Dunnam O. Shirley

Dunnam O. Shirley

Where are you now? Southeast Lauderdale Middle School, Meridian, MS

Why did you decide to come to MSU and pursue a degree in education?

Education is one of my passions, and since I will be a fourth-generation educator, I consider it to be in my blood. To me, teaching is not a job; it is a calling, and I have been called. Just as many of my teachers have positively impacted my life, I want to positively impact the lives of young people for many years to come. Wherever I may be, I want to spend my life devoted to educating children, instilling in them the importance of education, and, hopefully, creating in them a passion to make education a life-long goal. As an education major, Mississippi State University had always been the natural choice for me foremost because my grandmother, mother, and aunt are all alumni of the university. In addition, I have been to many events at the college ranging from regional science fairs to sporting events and everything in between. Every time I was on the Mississippi State University campus, I felt as if I was at home, and I knew it is where I was supposed to be.

What do you want people to know about you?

I live on a small family farm in a rural part of the state where I was taught the value of hard work and integrity at a young age. I am passionate about living life to the fullest and making the most of every moment. I strive daily to have a positive impact on everyone around me. Through this passion, I have been afforded the opportunities to work with people in Alaska, Kenya, Australia, and the Dominican Republic.

Who has had the biggest impact on your life? Why?

My high school principal, Mr. Russell Keene, had a major impact on my life. If it was not for his positive influence and leadership in my life, I would not be where I am today. For three years in high school, I had my mind set on becoming a veterinarian; however, my passion for education kept hindering my plan. Mr. Keene invested in me both in school and outside of school, and it was during this time that he showed me that I could combine my love for education with my love for Biology and become a high school Biology teacher.

What activities were you involved in?

During my time at Meridian Community College, I was a member of 4 clubs and organizations. I was a member of the Ivy League Student Recruiters and the Meridian Baptist Student Union. I served on the Honors Council for the Phil Hardin Foundation Honors College, and I was the President for the Nu Upsilon Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. In addition, I workd 2 jobs for the college. I was a tutor in the natural sciences (Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) for MCC's Student Success Center, and I delivered the public address at MCC sporting events (Soccer, Basketball, and Baseball).