Jessica DeMory has always liked a challenge and met it head on.
Whether it was trying out for the Lake Central golf team and making it, or being team captain of the Knox College women's golf team.
As an administrative intern for the village of Schaumburg, she helps with the suburb's budget. She is also the point person for Schaumburg's municipal electric aggregation program.
According to pluginillinois.org, section 1-92 of the Illinois Power Agency Act allows for the aggregation of electric load by municipalities and counties (i.e., government aggregation). This means a municipality or county can negotiate for the purchase of the combined electric supply of its residents and eligible small businesses.
"The village manager told me I am 100-percent responsible for the implementation of this aggregation program for the community. This is a major initiative for the village as it affects over 38,000 residents and results in millions of dollars for one electric supplier," DeMory said. "Through a municipal electric aggregation program, the village leverages the buying power of citizens by pooling together thousands of residential and small business electric accounts to negotiate a lower electric supply rate than a single resident would get on their own."
DeMory, a 2007 Lake Central grad and 2011 Knox College grad, will receive her master's degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University in May. She recently accepted a position as a resource planning analyst (financial management) in the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University in Athens Ohio.
"I am very excited about this position as higher education is really a passion of mine," she said. "I plan to continue my education to obtain a Ph.D. in higher education in the next couple of years for a career as a Dean at a major university."
The fact that DeMory is alive is the biggest challenge she and her mom and dad, Steve and JoAnn, faced.
DeMory was born with three holes in her heart. Steve said they heard a clicking one night while their infant daughter was sleeping and thought she had a cold. They took her to St. Anthony's Hospital (now Franciscan St. Anthony Health) in Crown Point.
"She had pneumonia and that's when we found out she had three holes in her heart," Steve said. "Can you imagine a parent hearing that?
"The next thing we know Jess was being was flown to the University of Chicago's Bernard Mitchell Hospital."
The doctors told the DeMorys that Jessica was too young to have surgery, but would need it when she was a few years older. If she did not, Steve said the doctors told her she would not live past 16.
Jessica said she does not remember a lot, but when her parents tried to explain to her about her condition, she replied: "I won't eat any more Oreos."
"My dad and I would eat Oreos every night, and I thought since they were black they were causing the holes in my heart."
DeMory refused to slow down and did not want to be treated special. She was in the Lake Central color guard as a freshman, then decided to go out for golf. She went on to play at Knox. At the Galesburg, Ill. school, she was involved in several programs, which included studying in Denmark. She also formed the campus branch of the Best Buddies program, which aids the intellectually and physically disabled by creating friendships with college students.
"It was a great experience because you create one-on-one relationships with the disabled," DeMory said. "It was a great way to get involved in the local community as well as give back.
"My roommate, Anita Ahuja and I started the chapter at Knox. At first, we didn't have anybody, but through heavy recruitment we got students to get involved."