Katie Murray has overcome struggles her entire life. She’s been the primary caretaker of her sister and brother since she was twelve years old, and balancing home, work, and school life became even more difficult after her daughter was born in 2012. But Murray’s family and IPFW faculty helped her through the difficult times, and with that support she’ll be graduating in spring 2017.
She became an English major through the influence of Associate Professor Sara Webb-Sunderhaus. “It’s rare to have an instructor that is thoroughly enthusiastic about what they are teaching their students, and her enthusiasm for writing is contagious and I totally caught it. I had had teachers before her tell me I was a good writer, but it was Sara who really made me believe in myself and that I could make something of my writing. Then she was still there for me after I dropped out for a semester after finding out I was pregnant at 21 years old and coming back that fall as a full time student with a newborn. She was much more than just a teacher to me, she became a confidant and a comfort.”
It still wasn’t easy. Murray struggled to balance work and home life, often having to make difficult choices. She “beat [herself] up” when she missed moments in her daughter’s life or watched peers graduate and land good jobs. To Murray, the “whole journey felt like an eternity.” But now, 8 years later, she’s graduating with a degree in English and has landed an amazing job at Licensed E-liquids Manufacturing, first as an office manager, but shortly moving into marketing and branding.
She made special note of the people who have helped fulfill her goals. “If it wasn’t for my fiancée, daughter, and family’s support I wouldn’t be graduating today. They are the ones who kept pushing me when I wanted to give up because of the late nights, struggling to understand homework, getting no sleep because I would come home from work and have to immediately go to another job, or do homework, etc.”
At IPFW, “Sara Webb-Sunderhaus has had the biggest impact on my life. She has been there every step of the way for me. Dr. Stapleton has also had a positive impact on me. Kate White has been amazing. When I was doing an internship at IPFW, she helped me to narrow down what career path I wanted to take and also took the time to get to know me as a person and has been amazingly supportive. Last, but not least, is Cathleen Carosella. She is absolutely wonderful. She taught me so much in my editing and publishing class.”
Murry concluded by noting that “every instructor that I have met in the English department has been so supportive and has helped me grow as a person. They (the people I have mentioned above) have all helped me recognize my talents and skill sets to be successful upon graduating.”