Alumna helps make community connections that contribute to a better world | Mercer Memories

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Mercer alumna Morgan Lane Studer is pictured with her family.

Morgan Studer is the director of Faculty and Community Resources at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Center for Service and Learning. She graduated from Mercer in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in English and also earned a teaching certification in secondary education. 

Here are five things to know about Studer:

1. She uncovered her passion at Mercer.

Studer said she chose Mercer because she wanted a smaller college experience. She started out pursuing an English degree and was interested in a career in journalism. But after writing for the student newspaper for a few years, she knew the profession wasn’t quite right for her. She took her English degree and switched her focus to becoming a teacher. 

She did her teaching practicum and field work with Mercer’s Tift College of Education, but she was still missing the spark that she wanted in a career. She had been heavily involved with Mercer’s Habitat for Humanity Chapter and was the club president her senior year, and she finally realized that her calling was to work in community service and engagement. 

She pivoted one more time during her last semester at Mercer and secured an AmeriCorps VISTA placement with Macon Area Habitat for Humanity, where she served as the volunteer coordinator for a year. That work ultimately led her to Indianapolis.

Morgan Studer

2. She fell into work that she loves.

Studer moved to Indianapolis in 2004 to enroll in the philanthropy master’s degree program at IUPUI, with the ultimate goal of finding a job working in the community. After graduate school, she saw all of her educational experiences come together when she took a full-time position at IUPUI overseeing the America Reads/America Counts tutoring program partnership between IUPUI and Indianapolis Public Schools.

Four years ago, she became the director of Faculty and Community Resources. She connects community partners with faculty who have integrated civic and community service into their courses and manages a large student scholarship program. Studer assists professors in service-learning course design, responds to community service inquiries, and works to address key issues in the community by supporting partnerships between the university and local agencies.

“I feel like it’s a field that’s chosen me more so than I chose it. I feel like I fell into this work, in a good way,” Studer said.

3. She has a front row seat to life-changing projects. 

Studer loves being able to facilitate projects that have an impact on the community and working with the next generation of community advocates. She collaborates with people who are trying to break down barriers and create a world where everybody has opportunity, and being a part of those conversations gives her hope. 

“It is what gets me really excited about my work,” she said. “I get to really see the imagination of our faculty and community partners coming together to dream big, to imagine a better world. I get to see students progressing in their thinking and their understanding of their society and community, and their responsibility to make it a better place.”

4. Mercer helped her make connections.

During her time at Mercer, Studer was able to make connections that unearthed her passion and purpose. She said English professor Dr. Andrew Silver and Dr. Mary Alice Morgan, English professor and senior vice provost for service learning, were some of the faculty members who helped her find her role in the world. In addition, Mercer’s commitment to sponsoring houses for Habitat for Humanity showed Studer the role that universities can play in the community.

“At Mercer, a degree wasn’t just about taking the next step and getting a job and making money. Mercer has always focused on discovering your vocation,” she said. “That really spoke to me, as someone who really wanted to make sure that my work felt meaningful. Mercer just had this ethos of vocation and leading this meaningful life.”

5. She wants to contribute to a better world.

“I feel like this is a professional field that really speaks to me. I hope to continue to grow in that and to contribute to it,” she said. “I really want to see campus and community learning from each other. I feel like part of my role is to help bring these parts of community together to work toward a more just and equitable society.

“I truly feel like this work is not separate from my personal being. I want to integrate all those parts of my life. I want to continue in this work in whatever way I can be a really good contributor in that space. I want to be a really good parent who raises really good little humans.”