Jonathan Turner

Photo by Russ Houston

Senior psychology major Jonathan Turner believes the best atmosphere in which one can grow and develop is a positive one. Mississippi State University is such a place, he adds.

"The people who work here actually care; they want to see you grow," the Blue Springs native says.

"That's the difference," he continues, with a smile. "I doubt I could get the same experience elsewhere that I can get here at Mississippi State because we are all united under Maroon and White."

Turner recalls being a quiet person prior to enrolling four years ago. Now, he is a self-proclaimed "open book," thanks to years spent participating in MSU's Montgomery Leadership Program and Day One Leadership Community.

"Some people may not do anything because they don't believe they can have an effect on their environment, but MLP and Day One showed me that if you can affect one person, you have an effect," says the son of Benjamin Turner and Betty Ware. "You don't have to wait to be in a position of power. You can always help someone now."

He emphasizes how the "programs taught me that you can always push forward and be better than who you are now, and that's something I hold onto." Turner, whose family now resides in California, says he also enjoys his student-worker duties at MSU's nationally recognized Social Science Research Center. After receiving a bachelor's degree, he plans to either attend nursing school or pursue a master's degree in industrial psychology.

Assisting with a Habitat for Humanity home construction and visiting residents at a local adult-care facility are among his most memorable community engagement activities over the years, he says.

More than anything, Turner's higher education experiences have taught him to never give up and always keep an open mind.

"Where there's one door, there are 100 doors; try one," he advises other students. "You can do anything you want. Don't constrain yourself.

"Be who you want to be and do what you want to do; your weakness can be your strength. You've just got to turn it that way."