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News Release

Oct. 6, 2023

10 students competing for Homecoming royalty; voting Oct. 9-18

The Homecoming Committee has announced royalty candidates for the University’s 2023 Homecoming celebration.

Students may begin voting at midnight Monday, Oct. 9, by logging into CatPAWS; voting ends at midnight Wednesday, Oct. 18. The king and queen will be announced Thursday, Oct. 19, at the conclusion of the Homecoming Variety Show, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts. Variety Show tickets are $5.

Northwest’s annual Homecoming celebration is Oct. 15-21 with “Welcome to the ‘Ville,” a jungle-themed week of activities and events planned for students, employees, alumni and friends of the University. For a complete schedule of activities and ticket information, visit

The candidates for 2023 Homecoming royalty at Northwest appear below.

King candidates

Brendon Engeman

Brendon Engeman

Year: Senior

Major: Agricultural business

Hometown: Montrose, Missouri

Campus involvement: Delta Tau Alpha, Colligate Farm Bureau, Order of Omega, Alpha Gamma Rho, Interfraternity Council, Student Senate

Favorite part about Homecoming: There are so many things to love about Northwest’s Homecoming that it is hard to pick one. From the competitions and activities that run throughout the week to the final competition in the stadium, the whole week is amazing. But if I had to pick one, it is that Homecoming brings us all together to celebrate. Even with the competitions, by the end of Saturday, all the students, alumni, community members and friends of the University join together to celebrate our great institution, and it is that connection that I enjoy most.

What does being a Bearcat mean to you? Being a Bearcat for me is best defined in the University's values taught to every freshman, specifically integrity, respect and excellence. Bearcats are people who work hard to excel in their life endeavors. Bearcats are friends, and they have the integrity to support their friends and respect the people they meet in life along the way.

Personal motto: Many of the organizations I have had the privilege of membership have shaped me as an individual, and my motto is drawn from these organizations. From 4-H and Alpha Gamma Rho, to “Make the Best Better” and from FFA “…Living to Serve.” My goal in life is to make my best better so as to serve the future.

Robert Keays

Robert Keays

Year: Senior

Major: Business management

Hometown: Raymore, Missouri

Campus involvement: Sigma Phi Epsilon, Interfraternity Council, Newman Center, Student Senate

Favorite part about Homecoming: I love the excitement of the Variety Show, running skit and being an actor for the past few years has been a highlight of my college career. Seeing the pride on everyone’s faces after they see the crowd appreciating their hard work makes me grin.

What does being a Bearcat mean to you?

Being a Bearcat means having a second family. No matter what corner I turn I know I’m going to see a smiling face. I meet someone new almost every day just by being on campus, and I know the connections I’ve made here are going to last me a lifetime. I’m so grateful for every person I’ve met here and the different things they’ve taught me. Being a Bearcat also means being able to grow, and pushing others to do the same; a true bearcat is the best version of themselves, every day.

Personal motto: Wrinkles only go where smiles have been.

Coy Kirby

Coy Kirby

Year: Senior

Major: Instrumental music education

Hometown: Weston, Missouri

Campus involvement: Bearcat Marching Band, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, National Association for Music Education.

Favorite part about Homecoming: My favorite part about Homecoming is marching in the parade.

What does being a Bearcat mean to you? Being a Bearcat means stepping out of your comfort zone and learning more about yourself.

Personal motto: Know who you are and stick to it.
Darren Ross

Darren Ross

Year: Senior

Major: Computer science

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Campus involvement: Minority Men’s Organization, Black Student Union, Student Senate, School of Computer Science and Information Systems student ambassador, African Student Organization, International Student Organization, TRIO

Favorite part about Homecoming: Variety Show as I once was a host and the parade for all the different activities.

What does being a Bearcat mean to you? Being a Bearcat means to provide the best experience to others and toward yourself. Opening your mind to all of what Northwest has to offer and making a mark on this campus bringing your full self to each and every interaction. There you will find belonging inheriting your true Bearcat pride.

Personal motto: I can’t be anyone except myself.

Jacob Waters

Jacob Waters

Year: Senior

Major: Physical education

Hometown: Olathe, Kansas

Campus involvement: Sigma Tau Gamma, Blue Key Honor Society, Campus Recreation, StuMo, Basketball Club, Women’s basketball scout team

Favorite part about Homecoming: The way the Northwest and Maryville community comes together and gets involved.

What does being a Bearcat mean to you? Being a Bearcat means you hold yourself to a higher standard and you become a part of a family.

Personal motto: If it matters to you, who cares if it matters to anyone else.

Queen candidates

Ashton Dain

Ashton Dain

Year: Senior

Major: Mass media: Sports media

Hometown: Olathe, Kansas

Campus involvement: Bearcat soccer, Blue Key Honor Society, Lambda Pi Eta, School of Communication and Mass Media social media intern

Favorite part about Homecoming: Seeing the Northwest community come together from all different ages and alumni to celebrate the Bearcat culture.

What does being a Bearcat mean to you? Being a Bearcat to me means having pride in who I am and the others I surround myself with. Connecting with different groups of people, to care and protect each other as family. Moreover, set an example for others and have a high standard for my actions in school, life, family and friends.

Personal motto: “I can and I will.”

Jada Grovijohn

Jada Grovijohn

Year: Senior

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

Campus involvement: Alpha Sigma Alpha, Panhellenic Council

Favorite part about Homecoming: My favorite thing about Homecoming is how many people line up on Fourth Street to watch the parade. It is the best feeling when you are walking in the parade and see so many people from both the Northwest and Maryville community cheering for the float or act you have been working so hard on for the past few months.

What does being a Bearcat mean to you? To me, being a Bearcat means that you are a part of a community that pushes you to excel both in your academics and extracurricular activities. You are expected to be supportive of others in the community and do what you can to help them to succeed. It means you are a part of a lifelong network of people that you know will have your back and best interests.

Personal motto: You get out what you put in. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and take the chance.

Elizabeth Motazedi

Elizabeth Motazedi

Year: Senior

Major: Social studies, history education

Hometown: Joplin, Missouri

Campus involvement: Student Senate, Student Regents, Phi Mu, Presidential Search Committee, Order of Omega, Writing Center

Favorite part about Homecoming: My favorite part about Homecoming is the overwhelming amount of Bearcat pride. It is amazing to see the extensive amount of alumni, friends, community members, etc., return to a place that they are also passionate about and call home.

What does being a Bearcat mean to you? Being a Bearcat means having a sense of belonging. There is an automatic, welcoming feeling by simply being a part of the Northwest family. It creates so much positivity and connections that will last a lifetime.

Personal motto: “One today is worth two tomorrows.” – Benjamin Franklin

Obioma Nwuba

Obioma Nwuba

Year: Junior

Major: Early childhood education

Hometown: Anambra State, Nigeria

Campus involvement: African Student Organization, International Student Organization, Student Missouri State Teachers Association, Student Senate, Career Services career ambassador, Writing Center tutor.

Favorite part about Homecoming: My favorite part of Homecoming is the Bearcat pride that we get to show through the various activities and how it not only reenergizes us to finish the semester strong but also fosters the formation of strong bonds that will last a lifetime.

What does being a Bearcat mean to you? Being a Bearcat means embracing possibilities. It means being a part of a supportive community and finding a home among people, classes and activities that you care about and care about you. It means knowing that you can achieve anything you set your mind to by fully trusting the process.

Personal motto: Show what’s possible – teach, love, inspire.

Bradlie Wilmes

Bradlie Wilmes

Year: Senior

Major: Agricultural education

Hometown: Clarinda, Iowa

Campus involvement: Collegiate Farm Bureau, Block and Bridle, Sigma Alpha, Collegiate Cattlemen’s Association, Delta Tau Alpha

Favorite part about Homecoming: It is truly gratifying to watch individuals from across campus come together to participate in Homecoming festivities. The Homecoming parade is an opportunity for members of our Bearcat family to showcase all of their hard work. I love watching current students and alumni flood Maryville to show their pride and love for Northwest while creating new bonds.

What does being a Bearcat mean to you? Being a Bearcat means growing alongside staff and students that quickly become lifelong family. The Bearcat family supports one another throughout our time at Northwest and continues to be a family to connect with after graduation.

Personal motto: Live each day with a purpose.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215