Meet UI’s 2019 Homecoming Court


Photo courtesy of January Boten

The class of 2019 homecoming court poses for a photo on the balcony of Foellinger Auditorium. The 20 candidates that were selected to serve on the court are viewed as role models for their peers and outstanding representatives of the University of Illinois student body.

By Ava Traverso

Tamika Bobo

Hometown: Homewood, Illinois

College: ACES

Major: Food Science and Human Nutrition with a minor in Business

Fun fact: She is applying to Master’s programs to pursue a degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations. She was also the recipient of the Dr. John E Collins Community Excellence Award.

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Nikki Burdyn

Hometown: Park Ridge, Illinois

College: LAS

Major: Political Science and English with minor in Spanish

Fun fact: She studied abroad in Pavia, Italy, as a part of her James Scholar course on refugee migration in the Mediterranean Sea.

Kaleigh Dent

Hometown: Woodridge, Illinois

College: FAA

Major: Dance

Fun fact: Her career goals after pursuing her master’s degree in Dance include working as an instructor and dancer in Chicago.

Michaela Foreman

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

College: Business

Major: Information Systems and Marketing

Fun fact: She has studied abroad in Dubai, South Africa, Austria, Indonesia and Peru. She also is a three-time resident adviser.

Mariel Galvan

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

College: LAS

Major: Integrative Biology

Fun fact: She is extremely passionate about disability advocacy, serving as both a personal care assistant and a member of the Disability Awareness program.

Allison Leach

Hometown: LaGrange, Illinois

College: Business

Major: Information Systems and Information Technology

Fun fact: She is involved in multiple organizations on campus including Illinois Enactus, Business Council, Phi Sigma Sigma sorority and more.

Xizi (Liz) Li

Hometown: Shenyang, China

College: LAS

Major: Econometrics and Quantative Economics

Fun fact: She has been involved in both the Office of Volunteer Programs for Students Affairs and The Illinois Leadership program.

Emily Martin

Hometown: Mason City, Illinois

College: ACES

Major: Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Fun fact: Emily is a fourth-generation Illini! She is also a Division I athlete on the Illinois Women’s Swimming and Diving Team.

Melani McCoy

Hometown: Calumet City, Illinois

College: AHS

Major: Recreation, Sport and Tourism

Fun fact: Melani is a proud member of the United States Army and has received the President’s Award Scholarship.

Deniz Namik

Hometown: Algonquin, Illinois

College: LAS

Major: Integrative Biology and Spanish

Fun fact: Deniz has been volunteered at various organizations in town, with one being the Crisis Nursery. She also serves as a conversation partner for the Intensive English Institute.

Samantha Park

Hometown: Cypress, California

College: Engineering

Major: Computer Science

Fun fact: Samantha is currently serving as the Director of Staff for the Air Force ROTC program here on campus.

Masumi Prasad

Hometown: Carmel, Indiana

College: LAS

Major: Psychology

Fun fact: Masumi currently serves as president of her sorority, Delta Kappa Delta.

Kayla Santucci

Hometown: Naperville, Illinois

College: Business

Major: Accountancy

Fun fact: Kayla has run one full marathon and two half marathons.

Kelly Schneider

Hometown: Mount Olive, Illinois

College: Social Work

Major: Social Work with a minor in Leadership studies

Fun fact: Kelly has been involved with multiple organizations on campus such as the Women’s resource center, New Student Programs, and the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations.

Cathie Seebauer

Hometown: Urbana, Illinois

College: Engineering

Major: Civil Engineering

Fun fact: Catherine is a member of the Illini Football student section as a blockhead!

Marc Sleiman

Hometown: Peoria, Illinois

College: LAS

Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology and  Political Science

Fun fact: Marc works to fundraise for cancer research in collaboration with the famous country singer, Luke Bryan.

Kristine Stewart

Hometown: Yorkville, Illinois

College: ACES

Major: Crop Sciences with a minor in Public Relations

Fun fact: Her love for Crop Sciences was fostered by growing up on her family farm in Northern Illinois. Kristine will be graduating with a full-time job with Corteva Agriscience.

Kevin Wade

Hometown: Palatine, Illinois

College: LAS

Major: Chemical Engineering

Fun fact: He has had internships with ExxonMobil and the Process Safety group of Baker Engineering and Risk Consultants. He also has pursued research projects that are aimed at increasing the efficiency of Lithium-ion batteries.

Heather Zelko

Hometown: Minooka, IL

College: Engineering

Major: Bioengineering

Fun fact: After graduation, Heather will be working with Abbvie in their Clinical Trial Operations Development Program.

Coltrane Zerai-Che

Hometown: Champaign, Illinois

College: Media

Major: Media and Cinema Studies and Spanish

Fun fact: During her junior year, Coltrane studied abroad with the Political Science department in Buenos Aires, Argentina.