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WIU Student Receives Scholarship Toward Specialist Degree

Western Illinois University–Quad Cities graduate student Taylor Murphy recently received a scholarship to pursue a specialist degree in School Psychology at the Macomb campus. Murphy was among the first cohort of students to major in Psychology at WIU-QC, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in May 2021.

Murphy was selected as one of three recipients of the 2023-2024 Lori Lynne Myers Award. The award is named after a 1998 graduate of WIU’s graduate program in School Psychology, who died unexpectedly soon after graduating. Her family, peers and friends established a fund in her memory.

"Taylor embodies the qualities of what Lori stood for, and that is the ability to balance academic achievement with other aspects of life, a sense of humor and a sense of caring for one’s classmates,” said Leigh Fisler, associate professor and coordinator of WIU’s Psychology department. “I did not know Lori myself, but Darcie Whitlow, a classmate of Lori's who serves on our scholarship committee, stated that after reading Taylor's application she knew that was the person that most embodied the characteristics that Lori stood for.”

Murphy is a graduate of United Township High School in East Moline, IL, and transferred to WIU-QC from Black Hawk College to major in Psychology.

“I was fortunate to work with Taylor in four separate classes when she was an undergraduate,” said WIU Psychology Professor Colin Harbke. “She approached each class with the same impressive work ethic and attention to detail; it was clear that she put in the time and effort to really learn and understand the material, while also maintaining multiple important roles and responsibilities outside of class.” 

Murphy is currently completing her practicum in School Psychology at Moline High School. She plans to stay in the Quad Cities area for her internship and for her future career.

The 2023-2024 Lori Lynne Myers Award selection committee also recognized Katie Hernandez and Jessica Kennel with partial scholarships and Jacquelyn Beaver who earned an honorable mention.

For more information on WIU’s Psychology Department, visit

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