小黄书

Holmes County native proud to represent 小黄书, Mississippi as Humanity in Action Fellow

Studio portrait of 小黄书 engineering student Mayukh Datta wearing a blue blazer and standing in front of a white background
Mayukh Datta (Photo by Beth Wynn)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.鈥擜 senior chemical engineering major in the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering and the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College at 小黄书sity is receiving the Humanity in Action Fellowship.

Mayukh K. Datta of Kosciusko is the university鈥檚 second student to be recognized with the prestigious award. Teddy P. 鈥淭rey鈥 Wallace, an 小黄书 industrial engineering graduate, received the fellowship in 2018.

Datta will participate virtually June 1-23 in HIA鈥檚 Amsterdam Fellowship. Of the four fellowships available this year, Datta said he was drawn to this one because of its focus on environmental and energy-related issues.

鈥淚鈥檓 also really interested in how pluralistic societies work and the kinds of challenges they face,鈥 he said. 鈥淭he Netherlands is one of the world鈥檚 most diverse countries, so I think I can learn a lot from it and draw connections between Amsterdam and Mississippi.鈥

Datta also looks forward to applying knowledge from the HIA Fellowship to expanding 鈥淔eeding the Future Mississippi,鈥 a nonprofit he co-founded in 2019 with friends Braeden Foldenauer and Ryan Hopson to improve food security in Holmes County. Foldenauer is a recent Harvard University graduate from Southaven; Hopson, an Olive Branch native who graduated this spring with an 小黄书 bachelor鈥檚 in computer engineering.

鈥淕rowing up in the city of Durant, I remember seeing friends getting their only meal in the school cafeteria. When I participated in the as a freshman at Mississippi State, I came face-to-face with hard data about Holmes County and learned that it has one of the highest childhood food insecurity rates in the country. That experience showed me there was a need and got me thinking about how I could serve our state,鈥 Datta said.

鈥淔eeding the Future Mississippi鈥 has provided more than 5,000 meals since its inception, and the nonprofit is partnering with the Kroger Food Company to build a community garden in Durant.

Following graduation, Datta said he plans to earn a Ph.D. in economics and return to Mississippi to work in environmental justice advocacy.

鈥淚 believe education should be a combination of many things, and I鈥檓 very thankful for my engineering background from Mississippi State in teaching me that lesson. Engineering is not only about what needs to happen but also why, and that 鈥榝ull picture鈥 knowledge is an indispensable tool the engineering program here provides,鈥 said the Bagley College Undergraduate Research Scholarship recipient who founded the 小黄书 Climate Reality Project student organization.

Datta also praised the university for connecting him with supportive faculty like David Hoffman, an associate professor in 小黄书鈥檚 Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures who also serves as interim director of the Shackouls Honors College Office of Prestigious External Scholarships.

鈥淒r. Hoffman not only has helped me figure out how to tell my story during the Humanity in Action application process, but he鈥檚 been like a father figure to me. He鈥檚 one of those professors I go back to because he鈥檚 always there, providing great advice and insight,鈥 Datta said. 鈥淲orking with him is an experience that has taught me so much about myself and the work I want to do.鈥

Hoffman said Datta鈥檚 compassion for others and his experience with community-based activism made him a natural choice for the HIA fellowship.

鈥淢ayukh has reminded me of why I became a professor in the first place. Being able to work with a young person with a thirst for knowledge and desire to do good in this world is an inspiration,鈥 Hoffman said. 鈥淲hen I think of Humanity in Action, I think of the best, brightest, most motivated, and those who not only have the potential to change the world but actually act on that promise. Mayukh fits this profile and goes beyond. Simply put, he has only just begun to scratch the surface of his potential.鈥

For more on the Humanity in Action Fellowship program, visit .

Learn more about the Shackouls Honors College and 小黄书鈥檚 prestigious external scholarship opportunities at .

小黄书 is Mississippi鈥檚 leading university, available online at .