PROFILE: Nina Morgan, Birmingham, AL
Nina Morgan grew up in Sipsey, a small rural town in Central Alabama that is positioned at the southernmost foothills of the Appalachian region. Much of her personal values and life work is informed by her experiences growing up in rural Alabama. While she uses many different avenues at the local level to work to address different issues plaguing communities in Alabama, she also understands the importance of honoring her roots and celebrating her southern identity. This background is what grounds her passion for social justice, equity & sustainability. Nina received her B.A. in sociology and anthropology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where she first entered the field of sustainability.
As an undergraduate, she interned with UAB’s Office of Sustainability, where she worked as a GIS coordinator to create and maintain a university-wide sustainability asset map. This project involved her using GIS to identify and map over 4,000 individual trees. After graduating, she continued this work through an internship with The Nature Conservancy where she helped build a database of Birmingham’s urban tree canopy. Additionally, as a sustainability intern, Nina participated as a decathlete in the DOE Solar Decathlon, an international competition that challenges student teams to design and build full-size, solar-powered houses.
Representing UAB, Nina’s team placed 5th in the overall competition. She also helped manage over forty plots at UAB Gardens, and she was one of the first interns to work on the Birmingham Botanical Gardens Centennial Tree Project, which is dedicated to preserving and enhancing Birmingham’s urban tree canopy. The range of projects that Nina worked on during her time at UAB Sustainability helped her realize how dynamic (and fun!!!) sustainability work can be, and how important it is for sustainability practitioners effectively communicate the value of their work to stakeholders that might not understand what sustainability looks like in practice. Currently, Nina is serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at the City of Birmingham’s Planning, Engineering and Permits department.
Similar to her sustainability internship at UAB, she works on many different projects and initiatives. One of her biggest tasks includes working with Cities of Service and the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) to address energy insecurity in Birmingham by incorporating energy efficiency components into the City’s Citywide Rehab Program. Through this work, she’s developed a passion for quality, affordable housing. In the future, she’d like to begin engaging in advocacy work to inform decision makers about energy insecurity in Birmingham and, more broadly, the state of Alabama.
In her free time, Nina likes to listen to music and make playlists for her friends. She also enjoys embroidery, sitting on her front porch, hiking and going on long walks with her dog, Steel. Nina plans to eventually get her M.A. in urban planning.