Morgan Tracy

ENGAGE

Morgan Biological Science

You’re from Connecticut USA, what brought you to UC?

I started my studies in Florida but it wasn’t a good fit for me. A friend of mine who was living in New Zealand encouraged me to look into UC. I was impressed by the range of biology courses and field stations, so I applied and got accepted. That was six years ago and I still haven’t left!

Tell us about your PhD topic.

I’m looking at how invasive plants species are impacting native species, due to their proximity. It’s incredibly hands on. I spend three months of every year out in the field, doing observations, collecting insects and moving pollen and pollinators around. I get to play with flowers all summer – it’s the best!

What have you enjoyed most about studying at UC?

I’ve loved how there’s such a strong focus on the environment, both at UC and just generally in New Zealand. Native species are so treasured here and there’s a lot of public engagement with the natural world. Through doing my studies at UC I’ve become part of the community. I feel like I really fit in.

You’ve been a mentor for five years – tell us about that!

I started as a mentor in my second year. UC mentors are basically a friendly ear, someone students can talk to if they find themselves struggling in any way. We match students with mentors who have similar backgrounds or experiences. They meet casually over coffee to give advice or just check in.

What do you personally enjoy about mentoring?

I love being able to connect with people and help them through things that I struggled with myself. Guiding others gives me a lot of joy.

"I’d like to use the people skills and communication skills I’ve gained at UC to help bridge the gap between science and the general public."

What would you like to achieve with what you’ve learned at UC?

I’m really interested in science communication. I’d like to use the people skills and communication skills I’ve gained at UC to help bridge the gap between science and the general public. Science adds knowledge to the world and improves lives, and it’s our responsibility to ensure everyone has access to that.

Looking back, how do you feel about having come to UC?

It was the greatest decision I’ve ever made. I have had the best adventure here and loved every second of it. I’m so happy I came.