DeSoto County student at MSU receives national student affairs honor

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

Isaac Lias Jr. (Photo by Beth Wynn)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A senior educational psychology major at Mississippi State is being recognized by the nation’s leading association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession.

Isaac L. Lias Jr. of Southaven has been accepted into the 2016-17 NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP). MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Regina Hyatt, who is serving as Lias’s mentor throughout the program, praised the DeSoto County native for demonstrating exemplary leadership skills through his on-campus involvement.

“Isaac is an outstanding undergraduate student whose experiences have led him to consider a career working in student affairs. His acceptance as an NUFP fellow will solidify this decision and give him an opportunity to explore his future profession from many new perspectives,” Hyatt said.

“I am grateful to be part of Isaac’s journey and am excited to mentor him through his NUFP experience,” she added.

In addition to regular interactions with Hyatt, Lias said he found inspiration for a career in student affairs while serving as president and vice president of Men of Excellence. The student organization works to encourage and support the inclusion and educational success of underrepresented groups at Mississippi State.

“My passion for diversity and inclusion is the main reason why I want to go into student affairs,” Lias said. “The Lord’s put me around so many people at Mississippi State who continually inspire me. HCDC (Holmes Cultural Diversity Center) is like another home for me.”

A minority and first-generation college student himself, Lias enjoys lending his perspective as a coordinator for the Student Association’s Diversity and Outreach Committee. He also is serving his second year as a resident adviser for the Department of Housing and Residence Life.

Through his NUFP experience, Lias is networking with others from around the nation who are equally passionate about campus diversity and inclusion, especially among students.

“I’m thankful for programs like NASPA,” he said. “I want to bring back what I learn through my experiences and do initiatives on campus to enhance the student experience.”

Following graduation in May 2017, Lias plans to pursue a master’s in student affairs and later a doctorate. He also expressed interest in returning to MSU in a professional role after completing his degrees.

The NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program seeks to increase the number of historically disenfranchised and underrepresented professionals in student affairs and/or higher education.

This includes but is not limited to individuals of racial and ethnic-minority backgrounds, those with a documented disability, and those who identify as LGBTQ. For more, visit

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