By Tony Turner
May 1, 2019
For graduate student Morgan Chaney, BLUE provides equal opportunities to students that have the initiative, drive and ambition to turn their ideas into something more.
Chaney chose Indiana State for the experiences and opportunities it offered to prepare her more than any large university could have.
“I started working with professors and their Ph.D. students my first semester at State,” said Chaney, biology grad student of Spencer, Ind. “These opportunities wouldn’t have been possible at other Indiana universities with over 40k students. I’ve had almost six years of hands-on experience in a department that has watched me develop as a student, biologist, and mentor.”
During her first year at State, she started getting involved on campus through the Student Government Association’s Student Leadership Coalition. The following year she became a senator for the Student Government Association for two years. During her second year, she was the Academic Affairs Committee chair. She also joined the National Society of Leadership and Success in her junior year of undergrad.
“As an undergraduate in the biology department joined TriBeta, which is a national biological honor society, participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience,” said Chaney. “I worked in professor Tuttle and professor Gonser’s lab as a research technician, and spent a summer working on the sparrow project in upstate New York as a field assistant.”
Involvement in the biology department helped Chaney make an easy decision to attend State for grad school.
“I primarily chose Indiana State for graduate school because it was close to home. Since I did my undergrad here I knew what State had to offer and I knew how to get the most out of my degree,” said Chaney.
“As a graduate student, I have been the treasurer of the Biology Graduate Student Association since its formation in spring 2018,” said Chaney. “I was also the planning committee chair for the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference, hosted at State in April 2019. The conference turned out to be a huge success for both the department and for ISU. There were over 100 students from 12 states in attendance. Many of the students that attended are looking for graduate school opportunities so I hope we were able to put State on the map. It was a great weekend and our graduate students put in a lot of effort to have this conference go off without a hitch..”
The Biology Graduate Student Association serves as the official platform for biology graduate students.
“We help students voice their concerns and channel it through the appropriate avenues,” said Chaney. “We also host social events throughout the year to try and keep the department’s students in good spirits. It’s hard to stay connected since we’re divided into different lab so we offer a focal point where biology grad students can get together as a group.”
After two years of grad school, Chaney has learned a lot about herself and what it takes to succeed in achieving her second degree.
“You’re responsible for your own success,” said Chaney. “You can’t expect someone to take the initiative for you so on days you put 10 percent in, expect to get 10 percent back.”
Chaney has interviewed at multiple schools for a PhD position in ecology.
“So far, I have interviewed at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, University of Missouri – St. Louis, Purdue University, and Western Michigan University. I have received multiple offers, but I have chosen to start a PhD at Purdue University in the fall,” said Chaney.