Breaking the Mold – April

March 30, 2016

Enthusiastic, motivated, and hard-working are just a few words that describe NMCC student Cheryl Murchison. Cheryl has worked in the food industry for over 15 years as a waitress, supervisor, and manager at two local restaurants. She has worked in various areas of the restaurant business including working as the dining room and bar manager as well as event coordinator. Cheryl applied for similar positions in southern Maine and determined that although she had a lot of experience, she was lacking a college degree which was preventing her from being hired. Cheryl realized that she would need to pursue an education to advance in her career. “Education is very important.”

The opportunity to attend college arose when the restaurant Cheryl was managing closed its doors. Although Cheryl was devastated by the closure, she viewed this as her opportunity to pursue college. Cheryl was accepted to NMCC and completed her Associate of Applied Science degree in Accounting in just 16 months while working three jobs. Cheryl decided to continue her education at NMCC and pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Administration and an Entrepreneurship Certificate.


When discussing her experiences in the business program at NMCC, Cheryl states that she enjoys the hands-on collaborations that occur between students in her classes. She also prefers the small class size. “In a smaller class, students are not competing for the instructor’s attention.” Cheryl also mentions the positive interactions she has had with her instructors. “They have been amazing. I love them all. I feel so comfortable with them.” Cheryl reports that her instructors are easy to talk to and genuinely care about their students. Cheryl gave an example of how one instructor, JP Levasseur, encouraged her to “find her confidence”. With his support, her self-confidence, and her algebra grade, improved significantly.

Before Cheryl started college, she thought she knew everything she needed to know about operating a business. By attending classes, Cheryl has acquired new knowledge and skills that she didn’t have before. “I love the business program. I have learned so much.”

Cheryl speaks very highly of NMCC and would like to obtain employment with the institution if given the opportunity. She has held work study jobs on campus and has established positive working relationships with the faculty, staff, and students. “I love NMCC and I love the students.” Cheryl is always willing to help out and volunteers regularly at campus events. She is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society on campus.

When Cheryl graduates in May, she would like to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Marketing at Husson University. Cheryl’s ultimate goal is to someday open a bar and lounge where adults can go to socialize and relax.

According to Cheryl, women have certain traits that they can contribute to the business field, including empathy and compassion. “Women are nurturing, which makes a difference. They listen.” As a restaurant manager, Cheryl got to know her employees, especially those who were going through personal struggles. “I wanted to make an impression on their lives. I wanted to give them a chance.” Cheryl also emphasized to her employees the importance of earning an education. “If an employee wanted to drop out of school, I told them that they needed to go to school or they wouldn’t be on the work schedule. As long as you go to school, you can work for me.”

When working in the business field, it is crucial to have exceptional customer service skills, skills that Cheryl already possesses and demonstrates every day. “I just love people. I am genuinely interested in every person I meet. Everyone is different. I find that interesting.”

A student who has consistently made the Dean’s List and has maintained a 3.9 grade point average, Cheryl suggests how others can be successful at NMCC. “Don’t procrastinate. If you need help, just ask someone.” Cheryl also offers advice for females considering a career in business administration. “Don’t sell yourself short. Women can do it.”