Skip to main content

Alexandra Morris

PhD in History

Alexandra's interest in Egyptology has led her to a research degree at Teesside.

I would recommend Teesside University. The place is friendly, kind, and nurturing, and unlike any other college or university I’ve ever attended.

Alexandra Morris

Why did you decide to go to university and why Teesside?

I knew I wanted to study Egyptology from a young age, I have always been interested in it. I didn’t exactly choose Teesside University, it seems to have chosen me. I met the director of studies at a conference I presented at in Athens, which prompted me to apply to Teesside. I’m an international student from New York, and my subject area isn’t well-known, or well researched. I had applied to other universities, but I felt confident that Teesside could help me with my research as well as seeing the value in it.

Why did you choose your subject?

My research focus didn’t occur to me until a few years ago when I was at graduate school. I have cerebral palsy, but never actually considered connecting or studying disability in the context of my research until then. The cerebral palsy had never been seen by anyone as a problem or issue before then. At my previous university’s museum, one of the mummies they had on display was buried in a coffin with a walking stick, with their left leg being shorter than the other. This mummy was a middle-aged man who dates to the fifth dynasty. He is believed to have had polio and had used the walking stick as a mobility aid. This man, along with my own struggles at the time in getting my disability accommodated, was the catalyst for my research interests.

What do you think about the campus and the surrounding area?

I am pleased with the campus and the services offered, Teesside University has been an ideal research environment for me and the faculty are kind and helpful. Also, the geographic location in what seems to be the centre of ancient world research within the United Kingdom is ideal - Manchester, Edinburgh, and London are only a few hours away.
I love Middlesbrough. The area is a lot different than my hometown, and a lot more accessible. You don’t have to own a car, everything you could possibly need or want is within walking distance, and there’s a variety of public transport options.

Are you a member of any clubs or societies or student ambassador?

I am a student ambassador and the postgraduate student representative for my school. In both positions I am a friendly, welcoming face on campus, and able to help people and give back to the university which has been so wonderful to me so far.
I’m also a member of the Katonah-Lewisboro’s Equity and Racial Justice Team in New York, a committee formed by my home school district in the Black Lives Matter protests.

What skills have you gained at Teesside that you feel will help you in your chosen career?

I’ve tried new things that are not necessarily within my comfort zone, such as more public facing and speaking roles, as there are enough support systems in place here to help facilitate these new experiences and skills, and I would not necessarily have been comfortable enough to pursue them had I been attending another university.
Studying in the UK has changed me and I’m now more aware of other theoretical research frameworks that exist outside the United States, and have an international network of scholars. I’m also more self-confident, and have regained my sense of independence. I am currently living in this country by myself with no real support network other than my university contacts, and have been succeeding wonderfully despite a global pandemic, and no clear understanding of when it will actually be safe to return home.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I would love to either teach at university level, or pursue museum work, (or both), and would to continue my research on disability in the ancient world. The disabled are the biggest minority group in history, and it is high time that we were rewritten back into the historical narrative. We deserve to see ourselves in history, know our own history, and that this history can potentially help shape the disability rights movement.

What advice would you offer to students thinking of coming to study here?

Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try new things. If there was ever a place to do it, it’s here. I would recommend Teesside University. The place is friendly, kind, and nurturing, and unlike any other college or university I’ve ever attended.

Go to top menu