The Daily Illini

Class of 2019 Homecoming Court

By Molly Zupan, Special Sections Editor

The following 20 students were selected for the Class of 2019’s Homecoming Court for their outstanding leadership qualities, academic achievements and community involvement.

Muneeb Ansari

Major/College: Specialized Chemistry, LAS

Hometown: Glendale Heights, IL

Fun fact: I would sell my soul for Auntie Anne’s Pumpkin Spice Nuggets.

Best memory from college years: Going on a Hurricane Harvey relief trip with the Muslim Students Association.

Nessa Steinberg

Major/College: Community Health, AHS

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Fun fact: I am currently the face of Illinois fans on the BTN Tailgate commercial for the second year in a row.

Best memory from college years: Going to the top of the Altgeld Bell Tower before it closed and playing the chimes.

Erica Hackett

Major/College: Marketing and International Business, Business

Hometown: Elmhurst, IL

Fun fact: I studied abroad for two semesters in Milan, Italy, and Sydney, Australia.

Best memory from college years: Going to Omaha, Nebraska, with the Business Honors Program to meet Warren Buffett.

Madelyn Smith

Major/College: Kinesiology, AHS

Hometown: Cambridge, IL

Fun fact: I studied abroad in Stirling, Scotland, during my junior year.

Best memory from college years: Attending The Institute by Leadershape. This leadership conference helped strengthen my leadership skills and pushed me to become more involved in different executive boards throughout my college career. I also met an amazing group of friends.

Rachel Recker

Major/College: Agriculture Leadership and Science Education, ACES

Hometown: Venedy, IL

Fun fact: I’ll be studying abroad in Brazil over winter break.

Best memory from college years: Watching the “With Illinois” Campaign Launch at the State Farm Center.

Ryan Christie

Major/College: Economics and Political Science, LAS

Hometown: Evanston, IL

Fun fact: I practice and learn mixed martial arts in my free time.

Best memory from college years: The day I was revealed as a new member of my fraternity.

Isabelle Ausdal

Major/College: Agricultural Economics, ACES

Hometown: Milan, IL

Fun fact: I grew up raising Finnsheep, and I am teaching myself how to spin wool.

Best memory from college years: Going to Grange Grove during my freshman year and seeing the Marching Illini lead the football players in before the game.

Jordan Johns

Major/College: Agricultural Sciences and Leadership Education, ACES

Hometown: Pontiac, IL

Fun fact: My dog’s name is Wrigley.

Best memory from college years: Creating many memories with friends who will last a lifetime.

Kassidy Kimpling

Major/College: Agricultural Leadership Education, ACES

Hometown: Flanagan, IL

Fun fact: I am an “Irish twin.”  My older brother, Kolton, and I were born 364 days apart, so we are the same age for one day. He also goes to the University and we share the same major. It has been so much fun having my brother and best friend on campus. We’re enjoying the Illini experience together.

Best memory from college years: Dancing in front of thousands of people at the Illinois vs. Iowa basketball game.  From a very young age, it has always been a dream of mine to perform on the court. The smile never left my face as I danced, surrounded by my Illini N Motion teammates, on the best home-court atmosphere in the conference.

Eriele Tellis

Major/College: Political Science, minor in Portuguese, LAS

Hometown: South Side of Chicago, IL

Fun fact: I have been to more countries in the world than states in the United States.

Best memory from college years: My study abroad experience in Brazil. I learned so much about myself and learned what it takes to be a global citizen.

Mariah Byrd

Major/College: Communications, LAS

Hometown: N/A

Fun fact: I don’t like any of my food to touch. My plate has to have sections or compartments, or I will eat one piece of food at a time.

Best memory from college years: Staying up late with my friends, catching up, cracking jokes and laughing from being deliriously sleepy.

Adam Rosentreter

Major/College: Agricultural Science Education, ACES

Hometown: Chesterfield, IL

Fun fact: I am in the process of restoring my 1967 Chevrolet Step-side Truck.

Best memory from college years: Spending late nights talking with the gentlemen of Nabor House Fraternity.

Darrien Rose

Major/College: Community Health, AHS

Hometown: Danville, IL

Fun fact: When I was 12 years old, I performed at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

Best memory from college years: In the summer of 2017, I participated in the Centers for Disease Control’s Summer Public Health Scholars Program at Columbia University in New York City. Through this program, I had the opportunity to live in New York City for 10 weeks and intern in the financial district at the largest municipal public hospital in the country, New York City Health & Hospitals. In addition to my internship, I also took enrichment public health courses at Columbia University’s Medical Center.

Nicole Taylor

Major/College: Kinesiology, AHS

Hometown: Western Springs, IL

Fun fact: I love being creative in the kitchen by preparing vegetarian dishes with different vegetable variations and flavors.

Best memory from college years: Dads Weekend 2016. The Illini football team got a big win over Michigan State; this was easily one of the best collegiate games I’ve witnessed.

Brett Cohen

Major/College: Molecular and Cellular Biology and Psychology, LAS

Hometown: Woodridge, IL

Fun fact: I won a race around the Colosseum.

Best memory from college years: The “With Illinois” Campaign Launch Event. During that day, I felt so proud to be an Illini.

Alexis Simmons

Major/College: Advertising, Media

Hometown: Danville, IL

Fun fact: I taught myself how to write with my left hand. I also have nine brothers and three sisters.

Best memory from college years: Planning and organizing the Senior 100 Honorary during my sophomore year. I wrote the application, helped pick judges, organized professional headshots for 100 seniors, wrote the event script and emceed the event. It was cool to see the impact my team’s hard work had on the Senior 100 Class of 2017.

Siddhant Chawla (Sid)

Major/College: Engineering Physics, Engineering

Hometown: Ahmedabad, India

Fun fact: I can speak, read and/or write in English, Hindi, French and Spanish.

Best memory from college years: It’s not a single event; rather, just a time period — when I finally got accustomed to college in my second semester freshman year (Spring 2016) and started thinking of my dorm as a home rather a dorm.

Paris Smith

Major/College: Community Health, AHS

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Fun fact: I love watermelon Sour Patch Kids.

Best memory from college years: Being a part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and being able to make birthday kits for homeless children.

Krish Patel

Major/College: Finance (pre-med), Business

Hometown: Normal, IL

Fun fact: I had several pet birds as a kid.

Best memory from college years: Every semester when I get to go on our semi-annual Business Council Retreat, where we go canoeing and camping.

Nia Gipson

Major/College: Agricultural and Consumer Economics, ACES

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Fun fact: I started baking cakes from scratch (a recipe passed down from my great grandmother) at the age of 5.

Best memory from college years: I have so many great memories from these past few years, but one of my favorites dates all the way back to the fall of freshman year, when I attended the first CBSU general assembly meeting, co-sponsored by 100 Strong. It was at that meeting that so many opportunities presented themselves to me and kickstarted my pathway to success here at Illinois, and that night in that room, I met my life-long best friends.

Congratulations, and good luck after graduation! Keep making Illinois proud!

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