Tingle earns prestigious MSU honor

Published 8:49 pm Friday, March 25, 2016

John C. Stennis was a Mississippi State University alumnus who served in the United States Senate from 1947 to 1988, rising to the powerful position of President Pro Tempore of the Senate and fourth in line for the presidency.

Mississippi State’s political science department now bestows a scholarship named in Stennis’ honor to incoming students who plan to pursue a career in politics.

This year, Warren Central senior Emily Tingle has been named a John C. Stennis Scholar.

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“I was very interested in politics from an early age,” she said. “I was really into how government started in China, Russia and other major governments in the world.”

Tingle will major in political science and communications with a minor in pre-law.

“I was shocked to find out Mississippi has never had a female representative or senator in U.S. Congress,” she said. “That’s one of my long-term goals, to be the first. I feel like women are drastically underrepresented in Congress, and I think it’s a step Mississippi needs to take as a state to move forward.”

In addition, Tingle said she would like to serve in state government as well.

“I feel like our government has become much more corrupt, and it’s not representing all of the people in Mississippi,” she said. “It’s especially not putting forth the effort they need to for our educational values, and that’s why we are 50th in the United States. That’s a very big deal to me, and that’s something I definitely want to see changed in the next 10 years.”

The path to becoming a John C. Stennis Scholar involves getting accepted to Mississippi State University and indicating a preference to study political science.

From there, students fill out resume applications, from which university faculty select six finalists to be interviewed. From those six students, one or two are named John C. Stennis Scholars each year.

Tingle said many people may be surprised, but she thinks if she were not involved in the Miss Mississippi and Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen organizations, she would not have gotten the scholarship.

“I feel like that has really helped my interview skills and helped me to become more personable and more relatable,” she said. “I’m also very passionate about what I believe in, and I think that definitely showed in my interview.”

Tingle is not one who simply sits back and comments on issues, she’s actively engaged in being a change-agent. For example, last year she started her own organization to help foster care children have access to books.

“37 Books was founded based on the 3,700 children we have in our foster care system when I founded it a year ago, and that number grows every year,” she said. “We ask people to donate books to provide to children in the foster care system.”

Last year, 2,000 books were collected and donated to the Warren County Children’s Shelter.

This year, Tingle hopes to donate as many as needed to the Warren County Children’s Shelter before expanding to others in the state.

As a John C. Stennis Scholar, Tingle will receive a scholarship to pay for the rest of her tuition, a study abroad stipend and help preparing for the Truman Scholarship, a prestigious scholarship that provides $30,000 to help winners pay for graduate school.