By Claire Winesett
Malissa Arrington began her education at Mississippi State as a third-generation Bulldog with plans of attending dental school one day; however, her experiences at the University and in the College of Arts and Sciences led to an unexpected career.
A native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Arrington graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences in 2016. But Arrington’s experiences apart from academics also influenced her time at MSU. The organizations that Arrington was involved in, and the accomplishments that she achieved through these organizations, shaped not only her legacy but also her future career plans.
Arrington was involved in many student organizations while attending MSU. She says that one of her fondest memories was serving as an orientation leader and helping new MSU students feel comfortable on campus. She also served as the Student Association treasurer which she notes as her greatest success.
“I revamped and improved the appropriations process for student organizations, allowing them to have funding for their campus programs,” Arrington said.
While working with different organizations, Arrington had the opportunity to meet and interact with many student affairs professionals on campus that would later become mentors, including: Kylie Forrester, the director of orientation; Jackie Mullen, the director of student activities; and Dr. Regina Hyatt, the vice president of student affairs.
After being exposed to the world of student affairs, Arrington realized that she wanted to pursue a career in this field. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Alabama working toward a master’s degree of higher education administration.
Bulldog pride runs deep in Arrington’s family. Her grandfather lived in MSU’s Old Main dormitory when a fire destroyed it in 1959. The bricks that remained after the fire were used to build the Chapel of Memories on campus. Because of this connection, Arrington says that her favorite MSU tradition is the Chapel of Memories' bells that chime on the hour.
“That has always been a special tradition to me,” Arrington said.
Both of Arrington’s parents also went to MSU. Her mother graduated with a bachelor’s degree in math in 1984 and her father graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1987.
“My family played a large role in my college choice, and I hope I have left a legacy at MSU that my children will someday be able to enjoy,” Arrington said.
Arrington made the most of her time at MSU, and she encourages current and future students to do the same.
“Meet new people, get involved, and enjoy every minute of it. MSU is a special place, where people of all backgrounds and interests come together to form a family,” Arrington said. “No matter where else you go in life, you will always reflect on your time at MSU as a positive, beneficial experience. Soak it all in while you can, and never miss an opportunity to make a difference in someone else's life.”
Arrington enjoys traveling, going to sporting events, being outdoors, and spending time with friends and family.