Morgan’s love of the outdoors started as a child, where she would spend hours playing outside at her home in Barberton, Ohio, near Akron. As Morgan grew, so did her passion for the outdoors. Today, Morgan is interested in health, eating clean, and exercising, especially trail hiking and hot yoga.
Morgan is a 5th-year student at The Ohio State University. She’ll be graduating this December with a degree in food, agricultural and biological engineering, specializing in agricultural engineering with a focus in soil & water. Morgan currently works with the USDA as a research assistant under Kevin King, in their water chemistry lab. She researches edge-of-field agriculture runoff.
Studying abroad had always been a dream of Morgan's, because of her love for the outdoors and traveling. After researching the different opportunities, Ohio State offers, she chose to go on the engineering service trip to Ghana. She was looking forward to the engineering-focused experience as well as the service projects they would do while on the trip.
In December of 2017, she left for her trip. One of the most significant projects they did during their education abroad trip was working on the community's borehole, improving their local water site. Her experience in the water chemistry lab helped her understand the need for water quality. Morgan and her team designed and built a manual hand pump and cover system.
Morgan said her biggest takeaway was, "realizing the need to continually step back from life and refocus on what really matters, relationships, people, and love. I also learned a lot about teamwork, communication, and adaptability from these experiences."
After returning, she realized just how much she loved people-focused work and community development. The work she did in Ghana affected her so much she decided to add a minor in (Global) Humanitarian Engineering. She loved her experience and was searching for a way to travel and do more meaningful work.
She got that opportunity when working on her capstone project. She mapped the village of Marwa, Tanzania and worked with the land surveying team, modeling for the future of Marwa. Her group also performed some soil tests. Morgan's favorite memory from Tanzania was playing soccer with the schoolboys and the village's men's team.
Morgan's advice to other students interested in similar experiences is, "If you have just the slightest interest in service or research or a different opportunity explore it, research, ask people questions. I would never have thought I'd travel to both East and West Africa during my time at OSU and find such a passion of mine without first stumbling upon, but then researching and reaching out and taking the leap. I guess just constantly learn and grow and get outside your comfort zone."
Morgan still plans to have many more adventures, and her future is not set in stone, but there are a few things that she is sure. Wherever she is, whatever she is doing, she wants to help people, doing something hands-on, and be continually learning.
By: Christina Gaerke