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Graduate Student Highlight: Morgan Murphy

30 August 2021
Murphy, Morgan

Each week, the Department of Chemistry highlights a graduate student who is doing interesting and exciting work within the department. In this installment of our highlight series, we are featuring Morgan Murphy, who is a second-year student in the Elacqua group.

Morgan is working on two projects that are broadly described as making polymers out of different rings. The first project looks at the synthesis of carbon nanothreads using high pressure methods. The second project is working on making donor-acceptor polymers through ring opening metathesis.

This week, we met virtually with Morgan to discuss her life in and outside of the lab! Please enjoy our interview with Morgan Murphy.
Q: How did you get interested in chemistry?
: I went to a unique high school at the Minnesota Zoo, and I had the opportunity to take a lot of interdisciplinary courses and science classes. There, I learned that I was passionate about science and wanted to continue that. I took chemistry for fun my first year of college. My advisor convinced me chemistry was great and to do research with her. 
Q: What inspires you as a scientist?
I like learning about and discovering new things. I also get very excited about the idea of working on things no one has done before. 
Q: Why did you decide to come to Penn State?
After visiting, I knew that I liked the department and campus. I was excited by a lot of the research going on at Penn State, and it felt like a good fit for me. I also wanted to go somewhere that winters were milder than at home in Minnesota. 
Q: Where did you grow up? (Tell us a fun fact about your hometown if you want)
I grew up in Eagan, Minnesota. There is nothing very exciting about Eagan, but it does have over twelve hundred small lakes! 
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
I swam competitively through my undergrad career and still love to swim whenever I get the chance. I also like to crochet and eat ice cream.
Q: Do you have any pets?
At home in Minnesota, I have a dog, Maggie. Here in State College, I have several wilting plants. 
Q: What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?
My favorite way to spend a day off is with an iced latte and nothing on the to-do list. 
Q: What’s your dream vacation? 
I love to travel and hope to make it to each continent someday. One place I have always wanted to visit is Peru with my family.
Thanks to Morgan for these interesting and thoughtful answers! We hope you enjoyed this interview. Stay tuned for more graduate student highlights in the weeks to come!