Thomas Morales is pursuing his Master of Public Health in Environmental Sciences at San Diego State University. Thomas obtained his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science at San Diego State University. While studying environmental science, Thomas grew high nectar producing flowering plants and monitored pollinator abundance within the SDSU Community Garden. He is an enrolled member of the Te-Moak Band of Western Shoshone. Ranging from the great lakes to Death Valley CA. Thomas is an active member of the CA-Native American Research Center for Health Program in which he maintains a strong intertribal collegiate community. He was also a long-standing member of the Elymash Yuuchaap Indigenous Scholars and Leaders Mentor Program where he helped other incoming Native American college students strive for success within a college setting.
Thomas’s main research interests include water quality, conservation, and the benefits of native plants for medicine and the environment. His current research uses a nontargeted analytical approach to provide an evaluation of the photodegradation, photo-transformation of emerging chemicals using photoirradiation to simulate treatment in polishing ponds or open water surface wetlands. Thomas is currently working on monitoring the fate and behavior of emerging chemicals such as personal care products, pesticides, herbicides, and pharmaceuticals in treated wastewater under photoirradiation. Better monitoring, controlling, and understanding of emerging contaminants is necessary for protecting the public as well as the environment, since many of these emerging contaminants lack regulation. Water scarcity is an issue within the Southwest of the United States. In the future Thomas hopes to be an impactful environmental health scientist and make lasting restoration efforts. The Western Shoshone unceded territory is a site of a plethora of environmental degradation caused by human interaction with the environment, including gold mining, silver mining, intensive agriculture, and the use of nuclear bomb testing. Thomas would like to restore degraded lands and provide safe clean water. Thomas has hopes for developing tribal food sovereignty for the Western Shoshone Nation with a background in Environmental Health to ensure its safe for consumption. Thomas believes there is a need to re-evaluate the minimum contaminant levels for the state of Nevada.
Fellow at a Glance
San Diego State University
Environmental & Public Health
Natural Resource Management