Scholarship and Grant Recipients


AURORA, Ill. (March 30, 2015) — As part of its commitment to promoting voluntarism and improving its communities, the Junior League of Kane & DuPage Counties, Inc. (JLKD) is pleased to announce the 2014-2015 recipients of the organizations Volunteer Scholarships and Grants for Innovative Teaching. The many worthy applicants showed tireless passion for improving their communities and are leading change by example.

Volunteer Scholarships
This year JLKD is proud to provide four, $1,000 scholarships to college-bound female high school seniors who demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to voluntarism. These exceptional young women were selected out of over 150 applicants.
• Lauren Van Vlierbergen, Harry D. Jacobs High School in Algonquin, Ill.: Lauren volunteers with many organizations, including Jacobs Interact, Jacobs Safety Initiative and Girls on the Run, but has a passion for increasing the safety of teen drivers. Due to her efforts, seatbelt usage has increased from 85% to 98% among students at Harry D. Jacobs High School and Jacobs High School is a cell phone free zone. Lauren plans to attend the University of Michigan in the fall.
• Kalie Koch, St. Charles East High School in St. Charles, Ill.: Kalie is active with the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (FVSRA), which supports the recreation, leisure and social opportunities for people with disabilities. In college she plans to major in Physical Education Teaching and minor in Adaptive Physical Education Teaching to ensure special needs kids can also participate in Physical Education. She plans to attend college in Wisconsin in the fall.
• Kelsea Nolan, Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, Ill.: Kelsea hit a homerun for the Challenger Little League, a league that gives children with disabilities the opportunity to play baseball. She helped raise money to send her team to the Little League World Series in 2013, and served as the Chair for the 2014 Challenge Jamboree, which brought together 200 children across Northern Illinois for a day of baseball, crafts, food, music and fun.
• Marla Zepeda, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Ill.: Marla dives into volunteering, giving swimming lessons to kids with mental illnesses through OrthoKids. She plans to major in psychology, and then continue her education into graduate school with a major in Developmental Psychology, specializing in mental disabilities. After completing her degrees, she hopes to get a job at a lab to keep studying these disabilities and help advance and/or create new cures and treatments.
Grants for Innovative Teaching
This year, JLKD distributed three $1,000 grants to support deserving teachers with a passion for teaching and their students.
• Bill Shuman, Mooseheart Child City & School, North Aurora, Ill.: Mooseheart will expand its use of technology through the use of document cameras to assist in more effective student learning. The document cameras will enable Mooseheart educators and students to expand their ability to clearly project images from textbooks and manipulatives for all students in the classroom to make the content more engaging for the learner.
• Neil Gunsteen, William Hammerschmidt Elementary School, Lombard, Ill.: Students will experience science in a whole new way through 3D printing. The students will gain important hands-on experience by concepting models, computer programming and learning how people use 3D printing for real world applications. The teachers plan to create their own replicas of ancient items, landforms and a variety of items to bring a new dimension to learning across grade levels.
• Shannon Ranney, Grande Park Elementary School, Plainfield, Ill.: Students in grades K-5 will use basic robotic programming skills to explore all content areas, such as Pro-Bots (robotic cars). Using robotic programming is a new hands-on, technology-based teaching approach that students will use to explore different content areas, such as math or geography.

More information on JLKD’s Volunteer Scholarship and Grants for Innovative Teaching programs can be found on

The Junior League of Kane and DuPage Counties, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is dedicated to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers in Kane, DuPage, Will and Kendall Counties. Our vision is to train volunteers to improve the lives of children at risk in the community by promoting literacy, developing self-esteem and providing positive programming. For more information, visit and like us on Facebook/JLKDServes.