MSU alumnus selected for national leadership program designed for those who serve U.S. veterans

The George W. Bush Presidential Center announces that a Mississippi State alumna — who currently serves as National Youth Coordinator and STEM Officer in the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture — is among 50 scholars selected nationwide for the Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program.

Dr. Kourtney Hollingsworth (Photo submitted)

Dr. Kourtney Wilhemenia Hollingsworth, a Laurel native, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from MSU and a Ph.D. in Statistics and Technology from William Carey University, will meet with a variety of distinguished and nationally known professionals, educators, and experts in veteran transition and leadership development with the goal of improving outcomes American veterans.

“I am extremely happy to be selected from thousands of qualified leaders across the country. As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and granddaughter of a WWII veteran, I understand the importance of ensuring veterans and their families have opportunities during and after their careers. military. I attended Magnolia Girls State in high school, and it gave me the chance to learn more about government and veterans. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be in a program that will elevate my program to the next level,” said Hollingsworth.

Through its participation in the leadership program, Hollingsworth hopes to promote Vetting4Veterans to reduce the number of federal leadership vacancies. She said she would like to fill federal vacancies with veterans with specialized leadership skills developed during their military careers, as well as develop career paths for students who choose to enter the military at instead of pursuing a college education.

Among her leadership roles, Hollingsworth is the USDA representative for the White House Federal Commission on STEM and the departmental representative for the White House HBCU initiative. She has worked with the Department of Commerce and the Department of Education on workforce development in rural areas and served on the World Trade Organization’s international panel on the importance of young people in leadership roles. Hollingsworth was also selected as a representative and mentor to work with a STEM program providing opportunities for students with blindness and visual impairment.

“I was fortunate to attend Mississippi State University, a public land-grant institution, and William Carey University, a private Southern Baptist institution. At MSU, I had the opportunity to intern in Washington, DC, while being a national exchange student at Bowie State University, an HBCU,” Hollingsworth said. “It launched my career in government and my desire to be a public servant. I was the first Joseph H Rainey US Congressional Fellow on Capitol Hill, and I was able to work on No Child Left Behind legislation.

“Mississippi State University taught me not to be a number but to be a famous person. MSU has a very diverse and inclusive campus, and the university offers programs and celebrations for all different religions, races, and genders. As a student with a visual impairment, MSU made sure I had all the reasonable accommodations necessary to excel. MSU has an amazing Disability Resource Center to help students. I was an NIDRR Scholar in the engineering department, a member of LEADER State, and a member of Leadership Jones County while a student at MSU,” she said. “I was offered opportunities at MSU that I wouldn’t have had at any another university.

Learn more about Hollingsworth and the Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program at https://www.bushcenter.org/about-the-center/newsroom/press-releases/2022/06/stand-to-vlp-class- of-2022.html

Kevin E. Boling