By Jennifer Hansen, Eric Fergason, Hilary Cummins
Coming to The University of Arizona was a logical choice for self-proclaimed "country girl," Morghan Sonderer. Having learned responsibility at a young age while working on her family's ranch, Morghan knew that she would need to take a number of variables into consideration when deciding which University to attend. The academic support offered at the SALT Center, the variety of engagement opportunities at the UA, and being from Southern Arizona all factored into her decision to become a Wildcat.
When asked what stands out about her time at the UA/SALT Center, Morghan says that, "the friendliness, feeling welcome, and feeling like part of the SALT family," have been key to her experience. She added that the SALT Center has given her the opportunity to get to know more people on the UA campus, particularly through the relationships she has built with her tutors: "The tutors are so nice to work with. They care about the student's understanding."
Since the beginning of her academic career at the UA, Morghan has managed to find the time to be involved at the University and throughout the greater community around Tucson. She is a member of the Pre-Vet Club and the UA Equestrian Team. She works with Enactus, assists with animal and horse rescue groups, volunteers with veterinary clinics, and participates in other events, such as the Tucson Rodeo and El Tour de Tucson. In addition to these organizations, Morghan has volunteered at the Reid Park Zoo and the Pima County Fairgrounds for special events, all while majoring in Animal Science at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, with a specialization in Equine Science, and pursuing a minor in Business Administration.
When asked about her academic accomplishments, Morghan says that she is proud of making the Dean's List, maintaining her high GPA, and being invited to join honor clubs and organizations, like the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She mentioned that the SALT Center has helped her achieve the GPA requirements to be admitted to these organizations: "Use of [SALT Center services] helped me with grades and receiving scholarships."
Morghan owns that attaining this level of success has not always been easy: "To some extent, school is challenging." However, after growing up on a ranch, Morghan is used to challenges. She sees them as an opportunity to dig in and face the hard work head-on. She stresses that the SALT Center has helped her overcome some of these challenges: "The tutors help with planning ahead and staying on top of things so that I don't procrastinate."
It is Morghan's passion for her goals, her friends, and her family that earned her the Michelle Combs Award. The award is given in honor of former UA student and SALT Center participant, Michelle Combs, who, Morghan learned, was, "friendly, outgoing, kind, and willing to help others." The Michelle Combs Award was established last fall and recognizes students who exhibit Michelle's adventurous, energetic, and goal-oriented characteristics. It was given to two students during the 2014 Family Weekend Celebration & Awards Ceremony. Morghan admitted that being one of the first recipients of this award caught her a bit off-guard, but that she is incredibly humbled by it: "It is an honor. I was honored knowing what the award was…who it represented."
One cannot help but admire Morghan's positive attitude, academic success, and drive to help others. We are so proud of Morghan, and we know that her ability to turn a challenge into an opportunity will help her achieve all her goals. We can't wait to see what else she will accomplish.