Doctoral student and fellowship recipient Calsue Murray hopes to identify factors that will help high school students succeed in New Mexico.

March 2013—Calsue Murray, a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) student at Walden University and a mathematics consultant in Albuquerque, N.M., received the 2012 Fellowship in Research and Applications for Social Change, a $10,000 grant through the Presidential Fellowship Program, to pursue his study “Resiliency Factors Enabling High School Graduation for Some Pueblo Indian Students.”

Calsue Murray
Calsue Murray

“The dropout rate for Pueblo Indian students has been higher than that of any other segment of the U.S. population,” says Murray, citing the Capitol Report New Mexico (2010). Through his research, he hopes to uncover tried-and-true actions or habits that enable students to succeed in high school. Once his study is completed, he plans to design programs to assist students who drop out.

Murray has been an educator since the 1950s. He decided to enroll at Walden when he realized he needed to demonstrate his own dedication to lifelong learning. “Lifelong learning is something we should all aspire to do,” he says. “Whatever I can do to help Native American communities, I intend to do it.”

Although he started his career in education in Chicago, he moved to New Mexico in the ’70s and has worked as a teacher and principal at schools across the state and as a superintendent in South Dakota. He’s also worked as a lecturer at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University.

Through his doctoral study, he plans to interview successful Pueblo Indian high school graduates to pinpoint the support they received that enabled them to become resilient enough to complete high school. Murray plans to use his research findings to develop a list of best practices to share throughout New Mexico.

Once he graduates, he plans to develop a mentorship program between successful high school graduates and current students to create a network of support and increase graduation rates. He would also like to address teacher retention by creating another program to pair successful, retired teachers with new teachers to help them succeed as educators.

“I’ll be 80 in April,” Murray says. “As long as I can contribute, I’d like to help teens and teachers succeed. If we can start these programs, hopefully we will be able to break the cycle of high school dropouts.”

About the Fellowship
The Fellowship in Research and Applications for Social Change was established to enable members of the Walden community to make a significant and meaningful change in academic and social communities, both locally and globally.

Read more about the Fellowship in Research and Applications for Social Change and past recipients.