Meet your 2014 University of Illinois Homecoming Court!
Louis Blanc, Manchester, Mo., is studying mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering and minoring in communication. An advocate for student leadership development, he appreciates the resources and opportunities that the University of Illinois provides in this area. Blanc has served as a campus tour guide at the UI Office of Admissions and Records, as an active member of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and as part of the Illinois Leadership Center. He is honored to be selected for Homecoming Court and thanks all who have supported him in his time at Illinois.
Jennifer Bowley, Belvidere, Ill., is an accountancy major in the College of Business with a minor in German. She served as vice president of alumni relations for the Student Alumni Ambassadors group of the University of Illinois Alumni Association, and as financial vice president of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority. Bowley has mentored students, been elected to honor societies, and studied abroad in Vienna, Austria, for a semester. After graduation, she plans to return to the University to pursue her master of accounting science degree and prepare for the CPA exams. Bowley looks forward to representing the University at this year’s Homecoming activities.
Jonathan Buie, O’Fallon, Ill., is studying electrical engineering in the College of Engineeringand minoring in mathematics. While on campus he has worked for Dow Chemical at the UI Research Park and has been involved with the National Society of Black Engineers and the Intersections Living Learning Community, which provides students a forum to gain a deeper understanding of other cultures. Buie is also chapter president of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, which does service projects for campus and the greater Champaign-Urbana community. After graduation, he plans to attend graduate school and continue researching human speech recognition with the UI Research Park group with which he has been affiliated.
Global Studies and Political Science
Katreena Alyssa Casallo, Chicago, Ill., advocates for social justice and equality, human and migrant rights, and cultural competency. A Filipina immigrant, she has had several internship opportunities: with the Human Rights Campaign, where she worked on human trafficking issues; in Washington, D.C., focusing on migrant movements; and in China, where she promoted linguistic diversity and cultural awareness. Majoring in global studies and political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Casallo is an active leader in the Philippine Student Association, co-founder of Community Engagement Series and co-coordinator for the Filipino American Coming Together Conference. At Illinois, she has studied abroad each year of her undergraduate career, and in conjunction with her undergraduate activities, researched human trafficking and irregular migration.
Christopher Cirrincione, Elk Grove, Ill., is studying history/secondary education in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He is an active member of the LAS Student Online Advisory Board, Phi Alpha Theta and Epsilon Delta, a professional teaching organization. Cirrincione also works at the Illini Union. During his sophomore year, he studied in Spain, and after his junior year, he taught English in Thailand. This spring, Cirrincione will student teach and after graduation hopes to teach high school social studies and foreign language. He is grateful to be part of Homecoming Court and will forever bleed Orange and Blue.
Recreation, Sport and Tourism
Nicholas Conley, Glenwood, Ill.,is majoring in recreation, sport and tourism, with a concentration in tourism, in the College of Applied Health Sciences. He currently interns with the 100 STRONG program, sponsored by the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center and The Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations. Conley is also a residential adviser for University Housing and president of the University of Illinois’ Hip-Notic Dance Team. Upon graduation, he hopes to enter the hospitality field and event-planning industry. Conley is proud to serve on the 2014 Homecoming Court and represent the University that holds the longest continuously running tradition of Homecoming.
LaDarius DuPree, Chicago, Ill., is majoring in queer studies—an individual plan of study within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences—and minoring in social work. A member of the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program, which works to empower diverse communities, he has worked for Undergraduate Admissions, the Office of Inclusion & Intercultural Relations and the Illinois Leadership Center. After graduation, DuPree seeks to reinvigorate higher education and plans to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in student affairs administration. He is proud to serve on Homecoming Court.
Jenna Epstein, Buffalo Grove, Ill., is majoring in animal sciences in the College of ACES, with minors in chemistry and integrative biology. A research assistant in the genetics lab of the Department of Animal Sciences, she also serves as vice president of membership development for the Panhellenic Council and is a member of the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority. After graduating, Epstein hopes to use the values and education she received at Illinois to pursue her goal of being a wild animal veterinarian. As part of Homecoming Court, Epstein wants to represent the student body and hopes this experience will be the capstone of her academic, service and philanthropic efforts at Illinois.
Lucas Frye, Easton Ill., is studying finance in agribusiness in the College of ACES. Over the past three years, he has been president of the ACES Council, co-director of ExplorACES, and a Student Alumni Ambassador at the UI Alumni Association. This year, Frye represents the student body on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. One of his most memorable Illinois experiences was participating in a small team of students that facilitated campus support and development for renovation of State Farm Center, the largest such project in University history.
Courtney Gilbert, Chicago, Ill., is a senior studying kinesiology in the College of Applied Health Sciences, with a minor in leadership studies. A Campus Honors Program student, she values academics and aspires to earn a doctorate in physical therapy. Gilbert has served as a student athletic training aide with Fighting Illini football and volunteers at Disability Resources and Educational Services on campus and Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Ill. She has worked at the Illinois Leadership Center and currently is employed at Campus Recreation as a personal trainer. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Gilbert has been a member of the Illinois Competitive Stunt & Tumble team for four years. She will be honored to call Illinois her Alma Mater.
Megan Glowacz, Chicago, Ill., studies animal sciences (pre-veterinary medicine) in the College of ACES. On campus, she has been an employee of the Illinois Leadership Center, a member of the service dog program, a volunteer with rescued horses, and a residential adviser in University Housing. Through example, Glowacz has encouraged others to embrace diversity and discover how to make the world a better place. She believes that serving on the Homecoming Court allows her to further showcase her love for the University—her home away from home—and all that it stands for.
Athena Holevas,Belvidere, Ill., is majoring in speech-language pathology in the College of Applied Health Sciences. Throughout her time at the University, she has dedicated herself to both her studies and the campus community at large. In the classroom, she has received honors and a place on the Dean’s List; outside of class, she is president of the American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Club, an executive board chairperson of IlliniThon and an active member of the Kappa Alpha Theta fraternity. Holevas says it is an honor to be a member of the Homecoming Court.
Ryan Kenji Kuramitsu
Ryan Kenji Kuramitsu,Glenview, Ill., is a writer, activist and social work student in the School of Social Work. He is passionate about event planning, traveling and binge-watching his favorite shows on Netflix. Kuramitsu is a multiracial person of faith, interested in the intersection of spirituality, sexuality and social justice, and blogs regularly about these topics at arealrattlesnake.com. A third-year resident adviser in University Housing, he volunteers and consults for social advocacy organizations, including The Reformation Project and the Japanese American Citizens League. Kuramitsu hopes to attend seminary after graduation to receive a theological education and to learn how to mobilize communities of faith toward social action.
Sarah Levine, Skokie, Ill., is an advertising major in the College of Media, pursuing a communication minor and a public relations certificate. Coming from an Illini family, she is proud to follow the tradition of attending the University. Through her involvements in New Student Programs, the UI Alumni Association’s Student Alumni Ambassadors program, Alpha Phi sorority, Hillel Institute and Volunteer Illini Projects, she has been fortunate to hold multiple leadership positions on campus. She is honored to be a part of this year’s Homecoming Court and is grateful for the opportunity to continue to show her Illini pride.
Political Science and Broadcast Journalism
Andrea Medina, Chicago, Ill., uses video and storytelling to inform the community at large about the “invisible” members of society. On campus, she is involved with the See You Weekly television show; EMWA (Empowering Multicultural Women Association); the Society of Professional Journalists; and Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority Inc. Medina has also interned with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and served as a resident adviser at University Housing. After graduation, she’ll intern at a news station in Washington, D.C. Medina, who is pursuing a dual degree in political science and broadcast journalism in the colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Media, respectively, is honored to be on the Homecoming Court.
Advertising and Business
Jonathan Nichols, Melrose Park, Ill., a first-generation college student, is studying advertising and business in the colleges of Media and Business, respectively. A former UI cheerleader, he is involved with the Student Alumni Ambassadors of the UI Alumni Association, Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and as a brand manager at Illini Media. To become an international scholar, Nichols spent a semester studying in Klagenfurt, Austria, through the Advertising Exchange Program. He is honored to be a member of the 2014 Homecoming Court—Homecoming Week is his favorite time of year—to represent a University rich in tradition, spirit and engagement.
Anuoluwapo Osideko, Flossmoor, Ill., studies community health in the College of Applied Health Sciences, with a minor in gender and women’s studies. Involved in global health issues, she is president of Frontiers International Healthcare Society and has volunteered in Ghana, India and Nigeria. Osideko is a member of Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society and Mortar Board Honor Society and also serves as International Awareness and Involvement chair of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. A resident adviser at University Housing for more than three years, the McNair Scholar and Illinois Capitol Scholar recently published her manuscript while working as an undergraduate research assistant. She believes her years at Illinois have molded her into the informed and aware person she is today.
Political Science and Communication
Nandini Pillai, Skokie, Ill., is double-majoring in political science and communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. On campus, she has been involved with the Delta Kappa Delta Sorority Inc. and the United Greek Council. Pillai has also worked for the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs as a Fred H. Turner Fellow. She is currently applying to law school and hopes to pursue public interest law. Pillai believes that her selection as a member of Homecoming Court reflects the diversity of campus leaders and demonstrates that Illinois offers many routes to success.
Timothy Rees, Streamwood, Ill., promotes leadership, social empowerment and innovative business practices through a variety of organizations with which he has been affiliated. The first in his family to attend a four-year university, he is a journalism major in the College of Media and is an active member of the UI Alumni Association’s Student Alumni Ambassadors group and Illinois Student Senate. Since his return from a semester abroad in Austria, Rees has interned at the Office of the Vice President for Research. He attributes his success to the life-changing opportunities provided by the University of Illinois and feels extremely fortunate to be a Homecoming Court participant.
Industrial Engineering and Political Science
Kenneth Shaevel, Libertyville, Ill., double-majors in industrial engineering in the College of Engineering and political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. During his time on campus, he has strived to make an impact. As a member of the Student Alumni Ambassadors at the UI Alumni Association, Shaevel has helped direct both the iHelp volunteer project and Senior 100 Honorary. He completed a cross-country bicycle ride for cancer research with the Illini 4000 organization and has worked to enhance undergraduate experiences with the College of Engineering’s Dean’s Student Advisory Committee. Shaevel is honored to be a member of the 2014 Homecoming Court and believes that we are students now, but Illini forever.
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