Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Melissa Morris

Melissa Morris


B.S., University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Contact Information:

(570) 321-4284

Assistant Professor of Astronomy

Melissa Morris (she/they) is an astronomer whose work focuses on learning about the environments in which galaxies grow and evolve. They do this using a combination of radio and optical spectroscopic observations to observe how this environment interacts with high energy jets formed by supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. Their work seeks to answer a variety of questions, from how this complex environment changes and affects the properties of galaxies to mapping where baryonic matter in the universe is located. They are eager to bring undergraduates into their research and seek to work alongside students to build and develop projects that will both seek to explore new topics while giving students a transferable skill set that will aid them in their careers beyond Lycoming.

In addition to research, Melissa is passionate about teaching and weaving a variety of hands-on experiences into their coursework that will give students a deeper understanding of course material and help them beyond the classroom. They are also dedicated to promoting equity, diversity, inclusivity, and belonging in science, especially for those of marginalized identities who face a vast variety of systemic barriers to success. As a nonbinary, neurodivergent person, they have a great deal of experience navigating and challenging some of these obstacles and want to help students not only survive, but thrive in academic environments.

Melissa was originally from California and spent a great deal of their time growing up in north Texas. They earned a double major in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin and went on to receive a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. They joined the Lycoming faculty in the fall of 2023.

Beyond academia, Melissa enjoys exploring the outdoors, whether on hikes with their dog or by kayak, gardening and learning how we can better care for our environment, and relaxing by playing video games and juggling a variety of crafty hobbies. You could say they’re a jack of all trades, master of none (except for astronomy).