Upon arrival at Mississippi State, international student Feifei Zeng knew she wanted to pursue every opportunity to flourish at the university. Currently a junior completing her second semester, the first-generation college student is well on her way to achieving that goal with the help of campus mentors.
Originally from China, Zeng moved with her family to Italy when she was 11. She came to the United States for the first time as a high school senior for an exchange program at Fort Smith, Arkansas. Leadership opportunities there inspired her to further her education in the U.S.
After high school, Zeng enrolled at Carl Albert State College in southeastern Oklahoma. She would go on to become chapter president of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year institutions of higher learning. The leadership position enabled her to attend a California conference where she met an admissions counselor that introduced her to MSU.
With the counselor's encouragement, Zeng applied for admission and visited MSU during the spring semester. She said the visit further validated her decision to enroll. The primary reason she chose MSU: "It was very transfer friendly, and I loved the people when I came to visit."
As an international business major in the College of Business, she is learning a fourth language, Spanish. She also is participating in as many activities as her schedule allows.
"I found endless opportunities for leadership growth and academic growth," Zeng said. "I don't think that I could have had so many opportunities if I had gone to a different university."
She is a member of the MSU Foundation Ambassadors, Montgomery Leadership Project, International Business Society, Financial Management Association and Shackouls Honors College's Honors Council. On the honors council, she is a member of the recruitment committee.
Additionally, she works 20 hours a week in the College of Arts and Sciences dean's office and considers her coworkers as her "A and S family."
Zeng said none of these achievements would have been possible without some special mentors, including the deans of arts and sciences, business and the honors college. She also expressed appreciation to adoptive parents she met through the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center's LINC program and a leadership class taught by MSU First Lady Rhonda Newman Keenum. All helped her find a home away from home, she said.
"I don't want people to think that I got to where I am today without anybody's help," she added.
Zeng said has made it her personal mission to inspire other students facing challenges to reach out to faculty and staff for help finding leadership and involvement opportunities.
Because of the numerous organizations and devoted supporters that helped Zeng thrive at MSU, she proudly tells people, "When I think of home, I think of Mississippi State."