Jennifer L. Murchison (BA 99, MA 2005) serves as the assistant director and LD/ADHD coordinator for the Office of Student Disability Services (SDS) at the University of Memphis where she enjoys every moment she gets to interact with students. Her career truly started at Ole Miss from the lessons she learned and took with her from her time in the SDS office.
Though Murchison worked in other fields for a few years as a newspaper reporter and a secretary, she found the right place for herself working with students with disabilities. She gives credit to Ole Miss for the opportunities and experiences she had, which helped her achieve her goals and get where she is today.
“One of the best people that I know is Bettie Puckett who worked at Ole Miss,” said Murchison. “She was my mentor from the time that I started at Ole Miss. She really pushed me to better myself professionally, personally, educationally and academically. She is a remarkable lady.”
Murchison worked in SDS on the Ole Miss campus for six years while pursuing her master’s degree in higher education. Once she received her diploma, she realized she wanted to explore other options within her career. She found her current position in Memphis and has loved every minute of working with students.
For Murchison, a day in the office involves meeting with any student with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder or hyperactivity disorder. She helps these students in the class room learn what will best help them to succeed during their college careers.
“I love working with my students here in Memphis,” said Murchison. “It is hands on and I actually meet with my students weekly so I get to know them on a deeper level. It is so rewarding and I have really learned how to get students to open up. It is a phenomenal thing when you can make a difference in a student’s life.”
Murchison enjoys her job although she does face challenges. She handles the rigors of her job while at the same time meeting with 100 students weekly. She says her students are her biggest role models.
“Getting to know the students, I know their struggles and their problems,” said Murchison. “Everybody has problems but just seeing these kids get through the day and just being the adversaries that they are, is just amazing.”
Murchison said there is really no way to prepare somebody for the things they will face in SDS. Every student is unique. You are always going to come across somebody who has some quality that you have never encountered before.
Murchison has many fond memories from her years in Oxford at Ole Miss. She did not even realize she was learning the skills necessary both in professional and personal settings.
“At Ole Miss, you definitely have that feeling of belonging, that feeling of family,” said Murchison. “No matter where you go you are going to run into somebody from Ole Miss and you automatically have a brother or sister right there standing in front of you. It is an amazing thing to know that you belong to something that big. You will always have that connection.”
Murchison plans to pursue a master’s degree in political science while in Memphis. She hopes to teach political science classes at the university level while working full time in SDS.