Adalyn McMurray

Adalyn McMurray

Musicians always seem to create music. While walking outdoors, the sound of snow crunching under their shoes may inspire a song. They can listen to birds chirping and feel encouraged to write a tune mirroring the sounds of nature.

Music is always within them – at least during normal times. As with other jobs, stress can hinder musicians’ creativity, drive, and passion. They might feel less inspired to pick up their beloved instrument and perform. Psychologists observed this reality during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senior psychology student Adalyn McMurray has devoted extensive academic research to this topic. She surveyed musicians on their quality of life now versus before the COVID-19 pandemic. Many reported that it had become a hassle to perform music and that they had lost their passion. McMurray shared her research in an academic project and a published report in the Association of Concerts Band Journal.

“It was really cool for other musicians to read the research and have an understanding that people felt the same way they were feeling [during COVID]. The project helped me understand more about what I want to do with my career in psychology,” McMurray says.

The Sycamore completed her project during a Sycamore Undergraduate Research Fellowship with Indiana State’s Honors College, an academic unit focused on creating enriched academic experiences for students. These include undergraduate research, interdisciplinary courses, supportive faculty mentors, hands-on learning, partnerships with professionals, and a community of peers who also care about their academics.

“The Honors College helped me find ways to get involved on campus. I have made connections with new people. The Honors College is a great atmosphere and community with like-minded students,” says McMurray, who is currently a Resident Assistant on Indiana State’s campus. She is also a member of the Honors College Council, a planning committee that organizes events and philanthropy opportunities that allow students to socialize with each other and also get to know faculty.

“The Honors College has been so rewarding to me. It has specific courses that are outside of my major and they provide new, exciting topics to think about. I can apply these perspectives and mindsets to my major,” she adds.

Adalyn McMurray, a young white woman with shoulder-length wavy blond hair, sits next to a tree. She wears a long-sleeve blue STATE Honors College T-shirt, blue jeans, and she's holding a red book.

Exciting, creative courses like these include a popular class on the Netflix original series Stranger Things, taught by University College Dean Linda Maule, PhD. With thought-provoking discussions often led by students, the class examined the social, cultural, and political themes of the 1980s – the show’s setting.

“It was fun to talk about the ‘80s and Stranger Things. We had a leadership role in the class and we learned more about how the ‘80s actually were. It was nice to watch the latest season [of Stranger Things] after taking the class and noticing what we talked about in the discussions,” McMurray says.

Indiana State prepares students to broaden their perspectives wherever they go. For McMurray, this included a service-learning trip abroad in Ireland during the summer of 2022. The Sycamore spent two weeks in Birr, Ireland, living with a host family and immersing herself in Irish culture, history, and traditions. She engaged in community events, helped restore an ancient limestone wall, traveled to Galway, visited monasteries and churches, and learned about Vikings.

A group of people standing in front of a brick monument with ladders.

“It was amazing to be a part of something bigger [in Ireland],” says McMurray, who has Irish roots in her family’s heritage. “When you think about it, the United States is still a fairly ‘fresh’ and ‘new’ country compared to European countries. So, it was interesting to learn about this different culture and history.”

Experiences like this provide Sycamores with real-world learning. Through critical thinking, research, and clinical training, students in the Department of Psychology develop a deeper understanding of human behavioral traits.

“My education [at Indiana State] has been an eye-opening experience with research, clinical practice, and a glimpse of the adult world,” says McMurray.

She currently plans to continue her education in graduate school in clinical and counseling psychology, eventually working with college-age patients. Meanwhile, she aspires to continue conducting research.

“I’ve had a great experience with my professors and fellow students, who are more like a family to me. They care about my well-being, and the relationships will last a lifetime,” McMurray says. “Indiana State has provided a broad spectrum of diversity, and I have made connections with so many people who share similar interests.”

At Indiana State, students like McMurray meet individuals from all walks of life. With advanced research and opportunities to expand her perspectives and her sense of the world, McMurray is ready to begin helping people. Because real psychologists wear BLUE!

Adalyn McMurray, a young white woman with shoulder-length wavy blond hair, sits on a bench. She wears a long-sleeve blue STATE Honors College T-shirt and blue jeans. A gray backpack is next to her.