Washburn homecoming candidates announced

Richard Kelly / Washburn Review

As flashbulbs went off and cheers rang through the audience, Washburn’s Homecoming candidates were announced Monday night.

The Homecoming king and queen will be crowned on Oct. 23 at halftime of the football game vs. Northwest Missouri State University, Yager Stadium at Moore Bowl. Caley Onek, President of Washburn Student Government Associated, introduced each of them to the stage.

Selected as Homecoming queen candidates:

Mikki Burcher, Kinsley, Kan., was nominated by Washburn Ad Club. Burcher is co-president of Phi Kappa Phi and Washburn Ad Club, and she is the past president of the Washburn Student Film and Video Association.  She volunteers with Soldier’s Angels and Support Our Troops and serves as the layout and design editor for “Inscape.” Burcher is a Bruce Whaley Scholar and was named to the President’s and Dean’s honor rolls.  She is a senior majoring in mass media and English and plans to start her own business.  Her parents are Alan and Becky Burcher. 

Lauren Eckert, Minneapolis, Kan., was nominated by Mortar Board. Eckert is director of communications for Mortar Board and a student director in the Leadership Institute.  She has been inducted in Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Kappa Phi. She volunteers for the Multiple Sclerosis Walk and Rotary Youth Leadership Association Service Project.  Eckert was named to the President’s and Dean’s honor rolls and was a Leadership Institute Fellow and a True Blue Bod Spirit award winner.  She is a senior majoring in mass media and plans to pursue a master’s degree in higher education.  Her parents are Rick and Belinda Eckert.

Lisa Ille, Ellinwood, Kan., was nominated by Future Alumni Network. Ille is president of the Future Alumni Network, serves on the visioning and K-12 leadership committees for the Leadership Institute, and is a member in Nonoso and Mortar Board honor societies.  She volunteers with the Easter Seals Capper Foundation and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.  Ille also serves as a biology and leadership mentor.  She was named to the President’s and Dean’s honor rolls and has received the Joss Biology and Jephson Leadership scholarships. She is a senior majoring in biology and plans to attend optometry school.  Her parents are Mark and Linda Ille. 

 Erica Koepsel, Rose Hill, Kan., was nominated by Sigma Phi Epsilon. Koepsel is president of Kappa Alpha Theta women’s fraternity and she is involved with the Washburn Leadership Institute and Honors Program.  She was inducted into Nonoso and served on the Washburn Student Government Association.  Koepsel volunteers with the YWCA in the Healthy Youth Program and serves as the assistant coach of Girls on the Run.  She was named to the President’s and Dean’s honor rolls and was 2010 Greek Woman of the Year. Koepsel is a senior majoring in psychology and plans to join the Peace Corps and further her education.  Her parents are Brian and Rene McDonald.

Taylor McGown, Mound City, Kan., was nominated by Washburn Student Government Association. McGown is president of Bod Squad and currently serves as budget director of the Washburn Student Government Association, where she received the Bronze Senator Award.  She has been inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta honor society and volunteers with WU in the Community and is a biology mentor. McGown was named to the President’s Honor Roll.  She is a junior majoring in biology and plans to pursue a doctor of dental surgery degree.  Her parents are Doug and Rhonda McGown.

Selected as Homecoming king candidates:

Blake Bryant, Independence, Kan., was nominated by Washburn University Dancing Blues. Bryant is the Sigma Phi Epsilon vice president of programming and a Leadership Institute student adviser and project team leader. He also has been inducted into Order of Omega and Alpha Lambda Delta and volunteers with the Race Against Breast Cancer and public education for the Young Women’s Christian Association. Bryant was named to the President’s Honor Roll and is a member of Sagamore honor society. He is a junior majoring in communication and plans to work in human resources as a corporate trainer. His parents are Steve and Glenda Bryant. 

Matthew Hall, Sabetha, Kan., was nominated by Mortar Board. Hall is a member of Washburn Sales and Marketing Executives, Washburn University Young Life, Beta Gamma Sigma and is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta.  He currently volunteers with Meals on Wheels and has volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Hall was named to the President’s Honor Roll, was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi honor society, and has been awarded multiple scholarships.  He is a senior majoring in sports management and business. His parents are Randy and Denise Hall.

Joe Muiller, Lawrence, Kan., was nominated by Future Alumni Network. Muiller is president of Beta Beta Beta honor society and serves as the vice president of finance for Future Alumni Network.  He also is a member of Mortar Board and Sagamore honor society.  Muiller volunteers with St. Francis Hospital and Women in Science Day.  He has received a United States Naval Academy appointment, is a Joss pre-med scholarship winner, and was named to the President’s and Dean’s honor rolls.  Muiller is a senior majoring in biology and plans to attend medical school to pursue a career as a surgeon.  His parents are Steve and Michelle Muiller.

Lucas Mullin, Eureka, Kan., was nominated by Washburn Student Government Association. Mullin serves as the vice president of the Washburn Student Government Association and is a past president of Greek Council.  He is a member of Phi Delta Theta and Order of Omega honor society.  Mullin is a board member for the Community Resource Council and has volunteered with United Way, in Greensburg, Kan., and Let’s Help Christmas Drive.  He has been awarded Greek Outstanding New Member and Executive Staff Member of the Year. Mullin is a senior majoring in public administration and plans to pursue a master’s degree in public administration.  His parents are Russell and Denise Mullin. 

Matthew Peterson, Lansing, Kan., was nominated by Kappa Alpha Theta. Peterson is the president of Sigma Phi Epsilon and has also served as the vice president of programming, senior marshall, and public relations chairman.  He has served on Interfraternity Council and Greek Council in numerous positions.  Peterson volunteered for Race Against Breast Cancer, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and as the Kansas Children’s Service League mediator. He is a Brunt and Mackey Scholarship winner and a Sigma Phi Epsilon Balanced Man Scholarship winner.  Peterson is a senior majoring in history and plans to attend law school. His parents are Jon and Glenna Peterson. 

Following the announcement, it was evident that the reality was still setting in for some of the candidates.

“I was just really excited,” said Koepsel. “After being after all the other four girls, I was like ‘I really wanna do this’ and I didn’t realize how much I wanted to do it until it was kind of this time. I didn’t ever really see it happening.”

For Peterson, even after he was announced as a candidate, expectations were still modest on winning homecoming king.

“I definitely told everyone  ‘I just want to get top five and I’ll be happy with that,'” said Peterson. “It’s definitely a great honor and I’m stoked.”

And for Koespel, where she’s at already is far more than what she envisioned.

“I was really excited to be even one of the nominees,” said Koepsel. “I got nominated by another organization, so knowing someone else notices your leadership on campus is rockin’.”