‘Some pretty outstanding students’: MSU honors 22 Spirit of State Award recipients

Contact:  Sasha SteinbergKarsten Taylor of MSU-Meridian, 2021 Spirit of State

STARKVILLE, Miss.—In a year when maroon and white spirit has been needed most, 22 Mississippi State students are seeing their efforts recognized with the Spirit of State Award.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum thanked this year’s recipients for their perseverance and contributions throughout their time at the university and especially during “challenging times presented by this unprecedented year.”

“You personify the spirit of this university; you live it every day. I commend, congratulate and thank you for what you have done to contribute to the well-being of this institution, our community and our state,” Keenum said. “I’m so proud of you all and can’t wait to see the great things you’re going to continue to accomplish in your lives and how you’ll continue to bring great pride to all of us back here at your beloved Mississippi State.”

Spirit of State recipient Julianna Mills of Brookhaven said reflection on her MSU experience brings back fond memories of three things—academics, extracurricular involvement and people.

 “It’s the people who make Mississippi State such a special university,” she emphasized. “Our students, faculty, staff and administrators prioritize serving others in lasting and selfless ways. MSU has loved and supported me well these past four years and because of the growth I have gained here, I’m ready to take the ‘spirit of state’ into my future while always remembering the people at MSU.”

Organized by the university’s Division of Student Affairs, the 16th annual Spirit of State Awards program formally honored those making a positive impact on peers and the broader campus community through organizational involvement, service to the institution and personal actions promoting school spirit and tradition.

Recipients are nominated either by faculty and staff members or fellow students. A minimum 2.25 grade point average and good academic and disciplinary standing within the university are among the eligibility criteria.

The new Spirit of State Award recipients include (by hometown):

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico—April B. Yazza, an educational leadership master’s student.

BAY SAINT LOUIS—Dimetri D. “Metri” Lyons, a senior communication/theatre major.

BELMONT—Sofia Alvarez, a senior political science major.

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama—Anirudh K. Aditya, a senior biochemistry/pre-MBA major.

BROOKHAVEN—Julianna G. Mills, a senior chemistry major.

CLINTON—Sydney G. Wicks, a senior psychology major.

COLLIERVILLE, Tennessee—Nirmal K. Bhatt, a junior mechanical engineering major.

EDO STATE, Nigeria—Asishana B. Ajayi, a senior aerospace engineering major.

FRANKLIN, Tennessee—Claire M. Hamblen, a senior elementary education major, and Kaitlyn T. “Katey” Koon, a senior educational psychology major.

FULTON—Madison S. Taylor, a senior biomedical engineering major.

GREENVILLE—Alex A. Jackson, a senior fashion design and merchandising major.

GULFPORT—James D. “Jay” Warren, a senior biomedical engineering major.

HAMBURG, Germany—Philippe C. Schicker, a senior mechanical engineering major.

JACKSON—Sarah Helen Skelton, a senior communication/public relations major, and Elliott Ware, a senior software engineering major.

MACON—Shondell S. “Dell” Ivy, a senior communication/public relations major.

MERIDIAN—Karsten E. Taylor, a senior social work major at MSU-Meridian.

OCEAN SPRINGS—Ethan P. Utterback, a senior industrial engineering major.

RAYMOND—Makayla N. Brister, a wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture master’s student.

RIDGELAND—Malon V. Stratton, a senior biomedical engineering major.

STATE LINE—Tyler I. Packer, a senior political science/pre-law major.

Learn more about MSU’s Division of Student Affairs at www.saffairs.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

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