Homecoming Court 2019
Tamika Bobo, Homewood, IL, studies Food Science and Human Nutrition with a concentration in Hospitality Management and a minor in Business. On-campus, she serves as a Resident Advisor, Vice President of Women of Color, Group Leader for 100 Strong, and Programming Chair for Ma’at Black Student Union. Tamika is also a proud member of the Alpha Nu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has received many accolades such as the Dr. John E. Collins Community Excellence Award. Tamika is applying to graduate school where she will be pursuing a master’s degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations.
Nikki Burdyn, Park Ridge, IL, studies English and Political Science with a minor in Spanish in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She is an active member of Phi Sigma Sigma, Vice President of Standards of the Panhellenic Council, and Student Assistant in the Office of Principal Gifts at the University of Illinois Foundation. Her fondest memory at the University of Illinois is a James Scholar course focused on Refugee Migration in the Mediterranean that culminated with fieldwork in Pavia, Italy. Nikki interned with PNC Financial Services this summer and is exploring different opportunities after graduation, including law school.
Kaleigh Dent, Woodridge, IL, is studying dance in the College of Fine and Applied Art and minoring in English in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Throughout her four years on campus, she has been involved in various organizations, including the Organization Fund Advisory Board as Secretary, Dance2XS as Treasurer and K-Project as President. Dent hopes to continue her dance career in Chicago as an instructor and dancer and plans to pursue a master's degree in Dance. She is very honored to be able to participate in Homecoming Court and looking forward to all of the upcoming events.
Michaela Foreman, Chicago, IL, is studying Information Systems and Marketing with a minor in Spanish. She is a three-time Resident Advisor, President of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, and a Research Assistant for the Mythic Mississippi Project. She studied abroad in Dubai, South Africa, Austria, Indonesia, and Peru. Illinois exposed her to immense opportunities which led her to be passionate about education reform. After graduation, Michaela will pursue a master’s in Education Policy. She is honored to be on the Homecoming Court and excited for what this recognition will do for minority women to realize that their dreams are attainable.
Mariel Galvan, Chicago, IL, studies Integrative Biology in the College of LIberal Arts & Sciences. A mentor in many spheres, Galvan has served as a board member for the Mannie L. Jackson Illinois Academic Enrichment and Leadership Program, a facilitator for the UIUC Civil Rights Pilgrimage, and a Resident Advisor at Nugent Hall. Galvan is also a lab assistant with Dr. Kate Clancy’s Laboratory for Evolutionary Endocrinology. Her passion for disability advocacy is fueled by her service as a personal care assistant and with the Disability Awareness Program. President of the Minority Association of Pre-medical Students (MAPS), her goals are to uplift and promote equity in educational opportunity.
Allison Leach, LaGrange, IL, is studying Marketing and Information Systems & Information Technology in the Gies College of Business. On campus, she is involved in various organizations including Illinois Enactus, Business Council, Phi Sigma Sigma, Business Student Ambassadors, and the Business Honors Program. She also works at the Main Library and has spent the past two summers interning at a corporate foundation. Alli is honored to be a member of the Homecoming Court and looks forward to celebrating the University that has given her and so many others so much!
Xizi (Liz) Li, Shenyang, China, is studying Econometrics and Quantitative Economics in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. On campus, Liz is passionately involved in promoting diversity and inclusion. Liz founded iENGAGE Student Council to connect international and domestic students through community service, leadership development, and global competency programs. Liz has also been involved in various professional organizations, including Illinois Business Consulting. In addition, she’s worked for the Office of Volunteer Programs for Student Affairs and the Illinois Leadership Center. Liz will be working as a data engineer after graduation in Chicago. She’s honored to participate in Homecoming Court, and she’s thankful for the mentorship and friendship that U of I has provided.
Emily Martin, Mason City, IL, is the fourth generation in her family to attend the University of Illinois. She is studying Agricultural and Consumer Economics with a concentration in Agri-Accounting. The Illinois senior is a Chancellor’s Scholar as well as a Division I Athlete on the Illinois Women’s Swimming & Diving Team. She has held various leadership roles within ACES Student Advancement Committee, ACE Ambassadors, and Explore ACES Steering Committee. Martin has interned with Caterpillar, Inc. and Deloitte and intends to further her career in the agricultural industry. She is honored to serve as a representative on the 2019 Homecoming Court.
Melani McCoy, Calumet City, IL, is a first-generation college student studying Recreation, Sport, and Tourism and will receive a Leadership Certificate from the Illinois Leadership Center. Melani has received the President’s Award Scholarship and is a proud member of the U.S. Army. She has devoted her time to scholarship, service, and inclusion. Melani is a founding member of the RST Advisory Council, the Community Service Chair for I-LEAP, and the Second Vice-President for the Alpha Nu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Melani is honored to serve on the 2019 Homecoming Court and is proud to be an Illini.
Deniz Namik, Algonquin, IL, is an Iraqi-Turkman studying Integrative Biology and Spanish in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. She holds various leadership positions such as being President of the Pre-Dental Club and Chair of the Committee on Diversity & Inclusion within the Illinois Student Government. She has been involved in helping others on campus and in the community through being a conversation partner through the Intensive English Institute and volunteering at organizations like Crisis Nursery. Her goal during her four years here has been to positively impact the Illinois community and empower others. She plans to work in underserved communities to dismantle disparities in healthcare.
Samantha Yumi Park, Cypress, CA, is studying computer science in the Grainger College of Engineering. She is in Air Force ROTC, currently serving as the Director of Staff, and is set to commission in May as an officer. Within Air Force ROTC, she is in Arnold Air Society, a national professional development and service organization that is currently focusing their efforts on aiding military families across the nation and serving the local community. As an Engineering Ambassador, Samantha works towards destigmatizing engineering and supporting young students who are classically underrepresented and underserved in engineering fields, inspiring them to pursue STEM.
Masumi Prasad, Carmel, IN, studies Psychology with a Behavioral Neuroscience concentration. She is a recipient of the Beckman Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award under Llano Laboratory studying auditory neuroscience. Masumi is actively involved on campus as President of her sorority, Delta Kappa Delta, through which she engages in humanitarian work and community service. She is also the Director of Service for the United Greek Council, and a proud member of Order of Omega. After graduation, Masumi hopes to attend graduate school to study neuroscience. She is honored to represent the University of Illinois as a part of this year’s Homecoming Court.
Kayla Santucci, Naperville, IL, is studying Accountancy in the Gies College of Business with a minor in Communication. Kayla has been involved in Phi Chi Theta Professional Business Fraternity and has held several teaching assistant positions including serving as a Business 101 Section Leader, course assistant for the Gies Business Honors Program, and student TA for Economics 203. Kayla is passionate about running and has completed one full marathon and two half marathons. After graduation, Kayla will begin her career at Deloitte in the Risk & Financial Advisory practice area. She is honored to be part of the Homecoming Court.
Kelly Schneider, Mount Olive, IL, is studying Social Work and pursuing a minor in Leadership Studies. She is the founder and current president of the Bachelor of Social Work Association as well as a Senior Advisor for the Illini Pride Student Athletic Board. Kelly is most proud of her extensive involvement in the support and transition of new students at the university through her work with New Student Programs, Women’s Resource Center, as well as the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations. As a first-generation student, Kelly is proud to represent her family as a member of the Homecoming Court.
Cathie Seebauer, Urbana, IL, is studying civil engineering with specialties in transportation and construction management. On campus, she has been involved in Chancellor’s Scholars, is a student advisor, participates in various engineering organizations, and supports the Illini football student section as a Blockhead. Seebauer also works as a learning assistant for an undergraduate engineering course. She volunteers much of her time with the Boy Scouts; apart from community service projects, she serves on several national planning committees for Scouting. She has been an orange and blue supporter her whole life and is honored to be on the 2019 Homecoming Court.
Marc Sleiman, Peoria, IL, is studying Molecular & Cellular Biology and Political Science as a James Scholar in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. On campus, Marc gives back by conducting research at a Nutritional Neuroscience Lab, serving as an I-Guide Hall Coordinator, leading volunteers as a Carle Hospital Student Leader, and fundraising for cancer research in collaboration with renowned country artist, Luke Bryan. Marc is interested in the intersection of patient care and health policy, and he plans to attend medical school to help solve systemic inequalities in healthcare delivery. He is honored to represent the University of Illinois at Homecoming.
Kristine Stewart, Yorkville, IL, grew up on a farm in Northern Illinois which led her to study Crop Sciences with a minor in Public Relations. Kristine is a member of the College of ACES Student Advancement Committee, Crop Science Student Ambassadors, Field and Furrow, and Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority. Kristine’s passion for agriculture has shaped her studies and internships, leading her to a full-time job with Corteva Agriscience after graduation. She is proud to follow in the footsteps of her parents, who both attended the University of Illinois and looks forward to joining them in a lifetime of Illinois Loyalty.
Kevin Wade, Palatine, IL, is studying Chemical Engineering in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. On campus, he has worked in electrochemical research in the Gewirth Group for several years, pursuing projects aimed at increasing the efficiency of lithium-ion batteries. Additionally, he has served as a teaching assistant, tutor, and mentor for chemistry and chemical engineering courses for the School of Chemical Sciences. In industry, his internship experience includes engineering roles with ExxonMobil’s Upstream Integrated Solutions division in Houston, Texas as well as the Process Safety group of Baker Engineering and Risk Consultants in Chicago, Illinois.
Heather Laurel Zelko, Minooka, IL, is studying Bioengineering in the Grainger College of Engineering. She has been active in Engineering Ambassadors, where she served as an Off-Campus Executive to bring STEM to area school districts. Heather has served as a course assistant for BioE 205 and 415 and participates in undergraduate research under Dr. Oelze. Heather is also active in Alpha Omega Epsilon and Illini Pride. After graduation, she will be joining AbbVie in the Clinical Trial Operations Development Program. Honored to be part of the homecoming court, Heather will always be true to the orange and blue.
Coltrane Zerai-Che, Champaign, IL, is studying Media and Cinema Studies and Spanish. On campus, she is a Resident Advisor, a group fitness instructor, and the Scholarship Chair for the Alpha Nu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. During her junior year, she studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina with the Political Science department. She recently completed a summer internship in film in television development in Los Angeles, California and is excited for her future in the entertainment industry. Zerai-Che is honored to participate in the Illinois Homecoming court and is proud to reflect on her undergraduate years as a student leader.