Pursuing her PhD in atmospheric science did not prepare Morgan O'Neill for a freak tornado hitting her hometown. With her sister, she helped coordinate a local relief effort and is teaching other towns to do the same through the website Recovers.org.

Why you should listen

Morgan O'Neill was in MIT's Museum of Science, playing with the tornado display, when she got a call informing her that a tornado was ripping through her hometown of Monson, Massachusetts. After driving home, Morgan -- alongside sister Caitria -- took the reins of the relief effort. Working as lead volunteer coordinators, the two created a flexible framework for an "unofficial" community response. By leveraging the short term spike in national interest, along with social media and database organization, Monson recorded more volunteer hours than any surrounding town -- hundreds more hours, in fact.

After this intense experience, Catria and Morgan have translated their system into organizing software for local coordinators, through the website Recovers.org.  This “recovery in a box” can be rolled out in minutes, helping local relief organizers turn interest into action. Morgan serves as Chief Operating Officer.

What others say

“You don't speak FEMA? That's OK -- you can still help your community bounce back from a disaster.” — PBS

Morgan O'Neill’s TED talk