Kyra Morgan graduated from the University in 2010 with her B.S. in mathematics and again in 2016 with her master’s degree in statistics. As an undergraduate, Morgan worked for the City of Reno for three years and got a job as a biostatistician with the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health. She was named a Young Distinguished Alumni of the Year in 2016 and was a judge for the master’s level Three Minute Thesis in 2017.
Morgan then worked for the Washoe County Health District as a statistician and as a senior health data analyst for Prominence Health Plan, then returned to the University to obtain her master’s degree. Morgan was named Chief Biostatistician for the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. She was named a member of Nevada’s COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force in 2020.
In 2021, Morgan was named one of the inaugural Wolf Pack Way alumni. Each of the Wolf Pack Way alumni have exhibited successful careers and exceptional dedication to their work and their communities.
What does it mean to you to be a Wolf Pack Way alumnus?
I am extremely honored to be a Wolf Pack Way alumnus, and I thank the University and College of Science for this opportunity. Being a first-generation college student and a woman in a male-dominant field, it is always nice to see the support of my alma mater.
What is your most memorable experience at the University?
Do I have to choose just one? When I started at the University, college life was entirely foreign to me. I grew up in rural Nevada and knew nothing about academia or even city living. As I reflect back on college at the University, I feel a strong sense of “home,” community and nostalgia. Campus is where I really learned how to learn, and how to apply myself. I also met some of my closest life-long friends on campus. At the time, the “Math Building” wasn’t built yet, and we spent most of our time eating burritos and chicken quesadillas from the Mexican restaurant in the Ansari Business Building before riding the ever-packed (and not COVID-friendly) elevator up to the 6th floor, for either a class or to study with friends in the Math Center.
What person or resource on campus was most instrumental to helping you succeed?
Dr. Ania Panorska was the most influential person to me during my time at the University and after. She has been more than a teacher or professor, she has been a mentor, friend, and cheerleader along the way. Also, I spent a lot of time in the Math Center during my undergraduate program, and the Knowledge Center during my graduate studies.
What was the most important thing you learned at the University that put you on your path to success?
This is a great question, and a hard one. Of course, I learned the subject matter behind my degrees in mathematics/statistics, which has been instrumental to my professional and career successes. However, more importantly than that, I feel that my time that the University taught me how to think critically and problem solve. In the math/stats program, I learned how to be presented with a complex problem and think through a logic solution. I also learned how to maneuver a highly male-dominant work environment with confidence, even when I was doubted. I did have a few unfortunate experiences with professors who did not think I was cut out for the challenge, to which I say, “Look at me now.”
In the words of Albert Einstein – “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”
Is there a faculty member or mentor at the University that you were particularly close to?
Yes – Dr. Ania Panorska, as I mentioned above, has been instrumental. She always treated me as a person, with respect. She always believed in me and presented me with opportunities to foster my growth. I consider Ania more than a faculty member, I consider her a friend and am in contact with her to this day.