Kayla Fernandez and Emily Cain, recent graduates of Riverside-Brookfield High School (RBHS), were chosen as recipients of the Chicago Zoological Society and Riverside-Brookfield High School Scholarship for Community Conservation Leaders.

The two Riverside residents were each presented with a $1,000 award funded by Comcast as part of its “Pay it Forward” program. This particular award was created for graduating seniors of RBHS who have taken part in conservation leadership programs in partnership with the Chicago Zoological Society.

For the past two years, Fernandez has been a member of the Youth Volunteer Corps at Brookfield Zoo, serving as an educator and developing an independent research project through the Chicago Zoological Society’s Science Track program. Fernandez hopes to blend these fields in a future career by exploring opportunities as a field biologist, wildlife photographer and/or creating documentaries about wildlife conservation. In the fall, she will be attending Augustana College.

Cain was a participant in RBHS’ School of Environmental Education during her freshman year, where she worked with other students to explore environmental sciences and ecology through their regular courses.

For three years, Cain was involved with the Chicago Zoological Society’s Youth Volunteer Corps and participated in the Science Track program. This fall, she will be attending Colorado State University, majoring in pre-veterinary medicine and one day hopes to be an exotic veterinarian at a zoo.

The scholarship presentation ceremony was held at Brookfield Zoo’s Great Bear Wilderness exhibit on July 7.