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Marianna K. Linz ’11 has returned to Harvard this fall as an assistant professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and will serve as one of only two female faculty members in the field.
Linz’s research focuses on understanding the physics of the current climate system and “the interaction between geophysical flows and the substances they are transporting,” according to the SEAS website. She also holds a joint appointment in the Earth and Planetary Sciences department.
A number of faculty members said they were excited about her research and the potential for collaborations.
“She is a tremendous talent, and I can imagine lots of different ways in which I might collaborate with her,” said Daniel P. Schrag, area chair of Environmental Science and Engineering.
Peter J. Huybers, a professor who holds joint appointments in Environmental Science and Engineering and in Earth and Planetary Sciences, said he learned “a good amount” from her research looks forward to her joining the faculty.
“We need to continue to develop a more diverse faculty — there’s no doubt about it — and this is an additional reason that I’m excited that Marianna has joined our faculty,” Huybers said.
Linz graduated from the College as the first joint concentrator in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Chemistry and Physics. She said in an interview that it felt great to be back on campus. She also said her undergraduate experience greatly informed her teaching style and work as a faculty member.
“As a student, I learned a ton from my peers,” she said. “Now that I’m teaching and as a faculty member, I am trying to encourage and, sort of indeed require, that sort of collaboration.”
This semester, Linz is teaching E-PSCI 129: “Climate and Atmospheric Physics Laboratory,” which provides students with a hands-on, active learning experience using basic tools and models important for research in the field — something she said her students said fills “a bit of a void” in the Environmental Science and Engineering curriculum.
“My course is a science course, but it’s not just bio. It’s not pure physics. And it’s not just all math,” she said. “Today, from a couple different students, I heard that that was something that they really appreciated, and why they were excited to take my course is that it’s a science course for engineering students that is quite different from what’s on offer.”
Linz said the skills she wants to teach are ones that she didn’t learn in school but found to be important when doing research internships in the field. She added that she hopes her course can help prepare students for that transition.
“Those internships will go better if they have seen it beforehand, and you shouldn't have to get one of those positions in order to be able to learn these things,” she said.
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