Pure Math and Space Physics: Hailey Murray’s Journey into Both

Hailey Murray (‘25) chose to study Space Physics at Embry-Riddle because she was excited about learning and growing within the field. Now, she has not only grown, but flourished.

Hailey Murray in the EagleSat Lab on the Prescott Campus (Photo: Embry Riddle / Connor McShane)
Hailey Murray in the EagleSat Lab on the Prescott Campus (Photo: Embry Riddle / Connor McShane)

When the time came for Hailey Murray to apply for college, Embry-Riddle was an obvious choice. Murray was motivated to get involved in academic research and had an evergreen interest in physics and math, so the Space Physics program presented an opportunity to pursue many of her passions under the umbrella of one major.

Intersections Between Math and Physics

Talking about her interest in the program, Murray said, “Knowing that this major had a lot of rigorous math courses that you have to take was something that I was actually pretty excited about; to learn more math and to learn how that math can apply in physics.”

Since then, Murray has entered a world of research and knowledge that welcomed her with open arms. As a sophomore, she became President of the Math Club on the Prescott Campus and regularly works alongside research-active professors.

On top of this, Murray is a TA for the physics lab courses on her campus. She says the experience has been extremely valuable for gaining experience communicating physics concepts to others, which in turn expands her own understanding of her studies.

Pure Math

In January 2023, Murray attended the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Math at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. There, nearly 300 women (who are often underrepresented in mathematics research and professions) came together to highlight their own research, promote attendees seeking jobs within the field of mathematics and encourage the pursuit of graduate studies.

At the conference, Murray presented a poster of her work, which was “about classifying quantum adjacency matrices, which are essentially a way of describing relationships between different things in a quantum system.”

Dr. Lara Ismert, Murray's professor, mentor and research group leader, said that Murray’s project was “the real of pure math” and that Murray “is methodical in her calculations and is very intentional about understanding the deeper math behind the code she has developed to support our challenging matrix computations.”

Inspiration at Embry-Riddle

When asked about who inspires her, Murray gave credit to Dr. Ismert, as well as her other professors Dr. Mitch Hamidi and Dr. Quentin Bailey. Murray also talked about finding inspiration amongst her peers in a room on campus dubbed by students as “The Cave,” where students will go to work on homework, connect with others and collaborate on various tasks.

Murray, who has excelled in her studies, shared her advice for those who aim to do the same, saying, “Go to your professor’s office hours. If you’re interested in something, take any opportunity you can to explore that. I’d just say try to do whatever you’re excited about. Know that it’s going to be a lot of work, but if you enjoy it, it will pay off in the end.”