Huston-Tillotson University Biology - Tenaishia Morris

by Joelle Yates

This interview is with Tenaishia Morris, a biology major at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas. We recently spoke with her and asked her about her experience within her program and what she's planning to do with her professional future.

What has your experience been like at Huston-Tillotson?

My experience in the Biology program at Huston-Tillotson University has definitely been a learning one. This program introduced me to many things that I never knew about before. For an example, I conducted a research on Microbiota but before I started the research, I didn’t even understand what Microbiota was. Adding on, I never worked in a lab so being in this program I received the chance to experience many different lab equipment and I also collected power soil samples for the first time. The Biology program opened my eyes to a lot of things and I do not regret choosing to be a part of it.

Were there other schools you were considering?

I’m originally from Wisconsin but my mom encouraged me to go to a college in Texas because she felt there would be more opportunities. I researched colleges in Texas and Huston-Tillotson University was the only one that grabbed my attention because it was an HBCU and the first to be located in Austin, Texas. The requirements for HT wasn’t difficult. As I remember, you have to have at least a 2.5 GPA and at least the score of 14 on the ACT. After visiting and being accepted into HT, I realized that I love this college because it’s a small university on a quiet hill but surrounded by the beautiful downtown Austin.

Tenaishia Morris smiles to the camera

What influenced you to pursue a degree in biology?

Children influenced me to pursue a career in Biology. My career goal is to become a Pediatrician because I believe that children have to take care of us one day so it’s my job to keep them healthy so they can be healthy enough to take care of me.

What is your favorite class so far, and why?

Although I’m a Biology major, my favorite class is English. I love being able to find new ways to improve my writing ability. It’s always hard to figure out what I’m going to write about but once I start writing, my hand doesn’t stop and my thoughts continue to flow.

What is unique about the nature of your major’s classes?

Biology is one of the most diverse majors because it introduces you to hundreds of jobs in the medical field. My major also helped me become a STEM research scholar. That’s why having a Biology major is not only unique but exciting as well.

What are the best ways to network with your peers within your major?

The best way that I found how to network with my peers within my major is the SNMA group that I’m apart of on campus. This group is for biology majors that come together to look for events and opportunities for us to engage in. For an example, being a part of SNMA I was able to attend the Texas A&M medical conference.

Have you participated in any internships?

One of the advisors on HT’s campus is Amanda Masino. Dr. Masino was one of my professors and she knew that I wanted to be productive this summer so she informed me about the science research internship that she was in charge of on campus. Through my HT email, I was able to apply without any problems. The internship was a great experience and I’m definitely doing it again this upcoming semester.

What are your future career plans and aspirations?

My future career plans and aspirations are to become a Pediatrician that specializes in child abuse. I also want to open my own boys and girls club where children can come and have fun and be educated about their health.

What has been the most challenging aspect of this area of study, and was this something you had originally anticipated?

Sometimes being a Biology major is challenging for me because I never took any science courses in High School that relates to my science courses in college but I already knew it wasn’t going to be easy. At times I get discouraged and feel less advantaged than others but I remind myself that I have a career goal that I need to accomplish so I continue to study and work hard.

What advice would you give someone else trying to break into this field?

If someone wanted to become a Biology major or enter the medical field, I would tell them to never underestimate the things that you can do.

Is there anything you wish you had known about this major ahead of time before choosing this career path?

I wish I would’ve taken more science and math courses in High School because it would’ve helped me prepare for college.

How are you financing your education, and what are your most helpful online resources or tools?

Currently, I depend on financial aid and look for scholarships from to help me pay for my education.

What is the best piece of advice related to your field of study that you have received?

The best piece of advice related to my field of study that I have received is “get you a lab coat and hang it in your closet. Every time you feel discouraged, look at that lab coat and remind yourself that you're going to be a doctor.”

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