The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSU celebrates 19th annual Spirit of State Awards

Courtesy | Office of public affairs
The Division of Student Affairs awarded 29 outstanding students the Spirit of State Award.

Every year, Mississippi State University’s Spirit of State Awards honor students who have gone above and beyond in service to their school, peers and the community of Starkville.

To qualify for the award, students must either fill out an application for themselves or be nominated by another student. Last Saturday, 29 students received Spirit of State awards.

Brock Turnipseed, the director for marketing and communications in the MSU Division of Student Affairs, said that this was the 19th year the Spirit of State Award ceremony was held at MSU.

“We have been hosting this event for several years now,” Turnipseed said.

Regina Hyatt is the vice president for Student Affairs and one of the speakers at the ceremony. Hyatt mentioned an increased number of students who completed applications this year about 120 this semester, according to Turnipseed but that they can only hand out so many awards each year.

“We always want to recognize students for the good things they’re doing,” Hyatt said. “Which makes it hard because we would love to recognize everyone. But we are very excited for the 29 students recognized today.”

Kasia Williams is a senior biological science major from Greenville, Mississippi. She serves as a New Maroon Camp counselor and crew leader for Students Paving A Road To Knowledge (S.P.A.R.K.). Williams’ dedication to both of these organizations earned her the award. Williams, who transferred to MSU this year, said she was honored.

“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Williams said. “I feel so appreciated that my hard work didn’t go unnoticed. This is my first year at Mississippi State and I wanted to make a difference here in Starkville.”

Williams said she plans to continue helping people by joining the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson after graduating from MSU.

MSU Student Hayden Cherry (Courtesy | Office of Public Affairs)

Hayden Cherry is a junior agricultural education, leadership and communications major from Halls, Tennessee, as well as the director of member education for the Interfraternity Executive Council of MSU Fraternity and Sorority Life.

Cherry credited his award with his desire for unity among the leadership, students and organizations on campus and his dedication outside of the classroom to educating himself and others on leadership and communication skills.

“It feels awesome to win this award,” Cherry said. “Having been involved on campus for several years, it’s nice to be able to get together with other people who have made an impact and have an opportunity to fellowship with them and some of our university leaders to bond over our shared dedication to the Spirit of State.”

Karime Alonso Ixtepan is a junior civil engineering major with an environmental engineering concentration. Ixtepan expressed her gratitude.

“I do not feel like I am deserving of this award,” Ixtepan said. “There are so many people here that are amazing and so many different organizations that probably have more impact than I have.”

Ixtepan, whose family hails from Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, said her desire to help the community was inspired by the friendly and accepting atmosphere she felt when she first visited MSU. One of the ways that Ixtepan acts out this desire is by giving Roadrunner tours in her native language to Spanish-speaking visitors.

“My sister came here four years before me, and she enjoyed her time here,” Ixtepan said. “We came, and we visited her a bunch of times, and we are not from the US, so this was kind of familiar to me. Whenever I was choosing a college, I always compared it to the campus here. The atmosphere just felt different here, and it was a nice difference.”

Ixtepan said she believes anyone can earn the Spirit of State Award, citing her experiences at MSU as proof.

“I did not think I would be able to get one of these awards,” Ixtepan said. “I used to not be that involved in many things. My freshman year, I was just going to my room after classes, but as I got more involved, I met more people and I just connected with these different students.”

About the Contributor
Michael Cassidy
Michael Cassidy, Staff Writer
Michael Cassidy is a senior communication major. Michael is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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