Magnolia Morelli grew up in Salt Lake City, UT, and is currently doing research at Utah Valley University with Geoffrey Zahn.

Tell us about your project!

I am currently planning a research trip to Costa Rica to study mycophagy within primates. I will be collecting data at La Selva Biological station over the course of a month.

Which awards would you like to brag about?

I have received a National Science Foundation fellowship to attend Utah Valley University which includes full tuition and an annual stipend for travel and research funds.

What are your career goals/plans for after you’re done your current position?

My current plan after graduation is to pursue a PhD program centered around mycology. This will set me up to be a professor at a University where I can work on other research projects.

What is your favorite fungus and why?

It is so difficult to pick just one! If I had to choose I’d say the Rhodotus palmatus. It reminds me of something fantastical. How fungi can be what we typically think of as “mushroom” but it can also be something magic.

What is your favorite fact/thing about fungi?

The first fact that got me interested in fungi is that they are more closely related to animals than plants. This blew my mind when I first found out. They are so much more complex than we have yet discovered.

Who is your mycology role model?

My grandpa Peter is my mycology role model. He was the first person to push my desire of adventure. I remember going out into the woods and searching for mushrooms on logs and in caves when I was just a kid.

What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?

My free time is mostly consumed by studying for my future research. I love reading up on new studies that are happening throughout the world. If I am not reading I am traveling. I travel as much as I can. My ultimate goal is to visit every country in the world. I love discovering new things, places, and cultures.