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Q&A with the 2019 Homecoming court



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From left, 2018 Homecoming court sophomore Andres Ayala, and seniors Maggie Hopkins, Olivia Malone and Angela Perez look at the crowd Oct. 12, 2018, during the Homecoming parade on Woodlawn Avenue. XIA file photo and Matt Begala Buy Photos

The Homecoming court of 2019 has been chosen. This year’s court is slightly different; there are no runners for King and Queen, only for Homecoming royalty. The XIA sat down with all the members of the court to get to know them a little better. 

Gabrielle Cantor 

Senior from Denver majoring in intelligence systems engineering

Why did you apply for Homecoming Court?

I applied to be on Homecoming Court to show off what being a Hoosier means to me and to have the chance to give back to the IU community.

What is your most rewarding activity at IU?

I am a part of SICE student ambassadors. We help recruit prospective students,and I work with high school students and parents to see if IU is right for them. It’s great to give back and help guide them through the journey of seeing colleges and then to see them enroll at IU. I’m also a third-year RA and having some of them on my floor, it’s so cool to see them develop as students.

Haley Sample

Senior from Jasper, Indiana, majoring in marketing

What is your favorite IU memory?

I would say it was the spring concert for the Singing Hoosiers my freshman year. My dad was in the group when he was at IU and at the spring concert all the alumni are invited back on stage, so just to be able to share the stage and do something I'm passionate about with my dad and also my new friends at the same time was a unique and awesome experience. 

What is your most rewarding activity at IU?

When I was a freshman I founded the Royal Encounters club. The members dress up as characters, and we host monthly events at the children’s hospital. We started with 20 people and now we have over 200 people applying, and we actually have to turn some people away. It’s really cool though to see that it started as this small thing and it’s grown so much. It’s been very rewarding just to see the kids' smiles. 

Alexandra Richardson

Senior from Indianapolis majoring in environmental management

Why did you apply for Homecoming Court?

I wanted to be a student leader in the community, and through my different experiences, I haven't really been able to be a leader in an organization. And in my final year I decided I wanted to do something where I could lead students and be a part of bettering the environment at IU. 

What is your favorite IU memory?

It was probably when I was in Washington, D.C. as a part of the Washington Leadership Program. At the end of the experience, all of the IU students and alumni came together and they shared their experiences of the program with us and how they’re furthering their careers in D.C. It was amazing to see the stretch of this school, where it all comes from, how we all have connected over this experience and how we can all go forward with IU on our backs.

Susan Szymanski 

Senior from Crown Point, Indiana, majoring in mathematics

Why did you apply for Homecoming Court?

I was inspired by previous members of the court, like my older sister. I’ve always admired the ways that the court gives back to IU. 

What is your most rewarding activity at IU?

I love being a student ambassador. It is very rewarding giving tours to prospective students. It’s magical seeing campus through their eyes. 

Molly Miner

Senior from Fishers, Indiana, majoring in speech and hearing sciences and Spanish

Why did you apply for Homecoming Court? 

I am involved in a lot of organizations on campus, and I applied to Homecoming court because I wanted to be involved in the spirit and traditions of IU in my last year. I have grown to love IU so much. 

What is your favorite IU memory?

Well it was actually before I was a student here, but my senior year of high school, when I got accepted to IU, my dad took my two triplet siblings and I down to IU, and we saw the IU/Wisconsin game. We won by a buzzer-beater moment and just to see that was crazy. 

Danielle Pacholski

Senior from Libertyville, Illinois, majoring in speech and hearing sciences

What is your favorite IU memory?

I’m gonna have to say the dance marathon. I’ve been involved with it since I was a freshman, and each year just gets better and better. I’m on the morale committee and so I make the line dance and so one of my favorite memories was last year, being up on stage with everyone during the line dance and then the total reveal when you realize this year of hard work has come to something incredible and amazing. It’s a feeling I'll never have again, well hopefully this one. 

What is your most rewarding activity at IU?

One of the most rewarding ones is that I am an It’s On Us: Alcohol and Consent facilitator, and I've only done it for a few months, and it’s really hard because most of my leadership positions are with people who want to be there and this is the first one I've done where people don’t really want to be there, but it’s definitely the most rewarding because it’s an important topic that needs to be talked about, and there are students that do care about it and seeing it click with them and understand that safety is the most important thing is the most rewarding thing I’ve done here.

Nathan Sands

Senior from Ada, Michigan, triple majoring in marketing, international business, digital and social media business applications systems

Why did you apply for Homecoming Court?

I wanted to get involved some more. Throughout my time at IU I’ve always thought it was important to get out there and help make an impact at IU. Now I’m taking my final lap here, and I feel like I have been able to do that through being involved in IUDM and being chapter president of my fraternity. The key word is impact because just to know that you have made a difference is the best thing. 

What is your favorite IU memory?

That’s really hard. I would say, not to be cliche, but it’s the dance marathon. I would say it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life so far, and my favorite IU memory is just standing there with all my friends and seeing the total lifted, when we hit four million for the first time a few years ago, and seeing that was just insane. 

Neha Srinivasan 

Senior from Louisville, Kentucky, majoring in international studies and Spanish

What is your favorite IU memory?

It would probably be the Raas Royalty competition that happens every year at the IU Auditorium. It’s an Indian dance competition that IU hosts. I’m the captain of an Indian dance team here on campus, and we don’t compete in the competition, but we do perform as an exhibition act. And it’s always a blast having our friends and family cheer us on and watching other university teams hosted at our campus. 

What is your most rewarding activity at IU?

The most rewarding would also probably be my dance team. We put a lot of hours in creating a community around campus that's based on our culture and pushing each individual to being the best they can be. It’s adding something to the narrative to Indiana University that hasn’t been around for that long but is becoming very important. 

Noah Scibbe 

Senior from Crown Point, Indiana, secondary social studies education

Why did you apply for Homecoming Court?

I applied for Homecoming court because everyone who applies and all 12 of us who were picked are all from different backgrounds and different IU experiences, and I really wanted to apply and show people another really good IU experience that is, in my opinion, an ideal one. 

What is your favorite IU memory?

My sophomore year I got to be a part of the Martin Luther King civil rights immersion trip. We got to go to D.C. and meet with a lot of people and talk about civil rights. I remember we spoke to a D.C. representative of the Black Lives Matter movement and to hear what they’re going through, their cause, and how someone from a position of privilege, like white straight men, can be an ally. I was able to take all this back to the students I RA’d at the time, and I’ll get to take it to countless students too.

Lauren Meadows

Senior from Fishers, Indiana, majoring in political science, history and Spanish

What is your favorite IU memory?

I think my favorite IU memory is living in Teter my freshman year. Mostly because everyone from my floor I still consider really good friends, and living on my floor created this little community, which I feel started off my IU career really strongly. I’m still currently living with two people from my floor freshman year. 

What is your most rewarding activity at IU?

I serve on the Board of Aeons, which is a student advisory and research board that serves IU President McRobbie, and that has been really rewarding. We produce these recommendations and reports on how to improve student life at IU, and it’s really important to be because it creates a lasting effect I can leave behind. 

Ophelia Luu 

Senior from Warsaw, Indiana, majoring in nutrition science

Why did you apply for Homecoming Court?

I applied because my scholarship adviser was on the court last year, and there was a guy in my group who wanted to win something big. That’s when my adviser said he should run for Homecoming and he said he would but only if I ran as well. So we both applied, and here I am.

What is your most rewarding activity at IU?

I would say being the social media intern for the Walter Center, the career development center for the College of Arts and Sciences. I post a lot about jobs and career fairs and networking events. I love to see students come in and say “Oh my gosh, I have a job because of this, it really reached out to me,” and I just love to see that. 

Haley Begay

Senior from Pittsboro, Indiana, majoring in sports journalism and Spanish

Why did you apply for Homecoming Court? 

I wanted to be able to represent the university because being on the court is kind of a way to have a makeshift megaphone and say ‘if I can do this, you can too’. It kind of signifies all the hard work that I’ve put in. It’s a really thorough application process and so it’s nice to know that all those nights in studying really had an impact, and I’m glad to turn that around and give it all back to our school.

What is your favorite IU memory?

The first day, when I went to Read Hall. I come from a very small town, so coming to a university with 40,000 people is kind of scary, but as soon as I got there and put my stuff down and my roommate ran in to hug me, that was such a great day, and it was the start of a great career here. 

Janai Weeks

Senior from Indianapolis majoring in journalism with a concentration in public relations

Why did you apply for Homecoming Court? 

It’s something I've wanted to do since I was a sophomore year in high school. Senior year is a great time to do that because it’s my last year, really time to go big or go home.  

What is your most rewarding activity at IU?

I served in Campus Ministry and helping people in their time of need, giving them support and mentoring people really touches my heart. 

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