Kiana Elkins: Finding Her Place at a Global Institution

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Kiana Elkins: Finding Her Place at a Global Institution
portrait of a woman with black hair and glasses in maroon coat

Kiana Elkins, junior Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities major and Women and Gender Studies and Peace and Justice Studies minor, has taken advantage of everything MSU has to offer, including student scholarships, study abroad, and several interesting extracurricular opportunities.

Why did you come to MSU?
I moved back to Michigan from Florida my senior year of high school, and I didn’t know much of anything about Michigan universities because I had been planning on going to school in Florida. Coming back to Michigan, I knew what I wanted out of a university. I wanted to go to a school with a large student body. I wanted to go to a school that had opportunities for me to study abroad and be involved heavily on campus and in the community. I wanted to go somewhere that had great programs that were specific to my interest. MSU was the most obvious choice when I started to look into schools because it checked off all those needs.

You received the Global Studies Arts and Humanities Study Abroad Scholarship for $1,500, the 2016 Nora Sager Stackhouse for $1,600, and the 2016 College of Arts & Letters (CAL) Community Partner Award. How have these affected your experience at MSU?
I ABSOLUTELY would not have been able to afford my study abroad in Jordan summer 2016 without the Global Studies award and the Nora Sager Stackhouse award. While in Jordan, we completed Arabic 201 and 202. This was an intensive language study abroad because we completed a years’ worth of Arabic in two months.

What have you been involved with, on and off campus?
I am the founder, photographer and writer for MSU Women of Excellence. I established a photography series to recognize the achievements of women at MSU. It was important to me to share stories of amazing women at the University because we all need to be recognized for our achievements.

I am also the co-founder, speaker and volunteer organizer of the “The House of Promise/MSU LEAD Campaign.” We organized a fundraising series to garner financial and community support for survivors of human trafficking. I created this group because I am devastated by the horrors of human trafficking and wanted to do something about it. We’ve helped raise over $30,000 for the nonprofit, The House of Promise.

I am also involved with the Successful Black Women of MSU as a street team coordinator, membership chair and historian. I joined this organization because I needed to be in a community of Black people, especially Black women. I was voted onto the Executive my second semester of my freshman year because I did so much as a general member.

woman posing for picture in front of cityscape in jordan
Kiana Elkins in Jordan

What advice would you give current students entering MSU and the College of Arts & Letters?
Take advantage of everything. MSU has so many organizations to be part of, but there are also amazing speakers, films, projects and communities happening every day. There’s always a chance to learn something new outside of the classroom, and it’s amazing and beautiful.

This is absolutely a bias opinion, but the College of Arts & Letters is the best college on campus. Our faculty and staff are wonderful and dedicated to students. I have never felt lost or unsupported by the people who work in the College. There’s so many people you can go to for help, and you definitely should. Even if you don’t need help, the faculty and staff are interesting and knowledgeable and there’s so much to learn from them.