Mary Morrison, biology
I love helping students to grow. I am the great-granddaughter of Ukrainian peasants who came to America a century ago to expand their family’s opportunities. Having earned a Princeton B.A. and a Columbia Ph.D., I felt lucky and humbled to stand on Ellis Island, under a picture of the ship that carried my illiterate great-grandfather here. I feel a deep sense of mission to make these same types of opportunities available to my own students.
Every day in class and in lab, I am excited by “my” undergraduates’ sense of discovery, and their eagerness to explore new ideas and new technologies. Every experience can open new worlds to them. Lycoming freshmen may enter as hardware store owners’ or peach farmers’ children, but they can leave as budding graduate students headed for some of the top Ph.D. or M.D. programs in the country. What an honor! What a responsibility it is to nurture and challenge them as they develop! What a reward it is to see their horizons broaden, to watch as they work out their own true passions and decide what kind of adults they will become, regardless of where they began their lives. I can think of no better way to honor the spirit of my ancestors, or to keep my own spirits high.