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.

General Background

rev. 7/23/19

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

Born Steven Daniel Morgan, September of '81, I have always been Daniel to family and friends...probably to reduce confusion, since my dad’s name is Steve. I was born and raised in Richlands, VA. (Go RHS Blue Tornadoes, 1992 and 2006 state football champions!)

I married Amber Dawn Elliott after the spring semester of my junior year at VT. Amber and I were married May 31st 2003 at Gethsemane Baptist Church in Richlands, VA. We went on an awesome 7-day southern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Destiny, which I have posted a few pics of here. (More pics in the left-hand sidebar here) You can watch a short clip of our wedding and see wedding photos here.

We lived in Blacksburg as I finished my last year at VT, and Amber worked at Blacksburg Christian School, where she taught first grade, from the fall of 2003 to spring 2004.

We then moved to Gainesville in June 2004 so I could get a graduate degree in Chemistry. At UF, I completed the M.S. graduate program within the Chemistry Dept. at UF. [Go Gators! 4 national championships in 36 months!!! (Basketball, ’06, ’07; Football ’06, '08) For more on UF, see here and here.] When we moved to Gainesville, Amber got a few jobs as a nanny before she could get a job teaching again. In November 2004, Amber started teaching kindergarten at Interlachen Elementary in neighboring Putnam County. In 2005, she moved to St. Patrick’s Interparish (Catholic) School, working in a “Learning Lab” as a reading specialist, and she worked there through the 2006-2007 school year as well. We were in Gainesville until 8/11/07, when I graduated and we moved to South Carolina.

We had two Saint Bernards in Florida: Autumn−born September 12th, 2004, and Caesar−born December 27th, 2005. We got them when we lived in Gainesville, and they were our practice children before we had real ones. You can see some of their pictures here. Unfortunately, due to some serious allergy issues we had to place them with a new home in May 2010, which was very hard on us. We have kept in contact with their new "parents" and they are both doing great.

We arrived in Columbia, SC, in August 2007 and remained there for five years. From Aug '07 to May '10, I taught chemistry at Hammond School (for more on my career, see here). Amber was able to get on as a teacher at Hammond School in November 2007, replacing an outgoing director of the Middle School Academic Center, doing some of what she did at St. Pat's in working with student with learning differences. We found out she was pregnant in February 2008, and decided she'd stay home the next year and finish her M.Ed. in Educational Administration at USC in the spring of 2011.

We had our first child, Seth Elliott Morgan, on 9/21/08. Our second, Portia Marie Morgan, was born on 4/10/11. See some pics of them here. Amber was still able to finish her M.Ed. on time in May 2011 despite these two little "interruptions" :).

With two babies and one income from a private school, financial incentives led me to begin seeking out opportunities in research again, which led me to begin work at Nitek, Inc., on 6/1/2010. The focus of my work was on improving the prospects of III-V solid state device production for microelectronics, specifically deep-UV LEDs and transistors based on GaN/AlGaN. I worked at Nitek until 8/1/2012.

At that time we moved to Lexington, Kentucky where Amber was offered a job at a large Catholic preK-8 school as their Gifted and Talented Director. She moved to Sayre School in August 2013 as a third grade teacher. After teaching a year of 3rd & two years of 5th grade, Amber took a job in the summer of 2016 at Transylvania University (founded 1780, the oldest college west of the Alleghenies) as their Disabilities Services Coordinator. She got a promotion in January 2018 to become their Title IX director as well.

When we moved to Lexington, I pursued a few job opportunities, but the timing and the difficulty of coordinating on-site interviews left me with slim pickings. I instead enrolled in the Chemistry Ph.D. program at the University of Kentucky in August 2012. After successfully completing all the required coursework and also the qualifying exams (more here & here), I was offered a job to teach chemistry full-time again at a local Catholic high school starting in the fall of 2014, and so withdrew without a degree.

I taught at LC for three years before leaving to teach chemistry and physics in public school at Tates Creek for two years, then moved over to Frederick Douglass beginning in August 2019.

More on my career here.

If you want to know more, go back to the main about me page.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Publication 2

My second publication was published in November. (See here for my first one.) I am the primary author on this paper:

Applied Physics Express, 4(11), 114101

Enhancement-Mode Insulating-Gate AlInN/AlN/GaN Heterostructure Field-Effect Transistors with Threshold Voltage in Excess of +1.5 V
Daniel Morgan, Mahbuba Sultana1, Husna Fatima, Sho Sugiyama1, Qhalid Fareed, Vinod Adivarahan, Mohamed Lachab1, and Asif Khan1
Nitek Inc., Salem Church Road, Irmo, SC 29063, U.S.A.
1Department of Electrical Engineering, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, U.S.A.


This letter presents the dc characteristics of normally Off AlInN/AlN/GaN metal–oxide–semiconductor heterostructure field-effect transistors (MOS-HFETs). The devices were fabricated using a recessed gate and SiON dielectric layers for gate isolation. For a device with a 1.5 µm gate length and an 8-µm-long channel, the threshold voltage was above +1.5 V and a maximum drain current density of 0.7 A/mm was reached under 6 V gate bias. These enhancement-mode MOS-HFETs have an excellent potential for power electronics applications. ©2011 The Japan Society of Applied Physics
(Received August 26, 2011; accepted September 23, 2011; published online October 18, 2011)