Danielle Schwam, a graduate student in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, is the first recipient of the Mike Murray Make A Difference Scholarship, which was awarded to her in the Fall 2020 semester.
The scholarship was established in honor of Murray, known as “Da Voice” in the Central Florida community for his booming, powerful announcer’s voice at Dr. Philips High School basketball games. Murray was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2008 and the debilitating illness has slowly eroded Murray’s physical and cognitive capabilities. Instead of admitting defeat, he used his other gifts and talents to inspire others to do what they can with what they have.
The scholarship was created from donations from three of Murray’s long-time friends and colleagues from the Society for Technical Communication, and UCF continues to fundraise to reach the endowment level for the fund so this award can support students for generations to come.
When Schwam heard the story about the scholarship in Murray’s honor, she was inspired and motivated to apply.
“From reading Mike’s story, I love how he focuses on abilities rather than disabilities,” she said. “His story and positivity has truly touched me and I’ll remember it throughout my career.”
Schwam’s future career goals are to work with patients with neurogenic communication disorders, a path she chose after someone close to her had a brain injury. She wants to have the same positive impact on patients and their families..
“I want to be the one who fights hard for my patient and their family, just like they did for my loved one and myself,” said Schwam. Thanks to scholarship donors, the impact will be exponential as new clinicians committed to “making a difference” enter the field.