Lisa Wu

Morgan Malone

Junior Specialist

Morgan Malone is a Junior Specialist for the Valley Institute for Sustainability, Technology, and Agriculture (VISTA) who began working with Dr. Josue Medellín-Azuara and the Water Systems Management Laboratory in early 2024. She earned her B.A. in Anthropology in December 2023. While pursuing this humanities degree, Morgan discovered that her interests lie in human relationships with the environment and ecosystem conservation. This led her to participate in several undergraduate research opportunities to help expand on her involvement in the STEM field. These included becoming a UC-certified California Naturalist that involved work in the Merced Vernal Pools and Grasslands Reserve, and being a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center at UC Merced. Participating in UROC allowed Morgan to work for the first time as an undergraduate researcher with Dr. Erin Hestir to expand research on how human activity influences biodiversity in soil and how drone remote sensing platforms contribute to global warming. This research opened the door to the new and exciting opportunity to join the WSM Lab in this transitional position. Morgan’s goals of understanding sustainability and conservation persist, and she is excited to bring an anthropologist’s perspective to this community. She admits that her go-with-the-flow way of being has presented some challenges in her life, in terms of the societal pressure to plan important next steps, but she is confident that her placement in the Water Systems Management lab is symbiotic and will help propel both Morgan and the lab to continue to do great things.