Five BCoE students have ‘Spirit’

April 19, 2010

spiritwinners-300x232STARKVILLE, Miss— Challenging common stereotypes, five Bagley College of Engineering students have combined academic success with dance, athletics, international travel, and party-planning to earn Mississippi State’s premier student award.

These students were among 22 from across the university to be recognized with the 2010 Spirit of State Award. Recipients were nominated or received references from others in the MSU community for demonstrated classroom success, campus involvement and service to the community and MSU.

This year’s recipients from the BCoE include (by hometown):

ABERDEEN—Andy Jones is a senior in aerospace engineering. In addition to maintaining grades that earned dean’s list, honor society, and Aerospace Engineering Sophomore Student of the Year honors, he organized MSU’s Disc Golf Team. He started the club in 2009, and as co-captain helped lead the team to a national championship title that same year.

He is recognized for overcoming numerous obstacles, including financial difficulties, to design and build the campus’ first disc golf course. In the wake of the team’s success, construction is underway for a second “national caliber” course.

D’IBERVILLE—Senior biological engineering major Andrew Diaz has been active on MSU’s campus since his freshman year. In four years at State he has been a student recruiter through the Roadrunners organization, a researcher for the Office of Technology Commercialization, and an active member of the Catholic Student Association and Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, serving as vice president of chapter development and president.

He holds membership in Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi and Order of Omega honor societies. Through his activities, Diaz has contributed to numerous charitable programs. He worked with Habitat for Humanity on the Gulf Coast, completed a mission trip to Mexico and coordinated his fraternity’s Valentine’s Day 5k.

JACKSON—A senior industrial engineering major, Swati Desai is said to have “played a major role in promoting diversity at MSU.” As a freshman, she founded Nach, an Indian dance group that has helped introduce MSU students to Indian culture. Through Nach, she has participated in numerous campus celebrations, including the International Fiesta, and helped create a multi-national entertainment program in collaboration with MSU’s Lab Rats comedy group.

She currently serves as president of the Indian Student Association, MSU’s largest international student group. She has helped the organization raise more than $25,000, with $5,000 coming from organizing campus game day parking. Desai also exhibits her MSU spirit by welcoming new students to campus. She organizes necessary transportation for international students, including rides from the airport to campus. She helps these students find affordable off-campus housing and make arrangements to establish a residence in the United States. She is a graduate of the Mississippi School for Math and Science.

LAUREL—James Adam Jones is a doctoral student in computer science. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Mississippi State. For two years, he participated in the MSU Global Leadership Program—Korean Study Tour. He used this experience as a member of MSU Globetrotters to help students who are interested in study abroad prepare for the experience. He also helps with the Korean Exchange Student Orientation program using his experience in Korea to help students bridge cultural differences and adjust to life in America.

Since 2006, he has worked in the MSU Augmented and Virtual Reality perception Research Lab where he has developed experiments and conducted studies to further its mission. Jones is also a member of the newly formed Human Factors and Ergonomics Society at MSU. He is considered a great mentor to students in all levels of study and has been a guest lecturer for the computer science and engineering department. He also has served as a publication reviewer for several professional and research organizations.

TEXARKANA, Texas—Senior biomedical engineering major Nathan Johnson is responsible for organizing one of the most unique events in recent MSU history, RAVE in the Library. Scheduled as a stress-reliever for the week of finals in December 2009, the event attracted more than 4,000 students to Mitchell Memorial Library for a night of music and dancing. The event is credited with not only creating excitement among current students, but also stirring feelings of pride within the entire Bulldog community.

Johnson runs cross country for MSU’s track and field team. He is part of MSU’s Shackouls Honor College and has been a member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll. Away from campus, he has volunteered with Peachtree Hospice in Texarkana, Texas, and Camp Discovery, which caters to children with skin conditions, which might prevent them from enjoying traditional summer activities.

For more information about the Spirit of State Awards visit its website.

More information about the BCoE can be found at