Ciara Murphy doesn’t give up easily — especially when it comes to helping others.
As she wound her way through five different majors — education, then special education, journalism, photojournalism, and marketing — finally landing in MIS, she knew she wanted that perfect fit that combined her desire to help people with an intellectually stimulating career.
It’s this stick-to-itveness, and the success that has followed, that helped garner Murphy, the vice president of operations for Association for Information Systems, the 2016 MIS Student Leadership Award.
“It’s an extremely competitive group of students this year due to the quality of the candidates,” said Jeremy Shafer, assistant professor of Management Information Systems. “However, Ciara is well deserving of the award, since she has demonstrated a willingness to take on challenging tasks, such as Hootathon and other successful fundraising efforts.”
In fact, Murphy’s determination shone throughout her efforts for Hootathon, a fundraising event for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as she led her team in a series of diverse fundraising efforts, such as canning at football games and running a kickball tournament. Ultimately, her team raised the most funds of any group at Temple University, to the tune of more than $7,600.
What drives Murphy through all of this is a desire to give back and help others, since she sees herself as the beneficiary of that type of generosity growing up in Boston, Mass.
“I was practically raised in the Boys and Girls Club, from my school work to my swim team,” Murphy said. “It has always been really important to me to give back to people, because they’ve given to me.”
This pay-it-forward commitment is reflected not only in her role as a TA for the introductory course for MIS majors, where she guides many students through the intellectual and emotional challenges of navigating their way to a major, but also in her role with AIS, where she coordinated fundraising events, such as the aforementioned Hootathon, and social events for the group.
Murphy sees the social events for AIS as more than just a time to have fun and bond; in her mind, these events are helping her fellow MIS students gain important soft skills, such as empathy and networking, that are crucial for future success.
“I think it’s important to create that sense of community within an organization,” said Murphy, noting that the organization’s members typically only meet twice a week to hear invited speakers. “Ten years down the road, we are going to be in positions all over the country, and these social events will catalyze our future network. I think that’s invaluable for your future in this field.”
Murphy, who had an internship at JP Morgan and Chase, plans to continue to focus on ways she can help others with her job at Cigna, where she will help develop ways to use technology to incentivize people to improve their health.
“I really enjoy being able to understand and engage in meaningful ways with both IT and the business side of things,” said Murphy, who feels the MIS program equipped her with the determination and skill set to solve problems creatively and act as an effective liaison. “I guess that’s really just a theme for me.”
The MIS program has left her feeling well prepared for the next step of her journey, as an endpoint asset management analyst for Cigna’s Technology Early Career Development Program, and she even feels she has the foundation to reach for her ultimate goal: CIO.
“Everyone who graduates has big dreams, and I’m just going to keep at it and do my best, and hopefully, I will be granted the opportunity to take on leadership activities in the corporate world” she said. “This program has helped make me feel like that’s a feasible goal, preparing me in ways I didn’t even know were possible — and I’m just very grateful.”
Read more about Murphy’s future plans here.
Writer: Elizabeth Hillaker Downs