Student Scholarship Story

Student Grows Into Remarkable Leadership by Creating Community

Student Grows Into Remarkable Leadership with Community & Resilience

Morgan Ulu knew she wanted to go to college, but it wasn’t until an SOU delegation came to American Samoa that she knew it was a real possibility and in reach. Since then, Morgan has flourished as a leader to her peers and American Samoan community. As a ROTC Commander, she looks over 50 cadets while also working as a building lead at the SOU Recreation Center. She is preparing to commission as a Second Lieutenant Officer this summer.  

Living in American Samoa, Morgan witnessed firsthand the many ways climate change has affected her home. She watched as rising sea levels flooded the roads and eroded the land. Personal experiences like these led her to choose Environmental Science and Policy as a major. She will graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in June along with a minor in Military Science.  

SOU Student Remarkable Leadership ROTC SOU

It wasn’t easy for Morgan to arrive at this point in her academic journey. Early on, her college experience was interrupted by the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. Because the borders closed quickly, she was unable to travel home to be with her family. Instead, she remained on SOU’s campus with a tight-knit community of American Samoan students, managing her academics—and excelling—during this isolating time. With resilience and SOU support services, she grew into her role as a leader. Morgan reflects, 

“I’ve been very proud of my journey. It wasn’t easy coming here, especially as a first-generation student, but I’ve worked hard to help create SOU as a safe place for our siblings—to encourage younger generations to experience the same things we’ve experienced on our academic journeys.” 

She is grateful for her time at SOU and thinks it has built “resilience and perseverance in me, in the face of COVID.” She also has immense gratitude for ROTC’s impact on her development as a leader, which required intensive daily training balanced with rigorous academic study.

This past year, she also had the honor to travel to American Samoa as an SOU student representative. She advised prospective students by helping them prepare for college life including assisting them with registration. All of these contributions to SOU are the marks of a true leader.  

Student SOU Remarkable Leadership

Morgan is a recipient of a scholarship from the SOU Retirees Association. She feels fortunate to have received the scholarship, and says, “People may think that there wouldn’t be a connection between younger and older people, but I find a lot of value in talking to older generations. They hold a lot of experience that I think is valuable to learn in order to grow as a person.” 

Community has been a staple for Morgan at SOU including the close relationships she’s developed with her ROTC peers. She has been recognized as a distinguished club cadet as well as honored multiple times on the Provost List for her high grades. She considers her many SOU community members close family. Morgan says, “That’s really important for me to remember—that SOU is family, and I hold the school really close to my heart.”

Morgan also embraces change, taking everything with a grain of salt, and welcoming the maturity that arose during her first year at SOU. She says, 

“SOU is kind of like the hidden gem in Oregon. When you come here to SOU, you are set up for success.” 


You can support an SOU student’s journey to leadership. Give to SOU scholarship funds now.