A Mississippi State doctoral student from Tylertown is the first from the university to earn a prestigious fellowship awarded by the Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
Kristopher A. McKenzie is among 40 from around the nation chosen for the 2014 Chateaubriand Fellowship. The lone selection from Mississippi, he also is one of only 18 engineering majors who will be working at a French research laboratory.
Both MSU and Georgia Tech-Lorraine, the Peach State university's satellite campus in France, will be supporting McKenzie's trip and research program.
For the son of Ricky and Paula McKenzie, the fellowship is providing his first travel experience outside the United States--something he looks forward to very much.
"I have always been very eager to experience life in other countries, but I have never had the opportunity" McKenzie said. "And, I do not just mean visiting other countries, but actually living and working there.
"Throughout my life I have tried to see things from different perspectives, and this will be a chance to do just that," he said. "I am sure it will be an enlightening experience and I am excited about that."
McKenzie, a 2011 summa cum laude MSU mechanical engineering graduate, currently is pursuing a terminal degree in the major, with an emphasis in material science.
McKenzie said he learned of the fellowship assistant professor Haitham El Kadiri, his Bagley College of Engineering departmental adviser since the 2011 fall semester.
"Kristopher is a very dedicated student," El Kadiri said. "A student will not be able to succeed if they are not self-motivated and study the depth of their research."
El Kadiri said McKenzie fits that scholar profile because he "always goes the extra mile in his work; he is a perfectionist in his homework, exams and research."
According to El Kadiri, the fellowship is mutually beneficial for American and French research interests.
"Having American students study in France enhances the engineering curriculum of America," he observed. "This is an opportunity for students to enhance collaboration between France and the United States and to get a good blend between the two cultures."
For more information on the Chateaubriand Fellowship, visit www.chateaubriand-fellowship.org.
More information about Mississippi State University is available at www.msstate.edu.