Skip to main content

David Morrison receives 2021 GDCB Distinguished Alumni Award

David Morrison, 2021 GDCB Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
David C. Morrison, Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology Distinguished Alumni Award recipient 

David Morrison, a highly successful researcher and policy analyst, who is currently a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology (GDCB) at a ceremony on Thursday, October 21, 2021, in Ames. The award recognizes outstanding alumni from the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State.

Prior to joining the State Department, Morrison worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service in Washington, D.C., and Shanghai, where he served as liaison between Chinese importers and United States exporters. Morrison consulted for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) at the U.S. Department of Defense. In this role he evaluated data and provided source research and analysis in support of countering weapons of mass destruction. He also analyzed medical and infrastructure assets in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to help craft the U.S. Ebola response.   

More recently, Morrison served as a diplomat at the U.S. embassies in Beijing and Baghdad. He has also worked at the U.S. Consulates in Shanghai and Erbil, Iraq. 

Morrison, who speaks fluent Mandarin and Arabic, currently serves as the economic and environment, science, technology and health officer on the Canada Desk at the State Department. In this role, he is the liaison between the White House and various U.S. government agencies, as well as the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and the Canadian government. During the past year, Morrison’s work has focused on the pandemic response, in particular, its impact on the border between the United States and Canada, as well as vaccine coordination, shared boundary water, climate issues and economic topics, such as trade and tariffs.  

After Morrison earned bachelor’s degrees in genetics, international studies and political science at Iowa State, he earned his master’s degree in German and European Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.  

About the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University is a world-class learning and research community. As Iowa State’s most academically diverse college, LAS educates students to become global citizens, providing rigorous academic programs in the sciences, humanities and social sciences within a supportive personalized learning environment. For more information, visit

102021 GDCB BioCY News