Why This Ph.D-Bound Alum Chose CWI

Published: September 24, 2015

When Morgan Harris completed high school, it wasn’t a question of whether she would attend college or not—it was simply a matter of where. Between being homeschooled and attending a private school in Garden City, she graduated with a 3.8 grade point average. Being an athlete with stellar grades, the sky was the limit for her academically. After weighing several options, she chose the psychology program at the College of Western Idaho. For her, the decision has been a life changer.

“I mainly chose CWI for financial reasons,” Harris said, “and I am so glad I did. Not only did I receive an affordable education, I discovered how much I love research. I also met an instructor who turned into my mentor, and she is still supporting me today.”

Harris is talking about CWI psychology instructor Martha Timberlake. After graduating with an associate degree in 2014, Harris had every intention of furthering her education. Timberlake encouraged her to pursue the McNair Research Scholar program at Boise State University. She was accepted. Now in her senior year, Harris has been able to showcase the skills she learned through her CWI education.

“The McNair program is great,” she said. “It’s a two-year program that pairs students with faculty who are close mentors. I have attended and presented at statewide and national conferences, and I have visited potential grad schools supported by the program. It has provided me with a lot of opportunities.”

Harris is well on track to finish up her academic studies with a Ph.D. Her life goal is to be a counselor who specializes in helping victims of traumatic experiences like sexual abuse. Although her career track has been determined, she has advice for people who have yet to choose.

“There are a lot of realistic and unrealistic dreams in life, and I think pursuing higher education is one of those dreams you should keep real—even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do career wise,” she said. “Community colleges get stereotyped, but they are a great option. I got a great foundation through my experience at CWI. All of my instructors were great and they truly wanted student success. I could not have made a better choice.”

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