Palatine Chamber WIBAF Group Awards Scholarships

  • WIBAF Scholarship winners Melanie Reidel and Jill Sheehan, third and fourth from the left, pictured with WIBAF Scholarship Committee Members Deb Gabriel, Linda Hall and Greta Nielsen.

    WIBAF Scholarship winners Melanie Reidel and Jill Sheehan, third and fourth from the left, pictured with WIBAF Scholarship Committee Members Deb Gabriel, Linda Hall and Greta Nielsen. Courtesy of Kate Johnson

Updated 7/27/2022 9:35 AM

For the eighth consecutive year, the Women in Business Advisory Forum (WIBAF), a networking group of the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce, has awarded $1,000 scholarships to female high school seniors in the Palatine community.

This year's deserving recipients are Melanie Reidel from Palatine High School and Jill Sheehan from William Fremd High School.


Reidel will be attending the University of Kentucky where she will be majoring in accounting. In addition to her high academic achievements including an outstanding 4.84 weighted GPA through seven semesters, Reidel was also a varsity athlete in both gymnastics and badminton, and served as captain of her badminton team. She was also a member of the National Honor Society, has employment experience in both retail and food service, and has volunteered at Barb's Precious Rescue.

In his letter of recommendation, Palatine High School Business Education Teacher Brent A. Carroll wrote that Reidel "is a determined individual, who takes pride in her work and puts forth the effort necessary to be successful. Her attention to detail, focus in the classroom, and motivation to succeed are unlike most high school students. Simply put, Melanie is one of the best students that I have encountered in my 20 plus years of teaching."

Sheehan will be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she will be majoring in accounting. She took extensive business classes at Fremd High School while maintaining an impressive 4.39 weighted GPA through seven semesters. Sheehan was the captain of the Fremd Girls Basketball Team, played club basketball for the Cobras and Hustle, and also served as a youth basketball coach. She has volunteer experience at the Willow Creek Care Center and has worked part-time as a data analyst, nanny, and in food service.

In her letter of recommendation, Kelly Hopkins, president of Your Data Solutions, wrote that Jill "is extremely thorough, an initiative-taking individual, and has time management perfected. Jill's outstanding work ethic and determination to succeed at all she does makes her a perfect candidate for the WBAF scholarship. I look forward to watching Jill use her skills and leadership ability to inspire and empower women for years to come."

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To be eligible for the scholarship, female students needed a 2.75 or higher GPA with plans to attend a two- or four-year college or university in the fall of 2022 to pursue a degree in a business-related field.

Other criteria considered by the scholarship committee included business coursework in high school, employment experience, participation in clubs/activities/service/volunteer roles, three short response questions, and two letters of recommendation.

The $1,000 scholarships may be used for college tuition, fees, books or supplies.

Funds for the 2022 scholarship program were raised through an annual WIBAF fundraiser along with proceeds from monthly networking meetings.

WIBAF is an active group of businesswomen who are interested in learning and networking with one another. Meetings include featured member presentations and organized discussions of business topics, along with time for members to profile their businesses and engage in networking with other members in attendance.


Luncheon meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month from noon to 1:30 p.m. The fee for WIBAF networking meetings is $15 per person with proceeds directed toward the annual scholarship program. Registration is required and can be completed online each month at

This year's WIBAF scholarship committee consisted of Nancy Burgess with Nancy Burgess Strategic Marketing; Deb Gabriel with Edward Jones; Linda Hall with Connect to Community; and Greta Nielsen with Illuminate Therapy & Wellness.

For information about the Women in Business Advisory Forum, contact Greta Nielsen at or Sasha Ivanov at

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