Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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.