Jordan Morrison will work as an environmental scientist at Burns & McDonnell, an architecture and engineering firm with more than 5,300 scientists, engineers, architects, consultants, construction professionals and contractors.
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Jordan Morrison continues to blaze new trails in environmental education.

Jordan Morrison, a graduate in the class of 2023 and a double major in Biology and Education Studies, was able to combine her interests in science and education at High Point University. This combination has created a specialized career path that she plans to follow.

“HPU has helped me achieve my goals by giving me the opportunity to blend my interests through interdisciplinary studies in the honors program and research projects,” said Morrison, a native of Loveland, Ohio. “I was able to approach science issues and educational outreach in a unique way because of it.”

Jordan Morrison will work as an environmental scientist at Burns & McDonnell, an architecture and engineering firm with more than 5,300 scientists, engineers, architects, consultants, construction professionals and contractors.
Jordan Morrison will work as an environmental scientist at Burns & McDonnell, an architecture and engineering firm with more than 5,300 scientists, engineers, architects, consultants, construction professionals and contractors.

After graduation, she will work as an environmental scientist at Burns & McDonnell, an architecture and engineering firm with more than 5,300 scientists, engineers, architects, consultants, construction professionals and contractors. While the 125-year-old company is based in Kansas City, Missouri, Morrison will work out of its Greenville, South Carolina office and travel frequently to survey sites in the United States and Canada.

Do research in new places

The challenge of the trip doesn’t bother Morrison. The Fulbright US Student semi-finalist traveled across the country to present several research projects and land exciting internships at HPU.

Fulbright US Student semi-finalist Jordan Morrison has traveled across the country to present several research projects and land exciting internships at HPU.
Fulbright US Student semi-finalist Jordan Morrison has traveled across the country to present several research projects and land exciting internships at HPU.

“My most recent conference presentation was at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at the University of Wisconsin in Eau Claire, Wisconsin,” said Morrison, who was also a member of the Strickland Women’s LIFT. Fellows of HPU. “I presented the results of a collaborative project with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and the Greensboro Science Center, where I analyzed how augmented reality tools could be used as an educational tool in science museums and zoos.”

Morrison credits many of her faculty mentors at HPU with encouraging her to explore informal careers in education. Within the biology department, she discovered that Dr. Nicole Hughes, associate professor of biology, and Dr. Kelli Sapp, associate professor of biology and co-director of the Natural Science Fellows, were excellent role models for a future female scientist.

Dr. Leslie M. Cavendish, associate professor and director of the Department of Educator Preparation at the Stout School of Education, was Morrison's mentor at HPU.
Dr. Leslie M. Cavendish, associate professor and director of the Department of Educator Preparation at the Stout School of Education, was Morrison’s mentor at HPU.

Dr. Leslie M. Cavendish, Associate Professor and Chair of the Educator Preparation Department at the Stout School of Education, mentored Morrison in an independent study that helped him improve accessibility to the program Disney Conservation Education Program. Cavendish continued to support Morrison throughout his career exploration.

Blazing trails for others

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“My ‘coolest’ internship experience was being a conservation education intern at Disney’s Animal Kingdom,” Morrison said. “I spent eight months in the park sharing lessons about animals, plants and conservation projects around the world. I spoke to over 500 guests a day, so I felt to have a big impact by connecting people to the environment around them.

Jordan Morrison chats with Dr. Leslie Cavendish at the Stout School of Education Children's Library.  library
Jordan Morrison chats with Dr. Leslie Cavendish at the Stout School of Education Children’s Library.

Cavendish laughed as she recalled seeing Goofy and other Disney characters in the background as she communicated with Morrison during her internship.

“Jordan is looking for challenges and opportunities, and consistently exceeds expectations,” Cavendish said. “Jordan’s journey to graduation took many adjustments along the way, and with her flexible thinking that allowed her to create opportunities for herself, she proved herself to be a true leader. I had the great good fortune to work closely with Jordan on an independent study and I am delighted that others see her not only for her academic skills (which are exceptionally strong), but also for her in leadership. Someone once told me that there were three ways to show leadership: “by example, by example and by example”. It’s Jordan Morrison.

“An example of her pioneering work is how she sought out opportunities beyond the HPU campus to be able to teach outside of traditional school walls,” Cavendish said. “In the Animal Kingdom, she taught courses related to ecology and sustainability. She even expanded Walt Disney World offerings by designing “conservation pop-up stations” for the Animal Kingdom. Throughout of his independent study, Jordan shared his concerns about fairness and the limitations of many families who otherwise could not take advantage of the learning opportunities there.

As an intern at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Jordan Morrison shared lessons about animals, plans and conservation projects
As an intern at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Jordan Morrison shared lessons about animals, plans and conservation projects.

“Jordan then took action by creating a website, applying the skills and strategies she learned while teaching in the animal kingdom. His goal with the site was to enable all children to actively participate in learning about the world around them by applying scientific research practices in ecology and conservation. This is leadership in education! It is already charting its own course in the field of education by setting an example. Without giving up her love of teaching, she has broadened her impact and continues to create opportunities for others to try new teaching approaches that provide learning far beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

Morrison said one of the most important life skills she learned was how to engage and interact with people from different backgrounds than her own.

“It has helped me differentiate education lessons and conservation messages in my work to engage diverse audiences,” Morrison said.

As an environmental scientist, her passion for conversation and teaching others will now continue in an exciting new career.

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