Saturday, December 9, 2023

Spartans bring the magic: Meet the 2022 homecoming court

October 11, 2022

Every year, 10 to 12 students are selected to represent MSU as members of the homecoming court. These students are selected based on a number of qualities including leadership abilities, school spirit, integrity and their contribution and involvement on campus. 

The MSU alumni office said being selected to represent MSU as a member of the homecoming court is considered “one of the highest honors for seniors.” 

Here are the 12 students who have been selected this year.

Madeleine Russell 


Microbiology senior Madeleine Russell is from Marshall, Michigan. She is enrolled in a dual-degree program and is looking to secure a slot in medical school. Working in a lab in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, she researches human gut biota, looking at the impact a mother's bacteria has on the baby’s development.

"The environment of MSU just made me want to give back and represent other students," Russell said. "And hopefully give other students a better idea of what MSU is like."

Leeslie Herrera


Criminal justice senior Leeslie Herrera is from Mission, Texas. Before coming to MSU, she earned an associate degree in criminal justice from South Texas College. She currently serves as the Chicanx Latinx Association representative for Culturas de las Razas Unidas, or CRU, the largest Latinx organization on campus, where she serves as a liaison between undergraduate and graduate students.

"Because my dad is an immigrant and my mom didn't have the means to finish school in Mexico, so I knew how important it is to get involved," Herrera said.

Harnoor Kaur


Criminal justice and political science senior Harnoor Kaur is from Chandigarh, India. She worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the Political Science and Criminal Justice department and is a diversity, equity and inclusion intern at the MSU Honors College. Since this summer, she has worked as a Constituent Services intern for the Executive Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

"I realized that there were barely any international students who were not STEM majors," Kaur said. "In that sense, there isn't a lot of representation ... in the international students sphere, so I wanted to see if I could be that representation."

Zachary Crawford


Public policy senior Zachary Crawford is from West Bloomfield, Michigan. He’s held several internships off campus, such as a constituent services internship for the Michigan House of Representatives Democratic Caucus and a business place and development internship for the Lansing Economic Area Partnership. He recently wrapped up his internship with the Executive Office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as a communications intern. 

"I kind of view this as the culmination of my four years of studying at Michigan State University,” Crawford said. “I'm definitely a Spartan through and through."

Jo Kovach

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Social relations and policy senior Jo Kovach is from Riverview, Michigan. This spring, they were elected as the ASMSU President. They began working for ASMSU in 2020 as the James Madison College general assembly representative and were elected as the vice president for Internal Administration in 2021. 

"I think a lot of the time it's really easy for alumni and people to just look at Michigan State and things that students do and automatically disapprove," Kovach said. "I really try to show that students, more students than not, are people to be proud of."

Ellie Baden


Ellie Baden is a senior from Buffalo Grove, Illinois with three majors: political theory and constitutional democracy, social relations and policy and interdisciplinary humanities. She is currently a James Madison College representative on the Student Sustainability Leadership Council and is the Vice President of Communication for MSU SciComm.

"I really love the university, and I was excited to represent it,” Baden said. “This is an opportunity for me to do that."

Harsna Chahal


Neuroscience and human biology senior Harsna Chahal comes from Okemos, Michigan. She serves as the president of the MSU Spartan Association for Public Health – dedicating her time to helping a free daycare for single moms trying to get back to school or work. 

Last spring, she gave a TED talk at TEDxMSU to bring awareness on how to tackle period poverty and taboos. This summer, she worked as a health legislative intern at the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. 

"Applying to Homecoming Court is not just an honor, but it's a way to show the younglings, ... 'Hey, there's people like you,'" Chahal said.

Marissa Burk 


Accounting senior Marissa Burk is from Naperville, Illinois. She currently serves as a student supervisor for the MSU Tours Program as well as an undergraduate learning assistant for the Residential Business Community. As someone with food allergies, Burk has spent her time raising awareness for different types of disabilities, hosting an “Instagram Takeover” for Eat at State and the RCPD and participating in other advocacy events through Eat at State. 

"I wanted the opportunity to represent MSU now, and this is going to be an important time in my life," Burk said. "I don't want my involvement with MSU to stop."

Ishaan Modi


Senior Ishaan Modi is from Fishers, Indiana, double majoring in social relations and policy and history, philosophy, and sociology of science. He is currently on the pre-med track and studying for the MCAT exam. 

During his time at ASMSU, Modi has advocated for his constituents through drafting legislation and serving as the voice for MSU’s 40,000 undergraduate students at the local, state and federal level.

"It's a huge honor ... you're an ambassador for the university," Modi said. "It's really cool to have that visibility and to be able to amplify things I'm passionate about."

McKenna Adams


Animal science senior McKenna Adams is from Saginaw, Michigan. According to the MSU Alumni Office, she is the vice president of MSU's Pre-Veterinary Medical Association, where she creates educational opportunities in the veterinary medical industry for the students in the club. In her first year at MSU, Adams served as a Residence Halls Association representative for the West Circle Hall Government.

Jade Elder


Senior Jade Elder is from Wayne, Michigan double majoring in communication and interdisciplinary studies of social science. According to the MSU Alumni Office, she is also a Social Science Scholar who researches the impacts of mass incarceration on youth and migration studies. She currently dedicates her time to being the service vice president for the Spartan Alternative Spring Break program, where she helps plan domestic and international community service trips for students. 

Erin Sawyer


Psychology and data science senior Erin Sawyer is from Farmington Hills, Michigan. On campus, Sawyer is heavily involved with undergraduate research as the lab manager at MSU’s Sleep and Learning Lab, where she oversees lab operations and is currently investigating the relationship between sleep deprivation, circadian rhythms and higher-order cognitive processes. 

"My passion for this university drives my interaction with the campus and its community," Sawyer said in a text message. "This feels like the culmination of my journey at MSU, and I'm so excited to share my experiences as one snapshot of the people who call themselves Spartans."

Adams and Elder did not respond to requests for an interview at the time of publication.


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