Four students honored with 2014 Spirit of State Award

May 7, 2014

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Four Bagley College of Engineering students received MSU’s premier student award at an April reception.

The annual Spirit of State Awards recognize students for their leadership, service and impact at MSU. Winners are selected from a pool of students nominated by MSU faculty, staff, or students.

The 2014 winners from the BCoE are Justin Cooper, Apurba Nandi, Nandita Gupta and Sunny Patel (by hometown):

GULFPORT – Senior civil engineering major Justin Cooper has been a member, as well as held office, in several student organizations during his time at Mississippi State. He said he appreciates the level of opportunity and equality that is felt throughout the university structure.

Cooper served as the 2012 ticketing chair for Music Maker Productions, as well as the 2013 co-director of Bulldog Bash. He is also an active member of Kappa Sigma fraternity, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.

Cooper is the son of Chris and Cindy Cooper.

NARAIL, Bangladesh – Apurba Nandi, an industrial engineering doctoral student, holds leadership positions in three student organizations. Out of many rewarding opportunities at Mississippi State, he says his favorite has been serving as the president of the MSU student chapter of the Institute for Operational Research and the Management Sciences.

Additionally, Nandi is the president of the Bangladesh Association of Mississippi State and the vice president of the Graduate Student Association. He also received a fellowship from the BCoE last year.

Nandi is the son of Vagabat and Shila Nandi.

PUNE, India – Senior electrical engineering major Nandita Gupta serves on the International Student Advisory Board, which assists international students in their transition to Mississippi State. She says she loves the diversity and true maroon spirit at MSU, and she believes that this spirit is the first thing noticed when walking around campus.

As vice president and instructor of the MSU Ballroom Dancing Club, Gupta uses her love of dancing to creating awareness for the ballroom sport. She also serves as an Electrical and Computer Engineering Student Ambassador, and a member of the Maroon Volunteer Center and EcoCar2 vehicle design team.

Gupta is the daughter of Kirti and Santosh Gupta.

SOUTHAVEN – Sunny Patel, a senior industrial engineering major, is a member of the Famous Maroon Band and the University Wind Ensemble. He ranks serving as the drum captain for the Famous Maroon Band as one of his most rewarding experiences. He says that he would not trade for anything his time leading the Mississippi State drumline onto the football field.

Patel is a Montgomery Leadership Program fellow and a mentor with Project AIM at Ward Stewart Elementary. He is also an intern at the University Christian Student Center. Along with serving on the Student Association Cabinet in Academic Affairs, he holds membership in the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the Honor Code Council.

Patel is the son of Bharat and Malti Patel.

Started in 2006, the MSU Spirit of State Award, is given to those who demonstrate outstanding achievement in campus involvement and service while impacting their peers and the MSU community.

More information on the Bagley College of Engineering can be found at

By: Amanda Meeler