MURRAY, Ky. — See below for the latest news from Murray State University, including student, faculty, staff and alumni accomplishments, announcements, upcoming campus events and much more for the week of April 13-17.

In this Racer Report:

  • Dance and gymnastics class visits local dance studio
  • Murray State named among ‘The Southeast’s 10 Best Hidden Gem Universities”
  • Jesse L. Jones Family Clock Tower lit green in solidarity with families of those lost from COVID-19
  • Students earn awards for soil science projects
  • School of Nursing and Health Professions, mass communications graduate program earns accolades

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Murray State University professor Dr. Joetta Harlow Kelly took her PHE 306 Dance and Gymnastics class to Sandra and Kailey’s Dance Studio in Murray, Kentucky, earlier this year for some expert instruction in the area of tap. Instructor Kailey Starks spoke about the history of tap, owning and running a studio and advocating for diversity in all of dance. Students participated in various routines while learning more about the field.

“This is my first time teaching this class and I have really had fun with them,” Kelly said. “Having the opportunity for Kailey to give them a different perspective from a studio professional was a great treat and provided some excellent hands-on learning for our students.”

Murray State University professor Dr. Joetta Harlow Kelly took her PHE 306 Dance and Gymnastics class to Sandra and Kailey’s Dance Studio in Murray, Kentucky, earlier this year for some expert instruction in the area of tap. Instructor Kailey Starks spoke about the history of tap, owning and running a studio and advocating for diversity in all of dance. Students participated in various routines while learning more about the field.

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Murray State University has been named among “The Southeast’s 10 Best Hidden Gem Universities” by College Gazette. The full rankings place the University third overall, citing strong academic programs, community engagement, and student body success.

Murray State was the sole university in Kentucky and surrounding states to make the list. The University has received several recent accolades, including being named a “Best Bang for the Buck” by Washington Monthly and recognition as one of “America’s Best Colleges” by Forbes for the 12th consecutive year. 

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Murray State University is lighting the Jesse L. Jones Family Clock Tower green to stand in solidarity with Kentucky families that have lost loved ones amidst the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has encouraged residents, business owners and others to light their homes and buildings green as a gesture of remembrance and goodwill.

Murray State University is lighting the Jesse L. Jones Family Clock Tower green to stand in solidarity with Kentucky families that have lost loved ones amidst the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Murray State continues to stand with our fellow Kentuckians lost to COVID-19 by lighting the Jesse L. Jones Family Clock Tower green,” said University President Dr. Bob Jackson. “I ask that Racer Nation practice good social distancing and follow the guidelines from our health professionals in order that we eliminate this terrible disease during the coming weeks.”

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Murray State University students Kaitlin Hatchett and Carrie Ann Followell have received undergraduate research awards for their projects on soil science.

Last November, Hatchett, a senior agriculture systems technology major from Dresden, Tennessee, took home second place in the undergraduate poster contest at the International Meeting of the Soil Science Society of America, held in San Antonio, Texas. Hatchett created a poster in which she explained her research between topography positions and soil properties in agricultural fields.

Students of Dr. Iin Handayani, professor of soil science, attended the International Meeting of the Soil Science Society of America and American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America in San Antonio, Texas, last semester. Pictured from left are students River Dowell, Kaitlin Hatchett and Mackenzie Hoffman, Handayani and students Carrie Ann Followell and Ungsoo Jeong.

Other student presenters included:

  • River Dowell, a senior agronomy major from Morgantown, Kentucky, presented on the degradation of urban soils in Kentucky
  • Mackenzie Hoffman, a senior agronomy major from Altamont, Illinois, examined soil organic matter and earthworm counts in response to land restoration
  • Followell, a senior chemistry major from Gravel Switch, Kentucky, researched aggregation and soil organic carbon pools in various cover crop and tillage systems

Additionally, Followell took home second place in the undergraduate poster contest at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the South Branch of the American Society of Agronomy, held in Louisville, Kentucky.

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The Murray State University mass communications graduate program has been ranked among the most affordable online programs in the country by college resource guide OnlineU.

Ranked fourth overall, the program prepares Racers for the next step in their communications careers, with alumni becoming PR managers, media specialists, development directors and much more. 

“We continue to further our mission of preparing students to be successful professionals at the beginning of — and throughout — all phases of their chosen careers in mass communications by making this opportunity available to many through affordable and quality education,” said program coordinator Dr. Bellarmine Ezumah.

Classes are offered in a hybrid approach, available both online and on-campus. For more information, please visit bit.ly/MSUJMCgraduate.

Additionally, the Guide to Online Schools has recognized the School of Nursing and Health Professions as offering one of the best and most affordable online bachelor’s degree programs in public health.

The program was ranked second in the country, using metrics including annual tuition rates and alumni salaries.

The Guide to Online Schools also ranked the program as the 21st most affordable online program in the country.

“We are very proud of this recognition,” said Dr. Dina Byers, interim dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions. “This recognition is evidence that we are leaders in the profession and are committed to student success and student engagement. This ranking helps validate that Murray State University provides affordable higher education to students. 

“The Bachelor of Science in public and community health is a dynamic major that is interdisciplinary in nature and provides options that allow students to prepare for various careers in public and community health organizations, such as hospitals, governmental agencies, nonprofits and worksite wellness programs.”

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