MSU Story State winners spotlight strength, identity

Contact: Sarah Nicholas

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The winners of a statewide storytelling competition all hail from Mississippi State University and received top prizes for their moving narratives of struggles, human triumph and finding identity through poetry.

Kamree Howard portrait
Kamree Howard (Submitted photo)

Hosted by MSU, Story State seeks work—written, oral or filmed— from the best collegiate storytellers in the Magnolia State and is open to all students enrolled at one of Mississippi’s institutions of higher learning. Winners of the written and oral categories received $100, and the competition’s overall winner was named Master Storyteller and earned an additional $150.

Kamree Howard, a sophomore psychology major from Ellisville, was named 2024’s Master Storyteller and won first place in the written category for her story “Magnolia,” a nonfiction narrative about the effects of her parent’s divorce.

Second place was awarded to Evelin “Jo” Aguilar, a junior architecture major from Pearl, for her story “Master Plan,” a piece capturing the emotions of a college student seeking to explore himself but feeling tied to his familial responsibilities back home.

Samuel Hughes, a senior communication and Spanish double major from Biloxi, won third place for his “Saddiq Dzukogi: Exploring identity through poetry,” a profile of MSU faculty member Saddiq Dzukogi, an assistant professor of English and an acclaimed poet.

In the oral category, first place was awarded to Raylen Ladner, a senior communication major from Diamondhead, for her podcast “Crawfish,” an investigation into the crawfish industry in relation to climate change.

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