Meet Debra Murray, a wife, a mother and a 2008 graduate of Georgia Southern University. Debra earned a Master's of Science Degree in Molecular Biology from Georgia Southern University.
How does a person pursuing a degree in Molecular Biology get involved with the Middle Georgia Consortium? The answer to this question is simple yet complex. Debra's very successful career at Brown & Williamson (26 years) ended in 2006 when the plant closed. At the time of the plant closure, Debra was earning more than $30.00 an hour. Debra states that she often dreamed of and talked to her husband about leaving Brown & Williamson. Debra's dilemma (1)giving up a salary of more than $30.00 an hour, (2) pursuing a career where she felt she would be giving something back to the community, and (3) selecting a career where she felt she would be making a difference. Ultimately, Debra continued working at Brown and Williamson and deferred her dream of giving back to the community.
An age old adage "Be careful what you ask for, cause, you might get it". Debra's wish for change came when Brown & Williamson closed. Her organized and structured world of more than 26 years was no more. What, when and why questions were running rampant through her mind. Debra remembers seeking services at the Georgia Department of Labor and she remembers being referred to the Middle Georgia Consortium by the Department of Labor representative.
During this period of uncertainty, Debra vividly recalls a light hearted experience. Debra remembers distinctly when she began classes at Georgia Southern University that most of the students were her son's age and, as a matter of fact, her son was attending Georgia Southern University. To balance the scales, Debra provided information about her most challenging experiences at Georgia Southern University also. That experience had nothing to do with her staying up to 4 or 5 a.m. preparing for classes that began at 8:00 a.m. It had nothing to do with her having to use a high school biology book, an undergraduate college biology book and her present graduate biology book to prepare a foundation for success. Debra's lowest point took place when she met and received a stern lecture from the Research Advisor based on the assumption that most graduate students have poor work ethics and want an advanced degree without having to produce and defend their work. The end result was - Debra successfully completed the program, produced a thesis "Aquaporin 3 Water and Small Solute Channel Gene Expression in the Dogfish Shark(Squalus acanthias)". Additionally, Debra was offered the opportunity to continue her studies.
What is Debra doing now? Presently she is teaching biology at Georgia Military College and Middle Georgia Technical College. Debra states - "aside from the Consortium providing monetary assistance with books, tuition and supplies, funding her research project in Maine, and providing continuous positive feedback and counseling, she affirmatively states that she knows that she would not have had the confidence, strength and fortitude to see her program and her dream come to fruition. Thanks!"
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