Dr. M. Cade Smith, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean of Students and Director
Cade Smith serves as the Director of CCEL and the Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement. Cade grew up in Grenada, MS, and earned a B.S. in Biology from Rhodes College, an M.S. in Agronomy from the University of Arkansas, and a Ph.D. in Weed Science from Mississippi State University. Through the arch of his continued education, community-based learning, research, and service have been consistent cornerstones. As Director of CCEL, Cade hopes to advance the practice of community-based learning, including service-learning, by supporting faculty, students, staff, extension agents, and community partners who hope to bring learning to life by connecting classroom to the lived community. Cade is married to Dr. Becky Smith, who is an Assistant Professor of Extension and the Director of the MSU Extension Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy. They have five kids aged 11 to 23 years-old. Becky and Cade try to live their lives in a way that captures the spirit of a quote by Herbert Spenser, “The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.”
Michelle Garraway rejoined the Mississippi State family as the Center for Community-Engaged Learning's (CCEL) Program Coordinator in August 2013. After graduating from MSU with a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education in 2003, Michelle spent some time teaching in Alabama before moving to Hattiesburg, MS. There she served over 20 different area nonprofit agencies in her position as Community Impact Coordinator with the United Way of Southeast Mississippi. In 2010, Michelle and her husband David moved back to Starkville where she worked in the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District before coming on board with CCEL. Michelle enjoys connecting faculty with community partners and seeing their shared visions come to life.
Denise A. Wetzel is the Extension & Instruction Librarian for Mississippi State University Libraries. Part of her outreach is to serve CCEL as the Service-Learning Librarian, providing research support for those pursuing the scholarship of engagement. Denise has a Bachelor’s Degree from The Pennsylvania State University. She also has a Master’s in Library and Information Studies from The University of Alabama. Previously, Denise worked as a Librarian for the Alabama Public Library Service in Montgomery, Alabama and a teacher in South Korea. Denise joined MSU Libraries in October of 2015.
Xi Chen is from Tianjin, China. She earned a B.S. from Shaoxing University, China in Textile Engineering and International Business in 2008, and an M.S. in General Education from University of Bridgeport, CT in 2012. Currently, Xi is working on her PhD in Educational Psychology at Mississippi State University. Before joining CCEL, she worked as a graduate assistant with the Montgomery Leadership Program (a three semester service-learning program focusing on student leadership development and professional growth) at MSU for two years. In spring 2017, Xi received the Best Research Paper Award from the College of Education Research Symposium at MSU for a research study she had been doing about service-learning. Her goal is to create an environment allowing faculty, staff, students and community partners to share the benefits of community-engaged learning together.