MSU Cheer Leader and Poultry Science Pre Vet Major , Alexandra Hoven says, " Poultry Science is not a program many people are familiar with and I always get a flood of questions when I tell people what my major is. I chose this major because it is offering me unique coursework and experiences to enhance my undergraduate education and it is an interesting pathway to help me stand out when the time comes to apply to vet school! I love the Poultry Science department for multiple reasons. It is a small, close-knit group of faculty and students who always make me feel welcome and anytime I walk into the building, I always see someone I know. My professors are very knowledgeable and always willing to have discussions or help me with the content, and as a member of the Poultry Science club I have had opportunities to help out in the community. I have learned so much in my first year in this program and I am looking forward to the next three years as a poultry science major! "
Allie Cowles is a nutrition major from Jackson, Mississippi. She anticipates graduating in May 2019. Allie says her favorite thing about home is she recently just moved to the country and the biggest change has been the slow pace of life out there. She starts her mornings by enjoying breakfast on her family's front porch overlooking the field and observing wildlife that decide to come out of the woods. Her favorite thing about MSU is the hometown feel that the university and Starkville provides. She enjoys campus' little treasures such as the Rose Garden and the Chapel of Memories. In her spare time, she loves to cook. She enjoys taking recipes and substituting healthier alternatives for commonly-used ingredients. Her plan after graduation is to apply for her master's degree and follow up with her dietetic internship. A fun fact about Allie is she's always had a dream of hosting a cooking show one day that improves the nutritional quality of America's favorite dishes.
Anne Larrah Johnson
Anne Larrah Johnson is a biochemistry major from Dyersburg, Tennessee and anticipates graduating in May 2018. She says her hometown is filled with familiar faces so it's very comforting to know there are so many people in Starkville she can depend on. Her favorite thing about CALS is it's a close-knit group, which makes it easy to connect with students as well as professors. She says after attending a few alumni breakfasts, she's seen that the CALS bond will be around long after she's graduates. This summer she will be applying to dental school and then hopes to one day run her own clinic. A fun fact about Anne Larrah is that her passion for dentistry began with a mission trip.
Human Sciences major Beth Baugh enjoys all the opportunities the major offers. "There are so many clubs and volunteer opportunities open to students. It gives everyone a chance to find where they feel most at home," Beth said. She is most excited to apply to occupational therapy school after graduation. "The major covers such a broad spectrum of topics and fields. It gave me the space to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life." She was previously in a major that wasn't a fit. When she shifted to human sciences, she began enjoying classes. She also got involved with various organizations. For prospective students, Beth says that there is a sense of being at home at MSU. "I would recommend MSU to anyone considering a career in the field of Human Sciences," Beth said.
Bradley Welch chose biochemistry because he considered it a well-rounded premed major. He hopes to change lives as a medical practitioner one day. "As a future physician, I hope to change the world by making an individual difference in each of my patients' lives through providing thorough and compassionate healthcare." As a junior at MSU, he looks forward to acceptance into medical school. He said he appreciates the flexibility and interdisciplinary nature the major has afforded him. "In addition to the major, I was able to pursue minors in psychology and French." He chose to attend MSU because of the Rural Medical Scholars Program. He participated in the program the summer before his senior year of high school. "MSU felt like home and like family, and that's when I knew I was meant to go to college at MSU." He encourages potential students to consider biochemistry at MSU. "The faculty and staff are always there to help. On many occasions, I have stopped by Dr. Willeford's office for advice or just to chat. He's always willing to offer support and encouragement."
Brady Dunaway, a junior in environmental science in agricultural systems, is hoping to bring back the vanishing prairie lands, a project he has been working on since he first began college. The Brookhaven native founded a naturalist club while a student at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. The club restored a savannah prairie nature trail, among other projects, and is still active today. When Dunaway began his academic pursuits at Mississippi State University, he quickly connected with prairie expert JoVonn Hill, a research professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology, and Plant Pathology. Dunaway's interest in the ecosystem stems from the biodiversity created within it. "It is really the unsung song of the south, the grasslands and prairies that were once a prominent part of the state," he said. "It is an obscure habitat. Everyone thinks of the Midwest as having the prairie in the United States but in the Southeast, we also have some very unique prairie ecosystems with very rare species that can be found nowhere else in the world."
Dunaway and Hill are restoring a prairie on the Natchez Trace Parkway at the Black Belt Overlook. "Prairies support a tremendous amount of biodiversity for plants and wildlife," Dunaway said. "They repair soils, sequester carbon, and filter pollutants through their extensive root systems." It also gives Dunaway a chance to pursue his passion: restoring the land and recreating an ecosystem.
Briana Burkes is interning at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. She is an animal and dairy sciences major at MSU. Her favorite part of the internship is getting to work up close and personal with tigers. She said she's learned how to keep her composure with the wild animals. "Working with larger animals is not so bad since I have experience working with cows at Mississippi State University. I have learned good hard work." Briana said the experience has been an eye-opener into the world of the sale of exotic animals. She chose her major because she enjoys working with animals. She chose the internship because she may one day want to work with exotic animals. She recommends the internship to future students. "There is so much to learn and it is just a great experience."
Brittany Franks is working with tigers, lions, and cougars during the summer of 2016. The Animal and Dairy Sciences major landed a job at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. She said that classes like companion animal have helped her during her internship. Brittany has always loved animals. She chose animal and dairy sciences because she wants a career where she can take care of animals and nurse them back to health. She chose Big Cat Rescue to gain experience working with different types of animals.
Callie Ann Smith
Callie Ann Smith is an agronomy major from Finger, Tennessee. She anticipates graduating in May 2019. Callie is the youngest of four kids and she says her favorite thing about home is being surrounded by her siblings and family members. Her favorite thing about Mississippi State is the professors. "Let me tell you why it's the professors," says Callie Ann. "Dr. TJ Bradford, for example, is so invested in his students that he follows us on social media. One day I tweeted something about having a rough time because I was rethinking my major and he tweeted me back and told me to come see him in his office the next day and we sat down and spoke about how I was feeling and if this was something I really wanted to do. He helped me realize that I was just having a rough season but I still had the same fire and passion for agronomy when I started." Another example is Dr. Amelia Fox and I were talking in her office one day and I had been having some health issues which caused me to have to drive to Jackson, MS pretty often. Dr. Amelia Fox asked me if anyone was going with me I said no and she said next time I had to go to the doctors that she would drive me to Jackson and go with me. Dr. Amelia Fox also told all her students before Easter that if anyone wasn't going home for Easter and needed a place to come that they were invited to her house and she would cook for everyone. Callie's favorite thing about the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is that as a freshman she was able to get hands-on involvement in drone research which was very important to her. During her free time, you can find her either playing with her 80-pound laborador or using her agricultural mechanical skills she learned from high school to wire or weld something awesome.
Callie Whitfield is an ambassador in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She is a biochemistry major in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology. "I chose biochemistry because it seemed at the time to be the perfect major for an aspiring physician. After being here two years, I can say this is a great major for pre-medicine students," she said. Callie hopes to change the world as a physician and her next big step is applying to medical school. "While this process is overwhelming and daunting, it is also an exciting time for me! I cannot wait to see where MSU will lead me as I continue to pursue my career in medicine," she said. She said a defining moment occurred early in her college career. "When my mother and I came to State for orientation, we were both fearful and nervous while also excited. During those two days, though, we both grew confident that I had made the right college decision." Callie encourages potential students up for an exciting, fun challenge to explore the major.
Cameron Crawford is an animal and dairy sciences major from Tylertown, Mississippi. He plans to graduate in May 2018. His favorite part of home is its slow-paced, small town feel, which makes Cameron feel right at home here in Starkville. Ever since he stepped on campus as a middle schooler he fell in love with MSU due to the environment and all the people who made it truly feel like a home. Cameron's interest in cattle extends beyond the classroom. He raises and shows cattle. "It's just an amazing process to watch a calf being born and go through the stages of life with a person's help along the way. Showing cattle has also helped me better develop my skills in areas such as managing responsibilities and communication," he says. When he isn't busy with school or focused on animal sciences, he likes sports. "I have loved watching sports since I was a little kid. I am an extremely passionate fan of my teams and watch them whenever I can," he says. After graduation, he plans to go to graduate school and get a master's degree in agricultural communications and possibly get a job with a cattle breed association or agricultural publication. A fun fact about Cameron is he has an artistic side in music and drawing.
Caroline Kelsoe, a senior majoring in Environmental Economics and Management, is from Moody, Alabama. She says the people are what set CALS apart. “When I first visited campus as a prospective student, Dr. Little, the agricultural economics undergraduate coordinator and Dr. Turner, the agricultural economics department head said, ‘Welcome to the Bulldog Family!’ I was a little skeptical at first; after all, how could professors and students I only knew in class become a family? What I didn’t realize at the time is that there is so much more to CALS and the Department of Agricultural Economics than the time we spend in class. The people in CALS really have become family, and I’m so grateful for the time that has been invested in relationships both inside and outside of class.” Her most memorable experience in the college was an ice cream social held at the end of the spring semester in 2015. “Seeing all of the professors and students laughing together brought me so much joy!” She says she chose environmental economics and management because it blended key interests including public policy, economics and environmental science into a cohesive course of study that will prepare her for a wide range of careers. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in agricultural economics. In her free time, she loves to cook and try new recipes.
Celia Andreo chose to major in food science with a concentration in nutrition because she has a passion for healthy living. She plans on having a career that allows her to interact with and help others. For these reasons, nutrition is a perfect fit. "Hunger is too prevalent in our community and all over the world. I hope to work with the low-resource community in combatting poverty and food insecurity. I would love to see a day when food pantries are no longer necessary," Celia said. Upon graduation, Celia hopes to complete a dietetic internship, work towards a master's degree, and earn her Registered Dietician license. A defining moment for Celia was when she decided to major in nutrition. "We had a guest speaker from Gatorade who worked as a sports nutritionist. After 45 minutes, I was so captivated by his lecture that I changed my major to nutrition within the next week," Celia said. She also has a word of advice for potential students. "The major asks a lot of you, but the more you give, the better off you'll be. Get involved and get to know your teachers," she said.
Chrysta Beck is an ambassador in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She is a poultry science major. "I hope to impact the world by carrying out research that will improve the poultry industry in some way. I want to help feed the world and make food less expensive and more accessible to everyone." she said. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend veterinary or graduate school. "I'm excited about the knowledge I will gain, the new experiences I will have, and the new friends I will make along the way," Chrysta said. Her favorite part of the poultry department is the size. "It feels like a family when you walk into the building, and the class sizes are small enough to ensure a hands-on experience with birds. Also, internships are easily attainable which allows for you to gain experience in the industry before beginning your career," she said. Chrysta chose to attend MSU when she was a senior in high school. "After visiting campus, talking with students, and visiting the poultry department, I knew this is where I wanted to be," she said. She tells potential students that even though MSU is a large university, it doesn't always feel that way. "Students, staff, and faculty here are friendly and welcoming. Since I'm from Ohio, it feels good to call MSU a second home. It is a university full of great people and plenty of opportunities for every student's future," she said.
Dorothy Cottonham is animal and dairy sciences major. Her friends call her DeeDee and she's always had a love for animals. She hopes to become a vet one day. This summer, she cares for sows and their growing piglets. "I took an academic course called swine science taught by Professor Shengfa Liao. This course taught me about pigs and their behavior." After that, she earned a paid internship at a swine breeding farm in West Point. "The experience is valuable even though I don't plan to pursue a career in the industry. I see several aspects of the industry and have the chance to work with some great people. The swine industry would not be as successful as it is without its dedicated employees."
Emily Hatcher is a human development and family sciences major from Madison, Alabama and anticipates graduating in May 2019. Emily says her favorite thing about home is seeing those familiar faces that she loves so much. She always looks forward to catching up with her best friend and grabbing a scoop of Oreo dough ice cream at Handles. Emily loves Mississippi State because everyone here is so friendly and makes it so easy to get involved and feel welcome. She says her favorite thing about the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is how each major is connected. "Most people would never think agriculture has anything to do with human development or fashion merchandising but they all have a lot in common. It's really neat being able to watch everything flow together," she says. In Emily's free time, you can find her being a social and super involved, hanging out with friends at the Sanderson Center or at a MSU sporting event. After graduation, she hopes to get a job within a hospital working in the child life department or working with foster children in an area where she can mentor them. An interesting fact about Emily is her dream is to have a singing part in a Broadway musical.
Gianna Ciotoli has a passion for agriculture and animals. That's why she chose the animal and dairy sciences major, pre-veterinary concentration. She hopes to one day become a large animal veterinarian. "Agriculture is our wisest pursuit and it will always be needed for survival," she said. Gianna wants to contribute to improved animal welfare in animal production. She hopes to inspire future generations. "I would like to show how rewarding the agriculture industry can be," she said. Upon graduation, Gianna hopes to attend vet school. "Since I was three-years-old I have had a passion for animals. I have always wanted to be a veterinarian. It is a big step that I have worked for my whole life so far. I am excited to see where my future takes me," she said. Her favorite part of the college and major is the close-knit group that she calls family. "Everyone is friendly and approachable. The professors are incredible and genuinely care about their students," she said. She also appreciates the hands-on experience. "You work with all sorts of animals and you learn things that you will carry with you forever," Gianna said. As an out-of-state student from Tampa, Florida, Gianna had concerns about being so far from home. "A defining moment for me was finally feeling comfortable and like I belonged. My ADS major really helped me with that. Once I started taking ADS classes, I met amazing people that made me feel like I was at home. A sense of belonging is crucial to a student in college and I thank my major for that feeling," she said. Gianna also provides prospective students with good advice. "I would tell students that it was the best decision I have ever made. If you want a future in agriculture, it will be your best decision, too. My major has amazing professors, personable class sizes, and offers hands-on experiences. The clubs and organizations within the department are rewarding. There are countless opportunities to get involved. If you are looking for a family inside your major, this is definitely the program for you," she said.
Gracie Jackson is working this summer at AmericasMart in Atlanta, GA. The Fashion Design and Merchandising major has always been interested in fashion. It has been a source of inspiration and self-expression. She prefers the business side of the industry. That's why she is also majoring in business administration. She has enjoyed seeing how the different departments go into planning markets. "The final outcome seems so complex but the responsibilities are broken down to make it all possible," Gracie said. She credits teamwork and meeting deadlines as the skills learned at Mississippi State. She said these skills have been the most valuable in her internship. She has learned to be true to herself and her opinions during this time. Gracie has enjoyed interning for AmericasMart. "This is my first time moving to a big city on my own and experiencing a 9 am-5 pm job in a corporate workplace. It is fantastic," she said.
Hannah Berny is a Franklin, Tennessee native studying agribusiness policy and law at Mississippi State. Her anticipated graduation date is May 2018. Her favorite thing about home is the land and beauty of the horticulture and agriculture. She loves MSU and has been connected with fellow bulldogs from all of the country. She loves how everyone is able to come together for their love of maroon and white. Her favorite thing about CALS is the comradery. "I don't feel like a number; I feel like a valuable part of a team. All of my professors and advisors are invested in helping me create a future that fits my skill set and passions, which has allowed me to excel both in my classes and extracurricular activities. CALS in not only an active agent in helping me be my best during my time at State, but is also encouraging me and preparing me to excel after graduation," she says. During her spare time, you can find Hannah playing Ultimate Frisbee for MSU's Woman's club team and traveling all over the Southeast representing MSU. After graduation, she hopes to attend law school in Nashville and one day practice law in the Nashville area. Something that might surprise you about Hannah is that her family was on a Belgian reality television show called Pubers Van Streek. "It was like MTVs World's Strictest Parents, but with Belgian teenagers. We hosted two rebellious foreign teenagers for a week in an effort to help them correct their behavior," she says.
Jane Spivey Mortimer
Jane Spivey Mortimer has been in love with fashion since she was six years old. The fashion design and merchandising major says the fashion industry is ever changing and always exciting. She looks forward to being part of such a prestigious field. Her favorite part of the college is the diversity. "I have friends in human development and family studies, agronomy, agricultural information, pre-vet, and so much more that share the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with me." Her defining moment at MSU is the day she finished her first design. "I created the pattern, dyed the fabric, and altered the garment to fit perfectly and it made my dreams a reality," she said. To students considering this major at MSU, Jane advised them to get out of their comfort zone and meet the wonderful people in their major. "They are so different and you can learn so much from your friends in this major. The human sciences major at MSU has prepared me above and beyond my expectations for my future."
Janiece Pigg began her journey in Animal and Dairy Sciences because she grew up around dairy cattle. She changed her major to Agricultural Education, Leadership and Communications to help her develop the skills needed to teach consumers about how food gets from farm to table. Janiece is excited about the future. She tells potential students to be prepared for the hardest, yet most fun and rewarding ride of their lives. Janiece plans to go to graduate school and then work with consumer/producer issues in the industry.
Jessica Brown is an animal and dairy sciences major from Houma, Louisiana. She anticipates graduating in May 2019. Her favorite thing about home is the culture that the area has. She says south Louisiana is very unique. "There's just something about it being different that I love." We asked her what her favorite part about being a Mississippi State bulldog was and she said being able to be a part of the atmosphere during sporting events. Jessica said being able to be so hands-on with her college has truly been the main reason why she loves the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences so much. In her spare time, you can find her reading, listening to music, and being outdoors. After graduation, she plans to continue her education at Mississippi State's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Jessie Belton is a horticulture major from Gates, Tennessee and anticipates graduating in May 2018. Jessie is an only child and her favorite thing about home is being smack dab in the middle of two grandmothers (her dad's mom lives a mile away and her mom's mom lives a mile down the road in the other direction). Her favorite thing about MSU is the traditions. One of her favorite things about the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is how close everyone is. "Mrs. Lynette McDougald is probably one of my best role models and truly a great friend as well. The professors really set picture perfect examples of what to expect in the field, because they have most times been in the industry before teaching." In her free time, you can catch this social bird trying new restaurants or hanging out with friends. "I'm currently interning for a special events florist in Birmingham, Alabama. I like how there are different events every weekend." Jessie loves the floral industry but doesn't know where it will take her. A surprising fact about Jessie is how her preppy fashion sense and her taste in grungy, rock music totally collide.
John-Taylor Corley is a landscape architecture major from Poplarville, Mississippi. He anticipates graduating in May 2018. The people are what he misses most about home. He comes from a small town of roughly 2,000 people, where everyone knows everyone. We asked John-Taylor to list his favorite thing about MSU. "There are too many things I love about MSU to narrow it down to one favorite. But, I will say the professors make the university what it is today. They make me want to be the best that I possibly can be and encourage me to step out of my comfort zone to become better than before. Without the support of my professors, I would not be where I am today." John-Taylor says he likes the fact that the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has many essential resources. "As a student, I am offered an unbelievably wide range of resources and connections through CALS, whether it is scholarships, opportunities to tell incoming students about my MSU experiences, or connecting with alumni." In John-Taylor's free time, you can find him with a freshly brewed cup of coffee headed to travel into his next adventure around the world. "With graduation fast approaching, I am still trying to figure out what I want to be doing. I am considering applying for graduate school in urban design, but the thought of being able to graduate and start earning a paycheck is also in the back of my mind. I am currently interning for a Landscape Architecture firm in Memphis. Hopefully, after this experience, I will have a better idea in mind by next May."
Joseph Hreish is an ambassador for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He is a biochemistry major in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology. "I hope to practice medicine in a way that truly benefits the people I am serving," he said. He’s excited about beginning the process of applying to medical school. "Being a physician is something I am passionate about and I cannot wait to see everything come together," he said. He appreciates the close-knit family feeling between faculty and students within the major. "Regardless of being in rather large classes at times, it's evident that we all have the same end goal in mind," Joseph said. He said this major is ideal for students looking for a new experience. "With this major there is a lot of diversity not only in the classes that you will be taking but also in the people you will be interacting with. If you want to meet new people and have new experiences, this is the major for you," he said.
CALS Ambassador, Julia Christian, is a human development and family science major who hails from Memphis, Tennessee. She is pursuing a child life concentration. Julia plans to finish her undergrad in May 2019. She craves the taste of home and says one of the best perks of being a Memphis local is access to all the incredible foods. She's found a second home here at Mississippi State. Julia finds wisdom in her professors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who she says never shy away from giving any extra help or guidance. Julia says that the people here are genuine and humble and they truly do ring true to the core values of Mississippi State. In her free time, she's always up for an adventure whether it's target practice on the range, hunting, or fishing. She also has her scuba diving certification so anytime she's near water she can take a plunge.
Julia Putt is following in her mother's footsteps in floral management. Julia is a horticulture major with a concentration in floral management. She grew up around flowers. Her parents own a special events company, and her mother is an alumna of the program. Julia is spending this summer in Nashville working for Buds and Bunches. She uses design techniques that she learned at MSU to arrange flowers for the company. "I love Nashville and one of our family friends knew a guy that was a floral designer here. He is the only florist located downtown so it has been cool getting to help with designs for the big hotels in downtown Nashville." Julia's experience has shown her different aspects of how a business is run. The experience has been incredible for the budding florist. "It's not only the experience to grow in my design work but moving away from home into a big new city has made me grow up a good bit. If you ever get the opportunity to go out and intern… go. Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone, because you will learn a lot about yourself," Julia said.
Julie King is a human development and family science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi. She anticipates graduating in May 2018. Julie says her favorite thing about home is her family because family comes first in her life, so anything she does at home is 10 times better because they are there with her. We asked Julie what her favorite thing about Mississippi State is and she said the opportunity it gives each and every student no matter your area of study, your economic status, or your personality. "Mississippi State has a special place for everyone." In Julie's free time you can find her recreating crafts found on Pinterest. After graduation, she plans on attending nursing school to obtain her BSN. Some exciting news about Julie is she is engaged to a CALS alumnus and they plan on tying the knot December 22, 2018.
Kate Parsons is a 2nd-year CALS Ambassador and an animal and dairy sciences major with a pre-vet concentration from Columbia, Tennessee. She anticipates to graduate in May 2019. Parsons says Starkville is very similar to her home in the sense of small local vibe that it gives off. When she goes home, her favorite things to do is go to the local farmer's market, grab a cup of coffee at Buckhead Coffee, and drive the short trip to Nashville. Parson says, "I love and chose Mississippi State because of the people. The employees and faculty on campus are never shy of amazing and the locals are always eager to help new students as well." She says her favorite thing about CALS is how involved the dean and associate dean are. "They are very visible at events, which is very encouraging." In her free time, she loves to travel. You can catch her taking a last minute quick trip to T-town but for international travels, she has been to London, Paris, Rome, Mexico, and she just got back from China. After her undergraduate degree, she still hopes to attend vet school. However, as she spends more time in the ADS department and learns what other opportunities are out there, she is considering possibly a career in animal nutrition. A fun fact about Kate is that even with all the crawfish boils at MSU, this girl has never had a crawfish.
Katie Kelly, fashion merchandising major, is interning at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Destin, Florida. She works at the three retail stores onsite. Last summer, she worked as a seasonal retail sales associate at the resort. She loved it so much she came back this year to complete her internship. Her favorite part of the internship is the location. "I also love the brands we carry in our stores and the opportunities we have to work with each brand." She said her professors and instructors at MSU have prepared her for the internship. "Everything is going great and I'm still learning a lot. I can't wait to take everything I'm learning back to MSU in the fall and continue building my knowledge of fashion merchandising." She said the biggest lesson has been the amount of hard work that goes into keeping the stores running smoothly. "I have learned so far that running three stores is very hard work and working as a team with all of my coworkers is the only answer to all of the madness that goes on from open to close," she said. She chose her major because she's passionate about fashion merchandising. "I know that my future job will be something I love doing. The opportunities out in the world for my major are endless!" she said.
Kelsey Faulkner is a poultry science major from Toney, Alabama. She anticipates graduating in May 2019. She grew up on a family farm where her family has a small cattle operation. She loves going home and being surrounded by rolling pastures filled with cattle, and the sunsets of North Alabama. Kelsey says, "I feel at home as a student at Mississippi State. Everyone is so hospitable and makes you feel like family. Plus, there are so many activities to choose from in Starkville. I fell in love with Mississippi State after my first visit and I continually find new things to love about this great university." In her free time, you can find her enjoying the outdoors, shooting photography, showing cattle, and spending time with friends and family. After attaining her bachelor's degree, she plans to further her education and attend veterinary school to obtain her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. She then hopes to one day open up her own veterinary practice. An interesting fact about Kelsey is before she came to State, she was somewhat of a homebody. She kept to herself and spent most of time at home or at 4-H/FFA events. After she started school at Mississippi State, she began to become more involved and outgoing. She is now a member of multiple clubs and a sorority. "I feel like my experience as a student has helped me grow as a person."
Laken Beasley is a landscape architecture major from Hamilton, Alabama. She anticipates graduating in December 2020. Her favorite thing about home is the familiarity. She grew up in Hamilton and most of her family is there. "It is a small town with small town problems, but its home. None of your troubles at school seem as important when your grandmother is telling you about her day, or your dad has a whole weekend of projects planned. It's just a slower pace, and sometimes you need to be reminded of the truly important things." Her favorite things about MSU are the family atmosphere, the friendliness and school spirit of the students and teachers, and the beautiful campus. "Whenever I come back to school, it feels like coming home. I love the involvement of everyone on campus, and the way the student body supports those around them. My favorite thing about the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is the way it feels like one big family, and is very active on campus. CALS seems to be one of the most involved, hands-on organizations, and is full of hard working people passionate about what they do." In her spare time, Laken reads and paints, goes fishing, and watches Netflix. Over the summer, she is working on a landscaping crew, so her spare time is limited. After graduation, she plans to start a landscape architecture and contracting firm with her brother, who will also be graduating. "We hope to work together as we always have and make the world a little more beautiful on the way."
Leah Hadskey is a biochemistry major with a pre-veterinary medicine concentration. The Coldwater, Mississippi native anticipates graduating in May 2019. Leah's favorite thing about home is her 10 pound Shih Tzu/Chihuahua named Paisley. Leah recently became an ambassador and says she is honored to be chosen. She says one thing she loves about CALS is how diverse everyone is and how everyone is from a different walk of life and yet they come together as one and support each other as a family. Mississippi State football season is her favorite time of the year. She loves the junction and stadium and spending all day with family and friends while cheering on the best team in the SEC.
Liv Benner is a landscape architecture major from Danville, Indiana. As a volleyball player, Liv has a crazy travel schedule but the professors are very accomodating. Liv likes campus and the people at state the best. "I love the landscape architecture program, the professor are fund and personable." Liv plans to join a design firm when she graduates. She says playing sports and doing her major hasn't been too bad because the professors are amazingly helpful.
Meagan Johnson enjoys working with all types of animals, including wildlife. The animal and dairy sciences major is interning in Florida this summer. She interns with the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge. Meagan splits her time between the refuge, located in Fort Walton Beach, and the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge Zoological Park in Crestview. She says her work at MSU has helped her succeed. "I've learned a few tips about professionalism while at MSU that have helped me be successful during this internship," Meagan said. Meagan plans to pursue a career as a veterinarian and says her internship and major will definitely help her advance. She chose the internship so that she could work with a variety of animals.
Michael Davis is an integrated pest management major in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. This summer, he is interning under the direction of Darrin Dodds, associate research and extension professor and cotton specialist at MSU. During his internship, Michael travels with Dodd's team all over the state. They plant different cotton varieties and conduct research. "It is very interesting to look at how each variety grows in different areas," he said. He said his time at MSU has helped him prepare for his internship. "We spray the crop with different chemicals such as herbicides for grasses and pesticides for pest. The weed and chemical classes that I have taken at MSU has helped me tremendously in the field," he said. Michael chose his major and internship because he hopes to be a crop consultant one day. "Scouting crops for farmers has been something I have wanted to do for most of my life," he said.
Mila Combs is an environmental economics and management major from Chattanooga, Tennessee. She plans to graduate in May 2018. An avid lover of the outdoors, Mila says her favorite thing about Chattanooga is that it is a great city for people who like to play outside. "In fact, Chattanooga was voted best city in America to live by Outdoors Magazine," she says. Her favorite thing about MSU is the agricultural economics department and the Lloyd-Ricks-Watson Building. She says, "It's such a welcoming and supportive department and it's housed in one of the most beautiful buildings on campus." In her spare time, she loves to paint, kayak on the Tennessee River, watch live music, and care for her many house plants. Mila's plans after graduation are taking some time off to travel around Europe and then come back to MSU for her Master of Science in Agricultural Economics. A fun fact about Mila is that she has seen over 200 concerts.
Nesbit senior Naomi Taylor participated in a study abroad in Malawi that provided the experience of a lifetime.
The daughter of William and Jeannie Taylor, she traveled to the southeastern African nation to work with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. An environmental economics and management major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, she helped the FAO assess the outcomes of irrigation techniques that had been introduced to small farmers in the wake of a 2005 drought.
"I knew I was making a difference by not only helping FAO, but the farmers in Malawi and all those who use their products," Taylor said.
The hands-on learning opportunity was made possible through MSU's International Institute and its Office of Study Abroad, with special assistance from study abroad coordinators Kristen Bloom and Anika Campbell, who are both passionate about seeing MSU students have global experiences.
While Malawian culture was different from anything she ever had seen, Taylor said it also was her favorite part of trip. During visits to various villages in the surrounding area, she was greeted with singers and dancers thanking her for the work she was doing.
"Living in a third-world country for three months was not a walk in the park," Taylor said. "However, the experiences I had there were indescribable."
She said a desire to be part of change that impacts the world helped set a long-term goal to become involved with environmental policy, beginning in the United States and expanding beyond its borders. After admitting that she doesn't "know what the future holds," Taylor added, "However, I do know that Malawi is not the only place that needs help."
At the conclusion of her internship, Taylor presented a 46-page report to NAO offices in the city of Kasunga and the Malawian capital of Lilongwe. Her research and analysis of food, security and nutrition of farms both with and without irrigation also was made available to her MSU faculty advisers.
"Mississippi State helped me help others around the world, and for that I will always be grateful, "Taylor said. "Without Dr. Randy Little and other professors at MSU, I never would have applied to be a candidate for FAO and given this wonderful opportunity."
Little is a professor agricultural economics.
Because the international experiences had been were more than she ever dreamed, Taylor said returning to the United States and MSU left her feeling "bittersweet." Nevertheless, she expressed excitement in seeing what her sophomore year has in store.
"When I was a senior in high school, I knew I had to come to Mississippi State," Taylor said. "Now, I cannot imagine what my life would be like without this amazing university filled with endless opportunities, like sending me to Africa."
Nathan Holtman is a biochemistry major from Anniston, Alabama. He anticipates graduating in May 2019. His favorite thing about his hometown is everyone knows everyone and he loves to embrace that small town vibe. He says Mississippi State has become his family very quickly with all the genuine and good-hearted people here. He's a new ambassador this year and is looking forward to the experience. His favorite thing about the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is the diversity. In Nathan's free time you can find him anywhere from fishing to getting a workout in at the Sanderson Center. After graduation, his plans are to attend medical school in hopes of pursuing a career in anesthesia. A fun fact about Holtman is that he grew up with two older brothers and his dad helped each of them restore a classic Chevrolet truck to drive daily. "He also emphasized the need for us to earn money to pay for the trucks. My dad believed that if we built a vehicle to use, we would take better care of it and have the know-how to repair it if it ever broke down."
Being a first-generation college student is challenging, but junior Shelbie Dalton couldn't be happier to be at Mississippi State University.
"I know that my parents are really proud of me," the agricultural information science/agricultural leadership major says.
Dalton says a discussion with human sciences assistant professor Gaea Hock at a Future Farmers of America-sponsored camp gave her very good guidance as she was planning her major and career path.
"Dr. Hock told me about AIS and said that it would be a perfect major for me," she recalls. "When I got involved with FFA and saw the opportunities with that, I decided I wanted to do something I love."
As a Mississippi FFA state sentinel, the Byhalia native and 74 other FFA officers from around the country traveled to South Africa in January as part of the organization's 2015 International Leadership Seminar for State Officers. The group spent two weeks experiencing local culture and developed a better understanding of international agriculture and the global marketplace.
Dalton says she felt well-prepared embarking on her first international trip, thanks to knowledge gained from MSU classes in agricultural issues and international agriculture. She also credits an FFA cultural diversity course she took.
"When I talk to someone or meet someone new, I try to put myself in their shoes and understand their problems and differences rather than point them out," she emphasizes. "The children there (in South Africa) were like our best friends, and they didn't even know who we were. They just wanted to see someone who cared for them and wanted to play with them."
Observing animals at a private game reserve and on local farms, enjoying a traditional 14-course meal and visiting former South African president Nelson Mandela's jail cell on Robben Island were among Dalton's favorite trip highlights.
"During the meal, a tribal leader taught us how to play the drums and, while we were eating, people there danced for us and painted our faces," she says. "We also had the opportunity to visit a carrot farm and pick carrots with the ladies who were there. They were so excited to have us working right alongside them."
"It was really cool to be a part of their culture," Dalton adds, with a smile.
Grateful for the mental and spiritual benefits the South African experience afforded her, Dalton says she came away with an even greater appreciation for food, water, and relationships. She also hopes to organize similar international agriculture mission trips for other students in FFA or agriculture-related fields.
Being involved in FFA and a student at MSU has "made me really want to be an advocate for agriculture and youth leadership," says Dalton, adding, "I'm excited to see where it takes me."
Suzanne Schultz chose agricultural leadership as a concentration in agricultural information systems in the School of Human Sciences. She is an ambassador for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "I grew up around agriculture but I didn't find my passion until I joined FFA in high school. I now see a vision of helping younger children develop a passion for agriculture sooner than I did. I want to show kids that agriculture is something that you can make your own. Whatever you see possible in this industry is something you can make happen," she said. Her favorite aspect of the major is the people. "Both faculty and my peers make every day at MSU an experience I will cherish through the years." She encourages anyone who wants to pursue a career in agriculture to explore the major. "Agricultural information systems as a major is so diverse. I hope new students will see the incredible opportunities this major affords."
Sydney Peek is an ambassador for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She is an animal and dairy sciences major. "I chose this major because I have always had a passion for working with animals. I also have a lifelong interest in veterinary medicine," she said. Sydney's goal is to work with animal owners and teach them positive care habits. She is most excited about the hands-on experience the major offers. She also appreciates the faculty and staff in the department. "People are always willing to lend a helping hand and help me in my career path," she said. Her defining moment at MSU came early during Eminent Scholars Day in 2014. That's when she knew Mississippi State University would be her future home. "Mississippi State University offers extensive hands-on learning opportunities. The university engages with its students in a way that best ensures their success," she said.
Taylor Bocage is a fashion merchandising major from New Orleans, Louisiana and anticipates graduating in May 2019. The sounds of jazz, a strong sense of community, and getting together to celebrate any occasion are a few reasons Taylor is proud to call the 'Big Easy' home. Taylor's favorite cuisine is her dad's homemade gumbo she swears is the best anyone will ever have. Taylor says while she could go on and on about the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, two things she loves most are the college's diversity and endlessly friendly atmosphere. Taylor has a passion for fashion and says her favorite designer is Chanel because of the brand's long history and timeless class. After graduation she hopes to move to NYC and work with an established local brand as a fashion buyer. A fun fact about Taylor is when she's at MSU away from her father's famous gumbo, a close second as her culinary go-to is actually Taco Bell.
William Graves is a poultry science major from Cleveland, Alabama and anticipates graduating in fall 2018. Graves has an interesting answer when asked to list his favorite thing about home. "Home is just a comforting word, isn't it? When I think of home, I love the thought of peace and quiet. Now that I am living in a college town, it's great to get away from the hustle and bustle and go home to see the cattle grazing, ride down country roads, and sit on the porch to listen to the songs of the crickets, cicadas, and frogs as the sun sets into the night. For me, being home helps me clear my mind. Sometimes I just need to take a step back and enjoy the simpler things in life. Spending time with family and old friends, seeing so many familiar faces—it brings back a lot of good memories! Home is not simply just a place, it's a feeling." William says that his favorite part of MSU is the people. He loves the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and says "Our college excels in research. I think it's fascinating to look at all of the different studies being conducted in each of the departments." So where can we find William in his free time? He says, "If you don't find me at the poultry science building or on the farm, I'm probably going to be driving down the highway. Needless to say, I really enjoy traveling. Since moving to Mississippi, I find myself going on random day trips on the weekends to see everything that Mississippi is known for. I like to become familiar with the state that I live in. I also like to spend time relaxing, enjoying the outdoors, and hanging out with friends." At the moment he's still trying to figure out what direction to take his career. He wants to attend graduate school but he is taking it day by day and knows he will make his mind up eventually. A fun fact about Graves is at the bright, young age of 19, he was one of the youngest public officials in the state of Alabama. He served on city council in his hometown. He finished his term during the Fall 2016 semester, his first semester at MSU!
Winn Kent is interning at the Country Club of Jackson this summer. He is studying turfgrass at Mississippi State. "The Country Club of Jackson is a great working environment. I have plenty of opportunities to learn and advance my knowledge," he said. Winn said MSU has provided a knowledge base that’s proved beneficial in his internship. "MSU has given me the resources and knowledge I need to work for a golf course like the Country Club of Jackson," he said. Winn chose the major because he loves working outdoors. "I take pride in making athletic fields and golf course beautiful for the athletes," he said. The best part of the major for Winn has been the amazing staff, professors, and students. "Everyone works well with each other and is very friendly."
Zach Ishee is an agribusiness management major from Odessa, Florida who anticipates graduating in May 2018. His favorite thing about home is the heat and how it never limits him from doing his favorite outdoor activities like golfing or fishing. We asked Ishee to list his favorite things about MSU. His response? "How long do you have? There isn't much about MSU that I don't like." Zach says his favorite part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is the fact that a lot of students want to actually put the work in and impact so many different walks of life. If he's not in class or at work, you can find Zach on the greens. After he graduates he hopes to go onto graduate school or start to work in commodity trading business. A hail state fact about Zach is that he is a third generation bulldog!