“Keep pushing toward the things that inspire you.”
When deciding on where to attend college, Scott Morin was looking for a “strong science program” - so he looked at places like Brown and Northeastern. He found the UNH program when he toured Rudman Hall. UNH’s proximity to home and the fact that his brother was an alum sealed the deal, and Scott became a Wildcat. Since then, Scott’s story has been filled with discovery, constantly fueled by his unending curiosity.
When asked what he is studying, Scott regularly uses words like “eukaryotic” and “basal vertebrate” so casually that a person can’t help but become engaged in his passion for scientific discovery. Since entering UNH as a first-year student, Scott has majored in biology, and he quickly sought out opportunities to participate in the highest levels of research going on in campus labs. His enthusiasm and ability was quickly recognized by Dr. Patty Bedker, who recommended Scott to one of her colleagues, Dr. Stacia Sower. An interview with Dr. Sower soon followed, a tour of the lab, and voila – she made him an offer and he responded, “I’ll start ASAP!”
Scott soon realized there wasn‘t going to be a gradual introduction to high-level microbiological research. He was “thrown” into the lab with post-doctoral students from the UK and a doctoral student from Japan. Since then, the lab has become a second home. Dr. Sower’s research focuses on hormones and hormone receptors in lamprey eels. Scott describes it as a “journey into the past”. Scott certainly doesn’t fit the stereotype of a “stuffy scientist”, especially when describing the ninja-like skills necessary to reach into the water and grab a lamprey eel with bare hands.
The work in Dr. Sower’s lab has driven Scott to pursue his own research. Scott has applied for a SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship – Summer 2011) to examine GnRH (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone) in black sea bass. He will be attempting to discover and clone the hormones. He anticipates that unlike the summer of 2010, when he spent an average of 10-12 hours a day in the lab, this summer will be closer to 14-16 hours a day working on his own research.
However, there is more to Scott Morin than labs and science; he is also involved in the French language program here at UNH. He claims the program gives him perspective and pulls him out of the lab – something he sees as being very important. Besides his SURF research, Scott will travel to France in the summer of 2011 and spend over a month in Brest where he will immerse himself in the French culture he admires so much.
When asked about the classes that have impacted him the most while at UNH, surprisingly Scott brings up Philosophy and Creative Non-Fiction. He points to these two classes in particular because they pushed him out of his comfort zone and encouraged him to “not take things at face value”. Scott recalls having a panic attack on his first day of creative non-fiction when he realized the requirements of the class. One particular assignment, writing a memoir, stands out as generating the most dissonance and promoting the most growth. He credits that assignment with teaching him to be much more observant and providing a way for self-reflection and examination through writing. He is a great example of the liberal arts philosophy of educating the whole student.
As if schoolwork wasn’t enough, Scott finds time to participate in intramurals during every season. During his time at UNH, he has also participated in Relay for Life raising over $500 to support cancer research.
Scott credits his older brother and parents with setting strong examples and teaching him several invaluable lessons: make things happen – they aren’t just going to show up on your doorstep, the worst-case outcome of trying something is that you learn more about what you like and dislike, if it’s interesting – try it, and never take the easy route. Any one of the invaluable lessons provides sound direction; a combination of all of those provides us for the basis of Scott Morin’s story.