Morgan Apperson Headed to Chemistry Doctoral Program

April 3, 2020

photo Morgan Apperson

Morgan Apperson

Las Vegas, N.M. – Morgan Apperson, a chemistry graduate of New Mexico Highlands University, is headed to a chemistry doctoral program at New Mexico Tech in Socorro.

Apperson, 22, graduates from Highlands in May with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, earning a 3.85 GPA to date. She begins her Ph.D. studies in August 2020, planning to focus upon environmental chemistry.

“Chemistry is the core foundation that makes up environmental outcomes and processes,” Apperson said. “I’m convinced that solutions to our environmental problems will be found on the chemical level. Having such a huge reliance on Earth’s resources for our survival, it’s important for society to establish a lifestyle that coexists with mother nature.

“Eventually, I plan to apply my individual skills and passion for environmental sustainability to a chemistry position where I can help society find innovative and sustainable solutions,” said Apperson, who grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Apperson said chemistry offers endless intellectual challenges and research opportunities.

“Chemistry will always be fascinating to me because one can study the different molecules in the atmosphere, the chemistry involved in water and soil, and even the chemistry within living things. Some examples of sustainability research include solar fuels, biofabrics, and carbon mitigation techniques,” Apperson said.

Apperson said David Sammeth, who chairs the Chemistry Department at Highlands and is her adviser, was instrumental in both her college education and her quest to pursue doctoral studies.

“Dr. Sammeth has many students to mentor, but somehow always made sure he was available and encouraged me throughout the entire process of navigating Ph.D. programs,” Apperson said.

“Morgan’s approach in selecting a graduate program was driven by her desire to investigate our impact on the world at a molecular level, in particular environmental chemistry,” Sammeth said. “Choosing a graduate program based upon the research being performed, as Morgan did, demonstrates that she is clear about the direction and goals of her graduate education. As a professor, I can tell you that working with a student who knows what they wish to investigate is very exciting.”


Sammeth said Apperson strikes him an individual who will flourish in graduate school and excel in her subsequent career as a scientist.


“Morgan has impressed me with her determination and passion to pursue the relevant questions of our time, and to perform research that will help us deal with important environmental challenges. She is ready and well prepared for this next step in her education,” Sammeth said.

At Highlands, Apperson took an active role in helping other students succeed. She worked as a supplemental instruction leader for organic chemistry, math and forestry classes for the university’s ARMAS program, achieving in research, mathematics and science. Apperson was also a peer mentor for freshman in the Highlands Undergraduate Enrichment program, or HUE.

“Working at ARMAS I had the opportunity to help students believe in their own potential to succeed in science. As a peer mentor, I help students embrace college life successfully. In both positions, it was extremely rewarding to see the growth in each student and their approach to challenges,” Apperson said.

Looking ahead, Apperson said she’s very excited about New Mexico Tech’s new chemistry facility.

“I can’t wait to use the university’s new high-tech instruments for research,” Apperson said.