2016 Homecoming Court

By Isabella Jackson, Supplements editor

Each year, 20 seniors are chosen to be part of the Homecoming Court. These students exemplify leadership, academic achievement and involvement on campus and beyond. They were asked what they felt was their greatest accomplishment at the University and what they would miss most about campus after graduation.

Reed Cabral

Major: Mechanical Science and Engineering

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Greatest accomplishment: My biggest accomplishment is being a coordinator for the 24th annual Filipino Americans Coming Together Conference hosted by the Philippine Student Association!

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    Miss about campus: I will definitely miss being within walking distance of all of my friends.


    Emmanuel Valtierra

    Major: Finance

    Hometown: Chicago, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: Being invited to attend the Summer Venture in Management Program at Harvard Business School. Being able to learn and collaborate with HBS faculty and students from diverse backgrounds was an empowering experience.

    Miss about campus: I will definitely miss not having class on Fridays as a Business student! I’m sure casual Fridays in the real world will help, but I will certainly miss having a 3-day weekend every week.


    Anuj Chokshi

    Major: IPS – Neuroscience; Business Minor

    Hometown: Bartlett, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: Serving as the vice president of finance for Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity and breaking our fundraising record, raising over $17,000 for Children’s Miracles Network!

    Miss about campus: The student body at Illinois is second to none. Illinois is unique in that the students excel both in and out of school, and through this motto I have been able to find my lifelong friends who share this same approach. l will miss these friends who have turned into family!


    Derek Hoot

    Major: Political science, Arabic studies minor

    Hometown: Middleton, WI

    Greatest accomplishment: Representing the U.S. in international competition in Japan for wheelchair basketball.

    Miss about campus: The wide variety of individuals and experiences that our campus offers.


    Nikou Pishevar

    Major: Agricultural and Biological Engineering

    Hometown: Carol Stream, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: My biggest accomplishment has been having the opportunity to work as an organic chemistry supplemental instructor for the past 2 years. I have been able to see the endless potential of the students, and seeing their success always motivated me to never give up on my own dreams.

    Miss about campus: I will miss eating at Bangkok Thai and always having full confidence that the cashier knew I wanted thai red curry, spicy level 4, with tofu to-go.


    Riannon Szofer

    Major: Special Education

    Hometown: Carol Stream, IL

    Biggest accomplishment: Vice president of Homecoming for Student Alumni Ambassadors.

    Miss about campus: Interacting with so many unique individuals on campus and having so many opportunities to be engaged on this campus.


    LaQueishia Cummins

    Major: Community Health

    Hometown: Chicago, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: Being involved in student affairs, being a Resident Advisor for one year and Resident Director intern for this current year. It has been a great experience to help my fellow peers! My biggest accomplishment in college was receiving a research experience in Ethiopia through a Harvard public health fellowship.

    Miss about campus: All the people I’ve met, my professors and the people I work with in student affairs, and lastly, the very vast amount of resources and opportunities this campus has to offer.


    Evan Keller

    Major: Political Science, Communication and Spanish

    Hometown: West Frankfort, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: I’m most proud of my work to increase student engagement in the electoral and legislative processes.

    Miss on campus: I’ll miss my friends that I’ve made on campus and in the community most, as well as the academic environment and Illini Basketball games.


    Collin Schumock

    Major: Economics and Political Science

    Hometown: Geneva, IL

    Greatest Accomplishment:  My biggest personal achievement was probably winning the race for Student Trustee.  There were a lot of late nights and points where I wanted to quit, but I met so many awesome people and became a lot closer with my friends who were helping on my campaign (in fact, I’m dating one of them now!).  The experience was great, and of course I love serving on the Board.  Otherwise, I am most proud of my work on the (U.S. Minority Cultures) General Education reforms last year.  When the proposal got sent to the Student Senate and ultimately my committee (Academic Affairs) we had a lot of lengthy discussions about how the changes would impact students — I think we were able to send the resolution back to the Campus Senate with recommendations that strengthened the proposal and helped students.  

    Miss most:  Definitely the Illini Family.  Pretty much everything I have been able to accomplish here is thanks to my wonderful friends, professors and peers.  There are great people here — they are what make this place so special.  


    Name: Ron Lewis

    Major: Finance

    Hometown: Westchester, IL

    Biggest Accomplishment: Being voted to be student body president of the University. It means a lot to me to be trusted to represent the University and help students.

    Miss on campus: In college, I think that we live in such a bubble. We get to learn, make mistakes, and have endless memories with minimal responsibility. In the real world, our mistakes will mean a little more, our learning moments won’t be shared with a group of friends, and those endless memories of being a fighting Illini won’t be the same when being an alumni. So my focus of my senior year is to just soak everything in and realize that I will never be able to experience these moments the same after graduation.


    Madison Ross-Ryan

    Major: Graphic Design

    Hometown: Tinley Park, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: Helping plan campus events such as Illinois Sights and Sounds, iHelp, and Homecoming as the vice president of communications for the Student Alumni Ambassadors.

    Miss on campus: The community of friends and peers that has challenged and supported me throughout my four years here, as well as the abundance of opportunities that Illinois offers its students.


    Abby Marten

    Major: Agricultural Leadership Education

    Hometown: Effingham, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: I received the College of ACES Robert M. Harrison Leadership Award. This award recognizes a student in the College of ACES for outstanding academic achievement, campus leadership and community involvement.

    Miss on campus: Above all, I will miss the people. Not only will I miss having my closest friends together in one place, I will also miss the interactions with the people who have helped me learn so much: classmates, co-workers, advisors and mentors.


    Alexxis M. Franklin

    Major: Recreation, Sport, and Tourism, concentration in Sport Management

    Hometown: Chicago, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: Participating in my summer 2016 Event Marketing Internship at ESPN. Without the experiences, opportunities, and leadership roles that I held while at Illinois, this would not have been possible.

    Miss on campus: I have met countless people at Illinois who have taken an active, invested interest in my personal development. The genuine relationships that we have built and the many memories we have created will be cherished for a lifetime.


    Marley Jackson

    Major: Recreation, Sport, Tourism 

    Hometown: Joliet, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: I think my biggest and most rewarding accomplishment is becoming the current vice president of Women of Color.  This organization has been educating, uplifting, and uniting girls of color for almost 30 years, and it feels good to make an impact on an organization that has been very good to me for undergrad years.  

    Miss on campus:  It’s impossible to pick just one thing, but I will definitely miss my beloved friends the most.  They have helped me grow and evolve as a person; they are my family.  College would not have been the same without them.  Shoutout to my girls (you know who you are <3).


    Caitlin McClure

    Major: Agricultural Communications

    Hometown: Lawrenceville, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: My biggest accomplishment at the University has been my work with the College of ACES Pay It Forward campaign, helping provide scholarships to those students who may not be able to stay at the University for financial reasons. As a scholarship recipient myself, I understand the importance of a little extra during hard times. Helping provide 60+ scholarships to other students has been my proudest moments as a student here.

    Miss on campus: The people and relationships I’ve made. Illinois is my home, and the people — from faculty and staff to fellow students — have become my family.


    Osazomon Imarenezor

    Major: Chemistry

    Hometown: Chicago, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: Personally, my biggest accomplishment was being president of the African Cultural Association here last year. After many long meetings, sleepless nights, and haggling departments for funding, we had a phenomenal year and broke some personal records within our organization. It was very life-changing to know how much of an impact my passion for unified leadership prompted my African culture to have a lasting effect on the vast majority of students here and within the midwest, not just the Black community at UIUC. It kind of created a savage in me. Ha, that’s a good thing.

    Miss on campus: I will miss the atmosphere. Our campus is one that I have yet to find on another campus. We have such a large, yet small community. There is an underlying understanding that we, as members of this community,  are all here to be the best ‘us’ we can imagine. We are proud of our past and very appreciative of our groundbreaking futures. This place has taught me grit; it has taught me to never give up, and never take ‘no’ as the only option. This place created me. It created my family (S/O to my ACA fam <3). I will miss it surely, but I’ll be back as a proud African alum.


    Emma Goodwin

    Major: English and Political Science, minor in Cinema Studies

    Hometown: Palatine, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: Working as the Opinions editor at The Daily Illini was definitely my biggest accomplishment, especially seeing the transformation of the section by the time I finished my term. To see that work being continued today under new leadership makes me so proud. The work just keeps escalating and getting better. Getting accepted to Teach for America is by far the best thing I’ve done in college. Education inequity is a huge problem within our country — all students deserve an equal education no matter their zip code or income level. To be part of an organization that aims to make that happen is such an honor and I can’t wait to serve in the corps starting next year.

    Miss on campus: The people and the Quad.


    Isabel Rose (Bella) Kadiri

    Major: Community Health

    Hometown: Niles, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: Being able to serve campus in several capacities focused on student engagement and the wellness of minority students

    Miss on campus: Being immersed in a culture and community that has challenged me and been a constant source of endless opportunities, memories, growth and relationships.   


    Hannah Schlacter

    Major: Marketing and Management

    Hometown: Riverwoods, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: Starting four organizations that have scaled from a campus to global level.

    Miss on campus: The ease of time and proximity in hanging out with good friends 24/7.


    Rikka Skillrud

    Major: Interdisciplinary Health

    Hometown: Bloomington, IL

    Greatest accomplishment: Stepping outside of my comfort zone to take advantage of the many opportunities that this school has given me.

    Miss on campus: I will miss the Altgeld bells when I walk to class, the Quad squirrels and all the wonderful people I’ve met at this school.

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