VISTA Spotlight: Kyle Murray

KyleName:  Kyle Murray

Host Site: California State University, Fresno College of Science and Math

Alma Mater:  California State University, Fresno

Major:  Forensic Behavioral Sciences

Background: As a student at Fresno State I completed my undergraduate in 4 and a half years with a cumulative g.p.a. of 3.2.  My academic studies consisted of mixing psychology and criminology courses, looking at the reasons why people commit crime and the social and biological factors that are known to increase a person’s predisposition to commit crime.  Outside of school I served as an After School Tutor at many elementary schools and finally spent my last year at McLane high school.  It was through this Teaching Fellows jobs that I realized my passion to work with the youth.  My extra-curricular activities consisted of being part of the Delta Sigma Phi   fraternity.  Along with an exciting night life, the fraternity allowed me to get involved with many philanthropic events like Kids Day, a day where many students from Fresno State sell newspapers on the street corners to raise money for the Valley Children’s Hospital.  We partnered with the American Red Cross, working blood drives and raising money through our powder puff football event for the sororities on campus.  My favorite event that we participated in though was Vintage Days, basically a fair put on at Fresno’s campus.  All of the clubs on campus usually have a booth selling food or working a carnival style game and there are booths selling crafts and t-shirts.  The event also comes complete with a live band and beer garden for the of-age crowd.  Every year the food is IMG_6643judged by a select panel consisting of Fresno State Faculty like President Castro and head football coach Tim DeRuyter; and in 2013 our tri-tip sandwiches took 2nd to the local favorite taco shop.  My undergrad at Fresno consisted of a healthy combination of fun and academia that surely created many memories to last a lifetime.

Why I serve:

Upon my graduation from Fresno State, I looked into the future slightly scared and really had no idea exactly what I wanted to do with my degree.  With student loan payments approaching quickly I looked into AmeriCorps programs because of the loan deferment plan and the scholarship at the end of service.  I saw it as an opportunity to gain some experience in the education system while biding time to figure out what my next move in life is.  I have always been interested in working in education, so I jumped at the opportunity to be part of the brand new CSU VISTA program; I saw it as a chance to see the administration side of higher education and truly experience what goes on behind the scenes at a college level.  I have made very important connections in the higher education community that I will look to for letters of recommendation when I figure out what graduate program I want to participate in.

Ah-ha moment:

I think the most important thing I have learned about myself is that I need to be involved in a program that allows me to do more direct service.  I have really enjoyed my experience working in the Advising and Resources Center, but I yearn to get out and interact with students, in particular the K-12 sector.  I am a very energetic person and I have realized that a Kyle with kidsprofessional office setting is not the place I want to spend my career.  Though I think I have gained invaluable experience in higher education and can apply this knowledge to the next step in my life.

Future Goals/Plans:

My future goals are still uncertain to me.  As my VISTA year is now on the 3rd of 4 quarters, I realize I need to start making moves in my life and set myself up for success post-service.  I think I will look to something that is short-term like substitute teaching that can give me experience in the classroom while I continue to explore masters programs.  In the end, I see myself working with the youth either way, and lately I have been considering applying my criminology background and working with at-risk youth.  Whatever it is that I end up doing; you can bet that I will be enjoying it to the fullest and making money doing something I truly enjoy.

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