Morgan McMahon tries to stick to one motto in her life: "Do only those things that you have a passion and love for in life and you can't go wrong."
This has worked well for McMahon, 18, who was selected to receive the prestigious Reynolds Scholarship from Wake Forest University this year.
The Reynolds Scholarship is awarded to eight upcoming freshmen at Wake Forest each year. This year, approximately 10,000-12,000 students were considered for the award.
The scholarship will provide full tuition, room and board, grants for research and a stipend to study abroad for two semesters in the summer.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
McMahon is the daughter of Rosalind and Thomas McMahon and graduated from Lake Norman High School this year. The McMahons live in the Monterey Landing neighborhood in Mooresville.
While at Lake Norman High School, McMahon has been busy following her passion which is to help those less fortunate.
"I feel that everyone, regardless of where they are born, should have clean drinking water, nutritional food, shelter and adequate medical care," said McMahon. "My ultimate goal is to be a doctor that travels to developing Third World countries to provide medical care."
Along with her passion for helping others, McMahon said she feels it was her work outside of school that helped her get noticed for the Reynolds Program.
The summer after her sophomore year, McMahon was selected to attend the Summer Ventures program at East Carolina University, a four-week residential program
"During that time I conducted research and attended a DNA fingerprinting class," said McMahon.
McMahon won the Catalyst Award for her work in that program and her work was published and presented to the N.C. Science Teachers Association.
McMahon also attended the North Carolina Governor's School in Raleigh for six weeks during the summer of her junior year. McMahon said she feels that these programs really helped to get her noticed by schools and helped find her passion.
"The friendships and contacts I made (at the programs) was such a great experience," said McMahon. "It is very easy to stay inside your own high school bubble, but, by attending these state funded programs I was able to see so much diversity among students across North Carolina."
Besides her scholastic ventures, McMahon has also been diligent with volunteering while in high school.
"During the summers after my freshman and sophomore year, I went with a mission group to Frakes, Kentucky, with my church. While there we helped build shelters," said McMahon. "It was awesome doing hands-on work and it was really rewarding."
McMahon, who attends Williamson Chapel United Methodist Church, also saw a need for people in other countries.
"In my sophomore year, a friend and I organized a Feed my Children Event at Williamson Chapel. We had over 500 volunteers that packaged 101,736 meals and raised over $33,000 for starving children all over the world," said McMahon. The project will continue this year with packages going to Uganda.
It was from that experience that McMahon was able to travel to Uganda on a mission trip this spring.
"It was a multifaceted mission. We were there with Samaritan's Feet and also worked with the Acres of Hope," said McMahon.
It was from these experiences that McMahon has developed her passion to helping people less fortunate than others.
"I hope to go back to Uganda with the Reynolds Program and continue to do more research in that area."
This summer, McMahon said she will relax stay low-key: "Spend time with my friends and family and get ready for Wake Forest in the fall."