In Their Words: William Murphy, SEAS ’16

I am originally from the Philadelphia area, but once I visited GW I knew I wouldn’t want to leave DC any time soon.

After receiving my Early Decision acceptance in December 2011, it became a time for my family to start a serious discussion on the financial implications of college. I was fortunate enough to be offered a merit scholarship from the School of Engineering and Applied Science, as well as the University and Alumni grant, but after crunching the numbers, it fell short of what my family could come up with. Two kids in college and medical bills piling up, my single-mother began to talk to me about going to a community college and reevaluate what I wanted to do after 2 years.

That is when I penned a letter to the financial aid department at GW, explaining to them the situation my family was facing and how I would not be able to attend, even though GW was my number one school.

William Murphy, SEAS '16, shares his story at the 2014 GW Leadership Retreat.

William Murphy, SEAS ’16, shares his story at the 2014 GW Leadership Retreat.

A week later, my mother received an emotional call from the financial aid department, from a woman who personally read my letter. My mom was shocked because she had no idea that I was doing all of this. During that phone call, my mother was told that I would be receiving the Nelson and Michele Carbonell Endowed Scholarship. I wouldn’t be here today without the extreme generosity showed to me by the Carbonells.

Officially being able to matriculate to the school, I immediately began looking into all the opportunities GW had for me. During Colonial Inauguration, I contacted multiple professors in the engineering department about their research with cancer, a topic that I am very passionate about. By the time I matriculated in the fall, I was able to work with two PhD students on research into the applications of cold atmospheric plasma as a treatment for glioblastoma multiform brain tumors.

Now, I am leading my own research project in the same laboratory, and I should soon be submitting a paper for publication. Besides working on my own research, I try to help other undergraduates find research positions at the university; I believe that getting undergraduates involved early-on will increase the prowess of GW as a research institution.

After graduating, I hope to continue researching under a Fulbright Scholarship to the Max-Planck Institute in Germany and afterwards complete a joint MD-PhD degree under the NIH Medical Scientist Training Program. There is no doubt in my mind that the goals I can accomplish is thanks to the education I receive at GW and the generosity of the network of alumni, whom I cannot wait to join, along with my fellow citizen leaders.

My name is William Murphy and I am a rising junior studying Biomedical Engineering. I am an engineer, a cancer-researcher, a life-long learner, and a Colonial. And I am making history.

—William Murphy, SEAS ’16


Visit to learn how you can help students like William succeed as part of Making History: The Campaign for GW.

Author: GW Impact

Share This Post On

Leave a Reply