Teaching Assistant Awards series: Morgan Thompson

On June 18, 2012 by Grad Forum

morgan_teaching_feature_editedThe Graduate Forum is proud to announce the winners of the Graduate Teaching Awards. The hard working students are Patricia Cahn in the Math department, April Daigle in Chemistry and Morgan Thompson, Biochemistry.

A fifth year student in the Bio-Chemistry PhD program, Morgan’s graduate research focus is on proteins. This interest has followed her from her undergraduate major in Bio-Medical Engineering at Boston University. To be more precise, how specific proteins interact with one another and function to cause the movement of cells within the Body. This research will further our understanding of how cancer cells move throughout the body and could affect the way we look at, treat and manage different cancers.

Whilst research was her motivation for coming to Dartmouth, Morgan also embraced teaching, and found she had a passion for it. The requirement for a PhD student in her program was for one term as a teaching assistant; Morgan volunteered for three more. She became attracted to her ability as a TA to influence the way in which courses were taught whilst working directly with the students. This including rewriting some of the course lab manuals as well as setting up labs for both an introductory biology and chemistry courses and a higher-level biology/chemistry course.

Contributing in this way allowed Morgan to do more of what she loved. She enthusiastically guided me through me through her graduate career path, telling me that she was grateful for the opportunity to put more into her teaching and education at Dartmouth. When asked about her reactions to receiving the Graduate Teaching Award, Morgan commented, “…its exciting, its nice to recognized for all the hard work.”

She has also found the experience has helped her develop skills for a career in teaching and is thankful to her advisor Professor Jon Kull for being supportive and allowing her to pursue what she was passionate about.

Aside from teaching at Dartmouth, Morgan extended her talents to the wider Upper Valley community. She was awarded a GK12 fellowship, which gave her funding for research and the opportunity to teach science to 6th graders. Because Morgan is from the area, she puts a lot of  value in the way Dartmouth is contributing to the region. In her words:

“It is important for the wider community outside of Dartmouth College to know that we care.”

And indeed, it is great to hear about Dartmouth students contributing to the local community, fostering a spirit of mutual aid. The local community has recognized her contributions; last year the Valley News featured an article about her dedication to teaching science in the area. Furthermore there is the unsung appreciate from all the students she has helped foster an interest in the sciences.

Following the completion of her thesis, Morgan is going to continue her passion for teaching Chemistry and Biology at a high school in New Jersey. Congratulations again Morgan. We wish her all the luck and success in her career.

By Dan Durcan
Photo by Dan Durcan


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