LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 15, 2022) — Gracelyn Bush, of Owensboro, Kentucky, and Johnny Zelenak II, of Oldham County, Kentucky, were crowned the 2022 University of Kentucky Homecoming queen and king during the halftime ceremonies at the UK vs. Mississippi State Homecoming football game at Kroger Field Saturday night.
Bush is a senior in the College of Public Health pursuing dual bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public health on the pre-physician assistant track. She currently serves as the overall chair of DanceBlue and is an active member of Chi Omega Sorority.
Zelenak is a senior also pursuing a degree in public health with a minor in communication. Currently, Zelenak is on the accelerated 4+1 Master of Public Health - Health Management and Policy track. He is the mini marathons chair for DanceBlue, a peer instructor for the College of Public Health and a Student Organization and Activities student involvement advisor. He has served as a resident advisor, the overall chair for the Out of the Darkness Walk and recording secretary for Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity.
Earlier this week, Jordan Smith and Aneisha Cox were crowned Mr. and Ms. Black UK 2022. The Mr. and Ms. Black UK Scholarship Pageant is an annual ceremony presented by the Black Student Union in partnership with the Mu Epsilon Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Smith, from Henderson, Kentucky, is a senior majoring in neuroscience with a minor in psychology in the UK College of Arts and Sciences. Health care is his passion, and he wishes to create a more inclusive environment for minorities in this field. Focused on building a sense of community across the UK campus, he is a member of multiple student organizations, including Implicit Dance Crew, Cats for Christ and K Crew.
Cox, from Radcliff, Kentucky, is a junior double-majoring in business management and marketing in the Gatton College of Business and Economics. She aspires to be a pharmaceutical sales representative and start her own dance company. She is passionate about pushing diversity and inclusion in the community through young minorities. She is involved in many organizations on campus including the Implicit Dance Crew, the PINK Campus Team and the Samsung College Program.
Students are nominated to the Homecoming Court by their peers. The winners were determined by student voting earlier this week.
Other finalists for Homecoming king and queen were:
- Austin King, a senior from Fort Thomas, Kentucky, studying in the College of Engineering and Lewis Honors College seeking a degree in chemical engineering on a business pathway. He is an at-large senator for the UK Student Government Association (UKSGA), K Board Student Ambassador and active member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. In the past, he served as president of UK’s Engineers Without Borders Chapter.
- Brennen C. Mullins, a senior from Floyd County, Kentucky, studying civil engineering with hopes of pursuing a Ph. D. in aerospace structures. He is also a student in the Lewis Honors College.
- Matthew Williams, a senior from Berea, Kentucky, studying chemical engineering. He serves as the senior resident advisor of Holmes Hall and one of the co-directors of tours for the UK Visitor Center. Other notable commitments on campus include previously serving as the director of the Wildcat Ambassadors student organization, working in pharmaceutical research on campus, serving as a team captain for intramural soccer and representing UK at a national level at the Student Development Institute on the topic of promoting diversity and inclusivity on campus tours.
- Isaac Sutherland, a junior from Huntington, West Virginia, studying political science and community and leadership development, and student in Lewis Honors College. He is part of numerous organizations across campus including DanceBlue, Chi Psi Fraternity and UKSGA. Sutherland hopes to attend law school to become a foster care attorney.
- Jocelyn Grimsley, a senior from Columbus, Ohio, double majoring in health promotion and community and leadership development with a minor in coaching. She serves as the president of the Black Student Union, vice president of Underground Perspective, past diamond president for Club Softball, College of Education Student Ambassador and chaplain for the Iota Mu Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. She works for the UK football team as a student video manager and is also an involvement advisor for Student Organizations and Activities. Grimsley serves in the United States Army National Guard and once she graduates, she will be commissioned as a second lieutenant.
- Katherine Cermack, a senior from Louisville, pursuing a dual degree in biology and neuroscience with minors in mathematics and Spanish. She is a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority and president of the Panhellenic Council. She hopes to continue pursuing her passions through a career in medicine, and one day plans to travel the world to provide access to equitable medical care while learning about the customs and traditions of other cultures.
- Olivia Whitfield, a senior from Pikeville, Kentucky, majoring in neuroscience. She has worked in a spinal cord injury research lab focusing on autonomic dysreflexia and the effects of mitochondrial implantation into the spinal cord. She is a current member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority and is the acting secretary of the Appalachian Health Initiative club. She was recently accepted into the UK College of Medicine.
- Shannon Nguyen, a senior from Louisville, majoring in biology with a minor in neuroscience, and student in the Lewis Honors College. She is a first-generation college student with dreams of attending medical school. She currently serves as president of Alpha Phi Sorority, is a research assistant in the Department of Biology, a team captain for DanceBlue and is an official student host of the university through the Alumni Ambassadors. She is also a peer mentor for S-STEM Scholarship recipients. In her free time, she tutors in biochemistry and volunteers at the Kentucky Refugee Ministries.
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.