Story by Brianna Willis, Assistant Features Editor
Murray State has many alumni that have left their campus and gone on to pursue a variety of careers. From competing for an Olympic spot to publishing their own writings, previous Racers are all over the country pursuing their dreams.
Kate Post, class of 2016 from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, said she fell in love with Murray State when she participated in the Governor’s Scholars Program at Murray State in the summer of 2011.
“I fell in love with the campus, and MSU’s affordable creative writing program really drew me in,” she said.
Post graduated summa cum laude with a major in English/ creative writing with a minor in organizational communication and an honors diploma.
“I’m very proud of that because I’m still shocked that writing my honors thesis didn’t kill me,” Post said.
Post had many professors that really helped her in her academic journey, and even her personal life, she said.
“Dr. Zac Johnson, who actually lives and works in California now, used to be one of my organizational communication professors,” she said. “We’ve kept in touch, and he’s pretty much my Jedi Master for all communication and adulting questions now.”
Gina Claywell, English professor, also helped Post stay on track and helped her believe in herself, she said.
While at Murray State, Post participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). She said it’s a challenge where writers pen a 50,000 word novel during November. For the last five years, she has been involved in this program she said.
Post said there is a huge Facebook group for participants, and that it’s more like a support group for writers.
“We talk about writing, but we also talk about our everyday lives and the things that inspire us,” she said. “When Alan Rickman and David Bowie died in January of this year, a large number of us were profoundly affected because they had shaped our lives with their art and they were suddenly gone.”
Because of this, Post said they decided to create a charity anthology titled “Stardust, Always.”
Every story or poem included relates to Bowie, Rickman or cancer. Post was especially passionate about this project because she said her older sister was diagnosed with cancer in September of last year, and Post said she continues to wage war against it still.
“I submitted a poem ‘The Metastatic Squatter’ and volunteered to do promotional work, and on June 5th ‘Stardust, Always’ came out,” she said.
The proceeds of the anthology go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
For Alexis Love, class of 2013 from Palmetto, Florida, coming to Murray State was something different.
“I ended up at Murray State by choosing to take a leap of faith and step outside of the box,” she said. “I knew I wanted to leave Florida to explore something different.”
Love was a criminal justice major and minored in social welfare. While on campus, she was involved in several on campus activities, but most notable was her involvement in track and field. Love qualified for the Olympic trials this year. While she did not make it to Rio de Janeiro, she said that the experience was a memorable one.
“This was my second Olympic Trials so I knew the feeling of being anxious from the last time I was there representing Murray,” she said. “I went out there and decided to be myself and not change a thing.”
Love said the Olympic trials were stressful, but she said she had the opportunity to step back and let her light shine and that for her, it is all about perspective. She said she is always excited to compete, and this time was no different.
Love got involved in track by tagging along with a friend after school when she was 12. She said she did not know anything about track but didn’t want to go home after school so she joined the local Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) track team, and “the rest is history.”
When she arrived at Murray State, she said one of her criminal justice professors helped her in all areas of her life from being a mentor to a role model and friend. Along with her professors, Love said her head coach and the assistant head coach helped her to reach her full potential.
“They believed in me when no one else knew who I was or what I was trying to accomplish,” she said. “They pushed me on the days I wanted to give up and they never allowed me to settle for nothing but the best.”
For fellow student-athletes, Love said discipline helped her navigate school and athletics and come out successful.
“Being a student-athlete will force you to be relentless,” she said.
Since graduating, Love has not only trained at one of the “best track camps in the world,” but she has also begun working closely with inspirational speakers to work towards what she said is her other purpose in life. She said she is continuously working on being a better person and wants to be a positive role model for her community.
Megan Summers, class of December 2013, is originally from Murray.
“When I was growing up, my parents would ride bikes through campus and I sat behind my mom in one of those attachable child bike seats,” she said. “I remember seeing the students walk to class and I thought they were so cool.”
She grew up and became one of those “cool students” as an advertising major with a minor in creative writing. Summers said she thanks her professors for helping her achieve her goals.
“I would not be where I am today without Professors Robert Valentine, Gill Welsch and the famous Nors (Robert Norsworthy),” she said. “It’s not easy finding jobs or internships when you don’t live in or around a major metropolitan area and the internship program they put together is incredible.”
Since graduating Summers has a job working for Spotify as a Traffic Manager in Ad operations.
“My team and I place ads on Spotify and make optimizations to reach goals,” she said.
Summers said she loves working for Spotify. She said they’re all insanely passionate about music and have a stocked kitchen. She said she has always wanted to live in New York City, where she currently lives, for as long as she can remember.
“It’s something that I never thought would actually happen and I still catch myself every now and then again taking a step back, thinking ‘is this real?’” she said.
Summers said she had the opportunity to intern in the city the summer before her senior year and that the transition from small town life to city life was frustrating at first, but it has improved.
“Say goodbye to dishwashers and personal space,” she said. “But everyone is so open-minded and the city itself is so inspiring,”
When Summers first moved to New York City, she worked at an advertising agency in Ad operations. She said near the two year mark, she knew she wanted to work directly for a brand.
“I began stalking the career pages of my favorite brands like they were an ex-boyfriend,” she said. “Last fall, I came across a job posting on Spotify’s career page and applied via their website portal.”
Summers said she always dreamed about working for a company that meant something to her other than a paycheck. For Summers, Spotify fits that criteria she said.
“Being passionate about what you do makes all the difference,” she said.