MURRAY, Ky. – Below is information with recent news, notes, and accomplishments at Murray State University.

The following Murray State students were selected as 2017-18 officers for the Murray State University Black Student Council.

President – Whitney Hardison

1st Vice President-NAACP Caucus – Jaela Ruedel

2nd Vice President-Programming and Outreach – John Skinner

Secretary – Brittany Williams

Treasurer – Keandra Dillard

Parliamentarian – Cameron Mobley

Historian – Deonte Turnley

The following students were selected as 2017-18 officers for the Murray State University Black Student Council/NAACP Caucus.

President – Jaela Ruedel

1st Vice President – Alexandria Smith

2nd Vice President – Anthony Arredondo

Secretary – Miah Casey

Treasurer – Maya Yandal

Assistant Treasurer – Tia Tucker


The top saxophone quartet at Murray State University was selected to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chamber Music Institute through a competitive submission of audio files from chamber groups around the country. Members of the quartet are Liz Wechtenhiser, soprano saxophone, junior from Hawesville; Andy Johnson, alto saxophone, sophomore from Mt. Vernon, Indiana; Brendan Parker, sophomore from Murray; and Wade Griggs, sophomore from Murray. The quartet is coached by Scott Erickson, associate professor of music.

The Chamber Music Institute will take place June 4-11. All accepted participants receive a full fellowship which includes on-campus housing and meals. Chamber groups selected to the institute will receive instruction by the Chiara String Quartet, artists-in-residence at Glenn Korff School of Music, Dana Fonteneau, an arts entrepreneurship clinician, and members of the UNL music faculty.


Beverly Fort, education coordinator for the Murray State University Hopkinsville Regional Campus, recently was named the Outstanding Academic Adviser for Murray State University.

Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Office of Student Affairs and Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honour society, this award recognizes outstanding achievement by faculty, academic advisers. A strong academic adviser can have a tremendous effect on the success of a college student.

In nomination letters, students at the Hopkinsville campus described Fort as a caring and compassionate adviser who pushes them to excel. A nominator said Fort stayed current on the research and trends in education and passed those along to her students, and she maintains connections for employment with area school systems.

“She has very high expectations for us and pushes us to be our best,” according to one student’s nomination letter. “It is because of her unwavering dedication to us and this program that we are so successful. I am amazed at all that she is able to orchestrate with such positivity and grace. I aspire to be like her one day.”

Another nomination letter pointed to Fort’s involvement with the student’s student- teacher placement, even though she is not their supervisor. “As graduation draws closer, I know it’s because of Mrs. Fort’s outstanding efforts that have helped me to get this far,” the letter said. “As I graduate and start my own classroom, I know Mrs. Fort will continue to encourage and support me, but most importantly, she’ll continue to be my friend.”


Chris Wooldridge, Kentucky Small Business Development Center district director for the Murray State University SBDC and Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business, was recently appointed to the 2017-18 Delta Regional Authority Delta Regional Advisory Council.


Katherine Renick, a Murray High School senior, recently signed the Murray State University Presidential Fellowship commitment. Representatives of Murray State University travelled to Murray High School for the official signing. The Presidential Fellowship is a full-ride scholarship that covers tuition, housing, and meals for up to eight semesters. Fellows must be in the Murray State Honors College and complete five hours of undergraduate research under the guidance of a faculty mentor for each week of the term of the Fellowship.

The MHS Student Council president, Renick is also a member of the National Honors Society and French and Spanish Club, a Leadership Tomorrow graduate and a former Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Ambassador.

Chosen this year as one of 16 Kentucky High School students, Renick is serving a one-year term as a member of the Student Advisory Council for the Kentucky Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt. This group meets with the commissioner and Kentucky Department of Education staff to discuss how decisions made at the state level are affecting public school students throughout Kentucky and provide feedback -from a student perspective – on critical issues impacting Kentucky students and schools.

The president of the MHS Future Business Leaders of America chapter, Renick also served as manager for the MHS Lady Tiger Basketball Team.

Renick will be pursuing a degree in education at Murray State.


Murray State University recently hosted The Next Big Thing Innovation Competition, an annual entrepreneurial event through the Kentucky Innovation Network centred toward high school student involvement on the integration of business modelling concepts, creativity, engineering skills and oral and written communication skills.

For this year’s event, 41 teams comprised of 127 students from six regional high schools competed for first, second and third places. Participating schools came from Trigg County, Marshall County, Graves County, Hopkins County, Christian County and McCracken County.

Each team was asked to identify a real-world problem and then come up with a solution to that problem that resulted in a viable product that could be introduced to the market. The initial development and mentoring process began in November 2016 and continued leading up to the actual competition day.

On competition day, the teams presented their inventions and business ideas to a panel of judges in the morning session in the form of Elevator Pitch Table Display Presentation and Business Model Ten Minute Presentation. Serving as judges were members of Murray State’s faculty and staff, regional economic development personnel and regional entrepreneurs. During the lunch break, Sean Wallace, Jamaican artist and founder of Windows of Opportunities based out of Cadiz, spoke to the students on his success story.

After much deliberation, top-scoring teams from the semi-finals were narrowed down to the top three finalists. The final round was held in the afternoon.

The top three teams presented their ideas to all attendees and a new panel of judges. The final judges then had $100,000 each or $300,000 combined in imaginary money to be used to invest in each business idea under the condition of how practical the concept was.

The first-place winning team, Gateway Team A/PW Dynamics of Gateway Academy in Christian County, comprised of team members Ryan Pyle and Devin Watts, created a more secure and reliable transaction process for cryptocurrency users starting with Monero (XMR). A lot of people who use cryptocurrencies don’t always check for warning signs before committing to their purchase and it can sometimes lead to scams or unsecured purchases. This is why it is sensible to use a trading platform, as it provides some extra security. CEX.IO Broker is said to be the best cryptocurrency trading platform Canada citizens can use, so it might be worth taking a look at that website if you are based in Canada. People invest a lot of money into this, so losing it would be catastrophic. Moreover, a lot of people don’t know that they can read bitcoin reviews on sites like to make sure their crypto investment is legit, but now Pyle and Watts’ work has made it even easier for people to invest and spend more safely and securely. Furthermore, each semi-finalist, which included the top three teams, all received trophies for their exemplary performance.

The second-place team, This Little Light of Mine/Script Seat, also hailed from Trigg County High School and consisted of Jacob Price, Stuart Boyd, Matthew Skinner, and Carter Sholar. The concept of Script Seat is to bring relief to working Americans having to stand on their feet for a long time through the creation of a retractable seat that is placed under the counter of the workplace, particularly in pharmacies.

This year’s third-place team was A-Team/iShare, comprised of Alyssa Taylor and Will Allen from Trigg County High School. They invented a self-powering battery portable device without the use of the charge as it transfers battery life from one smartphone to another, focusing on the Apple phone market.

A complimentary prize for the best use of technology was awarded to the Safe Angels team from Hopkins County Career & Technical Center, comprised of Matthew Holmes and Andrew Milum. This team exhibited the most innovative implementation of technology into their business idea.

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Murray State University is pleased to announce the establishment of The Clinton and Mary Opal Moore Appalachian Writer’s Residency.

The residency has been created with gifts from Shirley Moore Menendez, John C. Moore, Tom Moore, Nancy Moore Waldrop and Jayne Moore Waldrop in honour of their late parents and their family’s eastern Kentucky roots. Clinton Elster Moore (1916-2008) and Mary Opal Moore (1922-2015) were born in eastern Kentucky – Pike, and Letcher counties, respectively – but left the mountains in the early 1950s when they moved to far western Kentucky. They settled in Paducah, where they remained for the rest of their lives, but they always considered Appalachia their home.

The Moore Residency was created to strengthen literary connections between Appalachia and western Kentucky while enhancing the creative and professional growth of students pursuing their MFA at Murray State. It commemorates the Moores’ east-to-west journey in hopes of fostering creativity and understanding between two distinct regions in Kentucky

connected by the Cumberland River. The Clinton and Mary Opal Moore Appalachian Writer’s Residency takes place during the MFA program’s annual July residency and includes a one-week stay for the writer in a private cabin owned by the family and overlooking Lake Barkley.

The inaugural visiting writer for the Moore Residency is Robert Morgan, who was raised on his family’s farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. He is the author of eleven books of poetry, three books of nonfiction and eight books of fiction, including “Gap Creek,” which was a New York Times bestseller and was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as a selection for her book club. In both his poetry and prose, Morgan explores Appalachian culture, often drawing on strange and haunting family legends passed down from his Welsh immigrant ancestors. He’s the recipient of three NEA grants, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship, the James G. Hanes Poetry Prize by the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the North Carolina Literature Award and the Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature. Morgan is also a frequent faculty member of the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop at the Hindman Settlement School.

“We are indebted to the Moore family for a gift that will not only benefit students working in the MFA program here at Murray State but will also enrich the wider literary community in western Kentucky,” says Carrie Jerrell, interim director of the MFA Program, “and we’re thrilled to be hosting Robert Morgan, who writes so beautifully about the landscape and people of Appalachia in his prose and poetry.”

Robert Morgan will read from his work on Friday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Curris Center Theater on the Murray State campus. A book signing and reception will follow on-site. The reading is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Carrie Jerrell, interim director of the MFA program, at 270-809-4723 or or visit the MFA website at

Beverly Fort, education coordinator for the Murray State University Hopkinsville Regional Campus, recently was named the Outstanding Academic Adviser for Murray State University. Shown from left: Eliza McCauley, Omicron Delta Kappa president; Leigh Wright, ODK adviser; Murray State President Bob Davies; Beverly Fort, ODK adviser of the year; and Brian Van Horn, associate provost for regional academic outreach. Fort received the honour of ODK Academic Adviser of the Year for her support of students at the Hopkinsville regional campus.
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