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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Morgan J. Hawker, Ph.D. 


Assistant Professor
Office Location: Science I, Room 250
Office Phone: 559.278.2093


Morgan Hawker earned her B.S. in chemistry with a minor in education from UC Santa Cruz, where her undergraduate research focused on light-emitting core-shell nanoparticles. After life as a banana slug, she moved east to attend graduate school at Colorado State University where she earned a PhD in Chemistry. Her graduate research primarily focused on fabricating and plasma-modifying 3D polymer materials (advised by Ellen Fisher), and she also evaluated metacognitive monitoring in general chemistry classes (advised by Dawn Rickey). As a graduate student at Colorado State, she had the opportunity to teach general chemistry and was immediately hooked on college teaching!

Before joining the Fresno State community, Dr. Hawker completed postdoctoral research at Tufts University in the Teaching in Education and Critical Research Skills (TEACRS) program sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. This program provided Dr. Hawker with the opportunity to gain additional classroom teaching experience, as well as research silk-based materials in a biomedical engineering context (advised by David Kaplan).

Research interests and specialties
Dr. Hawker is broadly interested in applications of physical chemistry in the field biomedical materials. She has experience working with a range of polymeric materials, from synthetic polyesters to naturally derived polymers such as silk. Work in her group aims to customize polymer surface chemistry using a gas phase strategy called plasma processing. Tuning plasma parameters allows us to customize the polymer surface, which we can use as a tool to control how material responds to its surrounding environment. Dr. Hawker is excited to mentor undergraduates and graduate students in all areas of this work, and students working in her lab will have the opportunity to actively participate in making, modifying, and characterizing polymeric materials based on their interests.

Teaching interests and specialties
Dr. Hawker enjoys teaching general chemistry and physical chemistry. She also likes bringing her research interests into the classroom by teaching students about surface science and soft materials. She emphasizes adopting a growth mindset and self-reflection exercises in all of courses. Her goal is to to encourage all of her students to learn more about themselves as learners as they tackle the challenging and wonderful world of chemistry.

In Fall 2019, Dr. Hawker will be teaching general chemistry (CHEM 1A) and advanced physical chemistry (CHEM 240T), in addition to starting up her research lab.