SMS Student Makes a Splash in Emerging Field, OHH
Marin Kress credits scuba diving as her inspiration to study science. On a school-sponsored trip at the age of 16, she was able to see underwater ocean life firsthand, and became captivated by "the vastness, the unknown, the 'other' yet familiar aspect" of marine life. This passion naturally led her to study Biological Sciences during her undergraduate career at Smith College in Northampton, MA. Interest in human biology led her to apply her degree towards work on infection and immunology research for more than five years.
It was the Ocean and Human Health (OHH) option area and the chance to study with her advisor, Dr. Robert Bowen, that led Marin to the UMass School of Marine Science (SMS). Her biology background had covered the link between human health and environmental conditions, but she wanted to go further. "In the OHH world, we have to consider science, policy, economics, and even how we communicate about an issue, because environmental conditions and humanity do not exist apart from each other," Marin notes.
"The ability within SMS to merge the natural and social sciences and focus them on human health and well-being may well define a critical part of our shared human future. Marin's talent to work at this interface provides a unique value to that critically important area of study," says Dr. Bowen.
The OHH concentration allows Marin to blend her passion for the marine world with her background in human health. SMS has helped prepare her for her future in this "interconnected world" by its bevy of interdisciplinary courses that link new concepts to old information. She also credits her parents for their "gentling nudging" throughout her life to explore more complex and rewarding scholarly work, even when far from home.
Marin is excited to continue on the next phase of her research. Environmental preservation is historically only dealt with after a crisis situation emerges, she notes, this is a mindset she hopes to change through her research. After the completion of her Ph.D., she hopes to be able to "influence land-use and government policies to act in concert with the natural world, not against it." And after that? "The sky is the limit!"