For the fourth consecutive year, the Women in Business Advisory Forum (WIBAF), a networking group of the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce, offered a scholarship program to young women in the Palatine community. The WIBAF Scholarship Committee had planned to award two $1,000 scholarships, but due to successful fundraising in 2017, three scholarships were awarded in May 2018 to senior female students at Palatine and Fremd High Schools. This year’s recipients are Megan Dowd, Brittany Padden, and Katherine Wu. The WIBAF scholarship provides non-renewable awards to be used for college tuition, fees, books, or supplies. To be eligible for the application process, female students must have had a 2.75 GPA or better, with the intent of attending a 2-year or 4-year college or university in Fall 2018 to pursue a degree in a business-related field. Other criteria considered by the scholarship judges included business coursework in high school, employment experience, clubs/activities/service/volunteer roles, three short response questions, and two letters of recommendation.

Megan Dowd from Palatine High School will be attending Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, and is still deciding on the specific area of business she would like to pursue: finance, economic consulting, management, or entrepreneurship. Megan has worked for several local businesses during her high school years including Palatine Park District and Gianni’s Cafe, while also maintaining involvement in a variety of activities including Business Professionals of America, National Honors Society, Best Buddies, Peer Mediation, Women in Business, Soccer, and more. In her essay regarding how she has changed during her four years of high school, Megan wrote, “I have learned that life is better when you use your voice.”



Brittany Padden from Palatine High School will be attending the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University where she will be studying Accounting/Finance. Brittany also worked for Gianni’s and has served as an election judge while staying involved at school with organizations such as Cheerleading, Softball, Business Professionals of America, National Honors Society, National Business Honors Society. Foreign Language Honors Society, NIU Business Olympics, and serving as a class board member. In her essay response about an influential woman in her life, Brittany wrote, “I have always admired my Grandma and believe my independence, drive, and desire to be an influential woman stems from my Grandma Betty. I am so thankful for her every day.”


Katherine Wu from Fremd High School will be attending The University of Texas at majoring in Finance within the Business Honors Program. Katherine held two internships, in investment and real estate, during her high school years. She was also involved with activities at Fremd High School including Business Professionals of America, the Junior Economic Club of Chicago, and National Honor Society. Katherine also plays piano and is trained in ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary dance and has been involved in several volunteer and ministry programs. In Katherine’s essay about an influential woman in her life, she wrote about her church small group leader, saying, “she saw in me qualities I did not see in myself and it was her confidence that showed me how to live faithfully, courageously, and kindly.”


This year’s scholarship committee included WIBAF members Joan Scovic from Palatine Park District (committee chair), Alissa DePue from Palatine Park District, Deb Gabriel with Edward Jones, Maureen Galvan of Palatine Library, and Alex Looff with Signs By Tomorrow – Arlington Heights. Funds for the 2017-2018 scholarship program were raised through a fashion show fundraiser and raffle prize drawings offered at WIBAF’s monthly networking luncheons during 2017.

WIBAF is an active group of business women who are interested in learning and networking with one another while discussing business related topics. Meetings are held once a month, on the second Tuesday of each month from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Meetings include featured member presentations and organized presentations of business topics, along with time for networking with other members in attendance. In addition, members also have an opportunity to periodically profile their business in a 5-10 minute presentation. The fee for WIBAF luncheon networking meetings is $15 per person. Pre-registration is required and can be completed online each month at www.palatinechamber.com. Registration is requested no later than the Friday morning prior to the meeting. Registration after noon on Friday and up to Monday at noon will be $17 per person. Please contact Katie Forsythe at 847-776-4500, , Kate Johnson at 847-991-1112 x234, , or Alex Looff at 847-255-0123,  for more information.