Welcome, Elmbrook Alumni!

Amy Owens

Brookfield Central Class of 2006

2006 alum, Amy (Elbert) Owens has sung her way from Brookfield Central's Choir to her Lincoln Center debut and beyond!

After fifth grade, Owens' family moved from Colorado, enrolling her in Wisconsin Hills Middle School and on to BCHS. "I have always felt very proud to come from Elmbrook Schools," said Owens. "I was fortunate to receive family and community support for everything I did - the way the school system is set up was very compatible with my personality. I always felt like the world was my oyster, and that the school would do whatever it could to make sure I was successful." She praised every teacher she had for leaving their impact on her life- notably Wisconsin Hills choir teacher, Tina Glander Peterson and Central fine arts teacher, Mr. Lueck.

During her time at Central, Amy was involved in choir, drama, Key Club, National Honor Society, and outside of school she took private piano and voice lessons, and was involved in a dance company. Owens was named Brookfield's Junior Miss (currently titled Distinguished Young Women of America) and advanced to the title of Wisconsin's Junior Miss in 2006, representing her state at the national level. "Elmbrook helped instill in me the values of preparation and confidence, which continue to be defining attitude in my life and line of work," she reflected.

Following her time at Elmbrook, Owens attended Brigham Young University where she graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and then Rice University for a Master of Music - Vocal Performance in 2012. After her schooling was complete, she participated in a handful of Young Artist Programs as an introduction to American operatic training - allowing her to receive additional training while developing relationships with opera companies and shaping her career today.

Owens has been busy in her career, completing her numerous young artist residencies at Wolf Trap Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Central City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Utah Opera, and having participated in numerous concerts all around the country. She began the 2016-17 season with her New Mexico Philharmonic debut as the soprano soloist in Carmina Burana, and wrapped it up with her Carnegie Hall debut in the same piece last month. "This season has been one of debuts- several orchestras in the west, Dallas Opera, Lincoln Center with the New York Festival of Song, Asia with the Intimacy of Creativity Festival in Hong Kong, and of course, Carnegie Hall!" stated Owens.

Amy is the recipient of a Sullivan Award, an encouragement award from the George London Foundation, and two consecutive wins from the Metropolitan Opera National Council district auditions in New York City. "Opera isn't just about singing," says Owens, "it's about poetry, languages, history, socio-political commentary, dance, visual art, and seeing the world."

Owens particularly enjoys her work with modern American composers and encourages art lovers to broaden their horizons with suggestions like John Adams' Dr. Atomic and The Death of Klinghoffer. Today, Amy lives in New York City with her family.

You can see where Amy will be performing next at amyowenssoprano.com, hear her in action on her YouTube channel, and follow her for more updates at facebook.com/amyowenssoprano.

For more alumni stories, district updates, and to connect with fellow alumni, follow Elmbrook Schools on LinkedIn. To recommend an alum for our series, please click here.

Amy Owens

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David Giljohann

Brookfield East Class of 1999

Dr. David Giljohann is a 1999 graduate of Brookfield East and is the founding scientist and current CEO of Exicure that works on building targeted genetic medicines to impact human health.

Before becoming a proud Spartan, Dr. Giljohann attended Tonawanda Elementary and Pilgrim Park Middle School. "At each stage of my education, Elmbrook provided me the opportunity to participate in a diverse set of activities- providing the basis for a well-rounded education," he stated. "The teachers and administrators at Elmbrook have shown they cared- not only while I was a student in the district, but also with relationships and friendships that still continue today."

During his time at East, David actively participated in a number of clubs, sports and activities, including Swim Team, Interact Club, and Science Club. David's gratitude for the influence of his teachers is tremendous- highlighting Science teacher Sue Miller, Chemistry teacher Marina Kane, Biology teacher Dick Wood, Health instructor Kathy Drucke, and math instructor Mike Rose for their previous and continued importance in his lifelong learning journey. "All of these teachers were a caring and supportive network in and out of the classroom, and I am very grateful for the genuine interest and energy they have given me over the years," thanked Giljohann.

Following his BEHS graduation, David continued on to Northwestern University to complete his undergraduate degree in Biology with a Spanish minor. He then subsequently stayed at the university and earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2009.

After completing his formal education, Dr. Giljohann worked with his Ph.D. advisor to license a technology entitled Spherical Nucleic Acid (SNA) and started up several companies to foster the commercialization of the technology. David became the founding scientist and the current CEO of Exicure in Chicago, where his team is currently translating their work with SNA to clinical trials.

"We build nanoparticles called Spherical Nucleic Acids that are DNA and RNA targeted to disease genes- they look like koosh balls made out of nucleic acids," said Dr. Giljohann. "Quite incredibly, these nano-scale particles can be designed to enter cells and tissues, and from there can turn off mis-regulated disease genes."

Dr. Giljohann has been recognized for his work with a Materials Research Society Gold Award, Baxter Innovation Award, Rappaport Award for Research Excellence, NSEC Outstanding Research Award, and as a finalist in the National Inventors Hall of Fame Collegiate Inventors Competition. He was also named to the Analytical Scientist's "Top 40 Under 40 Power List" in 2014. Dr. Giljohann has contributed to over 25 manuscripts and over 100 patents and applications.

Today David's family still lives in Elm Grove, and he enjoys coming home from Chicago to frequently visit.

You can see Dr. Giljohann's SNA in action in this video, and discover more about Exicure here and at exicuretx.com.

For more alumni stories, district updates, and to connect with fellow alumni, follow Elmbrook Schools on LinkedIn. To recommend an alum for our series, please click here.
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Patty Metropulos & David RichterBrookfield Central graduate Patty Metropulos ('84), and Brookfield East graduate, David Richter ('87), are the recipients of the District's 2017 Alumni Excellence awards. These awards will be presented as part of the Engaged in Excellence Awards event on Monday, May 22, at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center.

Patty Metropulos was nominated as the CEO of Kathy's House, a hospital guest house in Wauwatosa for families who need to travel to Milwaukee for medical care, including cancer treatment. Its mission is to keep families together during a medical crisis by providing affordable lodging, serving over 1,400 people each year. Click here to read the full alumni spotlight profile on Patty Metropulos.

David Richter works for Merck Pharmaceuticals and was nominated for his commitment to service in the Elmbrook Community. Since he was the varsity basketball manager in 6th grade, Richter has channeled his service efforts to supporting the Elmbrook Schools. Today, with children at Wisconsin Hills and Brookfield Central, Richter is the President of the Brookfield Central Booster Club and attends all school sporting events, often running the scoreboards and playing the role of announcer at the games. Click here to read the full alumni spotlight profile on David Richter.

Congratulations to Patty and David for being named the 2017 Alumni Excellence Award winners!

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Become a part of LAUNCH!


LAUNCH is a collaboration of education, business, and community that is committed to providing Elmbrook juniors and seniors with unique, immersive experiences, resulting in highly skilled, adaptable, global innovators and leaders.

The program begins September 2017, and it needs YOU!

To ensure quality profession-based learning experiences, please consider engaging and investing by serving as a project champion/engaged coach, a professional training champion, guest instructor/speaker, by providing internships and/or mentorship/job shadow experiences, lunchtime storytelling / sharing your professional experience, and hosting site visits.

Click on any one of the opportunities mentioned to learn more and apply.

With Pride and Gratitude

The School District of Elmbrook is proud of its Brookfield Central and Brookfield East graduates! For over 50 years our students have made a significant and lasting impact on their local, state, national and international communities. From a Pulitzer Prize winner, to state legislators, business owners, professional athletes, and everything in-between, our graduates are prepared to succeed in whatever they choose to pursue beyond high school.

Connecting with our alumni is an important strategy to measure our long-term impact on our students. We are grateful to the alumni who responded to the 2013 survey and look forward to seeking input from others in the years ahead. To stay informed of reunions and general alumni information, like us on Facebook.

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