Sen. Roger Wicker, Boeing visit MSU for updates on impactful research, student opportunities

Boeing representatives present a check to MSU President Mark E. Keenum
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., joined MSU President Mark E. Keenum and officials from The Boeing Company to share in Boeing’s donation of $30,000 in new STEM scholarships. Boeing officials, left to right, included Director of State Govt. Relations Chrystal Morgan; Director of Boeing’s Global Engagement; Betsy Martin, Boeing’s Director of Federal Go t. Affairs Rachel Lipsey, and Aurora’s Aerosystems VP Luke Colville. (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

University to receive a $30,000 investment to fund scholarship programs for students seeking degrees in STEM

Contact: James Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University is sharing its growing research and development capabilities with U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and officials from The Boeing Company this week.

MSU President Mark E. Keenum and other campus leaders welcomed the visitors for a day of tours and briefings to update them on a wide range of projects that are helping reach solutions to some of society’s most pressing challenges. MSU was also able to highlight its robust national defense research portfolio that includes several Department of Defense partnerships.

During the Monday [Oct. 31] visit, Boeing presented the university with a $30,000 donation to fund scholarships and programs for students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, disciplines.

“I greatly appreciate Boeing’s support for our students and the opportunity to host company leaders and Senator Wicker for a series of meaningful discussions,” Keenum said. “Innovative research like the work we carry out here at MSU is critical to both advancing our economy and ensuring a strong national defense. We are also training the future leaders who will be charged with solving critical challenges in the decades ahead. It was a pleasure to discuss current priorities and opportunities with a leading global aerospace company and leaders in government.”

A member of the U.S. Senate since 2007, Wicker is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He is also the second-highest ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. During his visit to campus, Wicker spoke to students in Keenum’s presidential leadership class, a course that frequently introduces students to leaders across the state who share lessons learned from their respective careers.

 “Mississippi State is a national leader in science and technology. I was glad to get an update directly on the university’s recent work from their faculty and students,” Wicker said. “It is clear that Mississippi State has been working hard to build meaningful relationships with private partners like Boeing who will help our students access educational opportunities. I am confident that our students are charting the country’s future, right here at MSU.”

Roger Wicker and Trey Breckenridge look at MSU's Orion Supercomputer
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, left, and MSU Director of High Performance Computing Trey Breckenridge discuss the capabilities of the university's Orion supercomputer, one of the most powerful computers in the country housed on a university campus. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Wicker and Boeing officials toured MSU’s High Performance Computing Collaboratory, which is home to Orion, the sixth-fastest supercomputer housed on a university campus. The group also toured the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems and received an update from the university’s Athlete Engineering research group, which is at the forefront of using new wearable technologies and advanced data analytics to improve human performance and prevent injury in sports, industrial, military and at-risk settings.

“Education and research partnerships with institutions like Mississippi State University help us diversify and strengthen our talent pipeline,” said Ziad Ojakli, Boeing’s executive vice president of Government Operations. “Living our values – including diversity, equity and inclusion – is a key driver behind Boeing’s success and ability to innovate for customers. Today’s investment will help the university recruit and retain underrepresented students by reducing financial barriers, so students can focus on developing critical skills necessary to succeed in today’s dynamic labor environment.”

In 2019, MSU and Boeing officials marked the opening of the Marvin B. Dow Stitched Composites Development Center at the MSU Advanced Composites Institute after the company selected MSU to create a stitched, resin-infused composites lab to advance the development of composite structures technology. Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences has a 120,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing facility located in Columbus. MSU’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory served as incubator space for Aurora’s Mississippi-based manufacturing operations.

Boeing funding includes:

— Six $2,500 scholarships for underrepresented students majoring in mechanical engineering or aerospace engineering.

— Two $2,500 scholarships for students majoring in mechanical engineering or aerospace engineering.

— $2,500 for the Society of Automotive Engineers Baja and/or Formula car teams.

— $2,500 for the MSU Space Cowboys rocketry team.

—$2,500 for MSU's chapter of the Society of Women Engineers.

—$2,500 for MSU's chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

About Boeing:

As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing's diverse team is committed to innovating for the future, leading with sustainability, and cultivating a culture based on the company's core values of safety, quality and integrity. Join our team and find your purpose at