Ben Pace

Ben Pace Portrait

Hometown: Philadelphia, MS

Major: Biological Science, Pre-Dental

Ben Pace has been an MSU fan all his life. Naturally, when it came time to transfer from East Central Community College, Mississippi State ranked high on his consideration list.

“I narrowed it down to MSU and Mississippi College. I weighed my options and chose Mississippi State,”

His scholarship played a major role in his decision. Ben, who was highly active in Phi Kappa Theta at ECCC, was the recipient of MSU’s Presidential Transfer Scholarship.

A Biological Science (pre-dental) major, Ben is a member of the Pre-Dental Society and has been elected to serve as the society’s vice president. He is also active in Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-professional organization.

Ben’s ultimate goal is to work in rural dentistry.

“I’m from a small town. I want to serve the people who served me.”

Ben advises incoming students to develop strong relationships with professors and get involved on campus.

“When you’re involved, you’ll meet people who can help you along the way. You’ll also get the opportunity to help others who are struggling.”


Dee Stegall

Dee Stegall at table in front of the Student Union

Hometown: Smithville, MS

Major: Communication

If you transfer to Mississippi State, you will more than likely meet Dee Stegall, president of MSU’s Transfer Student Organization. A transfer student from Itawamba Community College, Dee fondly recalls his first experience at MSU.

“Everybody I met was genuinely interested in me. That’s something you can’t fake. They really cared.”

Today, Dee works to ensure that transfer students have the same positive experience he had when he was in their shoes.

“We work to make transfers feel comfortable. We help them get acclimated and give them all the resources they need.”

Dee also played a key role in launching the Transfer Theme Community. Transfer students can select this on-campus housing option, where an entire floor in one of the newest residence halls on campus is devoted exclusively to transfer students. Dee encourages transfer students to get involved and become leaders.

“At MSU, you can come from a community college and quickly jump into a leadership role. That’s hard to do in other places, but you can do it here.”


Hannah Harlan

Hannah Harlan

Hometown: Quitman, Mississippi

Major: Criminology

Before transferring from Jones County Community College, Hannah took a tour of MSU-Meridian and says she "immediately fell in love with campus and everything about it."

"My transition here was much easier than I could've expected. Being a student at the Meridian campus, I do have an advantage because my entire college experience is so much more personal. People are always available and ready to help with anything I may need." 

Hannah is a Criminology major, and hopes to one day work in federal law enforcement. She credits her professors with helping her prepare for her career.

"My professors are always available to help, no matter the circumstance. They are enthusiastic about every topic they teach, which makes it easier to learn and definitely more fun!"


Karleigh Kimbrell

Karleigh Kimbrell

Hometown: Pontotoc, Mississippi 

Major: English

Once Karleigh arrived on campus, she immediately knew she belonged. 

"It just felt like I was meant to be here!"

Karleigh credits on-campus involvement as being an important aspect of the Mississippi State experience. 

"I would tell transfer students to research all of the clubs and organizations on campus, just to get an idea of what's out there and where you'll fit in. There's something for everyone!"


Keyonna Wilder

Keyonna WIlder

Hometown: Mobile, Alabama

Major: Social Work

"Mississippi State made me feel like a part of the Maroon and White Family from the beginning."

During her decision process, Keyonna considered everything colleges had to offer, and found exactly what she was looking for at Mississippi State. 

Although she was already majoring in Social Work, she says that MSU reinforced her decision. Students are required to complete service learning hours by shadowing a licensed social worker for certain classes, and she believes that kind of experience is beneficial. 

"Because I'm heavily involved in student organizations, my leadership skills are steadily improving."

Keyonna loves her sorority and credits student involvement in playing a major part in her smooth transition from Faulkner State Community College. 



Micheal Reynolds

Micheal Reynolds Portrait on Meridian Campus

Hometown: Choctaw, MS

Major: Bachelor of Applied Technology, Healthcare Services

Micheal, a transfer student from East Central Community College, is one of a growing number of “non-traditional” students at MSU’s Meridian campus. While pursuing his bachelor’s degree, Micheal works for the Choctaw Health Center as an emergency medical technician (EMT). Micheal says that the proximity of the Meridian campus to his home, as well as the availability of online classes, helps him balance work with school.

“The faculty and staff here have been very supportive. They’re always willing to work with me and help with my schedule.”

One of Micheal’s favorite things about MSU-Meridian is the energetic faculty.

“When I go to class, I feel energized to want to learn more.”

He added that the professors have helped him gain a level of confidence that will help in his career. After graduation, Micheal plans to attend grad school and earn his master’s degree. His ultimate goal is to become a hospital administrator, a position that will allow him to combine the knowledge he has gained as an EMT with the administrative skills he has mastered at MSU.


Natalie Cartulla

Natalie Cartulla in Study area on Meridian Campus

Hometown: Quitman, MS

Major: Business Administration, Meridian Campus

Natalie Cartulla doesn’t fit the description of the “typical” transfer student. She’s 28 with two toddlers and a busy job schedule. Natalie, a transfer student from Meridian Community College, chose MSU’s Meridian campus partly because it is close to home. She says the night and blended courses help her balance school with her other responsibilities. At MSU-Meridian, Natalie has found a supportive faculty and staff who understand her hectic life outside the classroom.

“They go out of their way to help me with my schedule.” 

During the 2018 Maymester, Natalie visited Iceland, Scotland and Ireland as part of the “Branding the Isles” study abroad program. The highlight of her trip was meeting with the tourism board in Iceland to learn how they market their country. After graduation, Natalie plans to open her own business. She advises people in similar life situations to just 

“step out and do it. If I can finish school with two toddlers and two part-time jobs, anyone can do it.”


Rachael Carraro

Rachael Carraro portrait next to engineering project

Hometown: Hattiesburg, MS

Major: Aerospace Engineering

From the moment she stepped off the bus on a campus tour, Rachael Carraro knew MSU was the place for her.

“I could feel the atmosphere, and I loved it.”

Rachael, who was Honors President at Pearl River Community College, had received scholarship offers from some of the nation’s most prestigious schools and decided that MSU’s highly-rated aerospace engineering program was the best fit for her. One of the things she loves about the program is the camaraderie.

“We’re not competing with each other. We’re in this together.” 

Rachael’s goal is to earn a doctorate and pursue a career in the aerospace industry. She feels that MSU’s faculty is preparing her for success in her field.

“They give us the freedom to create and the hands-on experience we need to be competitive. They’re very student-oriented, and you don’t see that much anymore.”


Taylor Avera

Taylor Avera Portrait

Hometown: Stringer, MS

Major: Business Administration

When Taylor Avera visited Mississippi State’s Meridian campus, she knew immediately that she had found a home.

“I looked at all my options. I felt that this was a place where I could really connect.”

A transfer student from Jones County Junior College, Taylor changed her major from accounting to business administration, a move that she felt would better serve her long-term goals. After graduation, Taylor plans to take over her parents’ business, a successful processing plant that has been in operation for more than 30 years.

With the support of her advisors, she was able to conduct an internship at her own family’s business, developing new ways to market the company and its products. With this experience, combined with her solid business education, Taylor feels confident that she can take her family’s company to a new level of success.


Tiffany Means

Tiffany Means Portrait

Hometown: Ocean Springs, MS

Major: Secondary Education

Tiffany has a heart for teaching and wants to be a college professor. She enrolled at Meridian Community College, but she felt she needed to be at a university to fully accomplish her goals.

Although MSU-Meridian was right across the street, it felt far away.

“I thought it would be too expensive.”

But she talked to an advisor who helped her get a grant. Soon after, Tiffany was dual-enrolled at MCC and MSU-Meridian and well on her way to a seamless transfer.

MSU-Meridian has Partnership Pathways with local community colleges, including MCC. It takes the guesswork out of transferring.

“So students don’t waste time or money on the wrong classes.”

Tiffany looks forward to completing her degree at MSU-Meridian,

“Which is known for strong education programs.” 

With MSU-Meridian’s smaller classes, she already feels at home here.

“You get more one-on-one attention.” 


Tyus Harden

Tyus Harden

Hometown: Bailey, Mississippi 

Major: Secondary Education

Tyus transferred from Meridian Community College, where he was a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Upon transferring to MSU-Meridian, he received the Maroon & White scholarship and the PTK Scholarship. 

When asked about his career goals, Tyus replies that he wants to become a teacher and successful basketball coach. His advice to potential transfer students:

"Be prepared and stay focused!"


William Dean

William Dean Portrait

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Major: Biological Engineering

Will was born to be involved, and at Holmes Community College, he was. But he worried he might be lost in the crowd at a big university like MSU — especially since he didn’t start here as a freshman.

As Will soon found out, he had nothing to fear. In his first year alone, Will tutored young minorities with Men of Excellence, became a counselor at MSU’s New Maroon Camp for incoming freshmen, and gave campus tours as an MSU Roadrunner.

Meanwhile, in the lab, he’s researching paddlefish to see what clues this tough creature might hold for the future of structural engineering.

“To be so involved, plus get a research opportunity, all in my first year at MSU, was a big deal to me!”

This active Phi Theta Kappa scholar calls MSU a place of “endless possibilities,” where students become adult versions of themselves.


Feifei Zeng

Feifei Zeng ringing her cowbell with College of Business logo on wall behind

Hometown: Treviso, Italy

Major: Marketing & Foreign Language (International Business & Spanish)

"Really get to know your transfer counselors. They can help you apply for scholarships, understand transfer credits, and make your transition smooth and easy!"

To complete her degree in International Business, Feifei transferred to MSU from Carl Albert Community College in Oklahoma. Now, she's a Bulldog through and through!

"MSU is a very transfer-friendly university with great transfer scholarships," says Feifei. "They make my success their priority."

Feifei grew up in China, Italy, and the U.S. She hopes to work for a global corporation so she can travel, use her languages, and learn new cultures.