Two Mississippi State students have received top honors by the international education consortium StudyMississippi.
Senior Katja Walter and doctoral student Aparna Krishnavajhala were named the 2012 StudyMississippi International Students of the Year in the undergraduate and graduate categories, respectively.
Established in 2011, StudyMississippi is a network of educational institutions throughout the state working to connect international students and professionals with educational and training opportunities in Mississippi.
Walter is a graphic design major and a native of Wasserburg Am Bodensee, Germany. She is president of the German Club, a member of the Montgomery Leadership Program, in addition to other clubs, councils and honor societies on campus. Walter also works with the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center to develop new programs for international students at MSU.
Walter said the award came as a pleasant surprise.
"There are so many great international students here, so I did not expect this," Walter said. "But I am really thankful for StudyMississippi and this award. It's encouraging to know that international students can be recognized for their hard work, and it pushes me to work even harder."
Krishnavajhala, a doctoral student in Veterinary Medicine Science, is a native of Chandavaram, India -- a small village which she continues to impact through her service. She supports Krishnavajhala Mallikharjuna Vara Prasad Sarma Rural India Education Fund, which provides uniforms, books, and other supplies to local students. Krishnavajhala said her passion to help others motivates her to succeed so that she can have the most impact.
"I will make my village different. My vision is 100 percent literacy in my village," Krishnavajhala said.
Krishnavajhala also was named the best doctoral student for the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. She is a member of the Starkville Multi-Culture Lions Club.
"Mississippi State University is honored that we have not one but both students to be selected for this accolade," said MSU International Institute Director Benjy Mikel. "They have represented MSU well and it is a testament to the quality of all the students who make up the Bulldog Nation."
"All the credit goes to Katja and Aparna for their hard work and extraordinary services to our campus and local community," added Lokesh Shivakumaraiah, interim manager of MSU international education.
For more information on StudyMississippi, visit www.studymississippi.us. For more on Mississippi State, visit www.msstate.edu.