Muneeb Ansari, Glendale Heights, IL, is studying specialized chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Science. He does research under Dr. Damien Guironnet studying catalyst encapsulation. Muneeb is also the President of the Illinois Cross Country Club, a competitive intercollegiate running club. He enjoys his time as the Outreach Head of Illinois’s Muslim Students Association (MSA). Within the MSA, he coordinates volunteering events, education about Islam, and a relief trip to North Carolina. He is honored to be on this year’s Homecoming Court and to represent the many different realms of the University’s diverse student population.
Isabelle Ausdal, Milan, IL, is studying Agricultural Economics with a focus on Public Policy and Agricultural Law. She has a passion for farmland preservation and ensuring access to affordable legal services in rural communities. She has been involved in Illinois Student Government, the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Student Advancement Committee and various honors societies. Isabelle will be applying to law school in the spring and hopes to be a resource for farmers and rural communities. After graduation, she hopes to continue to be a resource for students struggling with mental health.
Mariah Byrd, Chicago, IL, is studying Communication, pre-law, in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Mariah is dedicated to helping the people of her community in Champaign and in her hometown of Chicago. She participated as a 100 Strong leader and has served as an LAS Intern. Mariah is currently studying for the LSAT with aspirations to attend law school after gaining professional experience. She believes that being able to represent the Black students on the Illinois campus as a member of the Homecoming Court is such an honor.
Siddhant Chawla, Ahmedabad, India, is an Engineering Physics major. During his tenure at the University, he has been able to evolve in many ways. A proud international student from India, Siddhant has been actively engaged in FACES Consulting - a professional organization for international students. Siddhant has pursued his passion for STEM education and mentorship as an Engineering Ambassador, A Lead Engineering learning Assistant and as a Resident Advisor. He continues to advocate for the rights of Native American and sub-alternate cultures through his job as a Resident Advisor. In the future, he wishes to become an educator and de-stigmatize Physics and Math.
Ryan Christie, Evanston, IL, is studying economics and political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS). On campus, he has been involved in various organizations, including the Illinois Student Senate and LAS Leaders. He is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and has served on LAS Academic Standards committee for three years. Upon graduation, Ryan will move to New York, where he will begin his career in finance at Goldman Sachs. He is honored to have been selected to participate in Homecoming Court and is looking forward to the plethora of upcoming festivities.
Brett Cohen, Woodridge IL, is studying Molecular and Cellular Biology and Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Brett feels that his biggest contribution is bringing more joy to campus. He founded Positive Illini to spread positivity to students, directed iHelp to give back to the community, and leads campus tours to excite future Illini. He is thrilled to share his joy with all Illini while on Homecoming Court. After graduating, Brett will work at AbbVie in their Development Program. He feels he would not be where he is today if not for the foundation Illinois has provided.
Nia Gipson, Chicago, IL, is studying Agricultural and Consumer Economics with a Minor in African American Studies. Nia formerly served on the Executive Board for the Central Black Student Union, as a Group Leader for 100 Strong, and is the current President of the Chi Chapter of Delta Phi Delta Dance Fraternity, Incorporated. Gipson is a third-year Resident Advisor and is currently applying to graduate school to pursue a Masters in Higher Education. Humbled by the honor to be a member of the 2018 Homecoming Court, Nia hopes to inspire others to fully embrace all that Illinois has to offer.
Erica Hackett, Elmhurst, IL, is studying marketing and international business in the Gies College of Business, with a minor in political science. Erica has been involved in Business Council, the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, and the Business Honors Program, where she serves as a course assistant. She co-founded GirlUp UIUC, which works with the UN Foundation to raise money for girls’ education worldwide. Erica is passionate about government and politics and has interned in the aerospace industry in Seattle and Washington, DC. After graduation, she plans to work in Washington, DC and eventually pursue a law degree.
Jordan Johns, Pontiac, IL, is studying Agricultural Leadership and Science Education in the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). Jordan serves on the ACES Student Advancement Committee and is the Council on Teacher Education Executive Committee’s undergraduate student representative. As a James Scholar, Jordan conducted a nationwide study on the influential factors and student teaching placement process for agricultural education preservice teachers. She has interned with the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation, the College of ACES Alumni Association, and Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom. Jordan is honored to be on homecoming court and share this experience with her Illini family.
Kassidy Kimpling, Flanagan, IL, is an advocate for the future of agriculture studying Agricultural Leadership and Science Education. Kassidy serves as the Collegiate Farm Bureau President, Alpha Zeta Morrow President, and the Alumnae Relations Chair for the Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. Kimpling works on campus as a research assistant and intern at the Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Library. She enjoys promoting the orange and blue through her involvement in Illini Pride, Illini N Motion Dance Team, and Illini Ice Girls. After graduation, Kassidy will work for Corteva Agriscience. She cannot thank the University enough for all the opportunities.
Krish Patel, Normal, IL, is studying Finance at the Gies of College of Business with pre-med track. Krish is a leader in various organizations and committees such as the Deans’ Student Advisory Board, Business Council, Illinois Enactus, Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity, The Career Center Advisory Committee, Provost’s Student Advisory Board, and works as a Teach For America Campus Ambassador. His experiences and educational background at Illinois have prompted his desire to pursue a career in advocating for marginalized communities through medicine and healthcare. He is now beyond excited to represent Illinois as a member of the Homecoming Court.
Rachel Recker, Venedy, IL, grew up on a farm in rural Southern Illinois which led her to study Agriculture Leadership and Science Education with a minor in Crop Sciences. Rachel is involved in 4-H House Cooperative Sorority, Agricultural Education Club, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Student Advancement Committee, and interns for the ACES Alumni Association. After college, she will join Bayer Crop Science as a District Sales Manager Trainee. Her time spent at the University of Illinois has been an unforgettable experience that has granted Rachel with many opportunities, networks, and skills for her future.
Darrien Rose, Danville, IL, is studying Community Health with concentrations in health planning and administration as well as health education and promotion with plans to pursue a master’s degree in nursing. During his tenure at Illinois, he has been involved with Student Alumni Ambassadors, intramural sports, and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Darrien has held various positions as a Resident Advisor, research assistant, undergraduate teaching assistant, and tour guide. He has also interned for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Promise Healthcare, and Center for Disease Control at Columbia University. Darrien is honored to share his passion for Illinois as a 2018 Homecoming Court attendant.
Adam Rosentreter, Chesterfield, IL, is pursuing a degree in Agricultural Leadership and Science Education with a minor in Technical Systems Management. He is involved with many organizations on campus, including Nabor House Fraternity, Agricultural Education Club, and the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Student Advancement Committee. His favorite campus activities revolve around working with prominent Illinois alumni and working to recruit future Illini. The University of Illinois experience has allowed him to pursue a career with John Deere following two summer internships in marketing and customer and product support. He is honored to be selected to homecoming court.
Alexis Simmons, Danville, IL, is a James Scholar studying Advertising in the College of Media and is pursuing minors in public relations, Spanish, and criminology. Alexis serves as the President of the Student Alumni Ambassadors, a Fred H. Turner Fellow in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and the Media Intern at the Division of General Studies. She has served in various paraprofessional roles within University Housing and the Illinois Leadership Center. Alexis has a deep love for the orange and blue, and it is a distinct honor to participate in Homecoming Court.
Madelyn Smith, Cambridge, IL, is majoring in kinesiology and minoring in psychology. On campus, Madelyn has been involved in the College of Applied Health Sciences Student Council, The Provost’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Board, the Exercise Psychophysiology Laboratory, Shi Ai Women’s Greek Leadership Council, Up With Life for Suicide Prevention and Awareness, Order of Omega Honor Society, and Delta Zeta social sorority. She currently works as a program assistant at Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange. Post-graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a doctorate degree in physical therapy, and a master’s degree in public health.
Paris Smith, Chicago, IL, is studying Community Health with a double concentration in health education and health administration. On campus, she has been involved with many organizations including, the National Residence Hall Honorary and the McKinley Health Center Fitness Peers and has also worked for University Housing and various planning committees for events on campus, such as the Project 500 50th Anniversary. Paris is applying to graduate school, where she will pursue a master’s degree in Public Health. She thanks the Homecoming Court Committee for recognizing the work that she has been able to experience at Illinois.
Nessa Steinberg, Memphis, TN, studies Community Health. She is President of the honor society, Mortar Board, and an undergraduate researcher under Drs. Rosalba Hernandez and Flavia Andrade, focusing on health disparities in older Hispanic and Latino adults. She has served as an undergraduate fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Summer Institute for Biostatistics in Boston, MA. Nessa’s past leadership service includes Vice President of Programming at Illini Hillel and supporting the Illini at every football game as a Blockhead. As an out-of-state student, Nessa is thankful for all the opportunities this university has allowed her to pursue.
Nicole Taylor, Western Springs, IL, is studying Kinesiology in the College of Applied Health Sciences. On campus, she has been involved in many leadership roles; she serves as the President of the Mannie L. Jackson Illinois Enrichment and Leadership Program where she exhibits her passion for mentorship and giving back to the Champaign-Urbana community. Additionally, Nicole is a Chemistry teaching assistant where she influences students to explore endeavors that challenge their academic capabilities. After graduation she aspires to continue her work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to bridge the gap between medicine and public health.
Eriele M. Tellis, Chicago, IL, is studying Political Science with a minor in Portuguese. Her research focuses on xenophobia and Islamophobia and its effects on foreign policy. On campus she is the President of Women of Color, a proud member of the Alpha Nu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and more. She has studied abroad in Italy and Brazil. She served as a participant of TRIALS, a pre-law program curated by Harvard Law School, NYU school of Law, and the Advantage Testing foundation. After taking an explorative hiatus, she will go on to law school.