Stacey Murray Feature Story

By Anis Shakirah Mohd Muslimin

This is a feature of Stacey Murray, the former Daily Iowan editor-in-chief, who also happens to be a first generation student.

By Anis Shakirah Mohd Muslimin

Small town girl, big dreams.

Stacey Murray grew up in Hopkinton, Iowa — a small town with a population of 628 people, and just about over an hour away from Iowa City.

With a graduating class of just 68 people, the transition from home to the University of Iowa was not going to be easy for Murray.

Four years later, and she is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the The Daily Iowan.


Besides being the head of the student newspaper, Murray also has to carry the weight of being the first from her family to go to college.

She was awarded the Bill Mertens Memorial Daily Iowan Scholarship — a program for outstanding high school journalists — after she graduated from high school.

Along with the monetary value from the award, Murray also received direct admissions into the UI’s prestigious journalism program, but in return, she had to work at the student publication outlet for the entirety of her college career.


“It’s really interesting because I don’t think about the phrase first in my family to go to college a lot because it seems pretty natural,” Murray said. “It’s not been so much of an absence to me because it has felt natural that people had followed other paths.”

Murray, a senior majoring in Journalism and minoring in Political Science at the UI, graduated top of her class in high school and said she had always felt that college was her natural and expected path.

She is now aiming to get into Law School after she graduates from the UI in May 2016.

“People like to talk about first generation students and the fact that their disadvantaged, but it’s really hard to measure that disadvantage,” she said.

Reflecting on her first generation status, Murray said, she has never felt disadvantaged for being the first in her family to go to college.

However, she said, being a first-generation student did mean that her parents had a different way of thinking about money compared to other students whose parents went to college.

“I don’t think you’re going to find a first generation student whose parents think it is a good idea to drop 20 or 30 thousand dollars to go travel in Europe for a semester,” she said. “I cannot imagine pitching that to my parents.”





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