2023 annual dinner and presentation of our Distinguished Service Award

This year PBKACA presented this year’s Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Allison Arwady, former Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Allison Arwady, MD, MPH, most recently served four years as the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), leading the nation’s third-largest city’s health department, including through the COVID pandemic.

Prior to that, she was CDPH’s Chief Medical Officer, overseeing Chicago’s disease control, environmental health, emergency preparedness, and behavioral health divisions. Earlier in her career, she worked for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer. With CDC, she worked on HIV and tuberculosis in Botswana, and international outbreak responses in Saudi Arabia (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and Liberia (Ebola). While based at the Illinois Department of Public Health, she responded to disease outbreaks across the state. She has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University, and completed medical school and clinical training at Yale University. Dr. Arwady is a board-certified internal medicine physician and pediatrician and continues to see primary care patients regularly.

Dr. Arwady described the plans, preparations, decisions and surprises in her career in public health, especially as the face of Chicago’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She emphasized the need for us to raise our voices to support public health for all.

Here are some pictures from our dinner.

Announcing our 2023 PBKACA Scholarship Winner – Juliza Ariza

This year’s winner is Juliza Ariza, a senior at Lane Technical High School. She will be attending Hobart and William Smith Colleges in the fall to become a nurse‐practitioner.

Juliza Ariza, 2023 PBKACA Scholarship Winner

Juliza Ariza, 2023 PBKACA Scholarship Winner

To PBKACA Members:

My name is Juliza Ariza and I am extremely thankful to be this year’s recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Association of the Chicago Area Scholarship. I am appreciative of the financial support I have received, as it will enable me to continue my education at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

During my time in Hobart and Williams Colleges, I plan to receive my master’s degree with a major in nursing and a minor in psychology. In addition to my academic pursuits I was a member of the Palestinian Dance Club and the Words to Smiles Club during my time at Lane Technical High School. I am a very dedicated student, despite having worked consistently at numerous part time jobs and having joined numerous extra‐curricular activities throughout my high school career.

I plan on accomplishing my goals of becoming a nurse‐practitioner and developing into a powerful source of the nation’s healthcare system. I was inspired to become a nurse‐ practitioner because I am a first generation Latina student. Latinos, altogether, contribute only 4.9% of medical and health professionals. Latina women represent less than 2% of those in healthcare requiring advanced degrees and I plan on adding to that percentage. Thanks to your generosity, I will be able to work with more determination and perseverance.

By awarding me the PBKACA scholarship, you have lightened my financial burden and allowed me to focus primarily on academics. I plan to excel in all my academic endeavors. I hope that you understand how extremely thankful I am to have received this scholarship. It was a delightful meeting with members of the PBKACA Scholarship Committee and I look forward to another meeting with you soon. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.


Juliza Ariza

2022 PBKACA Annual Meeting Back In Person

We are back in person for our Annual Meeting and keynote address by Barry Sullivan on Thursday, November 18, at 6:30 p.m at Beane Hall at Loyola University.

PBKACA is proud to present this year’s Keynote Address by Dr. Barry Sullivan, Cooney & Conway Chair in Advocacy and the George Anastaplo Professor of Constitutional Law and History at Loyola University Chicago. Dr. Sullivan’s address is titled “Lessons of the Plague Years.”

Dr. Sullivan

Dr. Sullivan presenting his talk

Open to all, members and non-members alike. If you cannot attend, please consider making a donation to our Scholarship Fund.

Please register at






PBKACA 2022 meeting

PBKACA 2022 meeting

PBKACA officers

PBKACA officers

PBKACA executive board

PBKACA executive board

Dr. Barry Sullivan previously was Dean of the School of Law at Washington and Lee University (1994-99) and a partner in the law rm of Jenner & Block (1980-94 and 2001-09), where he was co-chair of the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group. He has argued cases in state and federal appellate courts throughout the country, including the Supreme Court of the United States. During his time in private practice, he was also a Senior Lecturer at the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy of the University of Chicago.

Professor Sullivan has held several leadership positions in the American Bar Association, including serving as founding chair of the Coordinating Committee on AIDS and the Law. He has been the Arthur Cox Visiting Fellow at the University of Dublin, Fulbright Canada Research Chair at the University of Alberta, Visiting Law Fellow of Queen Mary College, University of London, Fulbright Professor at the University of Warsaw, a recurring visiting professor at the University of Bayreuth, and a visiting professor at Northwestern Law School. In 2022, Professor Sullivan was a member of the “founding faculty” of the Flying University for Ukrainian Students. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Middlebury College and the University of Chicago Law School. Professor Sullivan began his legal career as law clerk to Judge John Minor Wisdom of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans and later served as an Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States. He is a member of the American Law Institute.

Rockford University 2022 Phi Beta Kappa Inductees

This year, the Phi Beta Kappa Chapter at Rockford University (Eta of Illinois) inducted 8 student members. Pictured are the inductees and Phi Beta Kappa officers: Professor James Marshall, Ph.D., chapter president, Professor Stephanie Quinn, Ph.D., vice president, Professor Catherine Forslund, Ph.D., secretary/treasurer; Anika Marie Flores ’22, Jessica Jazmin Pequeno Mendoza ’22, Bin Meng ’22, Marissa Louise Ott ’23, Maram S. Quhshi ’22, Alberto Rivera ’22, Stefanie J. Rodriguez ’22, Casey Sheetz ’22

Phi Beta Kappa (PBK)

Announcing our 2022 Scholarship Winner – Ricardo Barajas-Lopez

This year’s winner is Ricardo Barajas-Lopez, a senior at Back of the Yards High School. An excellent student, he is also active in both the gaming and poetry clubs. He will be attending University of Southern California in the fall.

Ricardo Barajas-Lopez, 2022 PBKACA Scholarship Winner

Ricardo Barajas-Lopez, 2022 PBKACA Scholarship Winner

Here is Ricardo’s letter to our scholarship committee:

Ever since I was three years old, I’ve had an unfathomable passion for video games and I knew that I wanted to become a video game developer. My ultimate goal has been to work for Nintendo, whose video games are the reason behind my interest in computer science and programming. Video games are becoming more and more integrated into our daily lives, and I would love to work with the gaming giant to inspire others to pursue the field. However, to work in such a prestigious company I knew I would need to stand out.
Once I was in high school, I began searching for colleges that offered programs that would make my dream a reality. The University of Southern California was everything I wanted. The computer science games program USC offers is like none other. From game design to 3D modeling, it covers many of the aspects that go into development and combines two of my interests seamlessly – computers, gaming and art. 3D modeling is essential because it is the framework for the visuals, and can be one of the first impressions an audience has of a game. I believe the courses offered there will be rigorous enough to fully prepare me to become a successful game developer. I am most especially excited about the semester long gaming projects, which will truly put my knowledge and creativity to the test.
I have always treated school as a gateway to opportunities far beyond my wildest dreams. All throughout high school and middle school, I have given my academics my full attention and earned outstanding grades on every report card. The fruits of my labor came in the form of an acceptance letter from USC. This university offers one of the best programs in the country, but has a very expensive tuition. Financial aid from USC and FAFSA were not enough to cover full tuition and that’s where Phi Beta Kappa swooped in to save the day.
With all of the gratitude in my being, I accept the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Chicago Area scholarship. I had always known that paying for college was a challenge my family would face. I feared the financial burden tuition would have on us, yet the PBKACA has made attending the University of Southern California a reality.
With gratitude,
Ricardo Lopez Barajas

Announcing our 2021 Scholarship Winner – Karely Ramirez

This year’s winner is Karely Ramirez of Senn High School. She will be attending DePaul University in the fall. She plans to pursue a career in medical sciences.

Karely Ramirez

Karely Ramirez, 2021 PBKACA Scholarship Winner

Here is Karely’s letter to our scholarship committee:

Dear PBKACA Scholarship Committee:
I want to begin by saying thank you very much for this opportunity. As a younger kid growing up in a low-income household with immigrant parents, the thought of pursuing higher education after high school was terrifying. I knew I would be the first one to attend college as well, which only added to the uncertainty. Questions ranging from, “How am I ever going to pay for college?” to “What if I am not as informed as I should be?” surfaced constantly.
Nevertheless, I have always been one to challenge not only myself, but also my circumstances. With the COVID-19 pandemic striking toward the end of my junior year and lasting into the entirety of my senior year, I knew I had to adapt to this new situation. My father unfortunately lost both of his jobs as a cook, leaving my mother as the only one providing a stable income. Knowing the financial burden this would put on my family I began working as a cashier not only to aid in costs but to alleviate any stress my parents may have felt about paying for college in such difficult times. Being granted this scholarship is a tremendous help.
During my elementary and high school years, my parents have always supported me in becoming involved with my personal interests, which allowed me to discover my passion for science, the community and the arts. It means a lot to me that I had the space to nurture my creativity. I hope to continue to make my parents proud by pursuing a career in medical sciences. I am forever grateful for the opportunities this scholarship has brought me. I will utilize it to enhance my knowledge at DePaul University and to become more conscious of the ways to better the world around me through my future career.
Thank you,
Karely Ramirez

PBKACA Annual Meeting Goes Virtual

Please join us for our virtual Annual Meeting and Election on Thursday, November 19, at 6:15 p.m. The meeting will include a panel discussion on “Learning During Lockdown,” featuring four of our members:

We will also hear from Jose Muniz, our 2020-21 scholarship recipient, who is now a freshman at Northwestern University.

Please register at Make sure that your email address is correct when you register so that we can send you a link to the Zoom meeting and program for the event. If you intend to invite guests, please kindly forward them the link when you receive it.

Announcing our 2020 Scholarship Winner – Jose Muñiz

This year’s winner of the Phi Beta Kappa Area of Chicago Association is Jose Muñiz of Back of the Yards High School. He will be attending Northwestern University in the fall and plans to major in mechanical engineering.

Here is Jose’s letter to our scholarship committee:

Jose MunizMy name is Jose Muñiz and, apart from going to Northwestern next year to study mechanical engineering, I am also this year’s PBKACA Scholarship recipient. Receiving this award is such a great honor both to me and my parents. This scholarship not only means that my hard work throughout the past four years of high school have paid off, but also represents a sign of hope.

In the midst of the current global issues, receiving that call of congratulations was a relief and lifted a great weight off my family’s shoulders. My parents both came from Mexico during the 1990’s and, having little schooling in their homeland, they pushed education on both my sister and me. They have also supported every one of my wildest dreams. From wanting to be a train conductor to an astronaut to a scientist to a mechanical engineer, they always told me I can do it and encouraged me to do my best, not just in my academics but also in my community. Receiving this wonderful scholarship means that their hard work raising me also paid off and that they will not have to stress over how they are going to pay for my studies after high school. This is my way of thanking them for their countless sacrifices. My goal is to make my parents proud to see their first child go off to college in the U.S. This scholarship has made their smiles wider and made them even more proud.

The scholarship means hope. The world is experiencing some tough times right now, but receiving this money means that I am now able to work hard and focus on my studies to become an engineer and make this world a better place. Innovation is critical during these times and I feel that being active not just in our studies but also in community is absolutely necessary if we want to continue to make human life easier and more enjoyable. I will not have to worry about the struggle to find money to continue studying. Focusing on my goal to help the world out is now my only priority thanks to this generous association.

Once again, I would like to thank everyone who forms part of this amazing association and those who sponsor it. I will not take this opportunity for granted and will continue to work hard to make a difference.

Thank you,

Jose M. Muñiz

Hon. Rebecca Pallmeyer is the recipient of our 2019 Distinguished Service Award

PBKACA is proud to present this year’s Distinguished Service Award to Rebecca Pallmeyer, Chief Judge of the
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Rebecca R. Pallmeyer graduated from Valparaiso University and earned her law degree from the University
of Chicago Law School. Following a one-year clerkship with Justice Rosalie Wahl of the Minnesota Supreme Court, Judge Pallmeyer practiced commercial litigation with a Chicago law firm.
From 1985 until 1991, Ms. Pallmeyer was an Administrative Law Judge with the Illinois Human Rights Commission, a quasi-judicial agency responsible for enforcement of the state’s anti-discrimination laws. On October 1, 1991, Ms.
Pallmeyer was appointed a United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. She served as Presiding Magistrate Judge from 1996 until 1998. In 1997, President Clinton nominated her for a seat in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, where she has served since October 1998.
Judge Pallmeyer served from 2013 to 2019 as a member on the Committee on Court Administration and Case Management and since 2018 has served on the United States Judicial Conference. She is an honorary fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and a member of the ALI-CLE Employment and Labor Law Advisory Panel. Since 2006, Judge Pallmeyer has served on the faculty for the annual ALI-CLE program, Current Developments in Employment Law, held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Judge Pallmeyer is past President of the Lawyers Club of Chicago, past President of the Richard Linn American Inn of Courts, and an active member of the Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, and the American Bar Association. She is the immediate past Secretary to the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section.
Judge Pallmeyer was sworn in as Chief Judge for the Northern District of Illinois on July 1, 2019.

Book Club Selections for 2020

PBKACA Book Club

For more than two decades the PBKACA Book Group has gathered on Sunday afternoons to engage in stimulating, thought-provoking discussions of good fiction and non-fiction books. Book group members come from an array of educational and professional backgrounds.

The atmosphere at book discussions is so relaxed and free-wheeling that it allows for an unfettered exchange of ideas and feelings. Several book group members agree that the PBKACA Book Group is their favorite of all book groups to which they belong.

The book group meets on designated Sundays from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Nix Restaurant in the Knickerbocker Hotel, 163 E. Pearson. Join us for one or all of the following dates. For more information and to RSVP, contact Gerry Piorkowski at

2020 Selections

February 2: My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
March 1: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
April 5: Permanent Record by Edward Snowden
May 3: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
June 7: Young Radicals: In the War for American Ideals by Jeremy McCarter
July 12: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
August 2: The Fall of Language in the Age of English by Minae Mizumura
September 13: A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz
October 4: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
November 1: The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Pioneers Who Brought the American Ideal West by David McCullough
December 6: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury