09/01/2012 - By Gayle M. Irwin
(click for larger version)
Natrona County High School senior Maegan Murphy enjoys establishing relationships and making connections. Her heritage is strongly tied to the Casper area; her grandfather and great uncles created the Murphy ranch southwest of Casper. Several American historic trails pass through the property, including the Oregon and Pony Express trails. Maegan has helped refurbish an old Pony Express station still located on the ranch, and she envisions riding that trail one day, just as re-enactors each summer travel the Pony Express Trail.
"That's one of my dreams – to ride the re-enactment of the Pony Express Trail across the family ranch," she says.
That strong sense of connection is a large part of Maegan's character. She basks in the bond of her family and enjoys the company of good friends. When she is not being a "homebody", she spends time at the movies, at dinner, and at the ice cream parlor with her closest friends. She also enjoys playing tennis, hiking and cross-country skiing. In fact, she participates on the NCHS tennis and nordic ski teams.
Maegan also envisions making positive connections with people in her career choice. As she looks to the future, which includes attending college next year, she sees herself in the medical profession, as either a physical therapist or a dentist. She has job-shadowed with both and she enjoyed each experience, learning valuable lessons and discovering how these professionals connect with patients.
Job shadowing at the dental practice helped confirm how a medical practitioner can establish positive patient relationships.
"I liked how he connected with his patients," she says. "He was like a role model for me."
Her experience also included observing physical therapists.
"I have seen how physical therapists helped members of my family," she says. "Ranching can take its toll on a person. It's really touching for me… to see how it (physical therapy) has improved my grandfather's life."
These experiences impacted her.
"I want to be able to connect with patients, to help them," she states.
Maegan is exploring colleges, including the University of Wyoming, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Arkansas, and a private, Christian college in Missouri.
"They all offer the programs I'm interested in," she says. "I really feel like it's something God is calling me to, to be in the medical profession."
Faith is very important to Maegan, who attends Faith Assembly with her parents and younger brother. She has been part of the church's youth group and has been on a few mission trips. A trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota several years ago made an impact on this young woman.
"It opened my eyes to how blessed I am, blessed to have both parents, to have clothes, even to have a door on my house. Some of those homes had sheets in front of the door – the houses were created in Arizona (and moved to the reservation) – they have little to no insulation. I find it fulfilling to help a community right here in America," she explains.
Her zeal for life, for helping others, and for establishing meaningful relationships extends to her academic life as well. A part of the National Honor Society, Maegan impacts the community in various ways, including working with Operation Christmas Child and connecting with others in the community. She assisted Operation Christmas Child when the organization put together shoeboxes for children around the world. She and others of the Honor Society set up a Mother's Day 5K race to benefit a family in Casper, and they also visited residents of Park Place on Thursday nights, engaging the inhabitants in games and conversation.
Being a part of making a difference in people's lives steers Maegan in her life goals.
"I want to do the best I can… I like to get to know people, to be encouraging. People need encouragement," she says.
"God is my most important goal," she adds.
Making and strengthening connections, from her historical roots to her future calling, helps guide this young woman in her strong walk with God positively impacting people.