Texas Tech University

Audra Morse

2012 Texas Tech Integrated Scholar

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies,
Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Whitacre College of Engineering

Audra MorseI love the students! They are so much fun. I learn every time I teach a class and it doesn't matter how many times I have taught that class—just the interactions with students . . . I learn it better . . . I learn more about myself, I learn more about the material and I learn more about my students. It is such a wonderful experience. When you can inspire students the way that you were once inspired, then I know that I have done the right thing, and it makes me very happy. It's a lot of fun. Students are my favorite part of this job. The research—bringing that in—tying it together—that's like the whipped cream, but the students—that's the best part.

Inspired by the teachings of her own civil engineering professor, Audra Morse also strives to ignite her students' interests in the classroom and the laboratory. Morse says Texas Tech Professor Heyward Ramsey triggered her fascination with the field of environmental engineering, and she hopes to have a similar influence as a professor and an administrator by integrating her teaching, research, and service activities. Morse's research concentrates on wastewater treatment and reuse, and she believes that this focus will make a lasting impact on future generations and societies. Complementing her research efforts, Morse teaches a service-learning course on wastewater reuse for industrial applications. She also devotes time to the next generation of engineers through her participation in organizations such as Women in Science and Engineering, Shake Hands with Your Future, and the American Society of Civil Engineers at Texas Tech. Originally from Houston, Morse is a Red Raider through and through; she earned her bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in environmental and civil engineering from TTU.

Learn more about Integrated Scholar Audra Morse in this question-and-answer session.

What are your research objectives and interests?

Most of my research is related to the theme of wastewater treatment and reuse. Due to water scarcity, drought conditions, and water contamination, this field will continue to grow and be of great importance. The field is very exciting. Developing new technologies to treat water to higher standards while considering social and costs considerations is a challenge. The field is advancing rapidly and I want to be a part of it.

How do you feel your research impacts the globe?

Water is required for life and safe drinking water is a commodity we can no longer take for granted. As a society, we must make the most of every drop of water, by wasting little and reusing everything we can.

What types of service projects have you been involved with?

All of my service projects are related to education. I participate in activities such as WISE and Shake Hands with Your Future because I want to inspire the next generation of engineers. I want people to love engineering the way I love engineering. Even as faculty advisor of the ASCE student chapter, I serve as a role model for my discipline. I want to instill passion for engineering in my students. If I have inspired them to love their discipline as much as I do, then they will pass that love and passion to the next generation, because I believe the passion is contagious.

What are you currently working on?

This semester I taught a service learning course for the first time and the focus of the service learning project was wastewater reuse for industrial applications. I believe this course is a perfect example of combining research, teaching and service. In the future I plan to continue teaching this course with a service learning component and I hope to share the results of my work with others.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My students. They are at Texas Tech to learn and in every interaction with my students I learn more about my discipline, myself and the world. They challenge me to know my discipline with every question they ask and I love thinking about what I teach in new ways. I am truly inspired by my students who want to learn.

What advice do you have for new faculty members about balancing the components of Integrated Scholarship—teaching, research, and service—in their careers?

The way to succeed is integration of your passion with everything you do and to not take yourself too seriously. No one is perfect so only very few can be tops in teaching, research, and service. However, if you weave your research interests into teaching and then into service, you will be on track to achieving your goals. My hero is Mary Poppins because she is practically perfect--so accept that you'll make mistakes, learn from them and just be the best that you can be. If you have done that, you will never have regrets.

Scholar Background

Initially a mentor at church introduced me to the field of environmental engineering. However, my passion was truly kindled in my first environmental engineering course taught by Dr. Heyward Ramsey. He loves environmental engineering and he inspired me to love environmental engineering as much as he does. He loves the engineering and teaching professions and I want to have the impact on others as he has had on me.

BS Environmental Engineering, Texas Tech University, 1999
MS Environmental Engineering, Texas Tech University, 1999
PhD Civil Engineering, Texas Tech University, 2003


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