Random Sample

Member since 1994.

What she does

Morgan is a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. She's been there since 1993, hired while she was still finishing her doctorate in social ecology from the University of California at Irvine. After a brief flirtation with the idea of law school or public policy grad school, she decided she could effect change while sticking with her first love: psychology.

Guiding undergrads

Morgan's passion is helping undergraduates fulfill their potential. "Undergrads bring fresh ideas that you can help them get off the ground," says Morgan, who credits her twin 19-year-old sons with helping her better understand her students. In addition to helping students blossom, she enjoys having to master their varied research topics rather than sticking with just one. "That's very intellectually exciting," she says.

When she first started teaching and students started asking what they could do with an undergraduate psychology degree, Morgan realized she didn't know. Her search for answers culminated in a co-authored book called "Majoring in Psychology? Career Options for Psychology Undergraduates"; a fifth edition is now in preparation. "We estimate that around 70 percent of students with bachelor's degrees in psychology do not go on to grad school," she says. Her passion for career counseling is so well-known that she has a small collection of career-themed Barbie dolls — a collection that started with a gift from a student. "Sadly," she says, "there's no psychologist Barbie that I know of."

A feminist activist

Morgan has been committed to feminism and what she calls the rest of the "classic isms" since her days as a psychology/women's studies undergrad. She has written an online textbook on gender psychology, teaches a psychology of women class and serves on the board of a local family planning clinic. "Being able to control when and if one has children is a major part of women's ability to make choices about their work/life options," says Morgan, who was surprised and disheartened by the vehemently negative response to a pro-family planning letter she wrote to the La Crosse Tribune.

A fifth generation Californian who was born and married in Yosemite National Park, Morgan still isn't accustomed to the Midwest. "People always ask how I got used to the weather," she says. "Weather is easy; you put on a jacket. Culture shock is a little harder."

—R.A. Clay


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