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Dr Leanna Morgan, PhD

Dundalk Institute of Technology

Dr Leanna Morgan started off studying a Level 7 degree and earlier this year was awarded her PhD. She shares her experiences of what inspired her.

Arriving in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) in 2013, a fresh faced Leaving Certificate student, I knew one thing, I wanted to pursue a career in science. Now nine years later, as a recently qualified PhD graduate, the one thing I know for certain is DkIT has served me well.

At school, I had a passion for biology and wanted to pursue a science qualification, however I hadn’t studied chemistry or physics at Leaving Certificate and I was worried that it may hinder my future. What attracted me to the BSc in Applied Bioscience (Level 7) was the descriptor of the year one modules in the prospectus.

There was a clear emphasis not only on biology but also on the other core sciences chemistry and physics. I thrived in first year as there was a broad introduction to the three fundamental sciences, biology, chemistry and physics. This lay the foundation for the rest of the course and the rest of my academic journey.

Completing my Level 7 degree in 2016, I wasn’t ready to conclude my education. Fortunately, DkIT offered a number of additional courses that I could choose as one year add-ons to achieve a Level 8 degree. I decided on the BSc (Hons) degree in Biopharmaceutical Science.

You get out what you put in

One of the highlights of this year was the research project. I found that the effort you put in you got out and I absolutely loved it. It was this experience that sparked my desire to undertake a research PhD. Upon graduation, I obtained a PhD position on the collaborative BREATH project funded by the European Union’s INTERREG VA programme in the Smooth Muscle research centre here. I completed my PhD in January 2022 and published my first authored paper in March.

The desire to teach originated from the positive experiences I have encountered throughout my education. I had a number of remarkable lecturers, who understood that teaching goes beyond the ability to deliver course content. Their encouragement gave me the confidence to pursue a PhD and their enthusiasm inspired me to follow a career in teaching, which has led to my current role as an Assistant Lecturer in Biochemistry here in the School of Health and Science.

The desire to teach originated from the positive experiences I have encountered throughout my education.

Inspiring others to study

I have earned the nickname the ‘eternal student’ but I believe that it is a notable achievement for any institution to be able to both inspire undergraduate students to pursue higher levels of education while also facilitating their career ambitions.

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