As a first-year Penn Nursing student, Morgan took several foundational nursing classes including Nursing 101 and Nursing 102. Both courses emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of nursing science and provide hands-on learning opportunities, including shadowing nurse practitioners in various settings. Morgan completed her shadow experience at the Penn Sleep Center. Here, nurse practitioners diagnose and treat sleep apnea, narcolepsy, insomnia, and other sleep-related disorders. Moreover, Morgan began her clinical experiences in Anatomy and Physiology, where she attends lectures and takes part in separate anatomy and nursing labs. In the latter, Morgan practices physical assessments on her classmates. In upcoming courses, Morgan will work with patient simulators in the high-tech Helene Fuld Pavilion for Innovative Learning and Simulation. Simulated people –including adults, children, and even newborns sims –are programmed to behave like real patients so Penn nurses can apply their nursing knowledge and practice responding to complex healthcare events.
Morgan’s interests in nutrition and public health emerged in middle school when she joined HYPE Council (“Healthy you. Positive Energy”), a Philadelphia-wide initiative, recognized by Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign, that helps students access healthy foods and get active. This experience led to Morgan’s internship with The Food Trust, a public health organization which provides nutrition education and access to healthy foods in under resourced neighborhoods. Yet, Morgan’s passion for public health did not stop there. When Philadelphia high school students, including Morgan, noticed an inordinate number of broken or unusable water fountains at school, Morgan was inspired to address the issue with City Council. Soon hydration stations were installed in all Philadelphia high schools. Now a Penn Nursing student, Morgan is interested in public health nursing, a degree that will allow her to advocate for wider access to nutritious foods and clean water.
Within the first week of her first year, Morgan became involved with Community Champions, an organization that connects Penn Nursing students to city-wide public health initiatives. Morgan’s work with Community Champions builds on her nutrition education experience at the Food Trust. As an intern with the Food Trust, Morgan worked in North Philly community gardens, teaching children how to grow and consume local fruits and vegetables. Now, with Community Champions, Morgan sets up education stations in the Parkway Central Library, the largest and one of the most highly trafficked branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia. She and her peers distribute brochures and engage Philadelphians in conversations on chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as preventative measures, including healthful eating and physical activity. The program is far-reaching; Morgan estimates that on any given day 15 to 20 people stop by to learn more.
Morgan compares her College House community to “one big family.” Morgan’s hall convenes for impromptu get-togethers, including dinner at Hill House, or off-campus outings, such as going to an escape room or Sky Zone. As part of the House Council, a leadership group within her College House, Morgan is an active leader and participant in College House programming. The House Council plans Wednesday night study breaks and communicates with House leadership on resident issues. Residents and staff, including House Fellows and the House Dean, regularly gather in the College House living room for events like Sabrina’s catered brunch or an Oscars viewing party.
Morgan joined Penn Cru, a Christian organization on campus, to connect to her faith while at college. Morgan was especially interested in Penn Cru’s outreach work and vibrant community. In addition to international mission trips including Puerto Rico and Jerusalem, Penn Cru does community outreach to Penn students and West Philly residents. Outreach combines volunteering and education, both meaningful activities for Morgan. Penn Cru members engage with the larger community through Christ Community Church, which is located close to campus. In this space, Morgan works with the younger children of the church, providing a safe and fun environment for youth development. Morgan’s experiences in faith help her stay focused and grounded throughout the academic year.