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Alumnus honored for contributions to science education

June 03, 2014

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Charlie Morgan B.A. ’08, a graduate student in the chemistry and chemical biology Ph.D. program at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), recently won one of the school’s public service awards for outstanding service to the community.

Soon after he began his Ph.D. program at UCSF, Morgan started volunteering with UCSF’s Science and Health Education partnership. The program brings together scientists from the university and K-12 teachers from San Francisco public schools to provide elementary school students with better science education. Morgan partnered with a high school teacher and Norma Velazquez Ulloa, a UCSF postdoctoral fellow at the time and now an assistant professor of biology at Lewis & Clark. Together they exposed high school students to the cutting-edge science at UCSF. During one lab, students observed intoxicated fruit flies in preparation for designing their own behavior experiments around exposure to alcohol.

“Charlie is amazing at breaking down complex concepts, explaining them clearly, and helping kids relate to what he is explaining,” said Velazquez Ulloa. “He was also a great collaborator in designing and implementing the lessons we planned. Team teaching can be challenging, but not with Charlie. I looked forward to our next lesson and sharing our passion for science with the students.”

Morgan also volunteered at San Francisco’s Lowell High School and taught a University of California at Berkeley extension course in science pedagogy for fifth-grade teachers. The 20 teachers in the course praised Morgan for his clear explanations of scientific concepts and grasp of how young students best learn science. He also participated in a program funded by the National Institutes of Health that pairs scientists with high school teachers in an effort to engage students underrepresented in the sciences.

Morgan’s scientific talent first earned him national recognition in 2010 when he received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for showing promise as a young scientist.

Said Morgan, “I’m grateful to everyone at Lewis & Clark who helped nurture my love of science education and commitment to improving our community.”

Caleb Diehl ’16 contributed to this story.

Chemistry Department Teacher Education