Conant senior named finalist in global science video contest

  • Krisha Jivani

    Krisha Jivani Courtesy of 2019 Breakthrough Junior Challenge

  • John W. Blenke

    John W. Blenke Courtesy of Mike Rieman

Posted9/17/2019 10:22 AM

• James B. Conant High School senior Krisha Jivani of Hoffman Estates is competing for $400,000 in prizes as part of the 2019 Breakthrough Junior Challenge global science video contest.

Krisha is among 30 semifinalists of 11,000 original registrants from around the world who submitted engaging and imaginative videos to demonstrate difficult scientific concepts and theories in the physical or life sciences.


The grand prize winner will take home $400K in prizes and appear alongside world renowned scientists on stage at the Breakthrough Awards ceremony in Palo Alto, California, on Nov. 3.

The finalists' videos are up on YouTube and Facebook, and the general public can vote for a people's choice winner between now and Sept. 20.

Krisha's video explains magnetism, a concept that she had a hard time understanding when she was learning about it in physics class. Her focus on magnetic levitation incorporates real-life examples of the concept, as well as a Harry Potter reference. Krisha's video can be viewed at .370702783868492/1042960526095367/?type=1.

• Hawthorn Woods resident John W. Blenke joined the board of directors at Aliera Companies, a holding and management company providing human resources, payroll, training, compliance and accounting services for its newly-created subsidiaries.

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An attorney with more than 35 years of corporate legal experience, Blenke provides counsel for a wide range of internal and external matters, including corporate governance, financial compliance and public company matters related to mergers and acquisitions, securities, litigation, information security and general risk management.

Blenke, who currently serves as a consultant for several financial technology, insurance and health care enterprises, previously served as executive vice president and corporate general counsel for TransUnion.

He holds a Juris Doctorate in banking, corporate finance and securities law from the DePaul University College of Law.

• High School District 211 will be well-represented among recipients in the Illinois State Board of Education's 2019 Those Who Excel education awards program. The district's Those Who Excel Award candidates include:

• Hoffman Estates High School Science Teacher Tanya Katovich (classroom teacher category and Illinois Teacher of the Year finalist)

• Palatine High School Social Worker Deana Havens (student support personnel category)


• Schaumburg High School Instructional Development Team (team category): Alina Morelli-Baima, Jason Campbell, Russell Cumings, Brian Curtin, Donald Davis, Yassila Delgado, Gabrielle Giuliano, Matthew Gruszka, Adam Koschnitzke, Enrico Matarazzo, Megan Moran, Michele Napier, Jeffrey O'Brien, Aaron Phillips, and Scott Weidig

• Fremd High School Mathematics Teacher Ashley Krippinger (early career educator category)

• Conant High School Assistant Principal Mark Langer (administrator category)

• Schaumburg High School Building & Grounds Manager John Woods (educational service personnel category)

• Community Volunteer Susan Cates (community volunteer category)

Those Who Excel award recipients will be honored by the Illinois State Board of Education, and the Illinois Teacher of the Year announced, at the 45th annual Those Who Excel awards banquet Saturday, Oct. 19, in Normal.

• Send your 'Neighbors in the News' items to Norrine Twohey at

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