Liz Morel

Senior, Chemical Engineering
Watkins Scholarship Hall Executive Board member, 4 years
Orientation Assistant, 2003
Kansas Asia Scholar – Japan, 2004

Other Achievements or Honors

Research Education for Undergraduates (REU) program participant- Johns Hopkins University, 2004

1 st Place- The American Institute of Chemical Engineers Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) National Poster Presentation Award

Helping Unite Generations (HUG) Co-Director- Center for Community Outreach (CCO), 2003-2004

What led you to your area of study/field of interest?

My mother always said I was good at math. From a very young age she encouraged me in the sciences and helped to give me the confidence so that I could do anything. I have also always have had a deep compassion for people, thus I hope to have a positive effect on others through my profession. Engineering gives me the unique opportunity to combine my love of science with social service: I can do meaningful medical research, and, as a professor, I hope that I can inspire students to find their love of science.

What honor, achievement or accomplishment is most meaningful to you? Why?

My summer REU experience was a great accomplishment because it required great focus, mental acuteness, and dedication. There were many obstacles, but when it was time to present my research to the faculty, I felt I had addressed and overcome each of them. At the beginning of the program I was worried that I may not have what it takes to be a good researcher, but I found that I can sit in a lab and work for ten hours at a time and I can produce meaningful research on my own! This experience, combined with my research here at KU, has given me a great sense of pride and accomplishment.

Who has been influential or had a significant impact on your life?

I can confidently say that I would not be where I am today if it were not for the wonderful kindness and wisdom of those here at KU. Whether they gave me candy from a giant basket in their office, sat and listened to my problems, or helped me motivate myself, they all had an integral part in shaping my beliefs and behavior. When asked, “Who has been influential to you or had a significant impact on your life?” I feel as though I am at the Oscars, and my list could go on forever. I want to thank,

Mary Klayder- For helping me make sense of my life
Alice Lieberman- For helping me with the difficult transitions in college
Dr. Steve Shawl- For taking a chance on me and giving me great academic opportunities
Dr. Kyle Camarda- For inspiring me to be creative with my engineering degree
Trina Ramirez – For being a great role model and inspiring my professional goals
Thad Holcomb – For always helping me to put things in perspective
Dr. Brian Laird – For teaching me to motivate myself
Dr. Julie Howat – For being an outstanding model of women in engineering
Dr. Allan Cigler – For knowing what I really should do with my life :)

(music begins to play)

Why do you believe it is important to recognize women for their accomplishments?

Like a child who is afraid of the monster that they saw in the movies, I constantly have to remind myself that what I see on television and in magazines IS NOT REAL. Special effects like smoke and lighting can make both an alien scary and a model stunning. Such illusions fill the mind of women and establish unrealistic criteria for self worth. It is essential to recognize women for their accomplishments to provide strong role models for other women who may be forming their ideas about themselves and their criteria for self-judgment and success. The true beauty in real woman is found in the variety and elegance of their accomplishments. Through strong, positive role models and supportive camaraderie, more women can follow their dreams and achieve the goals they set for themselves.

What is a most favorite/least favorite memory as a student?

The KU experience does not provide one favorite memory. A few of the top memories include: Tea Time at Watkins Scholarship Hall, using the university’s telescopes to view planets and stars, pirates, crawling into the tomb of “The Green Eyed Princess’, my orientation assistant friends, the giant ice storm that canceled school, the Helping Unite Generations Christmas Party, speaking with the head abbot at the Tokofuji Monastery in Kyoto, working at the KU Natural History Museum, and many, many more.

What is your definition of success?

Success is finding that place where your greatest desires meet the world’s greatest needs. (Thanks Thad!)



The Emily Taylor
Women's Resource Center

1301 Jayhawk Boulevard
Room 400 Kansas Union
Lawrence, KS 66045-7548

Contact Information:
Phone: 785.864.3552
Fax: 785.864.4595
Email: etwrc@ku.edu