NAU Communications spoke with Fé Murray, 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 his answers below.
Q: Tell me about an important childhood memory and its impact on your life today.
A: My early childhood was spent in Havana, Cuba. Even though at the time it was an extremely oppressive political climate and financially impoverished by our standards, my parents provided me with an environment very rich in literature, which led to my love of words, poetry and stories. I have a special memory of our friend and family poet, the Reverend Rodolfo Loyola, who often came to our house and recited his beautiful poems to us. As a young child of maybe 6 years old, I clearly remember sitting at his feet in our house focused and he was reciting his lyric poem “El Loro(The Parrot). The words didn’t just rhyme, they danced with every rise and fall of his voice; he woven a fantastic story and told it with such zest that I was completely captivated. I treasure it. memory and I am deeply aware of the power of words to move, excite, connect and touch the soul from childhood.
Q: What were you most proud of this week?
A: This is the first week of clinical placements in our graduate program. I am very proud to see our students serving our community by providing excellent and much needed therapy for people with communication, eating and swallowing disorders; some of these services are provided online and some in person at various locations in our region. They are bright, positive, and excited to make a difference, even behind masks and shields. I am so proud of them all.
Q: What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?
A: Whenever I spend extended periods of time with my husband, Danny (double alumnus of NAU and former cross country / track student), is my favorite way to relax. We love to explore our beautiful region. We love to drive looking for wildlife (we saw over 300 elk this past weekend), hike and explore new trails and just be in nature in general. If the weather doesn’t allow it, I like to read (just about anything), listen to music, and do Sudoku or crossword puzzles. However, whenever we spend time with the extended family, it’s a good day.
Q: What are the three things on your bucket list and why?
A: (1) I would love to visit all the Smithsonian museums. It’s very old-fashioned, isn’t it? I am a curious person. (2) I would like to travel more with my husband, more immediately to Alaska and the New England states. I have never been to these places and want to feast on the natural beauty and history they offer. (3) I would like to come back to visit a free Cuba. I plan to walk the streets of my childhood, but only when the citizens of this beautiful country are freed from the tyranny that keeps them hungry and yearns for freedom of speech and thought. (4) I add a fourth because I do not respect the rules. I look forward to the day when I can be a grandparent. If my kids are reading this, no pressure.
Q: What is your philosophy of life?
A: Everything I have been able to accomplish so far, every door I have been able to walk through was because I dared to do it. Don’t wait for an invitation to join life, just dare (Atrévete!). You have nothing to lose and the world to gain.
Q: How did you get into your professional field?
A: I went to college when I was 18 to become an international interpreter; I dreamed of working for the United Nations in New York. But those dreams were quickly shattered when the French language did not come as easily as English. Over the next two years, I declared 14 majors; I didn’t want to be ‘indecisive’, but none of the fields of study were suitable for me. Then my RA suggested that I take an introductory speech therapy course, and I was hooked straight away! I did not know that this field which married my love of linguistics, health and science existed! I loved every minute of bilingual speech therapy. I have had a rewarding career in rehabilitation, home health, early intervention and in public schools. And now, in the twilight of my career, I have the privilege of watching students discover the joys of helping someone access independent communication.