Wyatt Morse, a junior microbiology major, once dreamed of working with sea animals as a marine biologist. After switching majors twice, he now aspires to treat cancer. The 21-year-old from Kansas City, Missouri began his academic career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the College of Business.
“I started out in business when I first came here because I didn't really know what I wanted to do,” he said.
Morse’s freshman year was different than most due to it starting the August after COVID-19 hit. He soon became accustomed to the online ways of teaching, which he said both helped and hindered his college experience.
After some time he realized that he was ready to pursue something different, ending up at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. There, he began studying advertising and public relations because he had some experience in it from high school and was interested in building on that foundation.
A short while later, Morse was, once again, ready for something new, leading him to nutrition and health sciences since he had an interest in fitness.
He was happier with this major change but began to realize fitness would be better as just a hobby. However, it was in a required class for his nutrition and health sciences major that he would find himself on the career path he is on today.
Morse said he made a friend in his Life 120 class who was majoring in microbiology, which intrigued him because of his interest in science.
“I changed my major that day,” he said.
The change from business to microbiology didn’t come as a surprise to Morse, however, because he has always been intrigued by the sciences and could envision himself in a field such as this. Even though the process of getting to his final major wasn’t the easiest, he feels that it was still really important that he explored all of his interests when entering college.
“I've always kind of been interested in science my whole life. I've always found biology itself really easy compared to the other sciences. I've always just been cruising through that. I was also decent at chemistry,” Morse said.
As a child, Morse dreamed of being a marine biologist due to his love of sea animals. Now, many years later, he is proud of being a microbiology major and is excited to continue to pursue his passions in graduate school.
“I want to go to grad school for molecular biology and genetics. I want to use that to hopefully find a job treating cancer through genetic editing, [that’s] what I kind of want to go into,” he said.
Morse is preparing for graduate school by being involved in a lab led by Jithesh Vijayan. He found this opportunity within a weekly newsletter and has never looked back. Morse’s advice is: “If you can find the job, that's the hard part,” he said.
Currently, his role in the lab is to help out with whatever Vijayan needs him to do. He has recently been working with a type of algae named chlorella trying to figure out what volatile molecule is responsible for quorum sensing.
Morse’s work with Vijayan is set to be published later this year.