(TWITTER: @Dometi_)

Dometi Pongo
(pronounced Doe-Muh-TEE) is a Chicago-native who earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUe). While there, he served as a key contributor to the Black Studies Program and its interactive medium The Cultural Front.

SIUe awarded Dometi the Dr. MLK Humanitarian Award for his continuous work in service-oriented projects. He was the first student in the St. Louis market to be deemed both a National Black MBA Association Scholar and a National Sales Network Scholar in the same year.

Upon graduating, he worked as a Business Analyst for a Fortune 500 company before leaving to develop his career in broadcasting and the arts.

After graduating from the Illinois Media School, Dometi joined WVON 1690AM as News Director and Morning Anchor. His morning and midday news, weather, and traffic updates are heard weekdays from 6am – 12pm (CST). Dometi also assists in writing and producing WVON’s audio documentaries, co-hosting the station’s external events and lending his voice and perspective to special features.

Dometi splits his time mentoring students at the Illinois Media School in his role as program director for IMS’ instructional internet radio program.

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(TWITTER:  @jillianbernas)

Jillian grew up in the Chicagoland area in Schaumburg and moved back there over 3 years ago after living abroad for some time. She currently works as the International Relations Manager at a large medical association where she partners with doctors from around the world to follow best practices and provide the highest quality of care to patients.

Jillian serves on the Schaumburg Township District Library Board, as an associate member of the Schaumburg Township Mental Health Committee, and she teaches ESL classes at Church of the Holy Spirit, among other volunteer roles.

She also serves as the Vice President of the Chicago Young Republicans and as a precinct captain in Schaumburg.

Jillian developed a love for learning in District 54 and District 211 schools which prepared her for studying to be a teacher at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN, and later graduate school in education at the University of Notre Dame.

Wanting to serve students better, Jillian studied Public Policy at the University of Chile and the University of Chicago. She has been developing her understanding of various policy areas, working for the U.S. Embassy in Chile in the Fulbright and Economic and Political Offices and the Chilean Trade Office in Chicago.

In her free time, she can be found translating documents between English and Spanish, working on start-up small business ideas and ice skating at the Rolling Meadows or Hoffman Estates Ice Arenas.

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(TWITTER: @RayLong)

Ray Long is an investigative projects reporter for the Chicago Tribune. For more than 35 years, Long has written about Illinois government and politics.  He worked in the Chicago Tribune's statehouse bureau 17-plus years beginning in 1998.

He has authored ground-breaking stories about political scandals, questionable public spending, massive budget problems, the nation’s worst-funded pension system and numerous crooked deals. He also followed major statewide issues under six governors and the legislative agendas pushed by Rahm Emanuel and his predecessors.

Long played significant roles in multiple hard-edged stories about once-imprisoned former Gov. George Ryan, a Republican, and still-imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat impeached in Springfield and sentenced to prison for trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by another graduate of the Illinois legislature, President Barack Obama.

Long served many years as president of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association, the press corps that covers the state capitol. He has received numerous local and national awards for individual and team reporting, including for spot news, enterprise, investigations and news analysis.

He formerly ran The Associated Press bureau in Springfield; he covered Mayor Richard M. Daley from Chicago’s City Hall, the Cook County Board, courts and state government for the Chicago Sun-Times; and he covered local, state and federal beats for the Peoria Journal Star.

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