Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award

ConnellyDr. Jennifer Schilling Connelly, Eng ’99
Brookfield, Wis.

Dr. Jennifer Connelly was drawn to Marquette for two reasons: one of the top biomedical engineering programs and the Jesuit foundations of the Marquette mission, including the emphasis on leadership and service.

After graduation, Jen attended medical school. Today she treats patients with brain and spine tumors at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin. One of the most meaningful parts of her career, she says, is “the ability to give patients who face a life-altering diagnosis the chance to experience meaningful events with whatever time they have left.” This might involve helping a patient get back to work, see their grandchild marry, or attend a family member’s graduation. “The impact on their lives and the lives of their loved ones is always great,” Jen says.

Looking back on her time at Marquette, she appreciates her senior design faculty adviser, Dr. Lars Olsen, now associate professor in the joint department of biomedical engineering. His guidance pushed Jen and her team to “elevate our project to the next level.”

Outside of work, Jen enjoys cooking and baking and entertaining family and friends with her husband, Dr. Jim Connelly, Arts ’98. “Good food and drink create a deeper connection with whoever is sitting around our dinner table,” she says.

Being named the Distinguished Alumna of the Year award recipient is “humbling,” Jen says, but she gives credit for her achievements to the people around her. “The only reason I have achieved success in my career and life,” she says, “is the support I received from my family and the amazing team of clinicians and researchers I work with.”

Fun Facts:

Name someone (past or present) with whom you’d like to have dinner.
I’d love to have dinner with my great-grandmother. She immigrated to this country from Germany as a teenager in the early 1900s. She died when I was 13, and now that I’m an adult, I’d love to hear her perspective on all the trials and tribulations she overcame in her life and her reactions to all the inventions that came about in the 20th century.

What is one of your favorite Marquette memories?
My husband, Jim, and I started dating in my fourth year at Marquette. Four years later, we made a special trip to the St. Joan of Arc Chapel for wedding photos.


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