CS undergrad Morgan VanderLeest named CEW+ Scholar

VanderLeest has been a mentor in the Women in Science and Engineering Residential Program, is a co-lead for the Michigan Hackers security team, and is a model for diversity in tech.
Morgan VanderLeest
Morgan VanderLeest

Morgan VanderLeest, an undergraduate student in computer science at Michigan Engineering, has been named a 2022 CEW+ Irma M. Wyman Scholar.

During the first two years of their time at the University of Michigan, Morgan was a member of the Women in Science and Engineering Residential Program (WISE RP), where they served as a peer mentor their second year. They were also a Summer Scholar this past summer for the program. In addition, Morgan has been an active member of the Michigan Hackers student group and is now participating as a co-lead for the security team. 

After losing their father at a young age, Morgan struggled to find their place until they discovered their love for STEM. Their experience motivated them to pursue engineering while also staying in touch with the comfort they found in books and the keen understanding they developed that everyone has a story to tell.

Though pursuing their degree in a STEM field, Morgan has remained connected to their interest in and appreciation for the humanities through the pursuit of a minor in political science, and by learning the Korean language.  They plan to use their humanities skills to bring a valuable new perspective to a career in cybersecurity. 

Morgan says, “I hope that my career will have the impact of not only keeping people safer but also showing biracial people and members of the LGBTQ+ community that they can enter jobs and be an asset to a team because of their different backgrounds, and not despite them.” 

Above all, Morgan hopes to make a technological and social impact with their career and degree.

Morgan’s mentors and professors describe them as a “shining example of leadership, selflessness, and professionalism” with a strong desire to be “a life-long learner and educator.” Their ability to meaningfully support others and continuously seek out growth will serve them well in their future career.