Isaac Lias (Student)
Junior psychology education major Isaac L. Lias saw an attitude problem that troubled him. Now, it’s his personal mission to bring about a change.
As a minority student, the Southaven native said he has dedicated himself to showing Mississippi State’s culturally and racially diverse student body that all on campus have equally important voices that need to be heard.
“Don’t judge people by their cover,” Lias tells others in his battle against stereotyping.
Lias said he regularly encourages fellow students to look past skin color and recognize others for who they are inside. “Stop leaning on curiosity and just go talk to the person that may look differently than you,” he said.
The mission is undertaken, in part, through his duties as president of Men of Excellence. A program of the university’s Richard Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, MOE works with “undergraduate minority males to promote academic excellence and professionalism, and also encourages a sense of brotherhood and provides an accountability system,” he explained.
“In Men of Excellence, we teach that, although you may be a minority group at Mississippi State, don’t victimize yourself,” he said. “Some are more privileged than others, but you can’t let that hinder your experience at college.”
In addition to providing a prominent platform to help instill confidence in his peers, Lias said MOE has made possible numerous other opportunities for him to flourish personally while pursuing a degree. When not carrying out the duties of office or in class, he is a resident adviser in Oak Hall, member of the Student Honor Code Council and president of Generation 6:20, a Christian ministry on campus.
Being a first-generation college student and oldest of five children also leads him to work continually to set a high standard for his siblings and other relatives, the President’s List scholar stressed. “I want to show them that they can come to college and succeed; I want them to know that they are going to do something with their life.”
Lias credits MSU for helping him find his purpose in life—helping others. He said that focus is what drives his success educationally, professionally and morally.