Discovering Strengths Through Curiosity at Millsaps

Amber Ewing

May 8, 2024

"Student support is always emphasized, so I also felt that in attending Millsaps, I would be backed by faculty who cared about their students!"

Curiosity is a funny thing.

For some, the saying “curiosity killed the cat” is a warning not to stray from what they know. And some understand that without curiosity, they might not uncover their hidden talents.

For sophomore Kris Arrington, curiosity is one of her greatest strengths.

Hailing from Madison, Mississippi and a graduate of Germantown High School, Arrington’s college decision was influenced by Millsaps’ intimate community and emphasis on student support.

“The college’s environment showed me that Millsaps would be a great place to foster relationships with faculty and connect with my peers,” she said.

“Student support is always emphasized, so I also felt that in attending Millsaps, I would be backed by faculty who cared about their students!”

Arrington began her time at Millsaps following her curiosity through the college’s liberal arts core curriculum. Along the way, with faculty support, she began narrowing her interests.

Arrington’s favorite class, Introduction to Community Engagement, taught by Alex Melnick ’16, adjunct professor of community engagement, provided her with valuable insights into the community dynamics of Jackson, shaping her views on communication and activism.

“Professor Melnick would ask us about the highs and lows of our days, read from philosophers, volunteer in Jackson and help us reevaluate our ideas of help for need-based communities,” Arrington said.

Arrington received support from Liz Egan, director of the Centers for Writing and Academic Success and creative writing instructor, and Dr. Michael Pickard, associate professor of English and creative writing and Chair of the English Department.

Egan encouraged Arrington to pursue a creative writing project where she developed a pitch for a fictitious novel. The project required Arrington to conduct market research, investigate different jobs in the novel-making process, mockup pages of the novel and create an advertising poster.

Pickard encouraged Arrington to pursue an internship with the Medgar and Myrlie Evers’s Museum.

Millsaps student Kris Arrington leads a tour through the Medgar and Myrlie Evers’s Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.The internship, focused on history and interpretation, provided Arrington with valuable experience at a national monument central to the Civil Rights Movement.

“The English department’s encouragement and support have been instrumental to my success so far at Millsaps,” Arrington reflected.

The math department provided Arrington with opportunities to explore new horizons and challenge herself in unexpected ways.

Last summer, a friend noticed Arrington’s curiosity about the math department. She/he suggested Arrington attend a national math conference in Florida with other students and Dr. Alex Rice, professor of mathematics and director of the honors program.

“Getting to know Dr. Rice helped me solidify my minor in math,” she said. “I knew that it would be possible, even if I didn’t initially have confidence in my skills coming into college. Millsaps has allowed me to occupy spaces I’d never seen myself in before.”

Outside of class, Arrington participates in various activities like the Millsaps Gardening Club, Black Girl Projects, Pride Club and the Pan-African Student Alliance. She also works as a writing consultant at the Center for Academic Success and Excellence and tutors for the math department. She also sings in the Galloway Church Choir.

Additionally, Arrington volunteers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center where she is learning more about her prospective career: medicine.

After graduation, she plans on pursuing a master’s degree in statistics and public health. She will also be working on her application to medical school.