Graduating senior Kali Hicks said “intentional relationships” have been key to her successful career at Mississippi State. Her favorite part of the university is the people.
“By being here, I have been able to meet and collaborate with people from all around the United States and the world,” she said. “I hope my MSU impact will be that people have been changed for the better because of my service and friendship, and now they feel empowered to positively impact those surrounding them.”
The Franklin, Tennessee native is a communication/public relations and foreign languages (Spanish) double-major with a sociology minor in the College of Arts and Sciences. She also is part of the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, graduating this week as a Stephen D. Lee Scholar—an honorary designation for those attaining a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.
Hicks recently received the 2019 Public Relations Association of Mississippi Student of the Year award and a Spirit of State award. She is a member of MSU’s most recent class of Society of Scholars, and among inaugural inductees of the new Gamma of Mississippi Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
Hicks also has served the university while earning her degree.
“Investing in people is one of the most important things you can do in your life,” she said.
She credits Margaret Hagerman, MSU assistant professor of sociology, with shaping her worldview of learning.
“She has emphasized the importance of being a life-long learner and has taught me the importance of respectfully discussing the challenging, important topics of life. She is inclusive of all and truly helps students grow academically and individually,” Hicks said.
“Dr. Hagerman has inspired me more as an individual than I think any other teacher in my life,” she added. Hicks’ capstone instructor Karyn Brown, College of Arts and Sciences director of communication, also is her “greatest encourager and mentor.”
Hicks hopes to make a difference in the lives of others, a dream she feels MSU has equipped her to achieve in the workforce. She hopes to work for an international nonprofit organization.
“I have always felt called to occupations that directly impact people’s lives, and I know my studies at MSU will aid me in doing that with my future,” Hicks said.
A member of Delta Gamma sorority and an Alumni Delegate for the MSU Alumni Association, Hicks said some of her fondest memories include her four consecutive years participating in New Maroon Camp. From a 2015 camper to an executive staff member in 2018, Hicks called her service “life-changing.”