Gearens gear up for a June wedding

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John and Ann Gearen of Oak Park have announced the engagement of their son, John Alan, to Molly Christiansen, daughter of Knud and Lindsey Christiansen of Princeton, N.J.

The future bride received a bachelor's degree in community health and the future groom received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, both from Brown University. Last year, the couple worked in Peru for Pro Peru, helping people in the remote countryside replace smoky wood stoves with solar ovens, in order to help prevent deforestation and resulting mud slides.

The couple have planned a June wedding in Union Pier, Mich. They will reside in Ann Arbor, where both will begin graduate school at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Molly's program will combine an MBA with a master's in public health. John's will combine an MBA with a master's in environmental studies.

MESSENGER on a mission

Graduating Oak Park and River Forest High School senior Anna Rothenbaum took first place in the 2005 MESSENGER Scholarship, sponsored by the Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory and NASA. The scholarship was created to expand interest in the MESSENGER mission and to support continuing education.

Optimistic about their future

The Oak Park Optimist Club has awarded three $1,500 scholarships to Oak Park and River Forest High School students displaying a combination of academic achievement and public service, and evidence of hard work and personal initiative. Ilana Green is a jazz trumpeter, Latin scholar and member of the Society of Women Engineers and the Community Relations Commission of Oak Park. She plans to major in physics.
Diane Njindam, a native of Cameroon, West Africa, came to Oak Park as a freshman knowing no English and quickly moved into honors and advanced placement classes. She's a member of the math and badminton teams, the International Club and the Service Club. She's won two German National Test awards and a Vassar Science Award, and plans to major in engineering. Amanda Velazquez is a valedictorian, year-round athlete, a member of four service clubs and the Minority Student Achievement Network. She plans to major in psychology.

Dynamic duo for Dominican

River Forest resident Elizabeth Jeep has been appointed associate director of Dominican University's Siena Center, whose mission, she said, is "to serve as a forum for dialogue on faith and culture." Jeep has a doctorate in theology and psychology from Catholic Theological Seminary and has served at Dominican for a number of years as an adjunct faculty member in pastoral studies. She is an educator, lecturer and consultant in religious education and faith formation, and since 1997 has served as a member of the Interfaith Dialogue sponsored by the Office for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs of the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Council for Islamic Organizations. Her latest book is Blessings and Prayers Through the Year: A Resource for School and Parish. Jeep is an active member of St. Luke Roman Catholic Church in River Forest.

Also at Dominican University, Oak Parker Danielle Hinsche has been appointed as director of alumni programs. Hinsche, who holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Boston University, has worked in a number of capacities in the alumni association at the University of Southern California, most recently as manager of alumni travel. She and her husband Grady have two children attending Beye School, where she's been active in the PTO, and First United Nursery School.

Best in Show for Schuman

Artist Karen Schuman was named the Best in Show award winner in the "Landscapes and Mindscapes Art Exhibit" at The Art House, 43 Harrison St., in May. Schuman, a self-taught artist in mixed media, uses a mixture of materials in her work, combining paintings of acrylic and gouache on either batik-dyed fabric or handmade paper. On the batik pieces, she adds fabric applique, beadwork and quilting.

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