We Are UNCW

Morgan Walker

October 5, 2020

Morgan Walker ’13 thought she wanted to go into full-time lab work with the degree she earned in marine biology from UNCW. Following an internship with the education department of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, she discovered that she loved working out in the field, interacting with nature and marine life, and showing people just how cool science is.
 
She decided to return to UNCW to obtain her Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Science. After spending four years working for the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, Florida, Walker returned to UNCW once again in 2019 – this time as an employee, working for MarineQuest as a research and volunteer coordinator in the Center for Marine Science.
 
“Wilmington has always had a huge place in my heart,” Walker said. “Having the opportunity to return to the MarineQuest family that helped me realize marine science education is what I love was absolutely a dream come true. It’s so fun to see the kids’ faces light up when they’re engaging with the science instead of just reading about it,” she added. “I love introducing people to marine science and helping them see how it connects to their daily life.” In her role, she fulfills her passions of connecting people to all the things she loves about marine science while using both her undergraduate and graduate degrees.
 
This past summer, Walker led two Ocean Voyagers camps for children ages 7-13 from 11 states. The students spent a week with MarineQuest exploring the five fields of marine science. MarineQuest staff were able to create a virtual “hands-on” camp by sending each student a STEM kit filled with materials they used during Zoom sessions or for at home activities called “Home Port.”
 
“When COVID forced the MarineQuest team to pivot to online programs, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect,” Walker said. “Each week I was amazed by how much our students learned, and the genuine connections and friendships they made with one another states way through our online program.”
 
Since the summer online programs went so well, MarineQuest will offer several virtual activities this fall. Learn more at  uncw.edu/marinequest. 

Walker also wants to do all she can to connect UNCW undergraduate students to the MarineQuest lab as a resource to help them learn and grow – a healthier ocean life depends on it.
 
“As much as I would love for oceans not to be polluted, I can’t do it on my own. Helping get other people connected and invested is what’s going to shape the future of our world and hopefully make it a better place for everyone.”
 
Gifts to the Academic Youth Programs Trust Fund within Marine Quest help provide scholarships so that area children can attend Marine Quest summer programs. Those interested in contributing to the trust fund can do so online at http://giving.uncw.edu/youthprograms. 

--Brea Perry ’20 and Venita Jenkins
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