MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University student Thomas Derossett shares the experiences and accomplishments he has attained while at Murray State University.




West Paducah, KY

High School:

McCracken County High School


Student ambassadors, summer orientation, social psychology club, psi chi, psychology club, independent research and intramural sports.

If any, what scholarships have you received?

I received the Regents Scholarship based on GPA and ACT from high school. I also received the Century Club scholarship after my mentor and advisor, Dr. Daniel Wann, received the distinguished professor award. He chose to give me the scholarship that came with the award due to the research that we have conducted together. I also received a scholarship from athletics for being a tutor for student athletes in biology, psychology and mathematics.

What advice would you give high school students about college?

Once you step foot on campus, become involved. Find groups or organizations that interest you, and start working right away. As soon as I became involved on Murray State’s campus, which is incredibly easy to do, my college experience became so much more fun and rewarding.

Who has influenced you the most in your life and why?

My parents are definitely my biggest inspiration and the most influential people in my life. They have made countless sacrifices and always pushed my brothers, sisters and I to be the best we could be at any situation.

What do you want to do after graduation?

I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. in social psychology with the end goal of becoming a professor.

Why did you choose Murray State?

Murray State University was close to home, extremely affordable, and gave me the small school atmosphere I was looking for while still giving countless opportunities to excel inside and outside of the classroom.

Who is your favorite professor and why?

My favorite professor is Dr. Dan Wann. He has been my mentor and advisor since I became a psychology student and his help has been invaluable to me in developing my research, presentation and psychological skills.

What’s something you’ve accomplished at Murray State that you’re most proud of and why?

The amount of research I have done since coming to Murray State University is probably what I am the most proud of. When I first came to college I had no idea that faculty-directed research was even a possibility. Then when I switched to psychology I heard about it and began working with Dr. Joyce, Dr. Wann, Dr. Hackathorn and Dr. Rife within my first year. Since then I have kept doing research, and it has taken me to Lexington, Bowling Green, Louisville and Atlanta for conferences thus far.

If you could spend an hour with anyone, who would it be and why?

This question is always tough for me because there are SO many people I’d like to meet. I think I would probably have to go way back in history and say Socrates. He was kind of like the first person to start questioning people’s assumptions and making people think about why they believed the way they do. As a psychology student and researcher, that is exactly what I do so I would like to go back to the guy who got the ball rolling and pick his brain.

How do you define success?

I believe that success is relative to the person you are asking. For me, it just means that you put your all into whatever you were doing. There have been plenty of times where I tried my hardest on something and it did not turn out the way I wanted it to. To me, that is still success, though, because I gave it my all and learned from it. The only way you can fail is if you never let yourself try.

What opportunities have you been afforded at Murray State?

Murray State has given me countless opportunities to pursue my passions. Through research I get to ask questions and find answers. Through tutoring/peer mentoring I get to help others get on the right track. Through being a student ambassador and now a summer orientation counselor I get to meet the new faces of Murray State and make an impression on them before they even make it to college. One of my biggest hobbies is sports, and intramurals has given me the chance to play any sport I want and meet new people through it.

What is your favorite Murray State tradition, and why?

My favorite Murray State tradition is without a doubt All Campus Sing. I’ve never participated in it, but coming out to the quad and seeing the entire Murray State community, the entire Calloway County community and then alumni from dozens of years ago still traveling back to watch really defines Murray State. We are a tight-knit group, and the community really embraces us and helps us excel.

What do you love most about Murray State?

My favorite thing about Murray State University is without a doubt the culture. It is an unbelievably friendly campus from the bottom to the top. Regardless if you’re talking to a student or our president, Dr. Davies, you are going to feel welcomed and right at home.

What do you think sets Murray State apart from other universities?

Murray State University embraces the small-town culture that it is situated in. The city loves us, and we love the city. Everybody says “hi” to everybody, whether you know them or not. Since campus isn’t that big, and everyone is so friendly, it is unbelievably easy to meet people and get involved with any type of extracurricular activity you are interested in. When you come to Murray State you are going to become part of the community. We aren’t just “numbers” here like a lot of universities seem to treat their students. We are each individual, and we are each important to the staff, faculty, students and community.