Dr. Morgan Cable — Her Story From Science Fairs to Saturn

Dr. Morgan Cable credits her successful career to early exposure to science.

Dr. Morgan Cable, the first-ever grand prize winner of the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition in 1999, has camped atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, conducted research in the Atacama Desert in Chile, and has run multiple summer space camps in South Korea. Now, a Research Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, Morgan focuses on asking questions about possible life in space.


She has worked on multiple projects like the Cassini Mission, which explored the Saturn system for more than 10 years, and as a collaborator on an instrument that will go on NASA’s next mission to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. Her life story is full of scientific discovery and adventure, which is why she was one of the speakers at Orlando Science Center’s 2018 Galaxy Gala.


D. Morgan Cable was exposed to science at the earliest of ages. Growing up on the Space Coast in Titusville, she recalls “that undoubtedly had an effect on my upbringing, I was able to see numerous rocket launches just from my window!” Her father, a chemist at Kennedy Space Center — and Morgan’s biggest inspiration — always encouraged her to ask questions, and in doing so opened her to a world of exploration. She also credits frequent visits to Orlando Science Center to sparking an interest in science. “I liked that I could play and have fun, but I was also learning something.”


As an 8th grade student, she entered the first Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition with the goal of helping humanity through scientific research. Young Morgan conducted a science project about whether or not she could grow a certain type of bacteria in a Martian environment. She was awarded the grand prize for her efforts.


Morgan heavily credits science competitions and organizations like Orlando Science Center for furthering her interest and passion in STEM learning. She recalls her ‘a-ha’ moment when realizing “wow, there are still so many
questions to be answered, and I could do this for a living!”


According to Morgan, exposing children to science at a young age is the most important thing parents, schools, and institutions can be doing.


“Science can be intimidating if you experience it later in life, if you’re shown it over and over again in a comfortable and fun setting, it becomes so much more approachable for all children. There is a really big mental hurdle in this field of thinking you’re not smart enough or not capable, but I’m here to tell you YES you are!” – Dr. Morgan Cable


Her message for anyone beginning to pursue a career in STEM is this: “No one knows your true potential except you. I have met scientists and engineers for NASA that used to be musicians and then one day decided they wanted to be a scientist and went for it. There is no right way to go about it. As long as you’re passionate about it – do it.”