Meet your 2010 University of Illinois Homecoming Court!
University of Illinois senior Michelle Abruzzo is a student in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, majoring in psychology with a minor in anthropology. A member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, the Panhellenic Council Executive Board and the Illinois club softball team, she plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Abruzzo is honored to be on the 2010 Homecoming Court, as it is a great opportunity to represent the University and the students who attend it.
Patrick Bakke is majoring in mathematics in the UI College of LAS. The resident adviser for University Housing at Lundgren Hall – “where it is happening” – is also an I-STAR (tour guide) for the Office of Admissions and an intern for the LEADS Living Learning Community. At the Student Alumni Ambassadors program at the UI Alumni Association he has been an Illini-fun-facts-man, social chairman, campus representative and professional development chairman. He also serves on the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors as the student representative of the Illinois campus. Bakke is thrilled to be a part of 2010 Homecoming Court, especially as it is the 100th anniversary of Homecoming at Illinois.
At the UI College of ACES, Cassie Becker is majoring in agricultural communications with a focus on public relations and advertising. A Jonathan Baldwin Turner scholar, she works in the ACES Office of International Programs as the international communications intern during the school year. During the summer of 2010, Becker was selected by GROWMARK Inc. as that organization’s corporate communications and marketing services intern. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in the agricultural field as a public relations practitioner or communications specialist.
Suzi Blanco is enrolled in psychology in the UI College of LAS. On campus, she is involved with Illini Pride, the Girl’s Advocacy Project, Phi Eta Sigma, Psi Chi Honor Society and the Orange Krush Foundation Board. Through the UI psychology department, Blanco has been a part of the Early Emotion lab team. Membership on the Homecoming Court, which she believes represents academic achievement, community involvement and school spirit, has given her a great opportunity to represent Illinois as a leader and student, and she is honored to be a part of that.
Arlington Heights, Ill.
Civil engineering student Tommy Carrato is proud to be a part of the University of Illinois’ fraternity and sorority community as the president of the Interfraternity Council and a member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. In addition to his commitments to academics and fraternity, he enjoys spending time volunteering and working for Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation as an adult sports program leader. Carrato is a proud University of Illinois College of Engineering student and is excited to be a part of the 2010 Homecoming Court.
Katie Cowley is an advertising major in the UI College of Media. One of the best parts of her University of Illinois experience has been her service on the Illini Union Board, as she loves to plan events for the student body and be part of an organization that has such a wide reach. Cowley is excited to be on the Homecoming Court because, as member of the committee that helps to plan Homecoming, she knows the importance of allowing the campus community to recognize alumni and celebrate the Fighting Illini spirit. Cowley is honored to represent the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as a member of the Homecoming Court and will be proud to graduate as an Illini in May.
Arlington Heights, Ill.
A history major in the UI College of LAS, Mara Dahlgren is pursuing a minor in informatics, with hopes of attending graduate school in library and information science. She has been committed to the Illini Union Board throughout her college career and currently holds the role of president. In addition, Dahlgren has served on the Counseling Center Advisory Board and the Undergraduate Studies Committee for the history department. For the past three years, she could be found working early mornings as a lifeguard at the ARC. Dahlgren is extremely honored to be on the Homecoming Court and be recognized for her commitments to the campus.
Sociology and Spanish
Western Springs, Ill.
Double-majoring in sociology and Spanish, Katie Dudek has been involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Panhellenic Council Recruitment Board, as well as worked for Teach For America on campus. She is thrilled to be on the University of Illinois Homecoming Court and honored to represent the school that has provided her with so many opportunities and helped form her into the person that she is today. Cherishing every moment that she has spent as a student here thus far, Dudek would like to thank all the professors, advisers and fellow students who have made this experience unforgettable.
Rhetoric and Spanish
Hawthorn Woods, Ill.
Kaye Foley will graduate in May from the UI College of LAS with a double major in Spanish and rhetoric (with a concentration in creative writing), along with a minor in international studies. She has been involved with the Chi Omega sorority (serving as its president in 2009), Shi-Ai service organization, the Illini football team as a Volunteer Illini Recruiter, Dance Marathon and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Foley is honored to be a part of the Homecoming Court, as the University has helped her flourish and grow. Champaign-Urbana has become more than just a campus surrounded by cornfields; it became a home. She cannot imagine attending a better institution for her undergraduate career.
Janeen Jenè Foriest
Olympia Fields, Ill.
Throughout her tenure at Illinois, Janeen Jenè Foriest has been affiliated with a plethora of activities. A senior in the UI College of LAS with a major in communication, she has served as a Traditional Programs Chair on the Illini Union Board and participated in the 2008 Miss Black & Gold Scholarship Pageant. Foriest holds an internship as a Turner Fellow in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and mentors young girls in the local area. She is excited to be one of the few African-American women in the University’s history to be a member of the Homecoming Court. Illinois’ Homecoming is one of its most monumental events and being considered to be part of this historic tradition is an immense honor.
Mount Prospect, Ill.
Kevin Hayek, an integrative biology honors student in the UI College of LAS, has become involved with philanthropic and service organizations through his membership in the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. On campus, he has researched bacterial ecology in the Kent Laboratory in the UI Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences and conducted ecological research in Wisconsin via a fellowship from the American Society for Microbiology. Hayek is a weekly volunteer with the Champaign-Urbana Special Recreation program and has completed two Chicago marathons. He is excited to be a part of the 2010 Illinois Homecoming Court as a representative of his college, major, fraternity and hometown.
Majoring in consumer economics at the College of ACES with a financial planning concentration and a minor in English, Salvador Hernandez has honed his leadership skills as a student worker at the Illinois Leadership Center. He is also involved with La Unidad Latina Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity Inc. and ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting) on campus. Born and raised in the city of Chicago, Hernandez is studying to take the Graduate Record Exam this fall with hopes of attending graduate school in labor and employment relations. He looks forward to participating in Alternative Spring Break and is excited to be a member of Homecoming Court.
Advertising and English
Hailing from Wilmette, Tom Hord is a senior in the UI College of Media and studies advertising, marketing and English. He is excited and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the traditions and celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of Homecoming at Illinois. Hord serves as president of Honors Student Council, director of marketing for the Illini Union Board and the co-creator of TOTEM Media, a student-run agency which provides advertising and marketing services to organizations and small businesses on the Illinois campus. While he looks forward to a career in the business world, Hord also hopes to be able to continue his talents as a writer, pianist, saxophonist and clarinetist.
William George Jennings, who grew up on a small family farm, is a senior in the UI College of ACES, where he is majoring in crop sciences. On campus he has been actively involved as vice president of social for his fraternity, Farmhouse, as well as a member of the Greek Homecoming Committee. As a child, Jennings was enamored of the University of Illinois (and still is); he is honored to be a part of the 2010 Homecoming Court and is excited and proud to be able to represent the University through this experience. Forever Orange and Blue, Go Illini!
East Peoria, Ill.
Matthew Jones is a senior in accountancy and finance in the UI College of Business. He is an active participant in the professional business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, Illinois Business Consulting and the Firm Investment Banking club. He is past president of the Orange Krush Foundation and currently serves as a senior adviser for Illini Pride. In his spare time, the diehard Fighting Illini fan likes to spend time with his friends and family, run and play golf. His past internships include working for Teach for America as a campus campaign coordinator and as an external auditor for Deloitte and Touche. Presently, Jones is exploring opportunities within the finance industry after his graduation in May.
Downers Grove, Ill.
UI senior David S. Olsen is pursuing a dual degree in finance and management–international business in the UI College of Business. As president of the student body, he represents student interests to the administration, faculty and community and chairs the Illinois Student Senate. In his college, Olsen has held leadership positions in several organizations, including the Council of Presidents and College of Business Legacy.He is thrilled to be a part of this year’s Homecoming Court to inspire current and future students toward service to their University and communities. Olsen is excited to be an ambassador of the student body and to continue the proud tradition of Homecoming at Illinois.
A senior in the UI College of LAS, Octavio Patino plans to graduate in May with a degree in communication and a concentration in advertising and marketing. An active student leader, he has been involved with different organizations in the colleges of business and engineering, worked with the UI Department of Residential Life, participated in Greek life and interned in Washington, D.C.; Champaign; and Des Moines, Iowa. Patino attributes his experiences to the University’s belief that anyone can be a leader, an insight that gave him both an education and a way of life. He is excited to be on the 2010 Homecoming Court to represent hardworking students who seek opportunities to better themselves.
Speech and Hearing Science
New Lenox, Ill.
A major in speech and hearing science, Liz Pelletier has enjoyed every moment at Illinois. President of Student Alumni Ambassadors at the UI Alumni Association, she has also been chapter president of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and a member of the Judicial Board for Panhellenic Council. Pelletier has participated in research and a career-affiliated student organization, which she serves as vice president, as well as volunteered in local schools. Future plans include attending graduate school in speech-language pathology. Being a part of the Homecoming Court for the 100th anniversary of Homecoming at Illinois is a rewarding experience; Pelletier is proud to call Illinois her home. Students Now. Illini Forever.
Psychology and Communication
Erin Schandelmeier is majoring in psychology and communication in the UI College of LAS. She serves as Panhellenic Council president, is a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority and has been involved in the Board of Sorority Affairs and the Infant Cognition Laboratory. Schandelmeier has worked to improve women’s safety as a rape crisis hotline volunteer for the Rape Advocacy Counseling and Education Services and as a sexual assault liaison through the Women’s Resource Center. Schandelmeier will attend graduate school to obtain a master’s degree in counseling psychology. As a member of Homecoming Court, she is proud to represent the organizations of which she is a part and, most of all, proud to be an Illini.
Agricultural and Consumer Economics
Reid Thompson grew up on the family grain farm on which his family raised corn and soybeans. A senior majoring in agricultural and consumer economics in the UI College of ACES, he is a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, the UI Alumni Association’s Student Alumni Ambassadors program, ACES Student Council and many other student organizations on the University of Illinois campus. Thompson has accepted a position with Hertz Farm Management Inc., where he will be working in Monticello, Ill., as a professional farm manager after graduation.
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