Spotlight: Morgan Ostendorf

Laboratory Technician

Morgan in chemistry lab with pumpkinMorgan graduated from Tacoma’s Pacific Lutheran University in May 2012 with an ACS (American Chemical Society) certified degree in chemistry. For four months prior to graduation she commuted to Seattle twice a week to work with JISAO's Dr. Calvin Mordy at the Pacific Marine Environmental Lab (PMEL) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In June, with college completed, she moved up north and started working at JISAO full time.

In the five months Morgan has been working with Calvin she has created a website for the BEST-BSIERP Bering Sea Syntheses Project and is in the process of planning the next meeting for the Bering Sea Synthesis Project. She has conducted a variety of experiments using an ISUS V3, a UV spectrophotometer used to measure the nitrate concentration in seawater. She has also done a lot of work with cruise preparations making sure everything is shipped to the proper locations and, most importantly, that it gets there on time.

Morgan is looking forward to going on her first research cruise in 2013. She is tentatively scheduled for a trip to Alaska in April or May where, as a first time cruise participant, she will be undergoing the all-important seasickness test. Most of her responsibilities will be to clean nets and make sure everyone has what they need to do their research while she finds out if her stomach can handle the unrelenting bobbing motion of a ship in the open ocean.

Morgan was born in Alaska and moved to the Lower 48 when she was four years old. She first became interested in science in high school where she was naturally drawn towards chemistry rather than biology or any of the other sciences. It was her chemistry teacher, Mr. Ko, whose intelligence and enthusiasm are what instilled a passion for science in Morgan. After high school Morgan decided to attend Pacific Lutheran University (despite the fact that both of her parents had gone there too) and immediately declared chemistry as her major. In her Morgan holding a fish she caughtfirst year she was awarded an internship and spent two summers doing research with professor Justin Lytle on electrochemical double-layer capacitors (EDLCs). The research involved investigating whether or not the geometry of the pores affects the capacitance of the EDLC.

As she approached graduation, Morgan got herself an informational meeting with Dr. Mordy where she took a tour of PMEL and talked with him about the projects he was working on. She was excited about the cruises and his research focusing on the nutrients in seawater that are the basis for life in the ocean. Calvin was looking for someone to help with his research and she fit the job description.

When she’s not taking orders from Calvin, Morgan enjoys spending time outdoors. She likes boating with her family – she wakeboards while everyone else water skis – and enjoys all types of fishing including fly-fishing and salmon fishing in Alaska. Morgan is also the newest member of PMEL’s soccer team, Maremoto.