Racer Report: June 5-9

By Shawn Touney | Jun 8, 2023

MURRAY, Ky. – The latest Murray State University Racer Report includes student, faculty, staff and alumni accomplishments, announcements, upcoming campus events and more for the week of June 5-9. 


students sitting on campus

There is still time for prospective students to apply for admission for the 2023-2024 academic year beginning in August

There is still time for prospective students to apply for admission for the 2023-2024 academic year beginning in August. Students can learn more, schedule a campus visit and apply for admission at admissions.murraystate.edu.

Recognized nationally as one of America’s best college values, Murray State has expanded its regional tuition rate to now include a total of 15 states across the country. These states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Murray State has also enhanced its academic achievement scholarships to emphasize GPA for entering freshmen students in fall 2023.

Murray State offers 148 academic programs within six diverse colleges and schools for undergraduate and graduate students seeking to achieve their personal and professional goals. With personalized class sizes and more than 170 student organizations on campus, Racers discover countless opportunities for a life-changing educational experience.


Murray State University is hosting the Regional Training Institute for the American Red Cross June 5-9. More than 100 participants from eight different states visited Murray State for the week for American Red Cross trainings on disaster preparation, response and recovery.  

Designed for new and veteran disaster responders, the Regional Training Institute offered extensive training on disaster assessment, sheltering, supervising the disaster volunteer workforce, disaster health services, public affairs, operations management and logistics. These highly skilled and experienced volunteers respond to weather or other disaster events to provide immediate service and care to impacted families across the nation. Volunteers participated in classrooms on campus, lodged in the residential colleges, and practiced driving the Emergency Response Vehicle in Murray State parking lots. 

This is the first Regional Training Institute held in over three years and the first that has been hosted in the Western Kentucky Chapter of the American Red Cross.  

“We are grateful to partners like Murray State University which is the site for our American Red Cross Disaster Institute taking place this week. With over 100 Red Crossers on campus, this enables us to provide one-on-one training for Red Cross disaster workers and key volunteers, which will help us as we prepare communities and respond to disasters here at home and across the state,” said Misty Thomas, Executive Director, Red Cross Western Kentucky Chapter.

Individuals interested in volunteering for the American Red Cross can visit redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.html


Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams, professional academic advisor in the Center for Student Engagement and Success at Murray State University, has received a scholarship through NACADA

Sarah Williams, professional academic advisor in the Center for Student Engagement and Success at Murray State University, has received a scholarship through NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. Williams will receive a complimentary registration for the NACADA Summer Institute, to be held June 25-30 in Madison, Wisconsin. 

NACADA promotes and supports quality academic advising in institutions of higher education to enhance the educational development of students. 

The Center for Student Engagement and Success within the Division of Student Affairs, and in collaboration with the Office of the Provost, launched a first-year academic advising/dual advising model in April 2023. This model emphasizes that successful advising, defined as a holistic process that connects incoming and current students with information, resources and contacts needed for their ongoing success, is based on three foundational elements. These include a successful transition to college experience, successful college experience (retention) and successful academic experience. 

“The knowledge Sarah gathers at the NACADA Summer Institute will help us with our new advising initiative,” said Director of the Center for Student Engagement and Success Peggy Whaley. “Sarah is committed to student success and supporting the new first-year academic advising model in her role as a professional advisor.”

Williams has a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a master's degree in Postsecondary Education Administration, both from Murray State. She enjoys getting to know students and helping them succeed.

The Center for Student Engagement and Success is focused on empowering every student to reach their fullest potential. Staff are committed to the success and retention of all students through guidance, support and cultivation of their personal well-being and academic success. Learn more at murraystate.edu/success.


Dr. Chris Lennon and Dr. Kevin Miller

Two Murray State University professors, Dr. Chris Lennon (left), assistant professor of biology and Dr. Kevin Miller (right), professor of chemistry, were recipients of 2023 KCV IMPACT awards.

Kentucky Commercialization Ventures (KCV) recently announced the winners of the KCV IMPACT (Innovative Mobile, Public Health and Community-Oriented Technologies) competition. Two Murray State University professors, Dr. Chris Lennon, assistant professor of biology and Dr. Kevin Miller, professor of chemistry, were recipients of 2023 KCV IMPACT awards. 

KCV challenges innovators from partner institutions throughout Kentucky to create solutions relevant to the improvement of the social, health or economic condition of Kentucky. The goal of the KCV IMPACT competition is to encourage ideation to meet some of the state’s largest needs and highlight the value of innovators from across the state of Kentucky. 

Lennon was awarded first place and funding of $25,000 for his Chromatography-free Thermostable Protein Purification. 

“Our development is a novel method for protein purification with academic and industrial applications,” said Lennon. “Purified proteins are widely used in the biomedical sciences and we have the potential to produce these valuable products at a fraction of the cost of current purification strategies.”

Runner-up along with $10,000 in funding was awarded to Miller for his Flexible Electronics and Sensors from Ion-containing Polysaccharides submission. 

"Our project involves the conversion of sustainable raw materials such as cellulose into flexible electronic devices,” said Miller. “KCV support will assist in modifying our current synthetic process for scale-up as well as with improving fabrication.” 

The work Miller is leading is being conducted in collaboration with Rutgers University-Camden and continues to be supported in part by the National Science Foundation.

For more information on the KCV IMPACT Competition visit kycommercializationventures.com.


Chris Wooldridge

Presenters included Chris Wooldridge, director of the Murray State University Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Development.

Murray State University recently partnered with organizations to hold a conference to discuss challenges, resources and innovations in addressing the housing challenges in the region. 

The conference was the first event held by the North Delta Economic Alliance (NDEA). The event planning was executed by Marcie Lawson, director of the Sikeston Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development and was held at Allen Wire manufacturing in the company’s meeting rooms complex. Economic developers as well as other industry and community leaders from across five states attended the conference. Presenters from federal funding sources, economic developers and real estate developers brought new and insightful approaches to addressing the shortage of housing. 

“We were so pleased to see the large turnout from five states to hear presentations as well as network and build relationships. It was a great success,” said Chris Wooldridge, director of the Murray State University Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Development.

The NDEA is now considering holding future events covering other topics that are relevant to the multi-state region.  

The NDEA is an alliance of economic and academic organizations from the five states of Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. Commonality among the organizations resides in the fact that individuals within each organization are graduates of the Delta Regional authority Delta Leadership Institute. More information about the DRA can be found at dra.gov.

About Murray State University: Since 1922, Murray State University has provided a collaborative, opportunity-rich living and learning community that fosters personal growth and professional success through a high-quality college experience. Students receive support from inspiring faculty and staff and will join a distinctive campus community — the Racer Family. With nearly 10,000 students, Murray State prepares the next generation of leaders to join more than 80,000 successful alumni who make a difference in their community, across the country and around the world. We are Racers. The University’s main campus is located in Murray, Kentucky, and includes five regional campuses in Ft. Campbell, Henderson, Hopkinsville, Madisonville and Paducah.

To learn more about Murray State University, please visit murraystate.edu

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