Rob impacted. The Koranda family’s remarkable ability to turn a tragedy into this scholarship foundation truly allows Rob’s zest for life to inspire new students and touch new lives each and every year.”
North Central College, Naperville, IL
Major: Bachelor of Science in Business Management
Sports: Played four years on Cardinal Football team (Quarterback)
Favorite College Memory: ”Meeting my (soon to be) wife.”
First job: Assistant Football Coach at Elmhurst College
Current job: Cambridge Sensors, USA, Regional Sales Manager. (US-based manufacturer of medical sensors for the treatment of diabetes.)
Personal Statement: ”Loving life at the moment. I am very excited to get married and loving my new residence in Austin! I have a bulldog named Milo that keeps me entertained and I couldn’t be happier!”
“This scholarship meant everything to me. It influenced me to continue my passion for football in the community where I grew up and obtain an education that led me to where I am now. I am very happy in all aspects of my life including my relationships, my career, my health and my passion for living and that wouldn’t have been possible without this scholarship and the people involved. Thank you to everyone!”
SUSIE PHADKE NASH
University of Southern California, Los Angles, CA
Major: Bachelor of Science Kinesiology, with a minor in Children and Families in Urban America
First job: Math Teacher with Teach for America in Marianna, Arkansas
Currently: Data and Assessment Coordinator at LEAD Academy, Nashville, TN
Volunteer: Participant in Unite for Sight, Mentored and coached sports in K-12 schools during college
Fondest memory of college: ”Traveling across California and the US competing in triathlons.”
NNHS: ”Naperville North High School is a place where I learned so much about leadership and making a difference.”
Currently living in the Nashville area with her husband, Jonathan, and daughter, Kate (born 6/14).
“I am so grateful to have been a recipient of the Rob Koranda Scholarship because it allowed me to travel across the country for college; it has been a humbling honor to continue the legacy of Rob Koranda through my education and my work.”
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Major: Bachelor of Science Applied Economics and Management
Achievements: 2009 National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, Hampshire Honor Society
Sports: Member of the Cornell University Varsity Football team. Alumni. (Position Wide Receiver)
Favorite Memory of College: ”The locker room and road trips after wins, especially over Princeton and Dartmouth!” (Comment: “Too bad you were never able to add Southern Illinois State University to your wins.”, SWK)
Career: 2010 Chicago Bears, Pro Personnel Assistant
2013 Arizona Cardinals, Northeast Area Scout
Community volunteer efforts: Board member of the Rob Koranda Scholarship Foundation
NNHS: ”The friendships and relationships that were made with fellow students, administrators and coaches during my time at Naperville North High School, and the lessons learned from them, built such a solid foundation for me personally that has helped me succeed in college and beyond.”
“Getting to know the Koranda family, Rob’s friends and other committee members has created a new tight-knit “‘family’ for myself and one that I cherish. Hearing stories of Rob, how he lived life and the effect he had on those around him continues to inspire me to be a better person and have a positive impact on others.”
MEGAN HURLEY Gilbert
University of Dayton ’09
Major: Bachelor of Science in Special Education
Aurora University ’13
Major: Masters in Educational Leadership
American College of Education ’15
Major: Masters in Educational Technology
College Involvement: Best Buddies, President (national organization that works with individuals with disabilities); Special Olympics Volunteer.
Fondest memory of college: ”My entire senior year. I couldn’t imagine a more fitting year that summed up my entire college experience and truly portrayed why Dayton was the best place for me. Surrounded by my friends that became family over the course of four years, spending time giving back to the local Dayton community, getting prepared for the next step in the actual real-world, and making incredible memories with those around you any chance you could; I absolutely loved college and wouldn’t trade my time at Dayton for anything.”
Career: 2010 Wheaton North High School, Wheaton, IL. Special Education teacher.
2011Downers Grove North High School, Downers Grove, IL. Special Education teacher.
Community Volunteer Efforts: Working with high school students on building student leadership. Co-chair of DGN’s all-school charity fundraiser that is organized every year in the spring for a local charity of choice; Coached the special Olympics basketball team my first year teaching at Wheaton North; and currently the freshman Girls’ Baketball team coach at Downers Gove North. Board member of the Rob Koranda Scholarship Foundation.
NNHS: See statement of reflection regarding the scholarship award.
“The Rob Koranda Scholarship is a symbolism of what high school is all about and what is truly important in life. Giving back to those around you and realizing that the important things in life are not what you have, the money you make, or anything of material value but all about the relationships that you build with people, what you can give to others, and what you can learn from them. I take what I learned from high school, and the impact that the scholarship has had on my life, and try and share those lessons with the high school students that I teach today. Not every student that I have will walk away with a true understanding of these lessons, but it is still important to share with them and live this message every day.”
Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI
Founded: The Boumgarden-Koranda Scholarship at Calvin College. (Candidates of the Koranda Scholarship attending Calvin College may apply for this financial award).
Career: Teach for America, East St. Louis, MO
KIPP Charter School, Baltimore, MD. Science Teacher, 5th Grade
Currently: Jon is married to Ashley (Getz, NNHS ’05) and they are living in Baltimore, MD.
KAT PANKOW HUSSMAN
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Major: Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. Dec. ’07
Major: Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, Dec. ’07
University of Maryland, Aug. ’13
Major: PhD in Biological Sciences (specialization in Virology)
Publications: ”Differential Replication of Pathogenic-Nonpathogenic Strain of West Nile Virus with Astrocyles” (Journal of Viralogy 12/15/2012)
Associations: Association for Women in Science, American Association for Advancement of Science
Profession: Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (see LinkedIn)
Volunteer: Tutor for Community Club, an organization that pairs Washington, DC professionals with at risk Jr. High & High School students.
College experience: ”I have so many fond memories of University of Illinois, it’s hard to pick just one. Mostly, I enjoyed the camaraderie amoung peers: in classes, in dorms, apartments, and everywhere on campus”.
Currently: Living in the Washington, DC area with husband, Gregory, and son, Luke, born in 2013.
“The scholarship gave me an opportunity to pursue several additional nontraditional opportunities in college, such as study abroad programs and volunteer trips, that broadened my world view. These opportunities also motivated me to continue to contribute to community outreach programs that value education and character”.