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Daniel Morgan ('10)
Socially conscious designer
Daniel Morgan ('10) has an insatiable desire to build things. After a mission trip to Uganda — a country ravaged by political and economic troubles — the sculpture major from Lynchburg wondered if he could build a mixer to streamline the vital brick making process he observed in the small village of Gulu. As he helped Ugandans mix dirt and cement together with a shovel to create the composite for brick making, he realized that a mixer could shorten their labor considerably — from 30 minutes to three. When he returned to JMU the following fall, Dan worked with his professors and friends on a design. He also contacted Ferguson Industrial Plastics about acquiring scraps to build the project. To Dan's delight, the company embraced his project and even flew him to their Florida headquarters to work with their engineers and designers. Dan's experience in Uganda melded with the Ferguson engineers' expertise: "Do they have grease in Gulu?" the engineers needed to know. "Yes," Dan told them, " but weld the bearings on or someone might steal them to sell at the market." The collaboration of Dan's art and enthusiasm with Ferguson's functional engineering was a success. The company completed the project and shipped the mixer to Uganda. Dan returned to Uganda the next summer to work with Dr. Moses Musaazi, an engineering professor at Makerere University in Kampala, designing sustainable and socially conscious solutions for the Ugandan people — and to work on a second mixer.
"I didn't know if I could make a difference or not; I just felt maybe my enjoyment of creation could be applied for someone else's benefit. I believe everyone's talents, whether you think they come from God or not, could be put to use to benefit others."