MSU to Present Diversity Awards

STARKVILLE, Miss.–Mississippi State will recognize two employees, one student and a campus organization Friday [March 1] during the university’s annual diversity award program and reception.

Open to all, the 2 p.m. event in the Shackouls Honors College Forum Room of Griffis Residence Hall is sponsored by the MSU President’s Commission on the Status of Minorities.

Ravi Perry, assistant professor in the political science and public administration department, will be the featured speaker.

The 2013 honorees include (by honor):

Faculty Award–Rani Sullivan, associate professor of aerospace engineering. She has led her graduate and undergraduate students in various outreach activities, including learning experiences in engineering mechanics for incoming minority freshmen in the Bagley College of Engineering and at East and West Oktibbeha County high schools. The 2011 professor of the year in her department, she has served as faculty adviser for the Muslim Student Association since 2004 and been actively involved in numerous interfaith and intercultural activities promoting dialogues between persons of different nationalities, religions and ethnicities.

Staff Award–Angela C. Verdell, the Bagley College’s director of diversity programs and student development. Before coming to MSU, she worked for Johnson & Johnson, Shell Oil Co. and Entergy Nuclear Power, where she was instrumental in promoting and advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives. Verdell is a founding member of the Professional Leadership Alliance, a non-profit organization helping mobilize and empower underrepresented populations in the Golden Triangle. An advocate for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education) programs, she has received grants for summer and weekend enrichment programs for young underrepresented minorities and girls. She is faculty adviser for the campus Increasing Minority Access to Graduate Education Program and National Society of Blacks in Engineering chapter.  In addition to membership in the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, she is chair-elect for the National Association for Minority Engineering Program Advocates-Southern Region, among other honors.

Student Award–Katja Walter of Wasserburg am Bodensee, Germany, a senior art/graphic design major with a minor in apparel, textiles and merchandising. She has led in reactivating the MSU German Club and currently serves as its president. Walter also works as a program coordinator assistant for the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center. A participant in the campus Montgomery Leadership Program, she was selected last year for a Division of Student Affairs Spirit of State Awards and named the Study Mississippi International Undergraduate Student of the Year.

Team Award–Collegiate 4-H, a service-based organization administered by the MSU Cooperative Extension Service that works to promote youth leadership, service learning and individual and group development. The first chapter of its kind in Mississippi, the organization was re-established in 2007 by two previous 4-H members.

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