Thursday, August 10, 2017

Two-year update

I should probably admit that I don't put a high priority on updating my personal blog anymore. Life gets busy, I guess. I am updating the Career post and About Me post, but not much else. To summarize...

I will be teaching chemistry and integrated science at Tates Creek High School (Go Commodores!) starting next week. I'll finish my second master's degree -- an MAT from the University of the Cumberlands -- in May.

Seth and Portia are going to Sandersville Elementary, he'll be in third grade and she's starting first grade.

Here are some recent pics of our family:

Monday, June 1, 2015


Some summer projects:
  1. A new page for my tutoring / teaching
  2. A revamped personal & professional website (blog for now)
That means I'll be migrating content and moving things around a lot this summer. Please be patient, as I hope to have some pretty cool final products at the end!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

job search: professional documents

This page was created for the benefit of organization for prospective employers. Rather than attaching multiple large documents to emails, I have created a folder on where I can share these files easily, allowing any interested parties to view, print and save them as .pdf files. Please feel free to contact me by email or using the information in my résumé.

Here are my work-related documents (rev. 6-22-14). You can find each of the files below contained in my "job search documents" folder via

Peer-reviewed publications:

  1. Applied Physics Express, 4(3), 032102, PDF (more info)
  2. Applied Physics Express, 4(11), 114101, PDF (more info)
If you're interested in hiring me for a research position, or my graduate school work in chemistry, you may also access the following:
Reference letters (research/engineering)
Professional References
 Graduate school
If you're interested in hiring me for a teaching position, or in reference letters from my teaching experience , you may also access the following:

Teaching / work-related

Reference letters (teaching)

Lexington Catholic (Aug 2014 - May 2017)
Hammond School (Aug 2007 - May 2010)
Email me if any of the links or documents have errors or are unavailable and I will gladly send files directly to you electronically or as hard copies.
s.daniel.morgan at gmail

About Me

rev. 6/22/14

This page is for personal background information. For professional information, see here.

Note that the "contact me" right-hand sidebar contains links to my email and social media.

    Tuesday, September 3, 2013


    I now have a dedicated webpage for tutoring. As a high school teacher and a former TA with 10 semesters of general chemistry experience, I have the skills and knowledge to help you learn chemistry. I tutor all levels and courses in chemistry -- from middle school physical science to graduate-level biochemistry courses. I can also tutor pretty much any biology, chemistry, or physics high school science classes, up through AP.

    Saturday, December 29, 2012

    Graduate education (UK) -- Ph.D. Chemistry

    rev. 5/14/14

    As outlined in a previous post, I received an M.S. (non-thesis) in Chemistry from UF in August of 2007. I then went to work for five years: three teaching high-school chemistry and two working as a staff scientist in an electrical engineering lab making deep-UV LEDs. In August of 2012 I decided to return to finish my Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Kentucky. In February 2014, I applied and was accepted into the MIC Secondary Science program at UK to get certified to teach in public school.

    Here is a summary of my work in the UK Chem Dept (completed):


    From September 2012 - November 2013, I worked with Dr. Edith C. Glazer's group. The focus of my work was to make ligands for study in photoactive ruthenium complexes as potential chemotherapy agents. Here are some recent publications by the group that give you a clearer picture of the research:
    1. ChemBioChem, 2014, 15(4), 507-511 |
    2. Chem. Commun., 2014, 50, 311-313 |
    3. Israel J. Chem., 2013, 53, 391-400 |
    4. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134, 8324−8327 |
    5. Chem. Commun., 2012, 48, 9649-9651 |
    6. Biochemistry, 2011, 50 (5), pp 693–703 |

    Here is my unofficial UK transcript (v. 7/2014) from UK. For my full transcripts I made an Excel spreadsheet summary.
      Fall 2012
    • CHE 105 - Recitation - 4 sections (Mon: 11, 1, 2, 3)
    • Spring 2013
    • CHE 113 - Lab - 2 sections (Mon 1, Tue 2)
    • Fall 2013
    • CHE 105 - Recitation - 7 sections (Mon: 10, 1, 2; Wed: 10, 1; Fri 11, 1)
    • Spring 2014
    • CHE 113 - Lab - 2 sections (Mon 11, Tue 11)

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012


    rev. 7/23/19

    I love quotes, and I think they are worth collecting. To humorously use a quote to explain (tongue-in-cheek) why I think so:

    I hate quotations. Tell me what you know. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

    One quote that I used as my senior yearbook statement was:

    The tragedy of man is not that man dies, but what dies within man while he is alive. Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965)

    I love to read fiction, especially science fiction, horror, and fantasy novels. During winter and summer breaks I tend to do a lot of reading. You can view my goodreads profile here if you want to see what I'm reading & have recently read.

    I have a metal screw in my wrist due to a non-union scaphoid fracture. To this day, it hurts and has not healed correctly. You can read about these procedures, and the injuries that lead to them, in medical detail here (pdf).

    I love racquetball. Whenever I'm in decent physical shape, I’m somewhere around intermediate in skill level B-/C+.

    I spent a few years lifting weights. I set a personal record on deadlift at 475lb on 12/3/11. At that time I weighed 225lb and could bench around 300lb. Starting in January 2018 I became a member at Sterling Hot Yoga Works and take at least three or four classes a week.

    I enjoy first-person shooter games like Call of Duty, but on the simple games side I am a Hearts/Spades addict and self-proclaimed "Master Minesweeper" here for my best scores on record (picture evidence): Beginner - 6s, Intermediate - 42s, Expert - 114s. If you have better scores (and some proof!) email me with a challenge to my title. Otherwise, just suck it up and admit that I rule you at a geeky computer game. 

    **UPDATE 4-9-07: Two tip of the hats for Asha B and Max D for blowing my scores out of the water…Asha got 94s on expert and Max got 3s beginner and 34s intermediate, both provided picture evidence. One would have to go get hooked on meth to be twitchy enough to beat these minesweeping masters.**

    If you want to know more, email me.

    For more see the main about me page.

    Graduate education - UF

    rev. 12/28/12

    --This old post only covers my UF information. For newer information (UK) see here--

    I am a summer '07 graduate of the University of Florida with an M.S. Chemistry. You can visit UF’s chemistry dept. website here. The webpage to the Biochem division (I specialized in Biochemistry) is useful, although I worked within the Inorganic division, under my advisor David Richardson, who served as the chair of our department for six years (until Aug ’06). Our group has this webpage, and here is the current weather in Gainesville, FL.

    We moved to Gainesville in June 2004, and starting my first summer, I was able to do a research assistantship (RA) full-time. I mostly worked on building my skill set in studying the kinetics of sodium hypochlorite oxidation of a few organophosphate compounds. During the first academic year I had to TA undergraduate courses and had to take 5 graduate courses of my own. The second year I was left with one class left to take, in addition to seminar and Journal Club, and I presented research results twice in the fall of 2005: FIMS 9/24 and seminar 10/31. I also did a presentation for the biochemistry journal club and prepared our group poster in 2006. I had to TA during that fall and spring, as well as the next summer, for seven out of my total ten semesters at UF. (I was on full RA during summer 04 and 05, as well as spring 07.)

    Learn more about my research right here. My first two years’ work centered around DNA oxidation with various metal-catalytic systems. Next my thesis proposal focused upon the oxidation of biologically-relevant species with chlorine dioxide, especially aqueous sulfides and allylic carbons.

    I initially planned to complete the Ph.D., which takes, on average from this department, 5.1 years; of course I aimed at finishing early (like everyone else does). I had hoped to finish in 2009. I then aimed to either get an industry or government job or to procure a postdoctoral fellowship at Scripps Florida, Berkeley, or at any other high-caliber institution with great weather. If the latter scenario, I then planned to follow that up with a tenure-track position at a well-reputed university…albeit I would’ve likely settle for Hawaii. (We both love warm weather and beaches). The graduate school catalog outlines the requirements for graduation – which include 90 credits. Given that full-time status for a grad student is 9 credits in the spring and fall and 6 credits in the summer, this means that at best I could start in the summer of year X and graduate after the spring of year X + 4. I began working with Dr. Richardson's group at UF during the summer of 2004.

    However, I had a change of plans (and heart) along the way. Like many graduate students, I struggled with my work, facing both intrinsic difficulty and extrinsic distraction. Although I stayed long enough to defend and could've moved on to candidacy, I questioned whether I really wanted to work in Acadème for the rest of my life. I defended my research proposal (dept. guidelines) on April 6th, 2007, and was given a “conditional pass” to be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy at the end of the spring ’07 semester. I was asked to fill in experimental details in a short paper and turn it in to my committee, at which time I should be admitted to candidacy. This would not have been a problem. 

    My wife and I decided to start our family shortly thereafter. I had gone as far as I wanted to go, and was granted the M.S. degree (non-thesis) on August 14, 2007.

    We moved to Columbia at that time for me to work at Hammond School. After three years there, I decided to change careers again, finding myself better-compensated and happier working as a staff scientist at the University of South Carolina and a start-up company from there, Nitek. Now we are living in Lexington, KY, where I am enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Chemistry at UK.

    Here are the courses I took at UF:
    • Fall 04
      1. Chem 6304 – Biochemistry of the Cell (Tom Lyons)
      2. Chem 6620 – Advanced Inorganic Chemistry I (Adam Viege)
      3. Chem 6670 – Bioinorganic Chemistry (George Christou)
    • Spring 05
      1. CHM 6626 – Applications of Physical Methods in Inorganic Chemistry (Dan Talham)
      2. CHM 6301 – Enzyme Mechanisms (Nicole Horenstein)
    • Fall 05
      1. CHM 6302 – Chemistry and Biology of Nucelic Acids (Jon Stewart)
    Here are the teaching assignments I had at UF (the parenthetical name is the professor in charge of the course):
    I taught weekly "discussion sections" for both semesters of the first-year chemistry courses, which are basically a sort of study hall wherein the students come to ask me questions, take their quizzes, and watch me work out problems and explain how to solve them. They also got to listen to me razzle-dazzle them with chemicus maximus mini-lectures. I had to hold office hours in addition to the class time. In fall 04, I had 4 sections, with 3 every semester thereafter until the last summer, when I was lucky and had only one section.

    Here is my UF transcript, and my overall course transcripts are here.

    For more see the about me main page.

    Undergraduate education

    Here is a summary of our educational accomplishments and pictures of our diplomas. I have both a VT transcript here and overall course transcripts here. What follows is a more detailed outline.

    rev. 1/18/12

    I am a spring 2004 graduate of Virginia Tech. My majors at VT were biochem / chem (BS/BA, respectively) and I then moved to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida to complete the chemistry program beginning fall 2004. My first higher education experience was at a local community college, SVCC, where I received my A.A.S. (Science) after 3 semesters. I then decided to transfer in to Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, VA, in August of 2002 to pursue a B.S. in Chemistry. After a few semesters in the B.S. program in Chemistry, I decided to double major with a B.S. in Biochemistry.

    Since remaining in the B.S. Chem would require an additional year at VT just to take 9 credits of courses [CHEM 4114: Instrumental Analysis; CHEM 4414: Inorganic Lab; CHEM 3625: Physical Chemistry Lab II; CHEM 4404: Physical Inorganic] I decided to just finish the B.S.-track physics, maths [Calc 1,2,3 + Diff Eq], physical chemistry courses, and drop to the B.A. Chemistry, which would allow me to graduate after four semesters at VT with both majors. I’m glad I stuck with the more rigorous calculus sequences (four semesters) and calculus-based physics and physical chemistry: if you’re going to graduate school, it is imperative that you do so.

    My advice from experience is to not try to be a hero with respect to course load -- I was taking 17 credits of hard-core stuff in the spring of 2003, when I was getting married on 5/31/03, doing undergraduate research that resulted in two presentations that spring and also working 20 hours a week at Luna Innovations. At the end of the semester, I had little time for studying, so I decided to cut out studying math, since I figured I could go to the multivariable calculus final without preparation better than organic chem II or organic biochemistry or physics II. Virginia Tech's math department used (at that time, I'm not sure about now) standardized, multiple-choice tests for all sections of each calculus class. That really hurt me, since there is no partial credit. As a result of bombing that final, I lost the cum laude distinction, dropping to a 3.3 GPA. Long story short...don't kill yourself trying to finish early.

    Amber’s degree is a B.S. from ODU in "Interdisciplinary Studies" with an emphasis in Education--i.e., she took all the education classes and basically this way she can teach anything in the preK-6 arena rather than specializing in Language Arts or Math or whatever. She utilized the "distance learning" program at our local community college (SVCC, above). Here is a link outlining the requirements of her degree from ODU.

    For more, return to the about me main page.