NAU Communications sat down with Fé Murray, an associate clinical professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, to get to know her on a more personal level. Read our questions and her answers below.
A: My early childhood was spent in Havana, Cuba. Although at the time it was an extremely oppressive political climate and financially impoverished by our standards, my parents provided me with a very literary rich environment, which led to my love of words, poetry and stories. I have a particular memory of our family friend and poet, Rev. Rodolfo Loyola, who would often come to our home and recite his beautiful poems to us. As a young child of maybe 6 years of age, I clearly remember sitting at his feet in our home focused as he recited his lyrical poem “El Loro” (The Parrot). The words not only rhymed, they danced with every rise and fall of his voice; he wove a fantastic story and told it with such zest that I was completely captivated. I treasure that memory and have been keenly aware of the power of words to move, excite, connect and touch the soul since childhood.
Q: What have you been most proud of this week?
A: This is the first week of clinical practicums in our graduate program. I’m so proud to see our students serving our community by providing excellent and much-needed therapy for people with communication, feeding and swallowing disorders; some of these services are provided online and some in person in various locations around our region. They are bright, positive and excited to make a difference, even behind masks and shields. I’m so proud of them all.
Q:What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
A: Any time I spend extended periods with my husband, Danny (double alumni of NAU and cross country/track alumnus), is my favorite way to unwind. We love exploring our beautiful area. We enjoy driving looking for wildlife (we saw over 300 elk last weekend), hiking and exploring new trails and just being in nature in general. If the weather doesn’t permit it, I enjoy reading (just about anything), listening to music and doing Sudoku or crossword puzzles. However, any time we get to spend time with extended family is a good day.
Q: What are three things on your bucket list and why?
A: (1) I would love to visit every Smithsonian Museum. That’s very nerdy, isn’t it? I’m a curious person. (2) I would like to travel more with my husband, more immediately to Alaska and to the New England states. I’ve never been to those places, and I want to feast on the natural beauty and the history of they offer. (3) I would like to return to visit a free Cuba. I envision walking the streets of my childhood, but only when the citizens of this beautiful country are free from the tyranny that keeps them hungry and longing for freedom of expression and thought. (4) I’m adding a fourth one because I don’t follow rules well. I look forward to the day I can be a grandparent. If my children are reading this, no pressure.
Q: What is your philosophy in life?
A: Everything I’ve been able to accomplish so far, every door I have been able to walk through was because I dared to. Don’t wait for an invitation to join life, just dare to (¡Atrévete!). You have nothing to lose and the world to gain.
Q: How did you get into your career field?
A: I went to college at 18 to become an international interpreter; I had dreams of working in the United Nations in New York. But those dreams were quickly dashed when the French language didn’t come as easily as English had. For the next two years I declared 14 majors; I didn’t want to be “undecided,” but none of the fields of study felt right. Then my RA suggested that I take an Intro to Speech Pathology course, and I was immediately hooked! I didn’t know this field that married my love of linguistics, health care and science existed! I have loved every minute of being a bilingual speech-language pathologist. I have had a rewarding career working in rehabilitation, home health, early intervention and in public schools. And now, at the sunset of my career, I am privileged to witness students discover the joys of helping others communicate independently.