Morgan DiCarlo is an alumna at SUNY Stony Brook, where she was a JFEW SUNY International Relations and Global Affairs Scholar. She graduated from Stony Brook in 2016 and received her MS from Virginia Tech in 2018.
Morgan is currently pursuing a PhD in engineering. We caught up with her to find out more about what she is doing now and her reflections on being a JFEW Scholar.
JFEW: What are you doing now?
MD: I am currently getting my PhD at North Carolina State in Civil Engineering and Computing Systems. In 2018, I was selected for a prestigious, $150,000 National Science Foundation fellowship that funds my research on how information spreads among the public, engineers, and policy makers in a flooding event like Hurricane Florence.
JFEW: What was the most inspirational or memorable experience that you had while in college?
MD: One of my most memorable experiences in college was teaching small classes of high school women in engineering topics. I worked with girls on bridge building, computer modelling and filtering water. Every class I taught challenged me to learn the topic more deeply, because girls are just full of insightful questions when given the space to be themselves. I think this was an important lesson. Even though I still needed a lot of mentoring myself, I knew enough to begin making the changes I wished to see in the world, namely, recruiting more women to my field. The Civil Engineering Outreach Program I started in 2013 has since graduated over 100 girls and was featured on Nature Magazine's long list for the Innovating Science award.
JFEW: What do you wish that you knew then that you knew now?
MD: I wish I had realized that NO ONE has it all figured out. I remember thinking at times that there was so much unknown to me; particularly that I had so few examples of women in STEM or family members who could elucidate the graduate school process. Keep in mind that every single college student is navigating big decisions for the first time, and even if you lack certain advantages in academia, there are a lot of resources (including programs like JFEW) to seek out.
JFEW: What was your proudest accomplishment during your time in college?
MD: As a senior in college, I conducted a research project on water conservation and was selected as the student winner of the Disney Imagineering Innovation contest. I flew to Los Angeles and delivered a talk on the importance of water management to Disney executives (2016). All the extra time needed to conduct an independent study for this competition would not have been possible without the financial support I received from JFEW.
JFEW: How did your scholarship help you?
MD: The JFEW Program in International Relationship and Global Affairs supported me for two years at SUNY Stony Brook. The scholarship was absolutely life changing for me. The award allowed me to focus on school full time; otherwise I would have to work part-time. Because of the flexibility and time afforded by financial support, I accomplished so much in my time as a undergraduate, including giving a TEDx talk called “Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Engineers” and being named one of America's Ten New Faces of Civil Engineering. JFEW also helped me get an internship with SUEZ, one of the largest global water companies.