Alumni Spotlight: David Murphy

blog_David Murphy - Seattle, Washington
David Murphy (MA ’08) ~ Seattle, WA

Sometimes our alumni stay in Kansas to forge their professional path; sometimes they travel the world. David Murphy (MA ’08) has traveled the world — thanks, in part, to his M.A. in English from Kansas State, as he explains below.

David’s employment history illustrates the various and complementary careers that our graduates pursue, some of which start during their time in the program. In addition to his reflections below, you can read more about David’s path and current plans at his web site (“Becoming a Writer“). Be sure, too, to check out his photographs from his time in Afghanistan.


Work while at Kansas State University:

Fiction Editor, Touchstone, 2006-07

Editor-in-Chief, Touchstone, 2007-08

Writing mentor in the PILOTS program: 2007-08

Graduate Teaching Assistant, 2006-07

Graduate Research Assistant, 2007-08


Jobs after graduation:

Consultant-Lecturer, KSU-Balkh University Partnership, Balkh University, Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan 2008-10 (funded by The World Bank)

Administrative Director, KSU-Balkh University Partnership made possible by The World Bank, Balkh University, Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan 2009-10

Curriculum Development Supervisor, King Saud University’s Preparatory Year, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 2010-11

English Language Fellow, Toluca and Pachuca, Mexico, 2012-2014 (funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs)

Program Supervisor, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Olympia, Washington, 2014-2018


Selected Awards:

Seaton Fellowship for Creative Writing, KSU, 2006-07

English Language Fellow Ambassador, 2017-18


Current occupation:



Looking back, the most rewarding benefit from my time at Kansas State was the approachable professors.  To this day, I keep in contact with Elizabeth Dodd, mainly via Facebook, and she always showed herself as being smart and savvy when I was on campus.  During the time that I was at KSU, I asked Karin Westman for help in getting into a World Bank funded program, and she helped facilitate it.  That position helped launch my career.  I worked with Imad Rahman to develop an independent study, a course of my own, during my last semester, and that course enabled me to read and discuss books that weren’t otherwise in the curriculum.  Phil Nel and others were at the forefront of vying for the acceptability of children’s literature as part of the “legitimate” literary canon, and that advocacy came at a time when children’s lit was at its earliest stages of acceptability.  He, and other professors, always made time to talk with me, and for that I am grateful.

Using my English degree from KSU, I have traveled around the world.  I’ve gotten to go to Afghanistan, to The Pentagon, to Africa, and to the Middle East.  I’ve gotten to go to Mexico and South America.  I’ve gotten to support students across Washington state for four years.  These jobs would not have been possible without the support that I got at KSU.  The professors were kind enough to support my career, to entrust the editorship of Touchstone literary journal to me for a year, to select me for scholarships, and to reward me with graduate teaching and research assistantships.

The staff in the KSU English Department is the department’s greatest resource.  A person can earn an M.A. degree in English from many places, but the support and guidance given by the KSU English Department can help you do what you want with your degree.

– David Murphy (MA ’08)

To reach David, you can email him at DavidMurphy13 at GMail dot com. And visit his site at

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