STARKVILLE, Miss.--Two Mississippi State students in the university's College of Architecture, Art and Design are each receiving nearly $17,000 in scholarships from the American Home Furnishings Alliance.
The 2013 AHFA Scholars include interior design majors Jessica Kent, a junior from Arab, Ala., and Anna L. Strohm, a sophomore from Gallatin, Tenn.
Based in North Carolina, AHFA is the world's largest and most influential trade organization serving the home furnishings industry. Last year, it awarded four scholarships to MSU majors in the college.
Kent is the daughter of Jeff and Sonya Talley and Shane and Shawn Kent, and Strohm, is the daughter of Chris and Susan Strohm.
Kent said she plans to open a design and furnishing business after graduation.
"When I first found out that I had received this scholarship, I was in disbelief," said Kent. "When I finally came to the realization that it was true, I was so happy because all of my hard work thus far is paying off. The committee could see how much it means to me to be successful in school and in my career, and they want to help me fulfill my dreams."
Similarly, Strohm said she was honored, shocked and excited, and immediately called her parents.
"The smile literally could not be wiped off my face all day," she said.
Strohm is working to expand her efforts to become more environmentally conscious, with a goal of incorporating that knowledge into her design creations. She also has plans to create more multifunctional furniture pieces that meet the demands of today's market.
Bill Martin, director of MSU's Franklin Furniture Institute, was instrumental in helping the students achieve these scholarships.
"The institute is pleased to be able to secure scholarships for students interested in pursuing a career in the furniture and home furnishings industries," Martin said.
To qualify, scholarship candidates must write an essay describing how they would apply their degrees in the furniture and home furnishings industries. They also must be enrolled in one of four partnering academic units of the furniture institute, including MSU's colleges of Architecture, Art and Design; Business; Forest Resources or the Bagley College of Engineering.
"We appreciate the opportunity for interior design students to be considered as applicants for this prestigious scholarship," said Beth Miller, director of the interior design program and interim associate dean of the College of Art, Architecture and Design. "We always are excited for our students who receive the scholarships and look forward to their continued success."