Mallory is the lead producer of Electric Futures, USC’s premier podcast series exploring lesser-known stories of the energy transition, from the perspectives of the people most impacted by the changes that transition will bring.

Over six episodes in season one, Charles Zukoski, former USC provost and current Viterbi professor of engineering, gets to know people living and working in a corner of Southern California rich with community – and critical minerals – on the brink of a transformation so big, it could reverberate across the globe. 

Imperial Valley, an agricultural area east of San Diego and bordering Mexico, is suddenly in the spotlight thanks to its vast deposits of lithium, a chemical element necessary for the production of batteries needed for electric vehicles, grid storage, and consumer products. The extraction and processing of this “white gold” is poised to bring a massive influx of capital to the Imperial Valley, which has the highest unemployment rate in California at 21.1% and a poverty level of 17.3%. Electric Futures explores the tradeoffs the community must make as it weighs economic opportunity, environmental impact, and a worldwide hunger for lithium.


Electric Futures debuts January 24, 2024, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Amazon Music. In addition to Zukoski, and Carra, the team includes Center for Climate Journalism and Communication director Allison Agsten as executive producer, Spencer Cline and Natalie Lopez as associate producer, and Cindy Chai as researcher with cover art by Matthew Buxbaum.