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Grad Success

Profiles of Florida State's Best and Brightest

Morgan Cooley

Morgan Cooley

College of Music, Social Work, Human Sciences

  • Bachelor of Arts in Music, 2007
  • Master of Social Work, 2009
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and the Family, 2014

Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga

Q&A with Morgan Cooley

Where are you from? Why did you choose FSU?

I am originally from Sarasota, Florida. I was drawn in by FSU’s music programs and later the social work and marriage and family therapy programs. I stayed at FSU for all three of my degrees because of the quality of their academic programs, the connections that I was able to make at FSU, and the fulfillment that I got from my experiences and accomplishments.

What does your research primarily focus on?

My research focuses on the children and families involved in the child welfare system – primarily foster children and foster parents. I am working on finding ways that we can better support children and foster parents through holistic, community, and policy-level approaches.

How has FSU helped contribute to your success?

I have found my true passion relating to my career, and I have received huge amounts of support, encouragement, and tough love. When I first started out as a music student at FSU, I never imagined that I would be leaving as a licensed clinical social worker and a doctor in marriage and the family with published research papers.

What’s been your greatest academic/professional accomplishment?

I feel that my biggest accomplishment at FSU has not really been about the papers I’ve published, the research I’ve presented at conferences, or the awards that I have won. I feel like my biggest accomplishment has been discovering what it is I want to do with my life and then sharing that passion with my colleagues, clients, and students. I never realized that my life’s work could be targeted toward bettering the lives of others through research, teaching, and service.


Interacting with my professors and peers has had the most influence on my personal and professional development. Whether it was a three-minute conversation or a two-hour talk over coffee, learning to take advantage of the insight, constructive feedback, and wisdom of others has helped me immensely. Utilize the experience, perspective, and knowledge of the amazing people around you. Never be afraid to ask questions.