Oct. 7, 2020


Name: Morgan O'Hara

Major(s): Political Science and Global Studies

Minors: History and Spanish

Year in school: Senior

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

Clubs/Organizations: Not many, as I work full-time at the Scented Leaf Tea House and Lounge, but I am the Founder and President of Amnesty International U of A.

Leisure Pursuits: For fun, I enjoy traveling, reading, cooking, spending quality time with my friends, watching rom-coms with my roommates, and playing with my puppy, Chompski. 

Research Projects: Currently, I am an Undergraduate Research Fellow with the School of Government and Public Policy under Dr. Faten Ghosn, Associate Professor of International Relations. Research topics include unethical political science studies of vulnerable groups, armed conflict management, transitional justice, and international relations. I am also writing my Honors Thesis, “The Right to Refuge: Who Has It?”, which analyzes the legal framework establishing the international refugee regime and draws from its failures to recommend an institutional overhaul.

Plans after graduation: After graduating, I hope to earn a Master of Arts in human rights or international relations before going on to work for an international organization or NGO.


What is something you have done during your time at UA of which you are especially proud?

 In October 2019, I started selling homemade cookies to help pay for my Amnesty group’s attendance at Amnesty International USA’s Western Regional Conference in Seattle, Washington. After the conference, I continued with my business, Mo’s Dough, and donate my monthly proceeds to various local organizations. As of September 2020, more than $5,000 has been donated. I am proud to give back to my local community in a small but meaningful way while also engaging with my lesser-used creative side through baking.

What message do you have for other Honors students on finding their own success?

Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and play an active role in determining your own success. Opportunities do not fall into your lap but are the product of tenacity, hard work, and passion. Open your own doors- go talk with professors, start your own club, apply for that prestigious internship, and go after the opportunities you want. The worst you can hear is “no.” Advocate for yourself and the things you want. If you are unsure of your path, then challenge yourself with new opportunities to find your way. Passivity is the enemy of success, not a failure. Appreciate your failures not as moments of defeat, but as vital learning opportunities for your personal growth. 


"In my opinion, as someone who knows Mo extremely well, she wholeheartedly exemplifies an exemplary Honors student. She does not just excel in her academics by taking the most rigorous coursework available and achieving high grades, but in utilizing that knowledge to make the world a better place. On top of working full-time at the Scented Leaf and gifting the community every shift with her charisma and kind-heart, Mo pursues so many activities for her own personal growth and the betterment of the community. Last semester alone, she was president of the UA Amnesty group and worked on a number of different human rights issues on campus, worked as a Student Activist Coordinator for Amnesty International USA where she organizes school groups all over Arizona, and worked at the International Rescue Committee in immigration services helping refugees file their status applications with the government. Perhaps most impressively, she started her own business through the Scented Leaf to donate to local charities. She created "Mo's Dough"in October to sell cookies at the Leaf to singlehandedly fund her Amnesty's trip to Seattle for their regional conference. But when the cookies became such a hit, she continued selling them to give joy to the community and to donate all her proceeds to local charities. In the first 5 months, she sold more than 2,000 cookies and had $1300 in sales in February alone. However, I think she deserves student of the month most of all during the current pandemic. She pivoted from just selling cookies in stores to selling them online in bulk and as cookie dough mix in order to donate to the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. She also just received a research fellowship with Dr. Ghosn. She has also begun writing her brilliant thesis on rewriting legal definitions for displaced peoples and proposing completely new policy solutions to the current refugee crisis. She is currently in the process of looking at Master’s programs in human rights and applying for some amazing scholarships. Years from now when she is as successful as I have no doubt she will be, the Honors College will look back with pride knowing they shaped a mind as brilliant as hers. Mo incontrovertibly displays excellence in community engagement, leadership, inquiry, responsibility, research, and has a growth mindset. When current students, parents, and prospective students think about what being an Honors student means, Mo is the person to look at. She deserves the recognition of the Honors College."


To nominate a peer for Student of the Month, please click HERE and complete the submission form. All nominations are subject to Honors College faculty review, approval, and editing for publication.