Alissa McKinnon (Staff)
Mississippi State University graduate student Alissa McKinnon made the most of her time as an undergraduate at MSU. Now, she’s working to ensure future students can do the same.
In high school, the Greenville native thought MSU might be too big for her, but after visiting the campus for a football game, she realized the university provides a family atmosphere, even with a large enrollment. She graduated from MSU in 2015 with a dual bachelor’s degree in communication and Spanish. After becoming involved with numerous groups while a student, McKinnon decided to pursue a master’s degree in counselor education with an emphasis in student affairs.
She was driven to do so in part by her experiences with the MSU Student Association, Music Maker Productions and other student groups. As director of Bulldog Bash, she planned one of the largest free outdoor concerts in the state of Mississippi in 2014.
“Bulldog Bash was the experience that helped me realize I could pursue student affairs and do this as a job,” McKinnon said. “When you’re the director of Bulldog Bash, you’re dealing with a lot of money and a lot of resources. People are very passionate about it.”
McKinnon worked as a graduate assistant in the Dean of Students office, where she assisted students who may have conduct issues or are going through rough times. She enjoyed helping students overcome obstacles and mistakes, especially early on in their college careers.
“When students get referred to the Dean of Students office, people are there to help them navigate through this time and get them to the next level of their own development,” McKinnon said. “I think there are a lot of students who leave the office thankful for that meeting.”
In August, McKinnon accepted a full-time position as program coordinator in MSU’s Center for Student Activities. McKinnon said she appreciates the mentors who have helped during her time on campus, like Jackie and Tabor Mullen, who both work in student affairs. She encourages new MSU students to seize every possible opportunity to get involved and recommends they take advantage of the faculty and staff here to help them.
The former Spirit of State honoree and senior homecoming maid plans to complete her master’s degree in 2017.
Now employed at her alma mater, she said the campus always will feel like home.