Graduate Student Spotlight – Erin Murray

Meet Erin Murray!

Erin Murray

Where are you working right now? I am currently the Graduate Assistant for Student Activities & Campus Center Operations at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


What do you love about working at WPI? My students. I look forward to coming into work every day because of the students I have the opportunity to work with. I’ve gone through countless “teachable moments” with them, but they have taught me infinitely more than they will ever realize to help me become a better Student Affairs Professional. A HUGE shout out goes out to my Building Manager team (#rockstarstatus), my SocCommers, and my Legacy Leader team for giving me the best graduate experience I could have ever asked for.


When you aren’t working, how do you spend your free time? When I’m not working, I spend as much time as I can shopping with my girlfriends, and the last few years have gotten the opportunity to cruise through some awesome tropical locations with my family. I also spend time singing within the Connecticut a cappella scene, and am involved volunteering as the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator for SingStrong DC. Music is something that is near and dear to my heart (my undergraduate degree is in instrumental music), so I spend a lot of time listening to music in my car with the windows down and the volume up. One of my all-time favorite activities is going to concerts (I’ve seen the Beach Boys 11 times!), so I spend a lot of time at concerts within the music scene – specifically oldies (The Beach Boys, Dion, Frankie Valli, etc…) although I’ll listen to just about anything ☺!


What is your favorite grad school class and why? My favorite grad class was probably my Student Services class. I really enjoyed learning about other areas of the Student Affairs field, and why some of my cohort have a specific passion for their areas of work.


Who inspired you to get involved in Higher Education? Kaitlyn Dyleski, the current Assistant Director for Operations at Bridgewater State University. Kaitlyn was my Graduate Assistant supervisor when I worked as a Student Center Building Manager as an undergraduate student, and was a significant role model and inspiration for my wanting to go into Student Affairs. Maria Santilli, the new Assistant Director of Student Activities at Central Connecticut State University, was my professional staff supervisor as a building manager and is the reason I became the person I am today. She has served as one of the best coaches and mentors anyone could ever be so lucky to have in their lives, and I am grateful every single day that I had both Kaitlyn and Maria as mentors and coaches once I realized that I wanted to go into Student Affairs. I have a few relationships with some of my own students similar to the relationship I had with Kaitlyn as an undergrad, and that is the main focus of what I wanted as a young professional- to make a difference in someone else’s life the way Kaitlyn and Maria did with mine ☺.


What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your career (so far)?

I can answer this with three of my favorite quotes:

  1. “But you know what I don’t understand? Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?”
  1. “Who you are is what you do without thinking.”
  1. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”


What is on your Higher Ed bucket list? My ultimate dream is to become the Director of a Student Center. As for the time being, I’d love to be able to present at a national conference sometime in the beginning of my career, and hopefully be the reason someone else decides to pursue a career in Student Affairs like Kaitlyn and Maria inspired me to do. I also aspire to complete my doctorate further down the road once I become established in my career.


What advice would you offer to undergraduate seniors who are starting to search for grad programs? Keep your options and eyes open, and your mind clear. I am completing my coursework at Central Connecticut State University but working in Worcester, MA, which is a 3 hour round-trip commute. I took a chance when I was offered my assistantship, and I am grateful every single day that I was brought to WPI. Find the program that fits YOU- don’t try to fit yourself into a grad program you don’t know much about. Do your research, and you will find your fit. Talk to the staff you work with now, and take advantage of absolutely every opportunity you can. Picking a graduate program can be a little scary, but the end result will make it feel like you knew where you belonged every step of the way. I am SO glad I chose this path!

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