Brookfield native earns veterinary medicine scholarship

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By Community Editor

Jessie Zenchak Petersen, a third-year veterinary medicine student at Michigan State University, is a recipient of a $3,000 Lallemand Animal Nutrition Forward scholarship.

 The Lallemand Forward Scholarships recognize students at the doctoral degree, master's degree, doctor of veterinary medicine and undergraduate levels who are excelling in their agricultural programs.

 Zenchak Petersen, a Brookfield native, hopes to become a production animal veterinarian in a rural, high-need area and plans to focus on cattle. 

She is a member of the national Society for Theriogenology and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. In 2019, she interned with CentralStar Cooperative, where she became proficient at handling cattle and assisted in several field studies. 

According to a December scholarship announcement from Lallemand Animal Nutrition, Zenchak Petersen specifically enjoys production medicine due to its critical role in animal, human and public health.

The scholarship program has provided $81,500 to students since its inception in 2015.


Top cops

Brookfield Police Chief Edward Petrak was appointed as the Region 4 co-chair of the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS) governing board on Dec. 21, 2020.

ILEAS was formed in 2002 in response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. It is a consortium of over 900 local governments, created to meet the needs of local law enforcement throughout the state of Illinois in matters of mutual aid and emergency response.

The organization is divided into eight geographic areas which are based on Illinois Emergency Management Agency regions. Chiefs and sheriffs from each region elect a chief of police and a sheriff to act as regional co-chairs.

Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel has been elected to serve as president of the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System (NIPAS), an agency for which he has served previously as vice president, trustee and treasurer.

NIPAS is a joint venture of suburban police departments created in 1983 to ensure mutual aid in times of natural disaster. The agency had grown to include 105 cities, villages and towns in five counties.

Its two major functions are its Emergency Service Team, which is a special tactical squad, and the Mobile Field Force, which provides crown control. Riverside officers serve in both NIPAS units.


On campus

Three local students were among those receiving degrees during Northern Illinois University's graduation ceremonies in December 2020. Earning Bachelor of Science degrees were Brookfield resident Eric Strom (electrical engineering) and North Riverside resident Erika Gutierrez (physical education). Earning a Master of Arts degree was North Riverside resident Lia Sanchez (Spanish and Hispanic studies).

Isabella R. Nardi, of Brookfield, was among the more than 5,600 graduates from the University of Kansas during 2020. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.

Riverside resident Elijah Ourth has graduated from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and natural resources. He was also named to the 2020 fall semester dean's list for earning a GPA of at least 3.5.

Brookfield residents Wissaruch Bumrungkwaen, Michael Griffin and Justin Spaargaren and North Riverside resident Mary Kober were among those named to the fall 2020 dean's list at Northern Illinois University for attaining grade-point averages of at least 3.5 on a 4-point scale.

Riverside residents Jocelyn Navarro and David Suriano and Brookfield resident Anthony Landahl were named to the 2020 fall semester dean's list at Bradley University in Peoria for achieving a GPA of at last 3.5 for the semester.

Ella Townsend, of Brookfield, was named to the 2020 fall dean's list at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Townsend is enrolled in the university's College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Julia Keller, of Riverside, was named to the 2020 fall semester dean's list at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, for achieving a GPA of at least 3.5.

Brookfield resident Danielle Morgan was one of 201 students named to the 2020 fall semester dean's list at Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, for earning a semester GPA of at least 3.5.

Michael Gruber, of Riverside, was named to the president's list at Trine University in Angola, Indiana, for attaining a semester GPA of at least 3.75. He is studying design engineering technology.

Brookfield resident Jill Lojas, a junior, was named to the 2020 fall semester dean's list at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, for earning a GPA of at least 3.5. 

Riverside resident Matthew Pilewski was named to the 2020 fall semester dean's list at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, for attaining a GPA of at least 3.5.

Margaret Schereck, of Riverside, was named to the 2020 fall semester dean's list at St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana, for achieving a GPA of at least 3.6 on a 4-point scale.

Brookfield resident Jeremy Kolasa and North Riverside resident Kailyn Ngo were named to the 2020 fall semester dean's list at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais for attaining a semester GPA of at least 3.5.

Brookfield resident Sydney E. Lindenberg (civil engineering) and Riverside resident Isabelle C. Legan, (global resource systems) were named to the fall semester 2020 dean's list at Iowa State University in Ames. Students named to the dean's list must have earned a grade point average of at least 3.5.

Among those named as Students of the Month for December 2020 at Lyons Township High School were three Brookfield residents, including sophomore Ari Houston (culinary arts), freshman Matt Steiner (intro to furniture making) and junior Brenna Episcopo (exercise physiology).

Jessica Quintero, of Brookfield, was one of two Lyons Township High School creative writing students chosen to have their work published in DePaul University's "Blue Book: Best of Illinois High School Writing 2019-20."

Two of Quintero's poems were selected last spring by graduate students in DePaul's Master's in Writing and Publishing program. This year's anthology is set to go live early this year at

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