Students from the class of 2017 reflect on their time at Murray State University


Murray State University class of 2017 students graduated on May 13 but, before doing so, took the time to reflect on their special memories.

Alissa Sommerfeldt, a public relations major and advertising minor from Owensboro, recalled making her decision to come to Murray State.

“During the campus tour, I fell in love with the campus,” said Sommerfeldt. “Murray State immediately felt like home — I filled out an application that very day. It was the very best choice I could have made — I’ve thrived and grown so much at this University.”

Abby Siegel, a double major in nonprofit leadership studies and public relations with a minor in organizational communication from Shelbyville, told her story of choosing Murray State. On her initial campus visit, she had the opportunity to meet with faculty member, Dr. Bob Long.

“He convinced me that Murray State was my perfect fit. I remember receiving a thoughtful email from Dr. Long before I even made it home. His encouragement, guidance and wisdom drew me to Murray State. Because of my experience with him, I knew I would have a personalized experience here.”

Abigail Steck, an exercise science major and biology minor from Rochester, Illinois, said, “My honors thesis has certainly been my biggest accomplishment. I am more proud of it than anything else.”

Graduates also include 68-year old Edward Peek of Hopkinsville, who is headed to Germany this summer to study abroad. Peek is a history major and a political science minor. The retiree decided to come back to school to make good use of his time. “I decided to take a few classes and liked it well, so I continued,” said Peek, who earned his associate degree in art from Hopkinsville Community College before enrolling at Murray State.

“Berlin offers the visitor the ability to view a city that was destructed and rebuilt,” added Peek. “Living through the Cold War, I expect to see and study many things I have only heard about.”

Darian Helton, a learning and behavior disorders with elementary emphasis major from Gilbertsville, stated that her biggest accomplishment was being part of the professional development school pilot program at Clark Elementary.

“I am so glad Murray State University allowed me this opportunity to have a true experience as a teacher working out in the field,” said Helton.

When it comes to favorite memories from her time at Murray State, Siegel recalls her high school sweetheart, Deric Hyman, proposing.

“He created ‘memory lane’ on the strip that runs through campus with pictures from our relationship over the years,” said Siegel. “At the end he asked me to marry him, and of course I said ‘yes’!”

In conjunction with favorite memories come the things that will be missed most about Murray State.

Jacob Walker, a graduate student of speech-language pathology from Greensburg, said “It will most definitely be the tight-knit group of friends,” in reference to what he will miss most.

Siegel said, “I have always loved that the whole world comes to small-town Murray, Kentucky. I really have found so many great people in Murray who have taught me how to be the best person, scholar and friend I can be.”

When Sommerfeldt was asked what she would miss the most, she simply replied, “the people.”

“The Murray State community is so welcoming and personable,” said Sommerfeldt. “Whether you’re with current students or alumni, there is always pride and loyalty for the blue and gold. Murray State is such a student-centered university — the faculty and staff actually care about you as an individual and want to see you succeed.”

“The sense of community and overwhelming feeling of school spirit is just something you never forget,” said Heather Mix, a public relations major and organizational communication minor from Ballard County. “Once a Racer, always a Racer.”

Complete information on the May 2017 Commencement ceremony, as well as #RacerGraduation stories, can be found at

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