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Michigan State University

2021-22 MSU Homecoming Court

Collage of the ten MSU Homecoming Court members' headshots

2021-22 MSU Homecoming Court

The Michigan State University Homecoming Court is one of the highest honors for MSU seniors.

Ten Spartan students have been carefully chosen from a highly qualified group of candidates to serve on the 2021-2022 Homecoming Court. We’re excited to introduce this group to the Spartan community.

These students represent the diversity and richness of the MSU experience and will serve as exceptional role models and Spartan ambassadors.

Learn more about these students below and get to know them more personally by checking out our 2021 Homecoming Court interviews here.

Dantevius Branigan, Detroit, Michigan

Dantevius Branigan is from Detroit, Michigan. Branigan is majoring in kinesiology with a minor in coaching within the College of Education. During his early years on campus, Branigan became a member of Rising Black Men, a mentoring organization for MSU students. As time went on, he became a mentor himself, and that soon progressed into becoming president of Rising Black Men through hard work and persistence. This leadership role has allowed him to create a space for students to learn from their peers and help make their Spartan experience the best it can be. Branigan is also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success where he continues to learn how to be the most effective leader and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People where he helps the community advocate for inclusion and equality.

“At MSU I feel like we are a big family, so I want to pave the way for other students like me so they can see that if I did this, they can too.”

Alyssa Ewell, Canton, Michigan

Alyssa Ewell is a psychology major from Canton, Michigan. Ewell has three minors; youth and society in the College of Social Science, communicative sciences and disorders in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, and cognitive science in the College of Arts and Letters. During her time on campus, she has held an active role in several student organizations. Her current role as the National Communications Coordinator with the Residence Halls Association has allowed her to serve as the liasion connecting RHA to others on both a regional and national level and to lead delegations of MSU students and advisors at conferences. Additionally, her work in this role has helped connect on-campus students with volunteer opportunities. Ewell participated in a transformative Alternative Spartan Break at the Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association, volunteering her time to support people with disabilities through animal therapy. Her involvement with the Adaptive Sports Program and the Autism Research Laboratory has connected her with other Spartans who value inclusivity through accessibility as much as she does. She currently holds various mentorship roles as both a resident assistant and a TRIO Student Support Services Program peer coach. She values advocating for students from all different walks of life through her campus involvement and research. 

“I want to support fellow Spartans in finding their place at a large school through advocacy and campus involvement.”

Eliot Haddad, Cornet Chehwan, Lebanon

Eliot Haddad is an Honors College senior at MSU from Cornet Chehwan, Lebanon majoring in human biology with a minor in environment & health and bioethics in the Lyman Briggs College. Haddad is actively involved in community service through his experiences with Tower Guard, the Adaptive Sports Club, Honors College Impact and more. On campus, he is the president of MOSAIC where he aims to foster multicultural dialogue between MSU students. He has also been a member of HSTAR, the Lebanese Student Association and the American Medical Student Association. To further his education, Haddad is a current undergraduate learning assistant for Introductory Microbiology and a Residential Business Community tutor. Haddad has also been conducting research on the gut microbiome for three years in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.

“Being on the Homecoming Court is my chance to give back to this school of mine that has given me so much.”

Julie Liu, Macomb, Michigan

Julie Liu is from Macomb, Michigan majoring in Supply Chain Management and minoring in Chinese, representing both the Broad College of Business and the College of Arts and Letters on this year’s Homecoming Court. During her time at MSU, Liu has gained a great deal of professional experience through various internships. She is currently the Human Resources intern for the Lyman Briggs College and plans to become a peer career coach with the Broad College of Business and a Supply Chain Management intern for PepsiCo. In 2019, she participated in the “Modernity in the Streets” study abroad program in the UK, France and Belgium where she studied politics, culture and society. On campus, Liu is active in various student organizations like the Asian Pacific American Student Organization, Supply Chain Management Association, CTRL + A and is a coxswain for the MSU Men’s Crew Club. She gives back to the community through her time and talents with the Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience (MRULE) and volunteering with the Refugee Development Center. 

“I have grown and learned an exceptional amount through the opportunities that the university has given me. These opportunities make me who I am today and I would like to contribute back to MSU and the community.”

Simone Nagi, Bangalore, India

Simone Nagi is an Honors College senior at MSU from Bangalore, India. Nagi is a student in the Broad College of Business, majoring in Supply Chain Management and minoring in Entrepreneurship. Nagi is currently a resident assistant on campus where she helps her residents navigate their unique MSU journeys. She, alongside other international students, created the Broad International Student Council, where she currently serves as the professional development chair. This council helps international students at MSU grow professionally. Nagi is also currently an undergraduate learning assistant for the Broad College of Business, a tutor for the MBP Broad College of Business Tutorial Services, a mentor with the Broad Mentorship program and a member of MSU’s Women in Business. She has had tremendous opportunities to intern at Goldman Sachs, Kohler, Schlumberger and BP during her time as an MSU student.

“I want to be that mentor to all my fellow Spartans who are looking for direction but [may be] afraid to ask for help. Once you figure out the path, it only gets better!”

Headshot of MSU Homecoming Court Member, Dantevius Branigan
Dantevius Branigan
Headshot of MSU Homecoming Court Member, Alyssa Ewell
Alyssa Ewell
Headshot of MSU Homecoming Court Member, Eliot Haddad
Eliot Haddad
Headshot of MSU Homecoming Court Member, Julie Liu
Julie Liu
Headshot of MSU Homecoming Court Member, Simone Nagi
Simone Nagi

Madeline Niblock, Howell, Michigan

Madeline Niblock is from Howell, Michigan majoring in human biology with a minor in bioethics in Lyman Briggs College and Honors College. Niblock continues her education as an undergraduate researcher in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and as an undergraduate learning assistant in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics within the College of Natural Science. She is a current member of the Big Ten Flag Corps and has the honor to lead the Spartan Marching Band across the Beal Street Bridge to Spartan Stadium on football game days. Niblock has had the opportunity to work as a medical assistant at Great Lakes Pediatric Associates and has had past experiences with Primary Eye and Vision Care and the Radiology Apprenticeship Program at Beaumont Hospital. This summer, she will be a tutor-counselor for the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine OsteoCHAMPS program. She co-founded Spartan Bedside DJ, a student organization that leverages the power of music to improve the emotional wellbeing of patients at Sparrow Hospital. Recently, Niblock also helped create Pandemic Tutoring Services that allows MSU students to help children in the Lansing area academically during the unique circumstances of the pandemic. Niblock values the importance of diving into new experiences and opportunities to work toward a greater good.

“I would like to share my love for Michigan State University and the powerful impact that can arise from taking advantage of the vast array of opportunities available on campus.”

Brenda Pilar-Ayala, Mexico City, Mexico

Brenda Pilar-Ayala is student in the College of Social Science from Mexico City, Mexico. Pilar-Ayala is majoring in psychology and political science: pre-law and minoring in Chicano/Latino studies, educational studies and leadership in integrated learning. Due to her passion for education, she strives to work with organizations that help students succeed academically. She’s worked with MSU’s Read to Succeed and service-learning programs that allow her to volunteer at local schools. Her dedication to her studies gave her the opportunity to be admitted into the Psi Chi National Honor Society and Phi Sigma Pi (PSP), an honors fraternity, and was previously her PSP class’ vice president and is now the PSP philanthropy co-chair. With the recent pandemic shifting the focus of many of their initiatives, Pilar-Ayala helped PSP raise funds for necessary equipment that local students in the community need to be academically successful. With her minor in leadership in integrated learning, she is a member of the Bailey Scholars Program, a learning community of scholars dedicated to lifelong learning. This program has made a great impact on Pilar-Ayala’s time at MSU and has given her the opportunity to grow personally and foster and develop her leadership skills.

“As a Homecoming Court representative, I am honored to represent Dreamers, immigrants, and first-generation college students.”

Christine So, Mundelein, Illinois

Christine So, from Mundelein, Illinois, is a student in the College of Music majoring in a BA in music and minoring in entrepreneurship. She has gained professional experience in her current roles as a campus resident assistant in Wonders Hall and interned at the Detroit Public Schools Community District in the Office of Fine Arts. So is active in various student organizations at MSU, one she is most eager for this upcoming year is being the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer (CDEIO) in the Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) on the Office of the President. She is excited to be pushing for DEI initiatives within the organization as well as campus wide for the Spartan community. Over the summer she was elected as the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Association of Big Ten Schools (ABTS) where she will have the opportunity to advocate for 500,000+ students in the Big Ten Network. So has also had the opportunity to serve on Academic Governance/University Committees such as University Council, University Council for Student Affairs, REHS Two Year Live On Implementation committee and the APIDA Student Success Committee as a student representative. Some other organizations she is a part of on campus are MSUMUN, Student Advisory Council for the College of Music, APIDA Celebratory, Asian Pacific American Student Organization as the Senior Adviser, CORES & COPS Executive Board and Kappa Kappa Psi National Band Fraternity – Zeta Epsilon Chapter. These experiences have been a big part of how she found community with other Spartans at Michigan State.

“As a Korean American woman, I am proud to come from a parent of immigrants and to hopefully be a role model for future Spartans to come.”

David Tran, Dearborn, Michigan

David Tran is from Dearborn, Michigan and is a student in the James Madison College, majoring in international relations and minoring in Asian Pacific American Studies and Business. Tran demonstrates his commitment to the APIDA and BIPOC communities through his continuous advocacy efforts. He has held an active role in several student organizations. Tran studied abroad in the summer of 2019 in London, studying history, contemporary issues and analysis of the urban city. He holds various leadership positions at MSU that allow him to make a difference. He recently served as the elected marketing director and vice president of the MSU Vietnamese Student Association and now serves as a state representative and liaison for the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations and other prominent organizations.

“I want to be able to empower the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American community here on campus and in the greater community. I also want to give back to the Spartan community and become a outlier, by being someone who isn't [always recognized] in roles like this.”

Julian Trevino, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Julian Trevino is from Grand Rapids, Michigan and is in both the College of Social Science and the Honors College. Trevino is majoring in political science prelaw and minoring in French, international development and law justice & public policy. During his time on campus, he has held an active role in several student organizations. He currently serves as the College of Social Science representative with ASMSU where he has introduced and seconded over 10 bills that help advocate for the MSU student body. Trevino is also a member of CRU, the James Madison College Latinx Unidos, the Political Science Scholars Advisory Board and the Honors College Inclusive Excellence Strategic Committee. In the spring of 2020, Trevino studied abroad in Mexico with other students and faculty to assist a local school that aids adults with disabilities.

“I hope to inspire many students to get more involved and to know that no matter who they are or what their story is, that they have a home here, a place to grow, and they have the potential to accomplish anything they put their mind to.”

Headshot of MSU Homecoming Court Member, Madeline Niblock
Madeline Niblock
Headshot of MSU Homecoming Court Member, Brenda Pilar-Ayala
Brenda Pilar-Ayala
Headshot of MSU Homecoming Court Member, Christine So
Christine So
Headshot of MSU Homecoming Court Member, David Tran
David Tran
Headshot of MSU Homecoming Court Member, Julian Trevino
Julian Trevino


Author: Felicia Grigsby, '17, '20

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