2023 Homecoming Court
Aamina Adebayo, Park Forest, IL, is a James Scholar studying speech and hearing sciences, who is passionate about giving back to her community on and off-campus. As such, she is the Founder/CEO of SoChiBelles, a mentoring program for young women of color in the Chicagoland area, a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., where she serves as Financial Secretary, vice-president of Reaching Across Classes and has been involved in several other organizations on campus, including HipNotic Dance Team(treasurer). Aamina believes it is an honor to be a representative of diversity, inclusion, and equity through her Illini experience
Lauren Cerbin, Belleville, IL, is a Chancellor scholar studying Accounting and Finance at the Gies College of Business. On campus, Lauren has been a dedicated leader serving as the Managing Partner for Student Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations, an organization which provides pro-bono consulting services to nonprofits both in the Champaign area and nationally. She has also served as President for the Wishmakers on Campus organization and tries to give back to the community in any way that she can. Lauren will go on to get her Masters in Accounting from the University of Illinois and plans to work full time as a consultant at PwC post-graduation. She is honored to serve on the Homecoming Court and hopes that her experiences can inspire other students to participate in all that the University has to offer.
Kathy Chen, Wilmette, IL, is a senior majoring in Learning and Education Studies with a concentration of Educational Equality and Cultural Understanding in the College of Education with minors in Public Health and Health Administration from the College of Applied Health Sciences. She is currently involved as an Education Leader, Lead Teaching Assistant, and Edmund J. James Scholar at the College of Education and as a Donor Recognition Intern with the Education Justice Project. Previously, Kathy was the Vice President of Programming for Epsilon Delta Professional Teaching Organization and a Human Resources Summer Intern at the University of Illinois Foundation.
Justin Chiu, Urbana, IL, is studying animal sciences and pursuing minors in chemistry and public health. Passionate about the interconnectedness of animal, human, and environmental health, he aspires to pursue a research-oriented path in veterinary medicine to advance the frontiers of scientific knowledge. Throughout his tenure at Illinois, Justin was involved in Design for America, served as a Resident Advisor, an organic chemistry laboratory teaching assistant, an intern at the Asian American Cultural Center, and as an undergraduate representative on the ACES DEI Committee. Justin is humbled to represent the Orange and Blue as a member of the Homecoming Court.
MB Cornejo, Glen Ellyn, IL, is studying clinical psychology and involved in mental health, social justice, and DEI work on campus. He is currently a paid Counseling Center Paraprofessional, an Inclusion and Leadership Mentor through University Housing, an LAS 101 Intern, and a competitive dance choreographer. As a James Scholar and research assistant at the Cultural Heritage and Racial Identity Lab, his Bachelor’s Thesis examines Asian American experiences of vicarious discrimination. Moreover, he volunteers for Uniting Pride Center and serves as the Vice President of Illini Students for Reproductive Justice. He is honored to be on the 2023 Homecoming Court.
Nicholas Davis, Scales Mound, IL, is studying Aerospace Engineering with a concentration in Mechanical Design. Nic served as President of the Honors Student Council as a member of the Campus Honors Program, and is a member of the James Scholar Honors Program within the College of Engineering. He has been involved with the University’s electric formula racing team, Illini Formula Electric, and will be working as an engineer for John Deere after graduation. Nic is both excited and honored to be given the opportunity to represent the University and his on-campus experiences as a member of the Homecoming Court.
Cornell Horne Jr, Chicago, IL, is in his last year of Electrical Engineering, with plans to also get his masters in Electrical Engineering. Cornell has been involved in multiple RSOs, undergraduate research with Harvard University, and has studied engineering abroad in Guatemala. He keeps in touch with his relationship with God by reading his Bible and attending Bible studies weekly. Cornell is excited to have been selected to be a part of the Homecoming Court because it is one more thing to give God praise for and also another thing for his family back home to be proud of.
Mikaela Jopes, Elmhurst, IL, is studying history, psychology, and secondary education. On campus, she served as Philanthropy Chair of Epsilon Delta teaching fraternity, Captain and Fundraising Chair of the Illini Women’s Water Polo Team and held various leadership roles in Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. Mikaela actively volunteered with local organizations including Cunningham Children’s Home and DREAAM. She taught abroad in Lyon, France through Education at Illinois and continues educating students in Champaign-Urbana. In 2023, the Collegiate Water Polo Association named Mikaela to the All-Big Ten Division Second Team. She is greatly honored to serve on this year’s Homecoming Court.
Dayna Le, Carpentersville, IL, is majoring in Studio Art with a concentration in Fashion and has minors in Asian American Studies, American Indian Studies, and Media. As the daughter of a Vietnamese refugee and a Mexican immigrant, Dayna is proud to earn a bachelor’s degree like her parents who are first-generation college students. Dayna is an ambassador for the Office of Minority Student Affairs and La Casa. She was on the executive board for 4 registered student organizations and is a member of the Vietnamese Student Association. Dayna is honored to be on the Homecoming Court and excited to represent her Asian and Latino heritage.
Nina Mitchell, DeKalb, IL, is a Stamps Scholar majoring in finance in the Gies College of Business and minoring in political science. She is a member of the Illinois Investment Banking Academy and has been honored to serve as President of the Gies Scholars Program, Vice President of the University of Illinois Pre-Law Club, and a Dean’s Student Advisory Board member. Post-graduation, Nina is pursuing her Juris Doctor degree and plans to serve as either a criminal attorney or corporate lawyer. Nina is deeply honored to have the privilege of representing the Illinois community as a distinguished member of the Homecoming Court.
Shelby Oertel, Brighton, IL, is pursuing a degree in Learning and Education Studies focusing on Workplace Training and Development. She’s an Education Leader within The College of Education, collaborating with staff as a peer advisor and student recruiter at the Student Academic Affairs Office. Shelby's passion for Greek Life shines as a member of 4H House Cooperative Sorority and as Vice-President of Scholarship for the Panhellenic Council. Professionally, she’s an instructional designer at Jimmy John's Champaign Support Center and a past intern at The University of Illinois Foundation. Shelby is a proud Illini and honored to be on Homecoming Court!
Emma Prybylski, Tumwater, WA, is studying Animal Sciences with a minor in Chemistry. Emma holds various positions on campus, including chemistry teaching assistant and Undergraduate Research Ambassador, but her favorite role is working as a research assistant. She has worked in seven research labs and successfully completed four independent research projects. Emma is applying to veterinary school, hoping to pursue a dual DVM/Ph.D. degree to become a research professor. Emma is honored to be on the 2023 Homecoming Court as her accomplishments demonstrate the University of Illinois’ supportive faculty and endless opportunities.
Lauren Purchase, Bolingbrook, IL, is studying Sociology and African American Studies with minors in Legal Studies and Criminology, Law, and Society in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She is an Outreach and Recruitment Intern for the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, a Resident Advisor for University Housing, and a Recruiting Assistant for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. Previously, she served as the President of the Gamma Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Lauren will pursue a Juris Doctor Degree in Fall 2024. She is thankful for the opportunity to represent the University during Homecoming.
Ramiro Ramirez, Rockford, IL, is currently pursuing a degree in Community Health with a concentration in Planning & Administration, complemented by a minor in business, within the College of Applied Health Sciences. On campus, he serves as a residential advisor and assumes responsibilities as a teaching assistant. Ramiro is in the process of applying to graduate school, where he aspires to enroll in a master’s program in Health Administration. He enthusiastically anticipates his inclusion in the homecoming court, considering it an esteemed honor reflecting his unwavering commitment to personal growth, familial values, and academic pursuits.
Arvin Sam, Chennai, India, is pursuing a B.S. in Industrial Engineering at the Grainger College of Engineering. Arvin is President of the Hoeft Technology and Management Program Student Board, a Course Assistant for BADM 261, and former Chapter President of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. While Arvin is noted for his passion and dedication to excellence within all his involvements, he prides himself on his approachability, respectfulness, and kindness. After graduation, Arvin will be working full-time at Microsoft. Outside his academics, Arvin loves concerts and playing guitar. He is honored to represent Illinois through the 2023 Homecoming Court.
Malika Sampson, Chicago, IL, is pursuing a degree in social work and a minor in gender and women’s studies. Malika has been involved in various organizations, including CBSU as President, NAACP as Treasurer, a charter member of NACWC Inc., and an ambassador at OMSA and BNAACC. She is a proud member of the Alpha Nu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, where she serves as Vice President. Malika's interests lie in advocating for underrepresented groups and providing mentorship to students from diverse backgrounds. She is extremely grateful to have served as a leader and will continue to do so.
Paris Souza, Junction City, KS, is a Human Development & Family Studies major with a minor in Legal Studies. She holds leadership roles in many organizations. She is the President of the Black Greek Council and the 2nd Vice President of the Nu Delta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. She has a passion for children’s advocacy, shown through her work as a nanny and her internship with the Center for Youth & Family Solutions. Upon graduation, she intends to pursue her Juris Doctor degree to practice Child & Family Law and become a Guardian Ad Litem.
Winter Stubblefield, Plainfield, IL, is studying Integrative Biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. On campus, she has been involved in many research and co-curricular activities, including being a Research Assistant at Flaw’s Lab for Reproductive Toxicology, the Treasurer for Illinois Students for Reproductive Justice (ISRJ), a Women In Math Science and Engineering (WIMSE) Resident Assistant. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and serves as the Illinois State Facilitator. She has a passion for health equity, access, and research upon graduation, she plans to attend medical school and become an Obstetrician and Gynecologist.
Stephanie Wayda, Schaumburg, IL, is studying journalism at the College of Media. She’s involved in anchoring for the “This Week Show,” Tau Sigma National Honor Society, and social outreach chair for the Illinois Film and Video Club. Through her journalistic endeavors, she’s worked on the Garden Hills Community project and stories across campus and the community. Next semester, she’s working on an advanced documentary project. At her transfer school, she won the Vivian Stewart Writing Award, earned membership in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and she was the literary editor of the Point of View Magazine, which won a national award.
Jarvis Williams, Chicago IL, is studying Engineering Technology and Management for Agricultural Systems with a minor in Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Fellows Program which fuels his passion for sustainability within agriculture. On campus, he serves various roles including a Resident Advisor (RA) for University Housing, President of the Illinois Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) chapter, and Publicity Chair of Men of Impact. Jarvis is grateful for the transformative Illinois experiences which have pivoted him towards networking opportunities, leadership roles, and internships, in hopes that he imparts the knowledge he learned along the way to future generations.