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Juliette N. Rooney-Varga

Professor of Environmental Science, UMass Lowell

Juliette N. Rooney-Varga is an expert on climate change and sustainability. She is director of the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative, co-director of the Rist Institute for Sustainability and Energy, and professor of Environmental Science.

She has more than twenty years’ experience as a scientist studying biogeochemistry and microbial ecology. Her current work focuses on developing and researching the impact of interactive simulations that enable people to learn for themselves about the climate and energy systems. These simulations bring current climate change and energy science to students, citizens, and policymakers at all levels and have been shown to motivate science-informed action.

She leads the Geo-Interactive Project — a project funded by the National Science Foundation that is developing, propagating, and researching the impact of simulation-based climate and energy education tools in programs designed to foster academic success among low-income, first-generation college students across the US. She also works closely with the climate and energy think tank, Climate Interactive, and is a research affiliate of the MIT System Dynamics Group.

She earned a Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of New Hampshire, a MS in natural resources from Cornell University, and a BA from Colby College in environmental biology.


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Environmental Science, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • 2016–present
    Research Affiliate, MIT Sloan School of Management

Grants and Contracts

  • 2018
    ITEST Strategies: iStronG (Inclusive, Strong, and Green): A student-centered, systems thinking-based curriculum
    Funding Source:
    National Science Foundation
  • 2016
    GP:IMPACT: Interactive Simulations and Systems Thinking to Broaden Pathways into the Geosciences
    Principal Investigator
    Funding Source:
    National Science Foundation