The Moraine Valley Foundation inducted its newest members into the Moraine Valley Alumni Hall of Fame on March 5. This year’s inductees are Suha Abunijmeh, ’06; Kristen Amato, ’08; Brian Kelly, ’97; and Jason Knade, ’08.

The 2024 Distinguished Alumnus Award winner was Jason Knade, a successful filmmaker who has worked on hundreds of films, music videos, commercials and documentaries. He is the creative director of Behold and a self-employed director and cinematographer.

Knade has filmed famous people and dignitaries, including the Pope, a sitting president, actors, athletes, congressmen and business leaders. He has created content for Nike, Canon, The Joffrey Ballet, Amtrak, Zelle and countless others. He has received two Emmys, won multiple film festival awards and was twice named the Best Filmmaker in Chicago by “The Chicago Reader.”

Moraine Valley Community College’s Alumni Hall of Fame’s newest inductees include (left to right) Kristen Amato, Brian Kelly, Jason Knade and Suha Abunijmeh.

Moraine Valley Community College’s Alumni Hall of Fame’s newest inductees include (left to right) Kristen Amato, Brian Kelly, Jason Knade and Suha Abunijmeh.

He also served as an adjunct instructor at Moraine Valley, where he incorporated his real-world experience into his courses.

As this year’s Distinguished Alumnus Award winner, Knade will be the college’s nominee for the Illinois Community College Trustees Association statewide contest.

Suha Abunijmeh has worked at Amazon since 2019 and currently is an operations manager at the Monee facility.

Abunijmeh has worked in corporate, nonprofit and higher education sectors. She served as an English language learner specialist at Moraine Valley before holding positions in the DIY Restaurant Group, Jerusalem International YMCA and AMIDEAST, an American nonprofit engaged in international education.

She’s currently a board member of the Amazon Affinity Group, Arabs at Amazon serving as the North America Chapter Director and as a sustainability ambassador at Amazon. She has received multiple recognitions at Amazon, such as the Amazon DEI Leader recognition and the Leader Raising the Bar Amazon Robotics 2023 recognition.

Kristen Amato is a detective with the Naperville Police Department, where she has served on the force since 2021.

Amato served in the military before becoming a correctional officer at the Federal Bureau of Prisons for two years. She later served on the Bellwood Police Department as a field training officer and detective, before moving to the Naperville Police Department. During her career, she has been a lead homicide investigator, sexual assault investigator, narcotics investigator and evidence technician.

She has received commendations from the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, the Naperville Police Department and the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists.

The final inductee was Brian Kelly, who volunteers at Children’s Nebraska Hospital in Omaha, where he has clocked more than 2,000 volunteer hours since 2017.

After leaving Moraine Valley, he was on President Bill Clinton’s advance staff as a White House intern and later handled media logistics for the Gore-Lieberman campaign. He then worked as a researcher for NBC News in New York.

In 2001, Kelly was involved in a serious car accident and was not expected to survive due to his injuries. After emerging from a coma, he had to relearn everything because he suffered a traumatic brain injury.

After years of therapy, he made incredible progress and has given thousands of volunteer hours to two hospitals in Nebraska, where he resides, and is an advocate for traumatic brain injury awareness.

The induction ceremony was held at the Moraine Business and Conference Center on the college’s main campus in Palos Hills. There were over 130 people in attendance, as inductees invited family members and friends to attend. In addition, many college faculty and staff members joined them to celebrate the achievement of these honored alumni.

“We were thrilled to welcome these new inductees and honor their professional and personal achievements,” said Patti Mehallick, director of Alumni and Annual Programs for the Moraine Valley Foundation. “They join a distinguished group of individuals in our Alumni Hall of Fame, all of whom are leading productive and successful lives.”

For information about the Alumni Hall of Fame, contact Mehallick at (708) 974-5551 or

For media inquiries, contact Karen Town, communications specialist, at (708) 974-5652 or