MSU honors 25 Spirit of State Award recipients

Contact:  Lisa Sollie

MERIDIAN, Miss.— The 18th annual Spirit of State Awards program held Friday [April 21] in Starkville formally honored 25 students, including MSU-Meridian graduate student Brittney Harkins, for making a positive impact on peers and the broader campus community throughMan in tie, student in black and woman with glasses organizational involvement, service to the institution and personal actions promoting school spirit and tradition. The program is organized by the university’s Division of Student Affairs.

Nominated for the award by Dr. Ksenia S. Zhbanova, an assistant professor of elementary education, Harkins earned her undergraduate degree in elementary education at the Meridian campus in 2021 and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Elementary Education program.

As Harkins graduate advisor, Zhbanova shared that “Brittney has been one of the best students I have had the opportunity to work with over the six years I’ve been at MSU. Her performance and passion for teaching, learning, and serving people at MSU-community, her church, and her school communities speaks volumes about her hard-working nature and professionalism.”

A member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization led by women for women in education, Harkins has served on the Supporting Early Educators committee where she facilitated the donation of school supplies for the nominated teachers’ wish lists. She is currently serving as secretary of the Delta Kappa Gamma for the 2022-2024 biennium and is also chair of the World Fellowship, which reaches out to other educators across the world via handwritten mail and supports them financially through Delta Kappa Gamma and has also organized two arts showcases to display local artists’ works.

As regional commuter campus, MSU-Meridian students’ opportunities to participate in campus life is somewhat limited.  However, the Meridian campus is deeply connected to the local community and schools — and this connection provides numerous opportunities for our students to be involved and committed to the local community as well as participate in MSU community outreach efforts.

According to Zhbanova, the fact that Harkins returned to MSU for her master’s degree demonstrates her commitment to MSU and fellow Bulldogs.

“Brittney is truly a leader and a role model for her fellow university students and is always willing to help anyone in need of assistance. This is also supported by her main approach to teaching, which is through building relationships with her students to help create most fulfilling and joyful academic experience for everyone.”

MSU’s premier student award recognizing exceptional personal contributions to university student life is open to all students, no matter their classification, major or primary campus, and requires nominees to have a minimum 2.25 grade point average and be in good academic and disciplinary standing.

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