Biological Systems Engineering
Growing up in the Hudson River Valley, Morgan first became passionate about water when her hometown faced shortages in response to phasing off New York City’s water supply. She was very involved in this water contention as a high school journalist, and subsequently received a scholarship to study engineering from the New York Association of Water Companies.
As an undergraduate at Stony Brook University, she was a member of the school’s inaugural class of the civil engineering major. She founded a chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and an outreach program to recruit high school women into engineering. Over three years, she taught more than seventy female students from six participating high schools, collaborated with the Intrepid Science Museum in NYC and gave a TEDx talk on building the next generation of female engineers. In college, she also interned in industry with Suffolk County Water Authority and SUEZ, identifying water losses through pipe leaks. Inspired to continue researching methodologies to reduce losses, she conducted an independent study to promote water conservation through the use of big data to model demand. Her proposal on this topic won the Best Student award at the Innovation Contest, Disney Imagineering Headquarters.
As a current research assistant in Biological Systems Engineering, she studies water systems under Dr. Julie Shortridge. Morgan’s 2016 internship with NASA, researching atmospheric sciences at the same time which her advisors’ published evidence that it was the hottest summer in Earth’s recorded history, instilled in her that a key component to managing the future of water is understanding climate impacts. Under Dr Shortridge whose expertise is in making water resource systems more resilient through the use of quantitative and statistical analysis, her PhD project is to conduct a climate change impacts assessment on water use in Virginia.
With a doctorate, Morgan wants to translate research expertise into practice by serving communities like her hometown as they respond to today’s mounting water supply dilemmas. She believes we need more public engagement in STEM fields, and that the key to a globally competitive future for America lies in harnessing the perceptions, experiences and skills of a diversified workforce. Through the Interfaces of Global Change Program, she hopes to build on her interdisciplinary skills to better understand, communicate and mitigate the effects of climate change on water.