MSU recognizes 19 students with 2016 Spirit of State Awards

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Pictured with MSU President Mark E. Keenum, center, are the 2016 Spirit of State honorees. (Photo by Russ Houston)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Nearly 20 Mississippi State students are receiving the university’s premier student recognition for exceptional personal contributions to campus life.

Now in its eleventh year, the Spirit of State Awards program organized by the university’s Division of Student Affairs formally honors those who have made a positive impact on peers and the broader campus community through organizational involvement, service to the institution and personal actions promoting school spirit and tradition.

Those selected have been nominated either by faculty and staff members or fellow students. A minimum 2.25 grade point average and good academic and disciplinary standing within the university are among the eligibility criteria.

The 2016 Spirit of State Award recipients include (by hometown):

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama—Audrey B. Sanderson, a senior elementary education major.

BROOKHAVEN—Jeronn R. Parker, a senior biological sciences major.

CLINTON—Joseph L. Metz, a junior history major.

EULESS, Texas—Jose Santos Portugal III, a life sciences/entomology doctoral student.

FLOWOOD—Natalie M. Jones, a senior English and sociology double-major.

GRENADA—Karen H. Chan, a senior communication/broadcasting and public relations major.

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama—Mikaela S. Gold, a senior biological sciences/pre-medicine major.

KOSCIUSKO—Blake Trehern, a senior management major.

LOVELAND, Ohio—Ashton E. Braddock, a senior communication/public relations major.

MACON—Christian L. Good, a senior agribusiness/management major.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee—Heidi M. Meeks, a senior biological sciences/pre-medicine major.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana—Jamel H. Alexander, a mechanical engineering doctoral student who earlier completed a master’s in the subject at MSU.

PASCAGOULA—Kevin X. Martinez, a senior educational psychology major; and Katherine L. “Kaylie” Mitchell, a senior art/graphic design major.

PICAYUNE—Joseph M. “JoJo” Dodd, a senior economics/pre-medicine major.

RIPLEY—Antonio D. Arnett, a senior educational psychology major.

STARKVILLE—Holly M. Travis, a senior political science and criminology double-major.

TOOMSUBA—Heather M. Cutway, a senior special education major at the MSU-Meridian Campus.

VERO BEACH, Florida—Vanessa N. Velasquez, a senior business administration/international business and foreign language double-major.

Information about MSU’s Division of Student Affairs may be found at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at