PALMER — Palmer Middle School fourth-grader Morgan Ward has been showing evidence that science is the career path she plans to pursue.

One indicator is the fact the gifted and talented student was challenged by her science teacher, Linda Doherty, who offered an optional activity to students by encouraging them to enter the Palmer Middle School Science Fair, where she won first place.

“My science project was called ‘Nutty for Energy’ and after looking some (information) up on the Internet, I saw where we would probably run our of natural resources for fuel one day, and I read where things like nuts, when burned, had oily substance to spew out,” Ward said. “I found out that cashews had the longest burn-time.”

The fourth-grader entered her “Nutty for Energy” project in the Ellis County Sci-ence Fair in the fourth-grade category, held in Northside Elementary in Waxahachie, where she also took first place.

Ward later entered her project in the regional science fair at Texas Women’s University in Denton where she placed second and took away a special commendation for outstanding science project.

“She had no help with her project – she did all of it on her own and did all of it at home. She is a good student, she follows instructions, has remarkable leadership skills and is also a very good friend,” said Doherty, saying the student goes out of her way to befriend new students that transfer into Palmer and if she sees any student being bullied, she reaches out to them and make friends with them.

Morgan has her sights set on one day becoming a paleontologist – and with good reason.

“I found some prehistoric fossils on my family’s property and after a paleontologist examined the bones closely, he said they were over 2 million years old and were possibly large marine reptiles known as mosasauras and turiasaurus,” she said.

While Ward is a Gifted and Talented student, she still finds time for fun on her bike and she is an avid soccer and basketball player. She also loves to read.

Asked about the college of her choice, she didn’t hesitate to say Southern Methodist University.

Contact Paul at or 469-517-1450.