California State University, Sacramento

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Hornets On the Rise
Lillian Murphy

For as long as Lillian Murphy can remember, her mother has been in pain. Murphy’s mother suffers from endometriosis —a painful disorder in the pelvic area that has no scientifically proven cause, but it is something the Murphy family attributes to the chemicals her mother was exposed to while growing up as the child of migrant farmworkers.

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A Winner for SURE

My mom has learned to overcome so much and is such an inspiration to me. It’s part of the reason I am interested in doing bio-medical research in neurological disorders, Murphy said. The Sacramento-native chose to attend Sac State because it allowed her to pursue her degree at her mother’s alma mater and stay close enough to help her family.

Soon after arriving, Murphy became connected with Assistant Professor Kimberly Mulligan and applied to work in Professor Mulligan’s lab. After proving her dedication and abilities, Professor Mulligan encouraged Murphy to apply for the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) award. This program, which is unique to Sac State, provides funding to support projects in which faculty and undergraduate students work together on research or other scholarly projects.

Murphy was awarded a SURE scholarship which allowed her to focus on her research, catapulted the efficacy of her work, allowed her to present her research at conferences, and helped her earn the prestigious Glenn Nagel Award — given for the best undergraduate research across the entire CSU system. It also ignited a passion for a future career in research.

The financial support I received to do research has been a big part of my life, said Murphy, who has been accepted to numerous graduate programs throughout the country, including UC Berkeley and Harvard University. Anytime someone can help a Sac State student, it allows that student to focus on doing well in their classes instead of worrying about loans or trying to work odd jobs while going to school. It’s definitely worth it." To read more about Lillian, check out this recent article at Sac State Online

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