Michigan State University is filled with students who are destined for greatness. However, only a select few can be part of MSU’s Homecoming Court each year. These senior Spartans left their mark on the community in their own tremendous way and are recognized for their achievements.
This year, Broad Spartan Kelsey Abner was awarded the prestigious title and is among a group of 12 selected seniors. The court members will be present at the Homecoming Parade, the football game and the President’s Homecoming Reception. These students serve and represent MSU, and they exemplify what it means to be a Spartan.
“It is such a great privilege to have the opportunity to represent this amazing institution,” Abner said. “This honor represents not only a personal achievement, but it also gives me the chance to serve as a role model, mentor and advocate for my fellow Spartans.”
Abner, a native of Farmington Hills, is majoring in supply chain management and minoring in global public health and epidemiology. There is no doubt that she is well-rounded. Excelling academically, she is a proud member of the Honors College and the Honors Students of Color Coalition. In 2022, she was selected as Honors College Student of the Month and participated in the Summer Enrichment Program at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. While she was there, she completed eight weeks as an administrative intern for the president of the hospital, Alonzo Lewis.
“Being included and accepted in the Honors College where the representation of Black students is very small is something that I do not take for granted,” she said, reflecting on being selected for the college’s Student of the Month.
In addition to the Honors College, she is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society. This is reserved for students in the top 15% of their class. Abner was also the recipient of the Giving Hands “As Women We Stand” Scholarship during the April 2022 Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated Scholarship Ball, along with being named the Charles Drew Science Scholar.
During her time at MSU, Abner has been in several executive board positions for the student organization On the Rise Entertainment. Their mission is to use community service, leadership and entertainment to develop their members professionally. Her position as treasurer has allowed her to oversee financial transactions and develop her skills in philanthropy.
Abner is also an active member of the MedTech Research and Strategy Fellowship at Lansing Economic Area Partnership. Topping it off, this year she was selected to be a member of the University Advancement Student Ambassador Program.
Outside of her in-class commitments, Abner has been completing research through the Honors College. This included studying COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and mental health in the Black community. Last year, Abner was elected as a Wielenga Research Scholar through the Honors College, which allowed her to work as a professional assistant in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She focused on maternal and child health research and plans to present her work at MSU’s University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum in the spring.
When asked to share a highlight of her time at MSU, Abner said it was the hands-on experiences that extended her learning beyond the classroom. For example, after working as a teaching assistant in MSU’s Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Cultures, she was appointed to be the logistics coordinator, inventory analyst and assistant materials manager for an art exhibit hosted by the department and called Creativity in the Time of COVID-19: Art for Equity and Social Justice.
“[Through this experience] I was able to apply the things I learned in the classroom as a supply chain management student to successfully procure, receive, store in a local warehouse and return over 200 pieces of artwork from all seven continents, all within two and a half months,” Abner said.
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COVID-19 was a challenging time for many, and Abner, who was a first-year student at the time, felt the impact. However, she explained how she utilized campus resources and realized how important communication and flexibility are. She had a few words of advice on how others can overcome similar obstacles: “I encourage students that are having a hard time transitioning into college to most importantly be confident in your abilities, take advantage of resources available on campus, join student organizations, build a network for support and to not be afraid to ask for help.”
“I hope that my presence on the Homecoming Court encourages students from diverse backgrounds to feel like they belong and that their voices matter,” Abner said. “I hope to encourage students, particularly those who may not see themselves represented often, to step forward and apply for prestigious positions.”
She also offered some parting words to uplift her peers. “Realize the breadth and depth of what Michigan State University has to offer, while at the same time, understand the responsibility of paying it forward!”
Abner will remember her valuable lessons and the personal growth she has had along her journey. She hopes others can enjoy their time at MSU as much as she has.