May 14, 2023

Gillian Murray ’23 MA-MFT Recognized with Sister Mary Lou Podzimek Award

Mount Mercy University graduate Gillian Murray ’23 MA-MFT was awarded the Sister Mary Lou Podzimek Award during the 2023 Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 14.

Gillian graduated with a Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy.

The Sister Mary Lou Podzimek Award is the highest honor conferred upon the graduate who—in addition to a GPA of 3.0 or above—has exemplified leadership, collaboration, and integrity. The award is named for Sister Mary Lou Podzimek, who continues to be part of the Mount Mercy community after more than 70 years—as a Sister of Mercy and as a former administrator, Board member emeritus, and Mount Mercy alum.

Gillian grew up in Bell’s Hill, Scotland, before moving to Iowa at age 17. She received a bachelor’s degree in business management with a minor in criminal justice from Kaplan University. Gillian worked for over 12 years in Iowa’s Department of Corrections. For over seven of those years, she served as a Probation/Parole Officer.

During her time in corrections, Gillian co-founded the Anchor Center for Women, a facility designed to empower women offenders by providing them with gender responsive and trauma-informed services.

She decided to build upon her professional experiences by pursuing a master’s degree and has excelled in the classroom, in the therapy room, and as a leader within the program and community.

Gillian has supported the program in significant ways—exceeding expectations as the program’s marketing work-study and graduate assistant. She has further engaged in the community by volunteering to serve on the Iowa Association for Play Therapy board as a student representative. Finally, she has had an enormous impact on the lives of the clients she has treated at the Olson MFT Clinic and at her offsite clinical placement.

Gillian will work as a Marriage and Family Therapist at Peaceful Mindset Counseling upon graduation. She has been supported by her husband, children, extended family, friends, and cohort-mates while pursuing her graduate education at Mount Mercy.

Congratulations, Gillian!