Profile: Lokesh Shivakumaraiah
When Lokesh Shivakumaraiah left his home of Bangalore, India, and arrived at Mississippi State University 12 years ago, little did he know how his career path would lead him to help other international students in the future.
Shivakumaraiah chose MSU to pursue his master's degree in electrical engineering. He quickly became involved in the Indian Student Association, the Starkville Multi-Cultural Lion's Club, and other activities. Upon completion of his master's degree, he stayed on to earn a doctorate in computer engineering. He excelled in the design of electronic chips and worked in the industry for some time. But after years of graduate school and college life as an MSU student, he realized that in addition to his own academic field, he had developed a passion for working with student affairs.
Shivakumaraiah had worked with many student affairs personnel, related to his roles as an international student and founder of MSU's Cricket Club. He appreciated the MSU staff members who were helpful, as they encouraged and assisted students with a variety of needs.
Shivakumaraiah said international students, who face the daunting challenge of living in an unfamiliar place, often communicating in an unfamiliar language, especially need support and help during their time on campus.
With a first-hand understanding of the international student perspective, he stepped into his first staff role at the university in 2007 when he became coordinator of international student recruitment in the Office of Admissions and Scholarships. He now serves in the university's International Institute as interim manager of international education.
"I have an opportunity to have a much bigger impact to support MSU's mission of globalization," Shivakumaraiah said. "I am very excited about working with the International Institute."
Not only does Shivakumaraiah get to help international students who come to MSU, but he explained that the institute's projects, like the recent conference on global food security issues, can have a great impact on other nations and their citizens around the world. The work also bolsters MSU's reputation for research and expertise on issues of global relevance.
"And it develops a good relationship between the U.S. and other countries when we contribute to helping solve problems," Shivakumaraiah said. Shivakumaraiah said he works to ensure that international students get a warm welcome as they begin their studies at MSU. He also is helping spread the message that Mississippi is a world-renowned destination for those seeking higher education through his work with StudyMississippi, a state-wide consortium of educational institutions spearheaded by Shivakumaraiah to connect international students and professionals with quality education and training.
While Shivakumaraiah teaches in the College of Engineering, his many honors and awards point to his success in student affairs. MSU's Division of Student Affairs named him Outstanding Professional of the Year for 2010. In 2011, the Mississippi World Trade Center gave him the Excellence in International Education Award.Writer: Allison Matthews | Photo: Megan Bean
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