Transforming Lives in the Bluegrass One Student at a Time: Wes Morris

Wes Morris with Larry Porter (left) and Dr. Norman Strobel (right).
James Wesley (Wes) Morris loves science. Even as a child, Morris knew that he was destined for a career in the field of science. Now a sophomore in the biotechnology program at BCTC, Morris has proven that he has the right stuff to be a shining star among his scientific peers.

Last fall, Morris was the first place winner in the microbiology division at the Kentucky Academy of Science's 97th annual meeting. Of the more than 100 undergraduate students from across Kentucky competing at the meeting, he was the only student representing the Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS). A BCTC Transformation Grant, which Natural Sciences Division Associate Professor Dr. Norman Strobel and Instructional Specialist Larry Porter received to further their mentoring of student research, supported his winning presentation.

“Wes is a great ambassador for our college’s science education programs,” said Dr. Strobel. “He has tremendous promise for a successful scientific career. His great curiosity and sense of personal responsibility have given him the initiative to pursue extra-curricular opportunities at BCTC which will help accelerate his future goals.”

In addition to his win at the Kentucky Academy of Science meeting, Morris recently presented at the National Science Foundation Academic Technical Education (ATE) conference in Washington, D.C. He was one of only 50 students nationwide invited to attend the conference.

In January, Morris presented at the prestigious Posters-at-the-Capitol in Frankfort, Ky. Posters-at-the-Capitol is intended to help members of Kentucky’s legislature and the governor better understand the importance of involving undergraduates in research, scholarly and creative work.

“My experience at BCTC has been one of the most invaluable of my life, said Morris. “The faculty in the Natural Science division has been so helpful. Through their encouragement and guidance I have been able to greatly increase my career and academic prospects."

According to Morris, there are plenty of opportunities available to students, but they must be willing and eager to earn them. "Engage your instructors, graciously accept the wisdom and criticism they offer; show them that you are apt, competent, inspired and determined, and they will open new doors for you.”

Morris will graduate from BCTC in 2012 with an associate of applied science in Environmental Science Technology, associate of applied science in Biotechnology, and an associate of science degree. His future plans include working toward his bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky and then pursuing his graduate studies in a related field.