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Sarah Murphy


Bold Points




In college at the University of Houston, I was encouraged to work in the oil & gas industry after seeing professionals speak of opportunities within energy and give earnest assurances about various zero-carbon initiatives their companies were implementing. I knew that these companies would play a big role in developing sustainable energy solutions and ensuring their economic viability. I joined Shell in the hopes of being a part of this valiant effort to be transition our society to more sustainable energy sources. While working full time, I co-founded an all-volunteer group where my team and I learned how to canvass and register voters in Harris County. We then trained over one hundred volunteers to harness the power of collective action and elected new local, state, and federal representatives to office in 2018. This is one of my biggest accomplishments and I am proud to say the group is still actively growing and organizing today. Inspired by my volunteer organizing work and the desire to make a more direct impact on equitable climate change policy, I decided to leave Shell and become a field organizer for a presidential campaign. I believe the biggest barrier to climate change action right now is not technological, but political. I am open to the private, public, or non-profit sector, wherever I can implement the concepts of climate change policy to make the maximum impact. I will continue finding joy in tackling big problems with other people who are trying to leave this planet better than we found it.


The University of Texas at Austin

Master's degree program
2021 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • Urban Studies/Affairs
    • Public Policy Analysis, General

University of Houston-Clear Lake

Bachelor's degree program
2011 - 2014
  • Majors:
    • Logistics, Materials, and Supply Chain Management


  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Public Policy

    • Dream career goals:

      Policy Implementation Director

    • Procurement & Subcontract Administration Intern

      Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control
      2013 – 2013
    • Contracts & Procurement Intern

      Shell Upstream Americas
      2014 – 2014
    • Writer

      Talent Inc.
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Senior Planning Manager

      Murphy Properties
      2009 – Present15 years
    • Fit Specialist

      Fleet Feet Sports
      2012 – 20131 year
    • Customer Center Analyst

      Shell Chemical
      2016 – 20182 years
    • Ethanol Scheduler

      Shell Trading & Supply
      2015 – 20161 year
    • Key Account Marketer

      Shell Lubricants
      2018 – 20191 year



    2021 – Present3 years


    1998 – 201012 years


    • Bellaire High School

      2007 – 2010

    Public services

    • Public Service (Politics)

      Elizabeth Warren for President — Field Organizer in Macomb County
      2020 – 2020
    • Public Service (Politics)

      Swing TX-7 Left — Co-founder and Organizing Chair
      2017 – 2018
    • Volunteering

      Rescued Pets Movement — Transport Day Lead and Foster Parent
      2020 – 2021

    Future Interests






    Great Outdoors Wilderness Education Scholarship
    As a renegade young girl crashing my older brother’s boy scout camping trip, I can still vividly remember climbing onto the side of a small bridge over the San Marcos River, grabbing hold of the rope swing, and leaping off to hoots from the scout troop above and below. After bobbing back up to the surface, I paddled over to the algae-covered roots of a massive oak tree which now acted as a ladder to help jumpers out of the water. I ran back to the top of the bridge to wait in line again as the boys practiced their backflips and cannonballs on a searing Texas summer day. That camping excursion was one of many my family took during my childhood. Where I learned how to use a propane camp stove, start a bonfire, conceal food from snooping javelinas, and avoid kitchen patrol. My dad taught us to always leave the campsite or hiking trail better than we found it. Growing up in a huge city where I feel like 40% of my life is spent on a freeway, it’s no wonder my fondest memories are set to the backdrop of majestic mountain ranges and water colored canyon vistas. And if I’m subject to the urban landscape for too long, a deep-seated urge to escape into a hilly forest begins to edge out my focus on mundane tasks. I consider the lure toward the great outdoors a primal need to viscerally connect with nature. To challenge the need of modern comforts and push a body to it’s limits. I have learned that enjoying natural beauty and wildlife is a privilege that we must protect. In August 2017, my colleagues and I were asked to head home early in anticipation of a hurricane brewing in the Gulf Coast. Being a life-long Houstonian, I knew that “real” hurricanes were rare and the hype of stocking up on bottled water and canned goods was the annual tradition of local media outlets. The rain began pouring and filling the streets with ankle-deep water which was also not an uncommon occurrence. But the rain didn’t stop for about 72 hours straight. The bowl-shaped Spotts Park nearby doubled as a retention pond, filled and overflowed the brim. My roommate and I luckily did not lose power, but we were able to watch the brutal reality of Hurricane Harvey begin to unleash havoc across the Texas gulf coast. Some areas accumulated over five feet of rainfall in about a week, it destroyed homes, people and pets were evacuated by the Red Cross and good Samaritans with boats, and sheltered at the convention center downtown which is more and more frequently used as a mass emergency shelter when natural disasters occur. The following two weeks since we still retained power and our top-floor apartment was mostly dry save for a ceiling leak, my roommate and I continued to work from home. Working during the day as people began picking up the pieces of their life savings was cruelly ironic. At the time, I was supporting the chemicals business of a massive, multi-national oil and gas company. Most customers would inquire on the phone about the disaster in earnest and my nose would sting as I fought back tears, unable to put words to the reality on the ground compared to what they had only watched on the news. Everyday at 4PM I shut my laptop and headed out the door to find anywhere to volunteer my time. One evening a group of friends and I washed industrial-sized food serving containers as hundreds of people slept in the convention hall below us. I helped muck out at least five homes which at this point had now been baking in the heat for days. The stench of hot, sopping wet carpet was nearly unbearable. Even with face masks, I am certain my friends and I inhaled more than a safe amount of water mold for a lifetime. But I had to help. I felt compelled and somewhat responsible because of the historic actions of a company I had been working at for three years. While I consider myself an environmentalist, I recycle, I don’t eat meat, and I try to minimize driving, I realize my actions alone are negligible in the face of climate change that has already arrived and will worsen. I thought I could affect change through working at a major oil and gas company, believing that they will be major investors in the energy transition if they know what’s good for them. I still believe those companies will play a role; however, I didn’t see myself enabling that transition in a material way with the urgency the climate threat demands. I learned a lot from my time at the company and I am grateful to have had wonderful mentors. And I was certainly not alone in acknowledging the company needed to really get serious about shifting their core business away from high-carbon intensive products. In December 2019, I submitted my letter of resignation to my line manager and promptly accepted a role as a field organizer on a presidential primary campaign. Filled with big dreams of working in the White House one day to affect climate-forward policy, I fought hard to organize volunteers and turn out voters. Even though my first-choice candidate dropped out, it was an incredible experience and truly gave me great hope for the future of this country to tackle huge problems. And I believe great progress toward climate change mitigation can be made with diverse coalitions spanning across everyday people, private industry, and governing institutions. My belief has inspired me to pursue a Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Texas. With this magnificent opportunity to learn about policy process and network with influential individuals, I will carve a path forward to enact the much-needed changes to mitigate climate change, create equitable economic opportunity for vulnerable populations, and preserve the great outdoors for generations to come.
    Brady Cobin Law Group "Expect the Unexpected" Scholarship
    A legacy is not necessarily something left only when one passes away, it can be an impression left on those impacted by a person after any sort of transition. Changing jobs, moving to a different place, getting married, getting divorced. Someone’s legacy typically impacts their immediate family and close circle of friends the most, however, in the many transitions there are in a life, people leave impressions small and large wherever they go. The fact that I have been able to leave a legacy after a recent life transition became apparent to me in the past 5 years. In that short time, I moved over 1,300 miles from my hometown in Houston for the first time to Detroit. Before moving, one of my Houston friend groups held a going away party for me. To my surprise, dozens and dozens of people stopped by, we shared many laughs and stories about my new journey, and the party culminated with a photo montage set to that inspirational music you hear in movies. By the end of it I was tearing up and my mom had already begun to cry. I hugged my friends tight and they expressed how I had impacted them in the short time we’d known each other. Just two years later, I moved back. But this time it was at the dawn of a global pandemic so there was no party, but I was seen off by a few new Michigan friends to distanced goodbyes, all of us unsure about what the future held. I think it’s uncommon to be made aware of fullness of one’s own legacy. There is the monetary wealth and wisdom that elders impart on to younger generations. And there is also the much broader network of impressions that span from our close friend groups to our distant work colleagues and further still to acquaintances at coffee shops. There is certainly value in all these facets of one’s legacy. While it is impossible to make a perfectly pleasant impression on everyone you meet, everyone can try to be more intentional in creating a more positive, generative atmosphere for others. One of my mentors told me once that it’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you. That adage has certainly stuck with me and felt more and more true with each passing life transition. Truthfully, I have not considered deeply what kind of financial legacy I want to leave behind, partly because I am not sure I’ll have kids of my own. But I have opened a college savings account for my niece and I know her parents are setting her up for success. I do hope to leave a final legacy of having made a positive contribution to the low-carbon energy transition and meaningfully impact climate change mitigation. And I hope to continue to make as positive an impact on others that I meet as an accessible mentor, a capable leader, as someone generous with their time and money, and an unassuming wisecrack.