The Legacy of Kory Morrow: Expanding STEM Opportunities for Students of Color

By February 15, 2021

In June 2020, Waters Principal Systems Specialist Kory Morrow shared his vision to bring Waters systems and STEM mentorship to teaching labs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) across the United States (U.S.). As an alumnus of Tuskegee University – one of the 107 colleges identified by the U.S. Department of Education as HBCUs – Kory recognized the importance of exposure, experiences, and opportunities for the next generation of STEM professionals, especially those of color.

Out of tragedy, building a meaningful and impactful program

Working alongside a team of passionate Waters service and sales colleagues, Kory got to work enthusiastically developing this program. Tragically, in September 2020, Kory unexpectedly passed away.

“Kory is and was a blessing to us all and through this program, his desire to level the field and share educational opportunities will continue to manifest for years and generations to come,” shared Kory’s wife, Karimah Morrow. She added, “This program has the potential to lay the professional foundation for so many students of color.”

During his lifetime, Kory shared his knowledge through tutoring, coaching youth sports, and encouraging the young men whose paths crossed his. Now, with the blessing of Kory’s family, the Waters team has continued the program in his memory – ensuring that the dream of this recognized coach, mentor, and problem solver will continue.

Enabling STEM exposure, experiences, opportunities for students of color

The initial program includes partnerships with three institutions: Clark Atlanta University, Delaware State University, and Cheyney University. We are excited to announce that the first installations have begun.

Through the partnership with Waters, each HBCU receives an Alliance HPLC system with a 2998 Photodiode Array Detector and Empower software, and two years of warranty and support along with local mentoring for a hands-on immersion experience.

“The impact to the students and the faculty can be life-changing, opening new doors for these students, and progressing the field of science with their accomplishments. Kory was all about mentoring, education, and giving back, and this program carries on his legacy to do just that. Kory specifically chose these three HBCUs, and we can’t wait to work with the students and faculty to see all they will accomplish,” said Betsy R. Baer, Waters General Manager of East Region Business Operations, who took part in the first discussion and ideation sessions with Kory in June 2020.

Philanthropy STEM

Professor Conrad Ingram (left) guides graduate student, Zakiya Barnes (middle) in loading samples in the Waters Alliance HPLC, while Ms. Lisa Wilson (CAU Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs, front-right), graduate students Rassan Ford (middle, back) and Zuhair Hawsawi (back) along with Ms. Sara Smith (far right) and Mr. Thomas Wilson (back right) of Waters Corporation observe.

Conrad Ingram, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of the Department of Chemistry at Clark Atlanta University said that “the new partnership [with Waters Corporation] provides a tremendous opportunity to expand our program offerings in STEM areas, particularly in the field of Chemistry. The donation of the new HPLC, as the first move of this partnership, will strengthen the University STEM infrastructure, by expanding our current portfolio of advanced analytical instrumentation available to our professors and students. The plan for continuing engagement during the partnership will place our students in direct interface with Waters’ scientists, thereby resulting in industrial exposure and knowledge transfer for our students.”

At Clark Atlanta University alone, the program will impact an estimated 20 undergraduates and five graduate students each year. Undergraduate students will receive hands-on training primarily through their participation in the university’s Instrumental Methods of Analysis course, along with opportunities for laboratory research. Graduate students will be engaged in research that utilizes the equipment and software.

Dedicated to bringing Kory’s vision of STEM mentorship to life

Waters has assigned a dedicated team of sales and service specialists to each participating HBCU and its laboratory, which focuses on eLearning, seminars, and mentorship. Many of the team members share a personal connection to Kory and the STEM investment.

Julius Aguila, Waters Director of Service for the East Region, is the current project management lead for the program. He will work across all three universities to bring Kory’s vision of mentorship and opportunities for students at HBCUs to life.

“In my 25 years at Waters, this is the most meaningful program for me personally and professionally. Kory cared so much about expanding STEM opportunities for students of color. We are looking forward to the program’s success and the opportunities for the students and faculty at the HBCUs who are participating and future educational institutions.”

Belinda Alvarado-Lindner is a Principal Field Application Specialist at Waters who will be working with Delaware State University. According to Belinda, “This is a full-circle experience for me because I was the recipient of a minority student research grant as an undergraduate. I am the product of investment in minorities in STEM. I am looking forward to working with the program and the participants.”

Continued investment in and mentorship for students of color

Waters systems have been installed at Clark Atlanta University and Delaware State University – next up is Cheyney University. We look forward to seeing what lies ahead for the students in all three programs as they embrace the opportunities in the field of science that Kory Morrow’s vision made possible.

Learn more about Waters STEM and philanthropy initiatives