MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University’s chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society is celebrating several noteworthy developments, including an alumna receiving a fellowship for graduate school and faculty members assuming or completing national leadership roles.

Rachel Wood, a 2018 graduate of Murray State and member of Phi Kappa Phi, was one of 51 national members of the society to receive a fellowship of $5,000 for graduate study. She was nominated for the fellowship by Murray State’s chapter of the organization and is the second Murray State chapter member to receive a Phi Kappa Phi fellowship.

“I am extremely grateful for receiving a fellowship from Phi Kappa Phi,” Wood said. “This organization has created a wonderful community of learners — both at Murray State and nationally — and I am proud to represent them through this award.”

Wood is now pursuing a master’s degree in emerging media design and development at Ball State University as of fall 2018. This field of study deals with how people communicate narratives and connect with others in a changing technological environment.

“Transmedia storytelling and video game design [were subjects] I focused on at Murray State, and I am excited to continue exploring these topics at Ball State,” she said. “After my graduate studies, I hope to move into a career involving innovative ways to tell traditional stories, ideally in the video game industry or in a museum setting.”

Additionally, Dr. Bill Mulligan, professor of history at Murray State, was elected division vice president for Phi Kappa Phi during the organization’s 2018 biennial convention held Aug. 2–4 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Mulligan, president of Murray State’s chapter, will serve the society’s Division III, which includes Carnegie master’s degree-granting institutions with an enrollment of more than 7,000 students. He will serve a two-year term to expire in August 2020.

“I was honored to be nominated for a divisional vice presidency and humbled to be elected,” Mulligan said. “Phi Kappa Phi exists to honor and encourage academic excellence and central to that mission are strong chapters. I look forward to working with chapters at our peer schools to build stronger chapters across the country so we can recognize more students and encourage and assist them toward success.”

In addition to serving as a candidate, Mulligan represented Murray State’s chapter as convention delegate.

Meanwhile, Dr. Melony Shemberger, associate professor of journalism and mass communications, concluded her two-year term on Phi Kappa Phi’s national board of directors.

Shemberger, who is vice president of Murray State’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter, was the first Murray State chapter member to serve on the society’s national board. In her role as board director, she chaired the advisory council for Forum, the society’s national magazine.

“This prestigious honor society means a great deal to me, and I enjoyed serving this honor society on the national level,” Shemberger said.

Both Mulligan and Shemberger are life members of Phi Kappa Phi.

Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Phi Kappa Phi annually inducts approximately 32,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni. The society has more than 330 chapters on college and university campuses in North America and the Philippines.

Chapter 302 at Murray State was chartered Nov. 28, 2007, and has inducted several hundred outstanding Murray State students into membership. The chapter recognizes and encourages excellence in all academic disciplines and promotes discussion of important issues across disciplinary lines. The chapter was recognized by national headquarters as a Chapter of Excellence and a Chapter of Merit in recent years.

For information on Chapter 302, contact Mulligan at or 270-809-6571. The chapter also has a Facebook page at

Rachel Wood sits at a table in the library.
Rachel Wood, a 2018 graduate of Murray State and member of Phi Kappa Phi, was one of 51 national members of the society to receive a fellowship of $5,000 for graduate study. Photo by Robyn Pizzo.
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