Meet Morgan, program coordinator of the Kansas State University Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering. Raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Morgan is a passionate advocate for accessible environmental education. An avid runner and skier, Morgan loves to bake and enjoys exploring the prairies and flint hills around Fort Riley, Kansas.
Was there a special moment growing up that inspired you to pursue your STEM field?
My family exposed me to the outdoor world from a very young age—my first canoe trip was when I was 18 months old! I always knew that I wanted to pursue science because my passion for environmental sciences was cemented so early.
What degree(s) have you earned?
BS in Forest Biology; MS in Environmental Policy and Management.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by people who use their skills and passions to make a positive difference in the world.
How does a typical day begin? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Right now, I am the mother of a 4-month-old! So, my days begin with feeding herself and me. 🙂 In general, I love starting my day with a run—it helps clear my head before going into work.
What’s the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
I’m planning a campus-wide screening of the film “Picture A Scientist.”
What do you appreciate about your work environment?
My current job is working to make STEM fields more inclusive and accepting. It’s important work that will enable me to be a better leader for the rest of my career.
What is one professional achievement you’re most proud of?
In this current job, I’ve been really proud of being able to shift gears 100% in response to COVID. Despite all the changes, I’ve been able to bring STEM based learning to middle and high school students year-round.
What do you like most about your job?
I like the people that I work with—they are fun and committed to a better future.
How do you think your experience as a military spouse has assisted you in your career?
It’s made me flexible and better able to “roll with the punches.” I’m able to deal with unexpected challenges and come out with a smile on my face!
What challenges have you personally faced that your civilian counterparts may not have?
Like many military spouses, I move often—about every 3 years for my family. This makes it difficult to rise through the ranks in my positions. It also means that I’ve been stationed in places with very few job opportunities, so I’ve had to be very persistent and creative in maintaining my career.
Do you find you’re more adaptable to change than your civilian counterparts?
What do you wish people knew about life in the military?
Great question! I wish people had a better understanding of what it means to be a military spouse—the frequent moves, the frequent deployments—and how that impacts a spouse’s personal and professional life. Many times, spouses are juggling multiple stressors (like a busy workday AND solo parenting while partners are overseas) that others aren’t. But I also wish people knew that military spouses tend to be resilient and capable!
How can professional organizations like the Society for Military Spouses in STEM help you with your career or professional goals?
I think networking is super important—moving to a place where you already know or can meet someone in your field can make a huge difference when looking for a new job. I also think a job board is important too!
What advice would you give new spouses on entering or finding success in STEM career fields?
It is definitely do-able to be a military spouse and to thrive in your career. I recommend updating your resume frequently, and beginning research on positions available in new duty locations early—before you even get there—so you can be ready to apply for any new opportunities. And, just because you are a military spouse doesn’t mean you have to settle for jobs that you’re not interested in. You can persist in STEM, support your spouse, and enjoy it all.
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