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MSC alumnae Gabrielle Cook-Benkinne to lead campus child development program

February 24, 2020


The Murray State College Education and Behavioral Sciences Division has hired Gabrielle Cook-Benkinne as the Scholars of Excellence in Child Development Program recruiter.  

The Scholars for Excellence in Child Care Program, administered by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, awards scholarships to eligible child-care professionals to help them complete coursework in child development or early-childhood education.

Cook-Benkinne, a 2019 graduate of Murray State College holds an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree from Murray and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at East Central University in Ada.  

 “We are always pleased when graduates return to work with us at Murray State College.  Alumni are our best recruiters because they have seen the college through the eyes of a student,” said MSC President Joy McDaniel.

Cook-Benkinne, who graduated from Tishomingo High School, was drawn to her new position in part due to the great experiences she had at Murray as both a concurrent and full-time student. She also credits her concurrent classes at Murray State with helping her get several core classes out of the way so she could focus on subjects in her major as a college freshman. 

  “I loved how students were very involved, playing volleyball outside the dorms almost every night,” she said. “I also loved how academic advisors helped you pick classes and provided guidance to make sure you remained on the right path to graduation.”

Recruiters for the program provide support to child-care teachers seeking credentials, certificates or associate degrees in early childhood education.  Scholarships enable child-care teachers and providers opportunities to improve skills through education and make quality child care available to local communities.

The program office is located in Suite 203 of the Health Sciences Building on Tishomingo’s campus.  For more information on the Scholars of Excellence in Child Development Program, email or visit the program website at