Erica Ferer performing at Creative Explosion. EVAN YUSON/THE STATESMAN
Homecoming court candidate Erica Ferer performing at Stony Brook Creative Explosion. The annual event provides the opportunity for students to come together and cast their vote for homecoming king and queen. EVAN YUSON/THE STATESMAN

The annual Stony Brook Creative Explosion was held on Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. in the Student Activities Center auditorium and showcased this year’s homecoming court’s talents.

Each candidate was able to show why students should vote for them with a question and answer segment and a talent show. This year’s candidates included Alexa Mondello, Christina Penna, Erica Ferer, Michelle Olakkengil, Stephanie Castro, Ahmed Khokhar, Casey Getzler, Jack Mosher, James Vassallo and Naveen Mallangada.

The show opened up with an enthusiastic host, and the crowd cheered as Wolfie crossed the stage.

The question and answer segment came first, with the judges panel asking each candidate one question. The panel was comprised of esteemed faculty and alumni like Cheryl Hamilton, the director of the Educational Opportunity Program-Advancement on Individual Merit at Stony Brook, and last year’s homecoming queen, Ruchi Shah, who is currently a first year medical student. The candidates then pulled a second question out of a hat. These mystery questions were written by former Stony Brook kings and queens.


“Music gives me a creative outlet to express myself,” Getzler, a senior music major and drum line captain for the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band, answered when asked how involvement in music made him a spirited Seawolf. “I love how it makes people feel safe and comfortable and not afraid to be up on stage, like I am now,” he added.

The candidates this year are leaders on campus and include resident assistants, researchers, student ambassadors, orientation leaders, student assistants, teaching assistants, Undergraduate College fellows, commuter assistants and members of University Scholars and the Honors College.

“I loved being a resident assistant in Mendelsohn Quad,” Castro, a senior math major and member of the Stony Brook Belly Dance Troupe, said. “It helped me come out of my comfort zone.”

Castro looks forward to being the first person from her family to graduate college.


“Being an orientation leader was the opportunity I had to stop being shy and become more confident,” Ferer, a senior biomedical engineering major and Red Watch Band CARE Team member, said.

The judges asked Olakkengil, a senior sociology and psychology double major, about a spoon wars game that she wrote about in her homecoming queen application essay.

Casey Getzler, above, performs a drum cadence during this years creative explosion. He is the captain of the Spirit of Stony Brook Drumline. EVAN YUSON/THE STATESMAN
Casey Getzler, above, performs a drum cadence during this years creative explosion. He is the captain of the Spirit of Stony Brook Drumline. EVAN YUSON/THE STATESMAN

“I was very conservative in high school,” Olakkengil said. “I remember I played this spoon wars game, that was kind of like an assassin game. I ended up winning, and I asked myself ‘Why not?’ and proceeded to put myself out there more.”

The second part of the night involved the “Creative Explosion” portion, which was a measure of the candidates’ creativity.

Inflated Pokémon balls and balloons were thrown into the audience as the crowd cheered to Phineas and Ferb and Pokémon theme songs.


Castro showed off her talent with a belly dancing routine. Other performances included playing the ukulele, drums, skits about the first year of college, rap songs, dances, serenades and multiple parody sing along songs. The final act involved step dancers and the marching band.


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