Molly Morgan headshot

Molly Morgan, ’22, Master of Education

May 4, 2023

SPCS Commencement Feature

Molly Morgan, ‘22, is the 2023 recipient of the James W. Lanham Book Award for Excellence in Curriculum and Instruction. She is a 23-year-old full-time student athlete who occasionally serves as a substitute teacher and works part-time at Kinloch Golf Course. She started the Master of Education (M.Ed.) program at SPCS in Summer 2022 after earning a bachelor of arts in elementary education and a minor in rhetoric and communication studies from the University of Richmond’s School of Arts & Sciences.

As an undergraduate at the University, Morgan played for the women’s soccer team. She was able to take advantage of an extra year of COVID eligibility to remain at UR for a fifth year and play an additional season. This also provided her the opportunity to earn a master’s degree immediately after completing her undergraduate degree by studying as a full-time scholarship student athlete.

We asked Morgan to answer several questions that we regularly pose to graduating students as they complete their programs of study. Here are her responses in her own words.

Why did you decide to return to school?

It was the perfect time to jump on the opportunity [afforded by extended COVID sports eligibility] so that I could both play soccer and receive my masters at the same time.

Why did you choose SPCS and the University of Richmond for your degree program?

The connections that I have made at this school and through the education program mean so much to me. There wasn’t a doubt that I wanted to stay at the University for one more year. I had heard such great things both about SPCS and the curriculum and instruction program that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced as an adult student?

Finding a new routine. Taking 3-4 graduate classes per semester while playing soccer forced me to readjust to a challenging new schedule.

What’s the thing you like best about studying your major?

That every class I took was specific to the education field. I enjoyed every single one of my classes because they were classroom-based and we were learning/talking about material in which I had great interest, which made it so enjoyable.

Tell us about the faculty you’ve had.

I had the best group of professors during my experience. I was grateful I got to work with Dr. Milby again with whom I had class as an undergrad; to take a class with my academic advisor and mentor, Dr. Kuti; to meet new amazing professors like Dr. Micou, Dr. Boitnott, Dr. Allan, Dr. Edinger, Dr. Williams, and Dr. Laursen; and finally, to be welcomed so nicely into Dr. Calveric and Dr. Cassada’s classes. Dr. Burke was also so amazing with helping me figure out and accomplish my unique situation.

What have you learned about yourself as an SPCS student?

I have learned that no matter your background, everyone has different experiences that are valuable. In all of my classes, I was the only student who had no teaching experience besides student teaching. I found it intimidating at times; however, I took it as an opportunity to listen to my peers’ experiences and learn from them. I also reminded myself to give myself credit because I had experiences in the sports world, for example, that includes learning situations such as leadership, teamwork, communication styles, and plans for short-term and long-term goals. My experiences might have looked different from those of my peers based on where I was in my life, but the messages were very similar.

What will you miss most about being a University of Richmond student?

The faculty members and being able to be on the beautiful campus every week.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank for helping you reach this milestone?

All the SPCS professors I had, Dr. Kuti and Dr. Burke for working with me to make my plan come to life, the athletic department for allowing me stay an extra year, and Dr. Brenning for being my rock the past five years at the university.

What does graduation mean to you?

The time for me to appreciate and reflect what the university has allowed me to do the past five years and use all of what it gave to give back in the classroom.

In the immediate future, Morgan has accepted a second-grade teaching position at Watkins Elementary School in Chesterfield County, where she’ll start teaching in the fall.

She’ll graduate on May 6, 2023, with a Master of Education degree.