Achieving & Succeeding: Morgan Walker

Achieving & Succeeding

Graduation feature


Daily walk to campus from E.C. provided Purdue Calumet student time to reflect

For any commuting college student who has ever complained about lack of convenient parking after driving to campus, meet Purdue University Calumet’s Morgan Walker.

While a freshman and sophomore with no means of transportation, she walked more than 90 minutes each weekday morning from a friend’s home in East Chicago, where she stayed, to Purdue Calumet’s Hammond campus to make an 8 a.m. class.

“I didn’t have a car, and there was no public transportation between East Chicago and Hammond that early in the morning,” she said, “so I would get up at 5:30 and begin walking to campus at 6.”

Early mornings, late nights

Her early day routine continued for nearly a year and a half—throughout northwest Indiana’s diverse and challenging weather conditions—and after late nights of studying that typically continued until midnight.

“I would ask myself, ‘Do I really want to do this?’,” Walker confessed. “But I always came to the conclusion that a year or so of pain was worth it for what I would achieve later.”

The 23-year-old, visual communication and design major who now resides in Gary will realize one achievement Tuesday afternoon (12/17), when she receives her Purdue degree during Purdue University Calumet Commencement Exercises at the Hammond Civic Center.

Teaching in Korea, then a Ph.D program

Also in her plans is to pursue a Ph.D in visual and cultural studies at a New York university. She plans to begin after traveling to South Korea in 2014 to teach for a year in the English Program in Korea (EPIK).

Walker’s five years at Purdue Calumet have been a blur of academic and personal growth, development and activity. A campus tour she took while a Gary middle school student attracted her to Purdue Calumet.

“I visited other campuses, but I liked the class sizes and the close knit nature of this campus,” she said.

Engaged in campus activities

After enrolling as a McNair Program scholar, she went on to work a variety of campus jobs—Career Services, Computer Graphics Technology Department and campus Information Center, among others—while also becoming involved in student organizations. An interest in culture led her to the Purdue Calumet International Programs Office, where she became an English language mentor and tutor for international students.

That experience motivated her to establish the Purdue University Calumet Cultural Association to further knowledge and understanding about people worldwide. It also set her on an apparent career course.

“I’m kind of a Jane of all trades,” she said. “I’m creative, I love music, I’ve enjoyed mentoring and teaching, and I’ve always been interested in culture. The Ph.D. program in visual and cultural studies at the University of Rochester is exciting to me, but before I begin, I want to travel, recharge my battery and teach for a year in South Korea.

“Judy Moore, the education abroad coordinator in our International Programs Office, told me about the EPIK program, so I checked it out.”

Motivated to succeed

Purdue Calumet Assistant Professor of Communication Yueqi Zhang is impressed with Walker’s optimism and confidence. “She is highly motivated, self-directed and yearns to gain an in-depth knowledge,” he said. “With her determination and hard work, I have no doubt that she will succeed in all her endeavors.”

After celebrating her graduation next week with her mother, other family members and friends, Walker will commence preparing for her year abroad, while continuing to build on the foundation of her future.

“The more education you get, the more open your mind is,” she said. “I know it has helped me coordinate my thinking.”

–Perhaps while on her long, early morning walks to campus.