From Hollywood to Higher Education

From Hollywood to Higher Education

by -

Amy Murdoch, Ph.D.

More than 20 years ago, Amy Murdoch, Ph.D., assistant professor of graduate education at Mount St. Joseph University, aspired to be an actress. Little did she know she was about to embark on a long, winding journey that would take her beyond her greatest aspirations.


After moving to Chicago following high school, Murdoch got her SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card, an agent and went on to pursue her future in theatre and dance. “Amy originally wanted to be a dancer,” says Jill Eichorn, the director of Public Relations at Mount St. Joseph University. “She went to the School for Creative and Performing Arts in high school, then once in Chicago, landed commercials and other small roles.”


Murdoch was in several commercials, including some for Bounce and McDonald’s, before hitting the big screen. “I got the role of Buster’s (portrayed by actor Brian Doyle Murray) daughter in the movie Groundhog Day,” says Murdoch. “I had about 10 lines, but most of them got cut in editing.”


This is when Murdoch reached the turning point in her career. She realized that she didn’t want to act her entire life and needed to go to college – to move with the flow of life, not against it. “I went to DePaul University and got a graduate degree in psychology before moving back to Cincinnati to enter a doctoral program,” says Murdoch.


At the University of Cincinnati she received her Ph.D. in School Psychology with an emphasis in early literacy. With this, she worked for six years in Cincinnati Public Schools as director of several different literacy grants, aimed at bringing research-based practices in instruction, intervention, family education and assessment to children living in poverty.


Then in August of 2006, she continued her career journey working as an education consultant at the Special Education Regional Resource Center. Here, she worked with school districts to help them implement research-based reading practices within a Response to Intervention model.


Today, Dr. Murdoch is very involved with the reading sciences program at Mount St. Joseph and has helped create the online reading science endorsement, which is for teachers desiring a supplemental endorsement for their careers. “She is now a tenured faculty member as an assistant professor in the Department of Graduate Education and is also the Reading Science Program Director – which is a huge deal,” says Eichorn.


“Amy is very passionate about reading science and was one of the key people here to get the Mount’s reading science program identified as International Dyslexia Association (IDA) certified,” says Eichorn. In fact, she paved the way and launched the first IDA approved program in the state of Ohio.


“It’s exciting to be in a community with teachers who come from all over to learn from this university,” says Murdoch.


In addition to her position as Reading Science Program Director, she also balances her job as consultant and presenter at Mayerson Academy. She continues to present and publish her work for local and national conferences and publications.


In the meantime, she still has her SAG card and hears from Hollywood occasionally, which is fine with her. “I still get residuals from Groundhog Day,” says Murdoch, “which I think is really funny.”


“Murdoch is one example of the lifelong learning that the Mount is known for in Cincinnati,” says Eichorn. “She is a perfect example of following your own journey through education to make a meaningful difference.”


To learn more about Murdoch’s exciting career path or the International Dyslexia Association, click here or click here.