Studying scavengers

Creating a sustainable world requires cleaning up the messes we’ve made—and, says Meghan Mooney ’09, helping those who scavenge for garbage to survive. This spring Mooney, an applied anthropology major focusing on environmental health, became the first Santa Clara student to be named a Udall Scholar.

The award is presented by the Morris K. Udall Foundation and provides a $5,000 grant as well as travel to Arizona to meet with other scholars and elected officials. Recipients are selected for showing commitment to careers in the environment, health care, or tribal public policy; leadership potential; and academic achievement.

Mooney’s particular interest is studying public health and community welfare in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, and researching environmental health issues among urban garbage scavengers. “I hope that this research provides valuable information on the health status of informal waste workers,” she says, “and sheds light on the need for an integrated approach to waste management in the developing world.”

This isn’t Mooney’s first moment in the sun: She was the communications and community outreach coordinator for SCU’s celebrated 2006-07 Solar Decathlon team, which took third in the international competition last fall.

post-image Meghan Mooney '09 Photo: FJ Gaylor Photography
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