Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring
Faculty Adviser: Amanda Hargrove
Brittany Morgan, a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in chemistry, began her studies at Duke in 2013. Morgan has been the teaching assistant for several courses including Organic Chemistry I lecture, recitation and lab. As a TA, she has guided undergraduate students in their career paths. Morgan has mentored two graduate students and six undergraduate students, assisting them in their research, networking, and personal development. Furthermore, she has participated in outreach programs such as the NC DNA Day program, Duke Action Camp, and Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science.
Morgan’s thesis project and research focuses on the design, synthesis, and evaluation of small molecule libraries for the selective recognition of therapeutically relevant RNA. She has earned fellowships such as the Katherine Goodman Stern Fellowship, Duke University Graduate School Travel Fellowship, Burroughs Wellcome Fellowship for Organic Chemistry and an honorable mention for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. After graduation she is entering the Michigan Life Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship.
IN HER WORDS
“I’m here today because of the mentors I’ve had in my life … Just being in school was a big deal; going to college was even bigger. The thought of being a chemist and getting my Ph.D. was out of the picture, but it was people throughout my life that took the time to say, ‘You are really gifted at this’ and to help me find the opportunities I needed to get to where I wanted to go. … That’s what drives me to be a mentor.”
On Balancing Graduate School and Mentoring
On the Importance of Representation in Outreach
IN THEIR WORDS
Excerpts from Morgan's Nomination
“Ms. Morgan strives to keep her students excited about science, but doesn’t limit her mentorship to strictly scientific learning. Brittany has also spent countless hours discussing the best options for her students’ future goals, assisted in preparation of applications, and provides support for her students’ personal issues as they arise.”
“Brittany has been very helpful in guiding me with my future in chemistry. There have been many times that I doubted my major choice and what I enjoy about chemistry. I have worried about job opportunities, opportunities at Duke, and if a job in chemistry was right for me… She helped discuss a multitude of paths a degree in chemistry could lead to for me and in a broad sense, she helped me rediscover my passion for chemistry.”
“Professionally, Brittany has helped transform me from an undergraduate interested in research into a research scientist. She dedicates time each week to meticulously edit my weekly reports and hone my writing skills. A sign on her desk reads, “Please email me—I am always available and nearby,” a promise she lives up to.”
“She helped me network by asking me to attend research dinners, local conferences, meetings at the Medical Center, talks about women in science, and many other events that I would not have sought out on my own. Ultimately, this exposure to the science field outside of the lab helped shaped my perspectives as much as my time in lab.”