MURRAY, Ky. — Below is information regarding recent news, notes and accomplishments from Murray State University for the week of May 21–25.


Two riders from the Murray State University Equestrian Team competed at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Finals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in May 2018.

The annual competition was the culmination of more than 10,000 riders from across the U.S. having competed to qualify for a place among the the elite 400 spots at the IHSA National Finals. Murray State student Travis Fortune of Booneville, Indiana, competed in the Open Individual Reining category and placed fourth in the nation, while alumna Amanda Belcher of St. Louis, Missouri, competed in the Alumni Reining category to finish third in her class and just 2.5 points behind the winning title.

Due to Fortune’s success in IHSA competition, he has now qualified for the National Reining Horse Association’s (NRHA) competition, which will be held in Oklahoma City in June. This marks the first time a rider from Murray State has qualified to be a part of the NRHA Collegiate Cup Challenge.


Four graduating seniors from Calloway County High School and Murray High School received the Tim Todd, Magistrate – Calloway County District 2 Scholarship to attend Murray State as students in the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business.

Holly Hardt and Robert Franco were selected as the scholarship recipients from Calloway County High School and will be studying economics and business administration, respectively, while Elijah Armstrong and Kailyn Burkeen were selected as the scholarship recipients from Murray High School and plan to major in, respectively, accounting and an undeclared business program.

“These outstanding scholarship winners will build on their excellent educational foundation provided to them by both Murray High and Calloway County High,” said Dr. Tim Todd, dean of the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business and magistrate for Calloway County District 2. “They will be wonderful students in our business college as they continue their respective educational pursuits, leading to very successful careers.”

Todd also acknowledged the instrumental teaching of business teachers at both high schools, including Amy McDowell of Murray High School as well as Jennifer Stubblefield and Ashley Fritsche of Calloway County High School.

In total, during Todd’s term of office as Calloway County’s 2nd District magistrate, 16 students have received these scholarships to assist with their monetary expenses while attending the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business at Murray State.

“I’m thankful to the voters of Calloway County District 2 for their confidence in allowing me to serve as magistrate these past four years and thereby awarding these scholarships to these outstanding students,” Todd said.


Drs. Howard Whiteman and Michael Flinn, faculty members in the department of biological sciences and the Watershed Studies Institute of the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology, were recently awarded a $1.3 million grant through the National Resources Conservation Service and The Nature Conservancy.

The grant will explore the benefits process of restoring marginal, flood-prone farmland in western Kentucky into bottomland hardwood forest in part to reduce the flow of excess nutrients into the Mississippi River, which is known to contribute to dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We are excited about this project not only because we are breaking new ground in terms of restoration monitoring, but because our results will aid the planning of future restoration efforts here in Kentucky as well as throughout the Mississippi basin,” Whiteman said. “Similar projects are starting to take root in Tennessee and elsewhere in the basin but ours is the first. We hope to make it the standard by which these newer projects are judged.”

Whiteman and Flinn credit the University’s long history of research and expertise in environmental monitoring —particularly of aquatic environments — through the Watershed Studies Institute and the department of biological sciences’ Hancock Biological Station.

This project was made possible through support provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and The Nature Conservancy, under the terms of NRCS Grant Agreement #68-5C16-17-015. The content and opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of such agency or The Nature Conservancy, and no official endorsement should be inferred.


A group of Murray State students from the College of Education and Human Services and the Honors College are currently participating in an education abroad opportunity in Jamaica.

The program, which spans May 15–24, is based in Petersfield, Jamaica, and is offered through Amizade, a nonprofit study abroad provider. The nine-day program is led by Robin Esau, lecturer in the nonprofit leadership studies program, and consists of five nonprofit leadership studies students from the College of Education and Human Services and four students from the Honors College. Participating students include Austin Ackman (Havana, Illinois), Brendaysha Beason (Louisville, Kentucky), Tate Burris (Madisonville, Kentucky), Lindsey Coleman (New Concord, Kentucky), Gaby Hardison (Medina, Tennessee), Ryan Mahoney (Irvington, Kentucky), Mikayla Marshall (Frankfort, Kentucky), Shelby Murphy (Eddyville, Kentucky) and April Riley (Paducah, Kentucky).

During their time in Jamaica, students have been living with Jamaican host families and completing service hours at Petersfield Primary and Infant School by working in classrooms as well as painting and preparing a playground. The students have also attended evening classes that pertain to education, community development, culinary arts and Jamaican history. Cultural excursions during the program include travel to Savanna-la-Mar, Negril and YS Falls.

For more information about education abroad opportunities at Murray State, visit

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