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HERstory

Meet the Naperville women making history right now! This blog highlights the stories of Naperville women nominated by the community through the HERstory campaign. 

Aug 04

Meet Rose Peck

Posted on August 4, 2020 at 11:26 AM by Denise Cartina

HERstory Nomination Rose Peck

"Rose Peck grew up in Naperville. 
She was a child professional opera singer, gracing the stage of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and others while also honing her aptitude for science and technology. She continued to improve her skills at University of Rochester while earning a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. After working at a Virginia software tech consulting company, Rose returned to Naperville to combine her love of story with her love of play and technology.  

Her most positive personal change and most challenging obstacle was coming out as transgender. Coming to terms with the fact that she is a woman when others told her she was not was difficultRaised as a boy, Rose is grateful her aptitude for science and technology was encouraged when many young cisgender girls were discouraged from pursuing science and math 

As a transgender woman, she has a unique perspective on womanhood, feminism, and sexismWith her partner, she is resisting the biases of the male-dominated gaming field by developing a tabletop role-playing game that aims to be inclusiveoptimistic, and innovative while still feeling familiar. She is working on game design, software development, and learning how to run a businessShe hopes her efforts will be inspiring to young trans women, attract more girls to the STEM field, and bring more females into the gaming world. Her company plans to launch by early 2021."

Nominated by Karen Peck 

Aug 03

Meet Becky Simon

Posted on August 3, 2020 at 2:50 PM by Denise Cartina

"Becky Simon – President, League of Women Voters of Naperville. Becky Simon, a long-time resident of Naperville, bridges Naperville’s past, present, and future. Becky founded the historic preservation organization, Naperville Preservation, Inc, (formerly Save Old Nichols Library) as a 501(c)3. She successfully led the effort to save this historic building from demolition. She maintains ties with the Naperville Historic Preservation Commission, Naper Settlement, Illinois State Historic Preservation Office, North Central College, and others. Old Nichols Library is now landmarked, thanks to Becky. 

 

As president of the League of Women Voters of Naperville (LWVN), Becky works to empower voters and defend democracy collaborating with others including: AAUW, National Council of Jewish Women, NAACP, Girl Scouts, and Naper Pride. 

  

Cognizant of the hard-won fight for the women’s vote, Becky continues to lead efforts on ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA); she successfully flipped a state senator on the ERA vote in 2018. ERA passed in Illinois with one vote to spare. With North Central College and Naper Settlement she identified Naperville’s earliest Suffragists and successfully advocated for a historic marker for Ellen Annette Martin as part of the National Votes for Women Trail. 

 

With NAACP, Becky organized and led League efforts to acquire critically needed election E-Poll books for DuPage County. 

Becky continues to increase League visibility, raise awareness for the US Census, and for vote-by-mail.  

 

Her latest collaboration is as a member of the Steering Committee, Art of Inclusion, a public art venture to honor inclusion and the growing diversity of Naperville."

Nominated by Susan Craighead

Jul 31

Meet Jelena Sanchez

Posted on July 31, 2020 at 3:30 PM by Denise Cartina

HERstory Nomination Jelena Sanchez

"A native of Spain with a diverse global background, Jelena Sanchez quickly felt a strong connection to Naperville’s vibrant community and landscape upon moving here in 1996. With a Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from the University of Illinois, Jelena joined the faculty at North Central College in 2007.  As Assistant Professor of Spanish, she creates high-impact educational opportunities to expand global and environmental competency both in Naperville and internationally. Her course “Green Spain,” is a top-rated two-week study abroad experience where students are introduced to Naperville’s innovative environmental and sustainability initiatives before traveling abroad to explore Spain's leadership in European green power production.
 

Other significant contributions she has made to the Naperville campus community are the highly anticipated annual Flamenco Festival, the Latino Film Festival, and the Bilingual Professional Career Fair. She has successfully integrated community engagement with Spanish coursework in meaningful ways, particularly to create service opportunities in health clinics, shelters, and elementary schools; and assistance in translation and interpretation, outreach, internships, and networking.  

A tireless advocate for her students and a dedicated mentor to Latina students in particular, Jelena has created the Latina Leadership Scholarship Fund at North Central College to encourage and reward young women who aspire to become community leaders. She is a proud sponsor of the public speaking movement Latina Talks and Young Latina Talks. Jelena Sánchez is also an author in Volume IV of the Today’s Inspired Latina book series, highlighting stories of inspiration, hope, and resilience."

Nominated by Steve Schultz