Contact: Lisa Sollie
MERIDIAN, Miss.—Maria Diener, a social work major at Mississippi State University-Meridian, wants her legacy to be service. Born to parents who always made giving to others a top priority, the 2013 Southeast Lauderdale High School graduate attended a private two-year Christian college in Kansas before returning to Mississippi to finish her last two college years at MSU-Meridian.
During MSU-Meridian’s 2017 spring commencement held at the MSU Riley Center on Friday [May 5], Diener will be recognized as the Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the Division of Arts and Sciences. She is one of four students among the 120 candidates recognized at the ceremony.
“I knew I wanted to work with people, and I really value variety,” Diener said. “The social work profession met both those criteria.”
Diener has excelled in the classroom, maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average. A member of the prestigious Society of Scholars in Arts and Sciences. She was selected as the National Association of Social Work Undergraduate Student of the Year and also received the NASW Claire Nowlin Award for Outstanding Bachelor of Social Work Student in Mississippi.
Closing out her college career in field practicum, Diener reflects on her chosen career path, lessons learned from her parents, and work she has done with Care Lodge Domestic Violence Shelter in Meridian.
“Through working with people, I have come to the conclusion that it is human nature to want to be seen and heard by another person,” Diener said. “If I can be that person to listen to another and help create attainable goals, then I believe I will be doing something worthwhile,” she added.
MSU-Meridian serves primarily east central Mississippi and west Alabama. Learn more at meridian.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at msstate.edu.