Kent State University junior Dwayne Murray sees a brighter future since transferring to the Kent Campus last fall.

The biotechnology major is focused on acing his coursework in hopes that one day he will be able to study the effects of prescription drugs on children diagnosed with behavior disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The topic is close to Murray's heart because he was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, and doctors prescribed Adderall and Ritalin to treat the disorder.

Having firsthand knowledge of those mood-altering drugs has fueled Murray's quest to research brain chemistry in childhood development.

"From 6 to 17 years old, I was on Adderall and Ritalin," he says. "I felt that it affected my development and made me emotionally disconnected. It didn't work in a positive way. I had a limited range of emotions on Adderall."

It didn't work in a positive way. I had a limited range of emotions on Adderall.

A Michigan native, Murray, 27, came to Kent State with an Associate of Science degree from Cuyahoga Community College's Eastern campus in Highland Hills. He knew he wanted to study biochemistry and biotechnology, but his path to Kent State was neither direct nor short.

After moving several times during childhood, Murray graduated from high school in Rochester Hills, Michigan. When he stopped taking Adderall and Ritalin, he began to feel better, he says.

Yet, his life did not automatically stabilize. He attended several community colleges in Michigan, but he wasn't ready for school.

"I didn't have the motivation and follow-up for it," he says. "I stumbled through life."

His aunt helped smooth his path when she invited him to live with her in Hudson, Ohio. He enrolled at Tri-C, and that's when his life started rolling in the right direction.

"My auntie gave me the opportunity to move here with her. I got into school, got a job and finished my associate degree."

I got into school, got a job and finished my associate degree.

After earning his degree, Murray got a job at Chipotle and an apartment in Streetsboro. He met a retired instructor from Kent State who asked him what he was going to do with the rest of his life.

Murray shared his story and mentioned his interest in learning more about brain chemistry in children. The former instructor encouraged him to enroll at Kent State, and introduced him to a student who helped him connect with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

"I just got my first A in math that I've ever gotten in college," Murray says of the trigonometry class he had just completed at Kent State. "I got a B in genetics. That was tough."

Now he's attending Kent State part time and working 50-plus hours per week. In the spring he was taking Introduction to Biotechnology and a calculus course.

Chipotle has a tuition reimbursement program, which helps pay for his classes. He's looking forward to getting into a lab setting on campus.

Murray's transfer to Kent State has been an illuminating experience and has convinced him he's on the right path.

"I've had a few experiences that have reconnected me to life," he says. "Before, life didn't look bright. But now, it looks bright!"

POSTED: Wednesday, July 14, 2021 01:09 PM
UPDATED: Sunday, July 21, 2024 09:57 PM