Every Spartan is in control of their journey at MSU, as they each embark on their own unique path. Supply chain management seniors Julie Liu and Simone Nagi have embraced the essence of what it means to be a Spartan, and now, they have received high honors before graduating this spring: Both Liu and Nagi were selected for Michigan State University’s 2021 Homecoming Court.
The value of leaving your comfort zone
Liu is a native of Macomb, Michigan, and is minoring in Chinese. In her time at MSU, she has gained professional experience through various internships and extracurricular activities; this past summer, she had the opportunity to complete an internship with PepsiCo. She’s been able to apply her new insights into her current roles on campus as the human resources intern for the Lyman Briggs College and a peer career coach for the Russell Palmer Career Management Center.
Liu noted that one of the biggest lessons she learned in her time at MSU was to take advantage of the abundant opportunities the school has to offer and the valuable outcomes that can come out of exploring beyond your comfort zone.
“I have grown and learned an exceptional amount through the opportunities that the university has given me. Do not be the first to reject yourself; great opportunities often come from your own great ideas,” she explained. “Many of my favorite experiences came from doing things I had never done before.”
She has also been involved on campus as an intercultural aide through the Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience & Intercultural Aide Program. MRULE focuses on uniting students across differences to develop genuine relationships, build community and promote student success — and it has had one of the biggest impacts on Liu.
“My daily interactions among my peers and other ICAs provided me the opportunity to better understand the perspectives and experiences of others while also better understanding my own identity in the world,” she said.
In her role, Liu advocated for more education on diversity and promoting an inclusive environment. She also hosted MRULE roundtable discussions, which provide a space for students on campus to explore a variety of topics, such as educational inequality and climate change, among a diverse group to challenge individual perspectives.
Liu has also taken steps to broaden her global mindset — something all Broad Spartans are encouraged to do. In 2019, she participated in the “Modernity in the Streets” education abroad program in the UK, France and Belgium, where she studied politics, culture and society.
“The thought of studying abroad seemed so intimidating, yet it ended up being one of the most memorable experiences I have had at MSU,” she said.
Liu is also active in a variety of student organizations on campus, including the Asian Pacific American Student Organization, Supply Chain Management Association, CTRL+A and as a coxswain for the MSU Crew Club.
“My advice to current and future Spartans is to create your own path and to celebrate lessons you have learned and the people who have supported you along the way,” she said.
Paving the way through Spartan resilience
Nagi’s experiences as an international student at MSU have included many learning curves. By moving from Bangalore, India, to East Lansing, Michigan, she had to adapt to figure out how to navigate a new life while encountering new challenges. Early on in her path, she felt connected with MSU, a place she now calls home.
“When I came in, I had no clue what a GPA was, how to navigate around such a big campus town, how to interview or how to select classes, even,” she said. “Now I can proudly say that I faced all these hardships very easily because I felt like I belonged here.”
During her time as a Broad Spartan, Nagi pursued a minor in entrepreneurship and completed internships at several companies: Goldman Sachs, Kohler, Schlumberger and BP. Her “Spartan resiliency” was what led her to take initiative in her academic career and be involved in various aspects of the Broad community.
Building on the challenges she faced while transitioning to college, Nagi was inspired to pay it forward and help other MSU students in a variety of ways. She became a resident assistant for the Residential Business Community, an undergraduate learning assistant, a tutor for Multicultural Business Programs and a mentor with Broad Student Senate’s Broad Mentorship program. She has taken many Spartans under her wing and supported them in their own MSU journeys.
“I want to be that mentor to all my fellow Spartans who are looking for direction but [may be] afraid to ask for help,” she said. “Once you figure out the path, it only gets better!”
Additionally, Nagi partnered with other Broad international students to create the Broad International Student Council to foster community and help fellow Spartans grow professionally. As the professional development chair, she’s become a resource to a community she deeply cares about after learning from the many resources MSU provided her.
“I wanted to try my best to make the MSU name shine even brighter. I reached out to so many advisers and organizations that helped me learn and grow so much. They are the reason I shaped myself into the woman that I am today,” Nagi shared.
“All of the wonderful Russell Palmer Career Management Center advisers, Broad advisers and Office for International Students and Scholars advisers supported me the most and made me feel like family.”
Last year, Nagi reflected on her personal development in a Student View column for MSUToday, detailing her transformation as a Spartan.
“Growing up in India, I used to be fascinated by the transformation a caterpillar goes through in becoming a butterfly, spreading its beautiful wings coming out of its cocoon. I see now that this idea of transformation is something I’ve experienced too,” she explained. “As a Spartan, I can proudly say that I have a home here at MSU and have been through a phenomenal transformation already. I’m holding onto my fascination toward the butterfly — now colored in the Spartan spirit.”
At the heart of every Spartan’s journey is the desire to thrive and leave MSU a better place than when they first arrived. Liu and Nagi surely have made a lasting impact on the MSU community and are well deserving of praise as they represent this year’s graduating class with Spartan pride.