Major: English literature
Hometown: Hoover, Alabama
High school: Hoover High School
Rachel Wood, an English literature major from Hoover, Alabama, is one such student. Throughout her time at Murray State, Wood has taken full advantage of the opportunities afforded to her at the University, including her work as editor-in-chief for “Steeplechase,” a digital magazine for students at Murray State featuring research and creative projects. Wood, who helped found and launch “Steeplechase,” is also active in the Honors College, as well as the student newspaper and the University’s chapter of the Kappa Delta sorority. This is her story.
Activities and Organizations
EQ Blu, a cappella group; Honors College Student Council; and Kappa Delta, sorority. I also work as the editor-in-chief for “Steeplechase,” a semi-annual digital publication showcasing research and creative activity among students at Murray State, and as an opinion columnist for “The News,” Murray State’s student newspaper.
What do you want to do after graduation?
After graduation, I am making plans to attend graduate school and continue researching the connections between literature and technology. From there, I hope to step into the video game industry or possibly go into museum studies to share important stories with the general public.
How do you define success?
For me, success is feeling like you made some sort of difference. The difference doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or profound; sometimes just impacting one person makes it feel like your hard work paid off.
If you could spend one hour with literally anyone, who would it be and why?
Lin-Manuel Miranda! He is an absolute genius when it comes to storytelling. I’d love to sit down and talk to him about his writing process and what inspires him.
Why did you decide to attend Murray State?
Murray State provided me perfect balances across the board: not too close yet not too far from home, not too big or too small. It was one of the first campuses I visited as a high school student that I could really see myself attending. Murray State also had an abundance of ways to get involved with the campus community, and I wanted to take full advantage of that.
What has the experience been like of working as editor-in-chief for “Steeplechase” and how do you believe the experience prepared you for the future?
Working as editor-in-chief has been an incredible experience. I worked with an amazing team of editors and faculty advisors, and we essentially built the journal from the ground up. It taught me how to build the framework for a major project, as well as provided me with copy editing, interviewing and leadership skills. All the work I’ve done with “Steeplechase” will undoubtedly prepare me for taking on leadership roles both in graduate school and in my career. I’m really good at writing friendly yet assertive emails now!
What other opportunities have you been afforded at Murray State?
Looking back, I’ve taken advantage of so many opportunities at Murray State that really made my college experience fulfilling. I’ve studied abroad through programs here (an entire semester in Edinburgh, Scotland, and a month in London); taken up leadership opportunities in my sorority and the Honors College; and worked hands-on with campus research through my job in the Office of Research and Creative Activity. My work with research has also allowed me to travel and present at conferences in Bowling Green, Frankfort, Asheville and Chicago.
Who is your favorite professor and why?
Dr. Andy Black has had such a wonderful impact on my experience at Murray State. He’s helped me pursue my research interests (who knew you could write a thesis on video games?) and encouraged me to share my research with a broad audience. His classes are always engaging and entertaining, and he’s taught me so much about how diverse literary research can be.
What do you think sets Murray State apart from other universities?
I think small class size and campus involvement are two major things that set Murray State apart. Being in smaller classes has allowed me to really get to know my professors, which has opened a lot of doors for me. Also, the abundance of campus organizations and activities have allowed me to try new things and take on leadership positions.
What advice would you give to incoming freshmen?
If you’re interested in something, ask about it! Talk to your professors about their research interests and see if you can pursue your own research; ask upperclassmen about how they got involved in their organizations or on-campus jobs. You’ll never know what is available unless you ask!