Grace Moen

Grace Moen portrait
Photo by Jonah Holland

Grace Moen’s journey in higher education took her farther than most students: The Pacific Northwest native traveled almost 7,000 miles to find her home at Mississippi State University.

Wanderlust struck Moen, a senior communication major from Kirkland, Washington, early and played a major role in deciding where she would go to college. Moen said she “wanted to go somewhere different” than where she grew up, so she picked the University of Hawaii and its nearby beaches for her freshman year. There, a fellow student introduced her to the National Student Exchange program, which Moen saw as an opportunity to continue traveling and experiencing new locations and cultures.

Moen first eyed schools in New York because she wanted to explore the East Coast but finally narrowed the list of potential next steps to Alaska and Mississippi. Moen said she chose the Magnolia State to experience Southern hospitality.

When she arrived in Starkville, Moen said she “didn’t know a soul,” but thanks to the hospitality she felt in her first few weeks on campus, she knew enrolling at MSU was the best decision she could have made.

“It was scary at first. Once I met people, though, I fell in love with everything here. I was never in my room from that point on. I told my friends back west, ‘Sorry, I’m not coming back,” she said. “The teachers and staff—everyone genuinely cares about you. It’s so special here.”

A variety of activities—serving as an Orientation Leader, Foundation Ambassador, Alumni Delegate and First-Year Experience Peer Leader and in the Maroon VIP program—while a student-worker with the MSU Alumni Foundation helped integrate Moen into the Bulldog family and culture even further.

“Connecting with other passionate people has made all the difference for me during my time here. That’s what kept me home at Mississippi State,” she said. “The connections I’ve gained through networking here are all amazing and invaluable. I always tell people to get out of their comfort zone. You never know who you’re going to say 'hi' to that will one day help you out.”

Outside of the classroom and work, you can find Moen at many Bulldog athletic events.

“The tailgating culture of the Southeastern Conference, Dudy Noble Field—I love all of it,” she said. “I will literally go to games alone and just see who I know out there.”

Following her expected graduation in 2025, Moen said she might pursue a career as a flight attendant so she can continue seeing the world.

“It makes so much sense because I love having different experiences. I love adventures, and I’m always down to do something different somewhere new,” she said.