Hadley Murphy’s time at Winona State University has been filled with arenas and arithmetic. When she wasn’t crunching numbers for her statistics major or mathematics minor, she was pursuing her passion for barrel racing, even organizing a race to benefit Alzheimer’s research last month.

The 23-year-old Rochester resident transferred to WSU in spring 2011 after falling in love with the campus. She commutes to school from her farm in Rochester, attending classes and working in the WSU Business Office.

While working on an independent study project on barrel racing results and payouts, Murphy conceived of a way to combine her passions for math and barrel racing by organizing her own race. She turned the idea into reality and organized “A Race to Remember,” a barrel racing event that took place last month in Winona. The event was a success, raising more than $16,000 and featuring 194 competitors.

Between the race, her study project and trying to graduate, Murphy admits it has been a lot of work and even a lot of sweat and tears, but she feels it has all been worth it.

“What a great feeling to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.  “The statistics and math professors here at WSU are all so understanding and friendly, and have made this such a positive experience for me.”

Murphy also gets to check-off her main goal after college: to find a job.  She plans to start work at Fastenal in Winona immediately after graduation this month, an accomplishment she feels was made possible by WSU.

“I owe WSU so much for my success and achievements,” she said. “I heard about this job through a campus email one morning and thought I would be a good fit. So I applied and had an interview two days later.”

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Eric Hawkins

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