Kelsey Murrell says she couldn't have done it without the Honors Program

Rhodes Scholar

KU's newest Rhodes Scholar, Kelsey Murrell, can easily list all of the things that she would NOT have been able to do without her involvement in the University Honors Program.

Number one on that list, she says, is the Rhodes Scholarship itself.

"Just because you're in the Honors Program doesn't mean you're going to do all of these things, but they provide the resources to make it possible," she says. "Without the Honors Program, I don't think I would have even qualified for an experience like this, let alone gotten it."

Murrell, an English literature and creative writing major from Kearney, Mo., will graduate in May and attend Oxford University in England with funding from the Rhodes Scholarship.

She is confident that she would not have become a creative writer were it not for Mary Klayder's freshman tutorial, "So, You Wanna Be a Writer, Huh?", that she took her first semester at KU.

If she would not have become a creative writer, Klayder, her Honors adviser, probably would not have recommended Robert Elliott's course about Irish drama. And she would not have written her play, "Eggs and Issues," and subsequent plays, which have received multiple honors from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the Multicultural Theatre Initiative.

If she had not begun to write plays, she would not have realized that she could connect her love for playwriting with her interest in societal problems.

"Irish drama made a connection for me between drama and social issues, and I started to see drama as a community project," Murrell says.

If she didn't have the opportunity to connect social issues to creative writing, she might not have been influenced by Marta Caminero-Santangelo's Latina literature course (which she also took at Klayder's behest) and become interested in multiethnic literature.

"She is what made me have a strong interest in literature and its connection to social justice. That class is definitely the one that sparked my interest in immigration," Murrell says.

To read the full article, please click here.