Today Michigan State University kicks off Homecoming Week, which runs Oct. 10-15, and one of the highlights of this week is the Homecoming Court. This year’s MSU Homecoming Court includes five College of Arts & Letters students. They are among the 12 MSU seniors who make up the 2022 Homecoming Court.
Considered one of the highest honors for seniors, students are selected for the Homecoming Court to represent the university based on their “ability to exemplify the qualities of leadership, spirit, integrity, and achievement through their contributions and involvement at MSU.”
The five College of Arts & Letters students on this year’s Homecoming Court include one with a major in the College and four who have language minors. They are:
- Ellie Baden
- McKenna Adams
- Marissa Burk
- Ishaan Modi
- Erin Sawyer
Ellie Baden is a senior Honors College member with a triple major in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy, Social Relations and Policy, and Interdisciplinary Humanities. She also has six minors: Art History and Visual Culture, Classical and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Environment and Sustainability Studies, Jewish Studies, Leadership in Integrated Learning, and Science, Technology, Environment, and Public Policy.
“I have done my best to make the most of my time at Michigan State, which has led me to pursue three majors and six minors across four colleges, five on-campus jobs, three years of undergraduate research experience, a summer study abroad, and involvement with more than 10 student organizations,” Baden said. “If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is.”
Now Baden can add Homecoming Court Member to her long list of accomplishments.
“I’m so proud to be a Spartan and representative of the university because MSU offers world-class academic programs, a caring campus community, and incredible opportunities for all types of engagement,” she said.
Baden currently serves as Director of Human Resources for Associated Students of MSU (ASMSU) and works for James Madison Career Services. Also during her time at MSU, she has served as an Honors College Green Team member and a mentor for the JMC First Year Mentor Program. She has held various leadership roles including JMC Representative on the Student Sustainability Leadership Council, Vice President of Marketing at MSU SciComm, and Treasurer of the MSU Undergraduate Student Moot Court Association.
“Everyone’s road to success looks different but, for me, success in college is not defined by my cumulative GPA or the number of lines on my resume.,” Baden said. “Instead, I define my success by the fact that I have put myself out there, said yes to opportunities, prioritized my mental health, and learned how to ask for help.”
McKenna Adams is a senior majoring in Animal Science with minors in Spanish and Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She also is a member of the Honors College.
Adams currently works as a Tour Guide and Resident Assistant, helping to create a welcoming environment for new Spartans and serves as Vice President of MSU’s Pre-Veterinary Medical Association.
“While at Michigan State, I’ve learned so much about myself and grown so much as a person,” she said. “I’ve found my place through the clubs, jobs, and classes that I’ve been involved with and made lifelong friends in the process. I can’t put into words how much I’ve enjoyed my time here, but it’s an honor to be able to give a little bit back to the university that has given me so much.”
Marissa Burk is a senior majoring in Accounting with a minor in Spanish. She also is a member of the Honors College. She currently serves as a Student Supervisor for the MSU Tours program and is an Undergraduate Learning Assistant for the Residential Business Community.
As someone with life-threatening food allergies, Burk is passionate about raising awareness for different types of disabilities. She has hosted a food allergy-focused “Instagram Takeover” for Eat at State and the Resource enter for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) and contributed to a press release for Eat at State announcing the opening and success of MSU’s newest dining hall, Thrive.
“Something that makes MSU special is its dedication to providing resources for students,” Burk said. “MSU provides the same level of care and commitment to all Spartans. For example, we have incredible programs to support survivors, individuals from different cultural identities, or other unique groups. At MSU, everyone really belongs here.”
Ishaan Modi is a senior majoring in History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science through Lyman Briggs College, and Social Relations and Policy in James Madison College, with a minor in Spanish in the College of Arts & Letters. He also is a member of the Honors College.
Modi currently is a Professorial Assistant and published co-author on the Shires Research Team where he has studied transgender HIV/STI screening, hormone therapy, mental health, and transphobia among ER physicians. He also serves as a mentor for Honors College IMPACT, an equity-focused community-engagement program for first-year students.
“I’m so excited to represent MSU on the Homecoming Court, to be a voice for marginalized students, and provide representation to students who feel like they would not belong at MSU,” Modi said. “I hope my leadership fosters belonging.”
Erin Sawyer is a senior with a double major in Psychology and Data Science and minors in Japanese and Social Science Quantitative Data Analytics. She also is a member of the Honors College.
Sawyer is an ambassador to prospective students as part of H-STAR (Honors Students Actively Recruiting) Leadership and as an Alumni Distinguished Scholarship (ADS) Student Leader. She is the Lab Manager at MSU’s Sleep and Learning Lab, where she oversees lab operations and currently is investigating the relationship between sleep deprivation, circadian rhythms, and higher-order cognitive processes. She also is the captain of the MSU Pompon Team.
“Michigan State University is a common thread that unites such a diverse network of incredible people, and it’s so special to be a part of that bigger picture,” Sawyer said. “There is a sense of responsibility to uphold the work of Spartans before us and continue to pave the way for future Spartans.”