Marissa VanRy

Marissa VanRy

Student profile photo of Marissa VanRy

MPH, Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH)

Growing up on Camano Island in the Pacific Northwest inspired my interest in nature and the environment, but it was during my undergraduate studies of environmental sciences and wildlife ecology that I really became interested in the health implications of environmental pollution.

Since starting graduate school here at UW, I’ve been impressed with the ways in which my department helps students develop meaningful, professional connections in the area that they’re passionate about. DEOHS Faculty go out of their way to support your goals and promote your success. Before joining the department, I had never experienced effective and personalized academic mentorship from a teacher or professor, but the guidance and support that I’ve received from Dr. Dannenberg, my faculty adviser, has really helped me excel in the program and has already resulted in several career opportunities that could help me make a positive impact in the world.

For my thesis research, I am working with UW and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health to estimate the health and climate co-benefits of California’s new residential solar mandate, which requires all new homes to be built with solar panels starting in 2020. My project aims to quantify emissions reductions and the benefits that result from those reductions, such as a reduction in adverse health outcomes and premature mortality, as well as reduced spending on energy, health care, and climate-related damages through 2050. The ultimate goal is that the results of this research will help encourage other states to implement similar renewable energy policies.

My future ambitions include promoting policies that mitigate the effects of climate change and improve public health.