Like He Never Left: GCC Graduate Returns as Adjunct Professor

Friday, January 19, 2018

Erik Murrell began his educational career in 2008 at Gateway Community College’s Long Wharf campus, working towards a Human Services Degree. Several years later, after he graduated from GCC, he entered Southern Connecticut State University’s Social Work Program. He went on to earn his Masters Degree in Community Based Practice and Leadership from Fordham University, but he never forgot where he began his journey.

“I’ve had an affinity for Gateway as an institution from the very beginning," he said. "While continuing my education elsewhere, I kept in contact with Department Chair of Social Science Jonah Cohen, who I deem as my mentor along with several other faculty members here. Although I was away for quite some time it truly feels like I never left.”  

And now he's back, as an adjunct professor teaching several sociology courses at GCC. Those who were mentors have become colleagues, and they couldn't be happier.   

"It’s the greatest reward to see someone grow and achieve as a faculty member, especially when they began as one of my students," Cohen said. "Erik has truly come full circle and we love have having him here at GCC.” 

Kim Shea, Assistant Professor, Coordinator of Human Services raves about Murrell saying, “The fact that Erik was once a student exemplifies why he’s such a wonderful role model for his students. He’s a wonderful role model for me, even. I find myself quoting his wise words to my students time and time again. He has such a profound outlook on life and is a prime example of what GCC is all about. We’re thrilled to have him as a part of our team.”  

In addition to his role at GCC, Murrell continues to give back to the community. He works for several New Haven-based organizations that provide support and guidance to individuals. “My ultimate goal? I want to be the change we see in the world, and by that I mean constantly improving myself to be a better human. If every person focuses on this, I know we can make a change.”