Two from UW-Platteville honored with Aspiring Educators awards

Written by Alison Parkins on Mon, 05/16/2022 - 09:07 |
Kayla Murphy and Nathan Murrin
Kayla Murphy and Nathan Murrin

At a recent Aspiring Educators of Wisconsin Conference, two representatives from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville were honored with awards for their commitment to the organization. Kayla Murphy, recruitment and retention coordinator for the School of Education, received the Devoted Chapter Advisor Award. Nathan Murrin, a junior English education major from McHenry, Illinois, received the Dedicated Student Leader Award.

Aspiring Educators of Wisconsin is a pre-professional association for future educators. It is an affiliate of the Wisconsin Education Association Council and National Education Association. According to its website, an Aspiring Educators chapter exists on every campus in Wisconsin and serves more than 1,000 members, while being “the only professional association in the state for pre-service educators to pursue professional development, community service and advocacy opportunities.” 

The UW-Platteville chapter of Aspiring Educators launched during the 2020-21 academic year. 

“It was a challenge but also created a space for a group of outgoing, passionate future teachers to come together and build a community during a time when that was not easy to do,” said Murphy. “As we began our fall 2021 academic year in person, it's been wonderful to see students go to conferences, discuss major topics in education, understand the importance of a teacher's union and network with other passionate educators. I helped bring together a great group of students who have served on our executive board over the past two years, and they've done a remarkable job of making it their own.”

Murphy nominated Murrin for the Dedicated Student Leader Award. 

“I'm just really proud of all we've accomplished and so much of that credit goes to Nathan Murrin,” added Murphy. “He's grown into a strong leader, and I have no doubts that he'll do great things as the vice president of the state executive board and also in his career in education.”

Murrin has been serving as president of the UW-Platteville chapter of Aspiring Educators and on the state executive board of Aspiring Educators as the professional development coordinator. He will be starting a new position as vice president at the state level of Aspiring Educators. 

“I was up against some very impressive leaders [for this award] that I have had the privilege of working alongside, and it is flattering to have been selected from among them,” said Murrin. “I can acknowledge that I have worked hard these past two years, but it is surreal that we’ve made it to the point that we have. I believe that a leader knows they have done a good job when the thing they’ve led outlives them, and I enthusiastically believe that our chapter has only just begun to flourish. I am honored that I will be able to look back years from now and say that I knew the Platteville chapter when it was just starting out, and that I even got the chance to lead such an amazing group of people.”

Murrin also said he is thankful for Murphy’s role in the organization. 

“I am ecstatic that Kayla is getting the recognition she deserves,” he said. “She has put in so much time and energy that far extends beyond her contract. But most of all, Kayla has poured out so much love into our chapter. She has been a steadfast and vibrant advisor, and she has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders here at Platteville. I just want to emphasize that everything we have achieved as a chapter, and everything within this wide realm of Aspiring Educators that I have achieved personally, is due in no small part to her.”

“The School of Education, and especially our students, are so fortunate to have Kayla as our recruitment and retention coordinator,” added Dr. Jen Collins, director of the School of Education. “Her work to increase engagement and involvement for all our education majors is evident, especially with regards to our Aspiring Educators group. She has done such a great job as a role model and leader that the students are able to successfully run the program almost independently – that is the highest compliment I could give her. Nathan is so deserving of this award. He is such a great leader, loves to be involved with other students and is passionate about teaching as a profession. He goes above and beyond to do things with fidelity and never lose his ‘pied-piper’ approach to working with his peers. He is a great example of what student leadership can and should be.”

For more information about Aspiring Educators of Wisconsin, visit