In the Spotlight: Lee J. Murray

Fellow NEO-STC members, please meet our Scholarship Winner Lee J. Murray!

bournemouth image
Bournemouth, UK

Lee hails from Bournemouth, a beautiful seaside resort town on the south coast of England. It was voted “The Happiest Place to Live in the UK” in 2007. In August of 2008, he moved to Youngstown, Ohio. Luckily, it turns out the grass was in fact greener, and he says it has certainly proven to be the right move for his family.

Lee says, “My employment history is a bit of a mixed bag. I left school at 16 to become a travel agent, a job that doesn’t really exist anymore. The retail style travel agency business model was dying when I signed up, but the rise of the internet killed it off completely a few years after I jumped ship. Fresh-faced teenagers in polyester uniforms have been replaced by shiny websites (as advertised by William Shatner and the scruffy Trivago guy,) and, frankly, It’s probably for the best. Being a travel agent was a crashing bore, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I’m glad I quit it before that slice of the industry disappeared from under me.”

He tells L&L, “After the travel agent gig, and for a couple of wonderful, happy years, I ran a little guitar store, which I co-owned with my best friend. We never made any money, but we had a lot of fun. After I married my wife, I worked in construction briefly, and started a door installation company when my first daughter was born. I’ve bounced around a lot since then, but I seem to be finding my feet as a writer and researcher. The weird, eclectic selection of not-quite-careers has shaped me as a person and imbued me with a sense of freedom in my choices. It’s allowed me to make ridiculous decisions, like marrying an American and moving to Ohio and having a bunch of kids and going back to school.”

Currently, Lee is a full-time student and a stay-at-home dad, looking after a three-year-old and a one-year-old. He and his wife also have an 8-year-old.

Lee started at Youngstown State University (YSU) in 2011 and will graduate with a BA in Professional and Technical Writing (PTW) at the end of the summer after finishing up his foreign language requirements, and then plans to go to graduate school.

“So basically, all that I have to do this summer is learn French in 16 weeks. That’s all. No big deal!” he says.

“I take my education very seriously, and I’m really competitive at school. I’m hoping to bring some of that fire in my belly with me into graduate school, which I begin in September. I’ll be teaching freshman writing classes in Spring 2016, which is absolutely thrilling. Another two years of school that I’m excited to get stuck in. I’m considering completing a thesis instead of a portfolio, which will probably mean more work in year two. This might open more doors for me academically, though, so it’s worth the late nights in front of the computer. I’m focused on school right now, and I haven’t settled on an exit strategy yet.”

Lee also recently completed an undergraduate certificate in entrepreneurship in the spring.

As for hobbies and other interests, Lee says, “Kids and hobbies… sometimes it seems like those two options are mutually exclusive! That said, I play guitar occasionally, and I’ve recently started experimenting with cooking. Sometimes successfully, often not. I try to read when I can, but my only real hobby nowadays is coursework.”

As far as NEO STC, he said he learned about the NEOSTC through Jay Gordon, his undergraduate advisor and coordinator of the PTW program. He applied for the scholarship and won. This is a great lesson for students and professionals out there who want to continue their education! There’s more scholarship money through NEO STC to be had, so make sure to spread the word or apply for it yourself!

For information about NEO STC’s scholarship application, contact us at

By Lee J. Murray and Lynn Nickels