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Campus News

August 23rd, 2022

Buday-Murray brings impressive experience to GC

Faculty member's students have ranged from high schoolers to inmates

Dr. Michele Buday-Murray's class rosters have included everyone from high school dual-enrolled students to prison inmates – and she's bringing her impressive breadth of experience to Garrett College as GC's new sociology faculty member.

Buday-Murray – who most recently worked with the Wyoming Department of Corrections and Eastern Wyoming College – said her experience teaching prison inmates was full of surprises.


Dr. Michele Buday-Murray

"I think people tend to look at them [incarcerated individuals] in a negative light, but they're excellent students," said Buday-Murray. "A lot of them are just grateful for the opportunity to get a college education and do something productive in their down time."

Interestingly, Buday-Murray said some of her incarcerated students were almost too focused on their academic work.

"I was really surprised at the difference between traditional students and incarcerated students," said Buday-Murray. "With traditional students, if you give them a four-page paper, you receive a four-page paper. With the incarcerated population, I had to finally say that for a four-page paper, you absolutely should not go over eight pages.

"I had a guy one time turn in a 40-page paper," continued Buday-Murray. "They have tons of down time, and if they find a topic they're interested in, they go for it."

Buday-Murray said she also enjoyed her work with dual enrollment students.

"I really like working with high school kids," she said. "I felt like sociology is a really good subject to ease them into dual enrollment. It provokes thought and gets them interested in college.

"I'm looking forward to connecting with students on a more personal and interactive basis," added Buday-Murray, who was an adjunct sociology instructor at Eastern Wyoming College for the last three years. Her full-time position with the Wyoming Department of Corrections was as an Adult Basic Education (ABE) instructor.

Buday-Murray said she is excited about the opportunity to reinforce Garrett College's community-focused mission as well as tailoring educational opportunities to students' goals.

"I think that Garrett College is in the perfect position to encourage education throughout the lifetimes of county residents," said Buday-Murray, who also worked as a drug and alcohol counselor earlier in her career. "Further education doesn't always have to be about obtaining a degree; it's about improving quality of life."

Dr. Ryan Harrod, GC's dean of academic affairs and chief academic officer, said Buday-Murray's diverse academic and professional background will strengthen the College's social and behavioral sciences area.

"The College and our students are really going to benefit from having a faculty member whose background includes education, counseling, sociology, and criminal justice," said Harrod. "I know Dr. Buday-Murray is also interested in reestablishing study-abroad options and potentially advising student clubs. We're fortunate to be hiring a faculty member with such academic flexibility."

After spending the last four years in Wyoming, Buday-Murray is experiencing a homecoming of sorts with her appointment as an assistant professor.

"I'm originally from southwestern Pennsylvania and have lived in Somerset County on and off. I really love the area," said Buday-Murray.

Buday-Murray earned both a Bachelor of Science in education and a Master of Education in school and guidance counseling from California University of Pennsylvania. She recently completed a Doctor of Philosophy in administration and leadership studies from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Garrett College will be something of a family affair for Buday-Murray, whose husband, Robert, has been hired as a campus safety and security officer.