A tour of the Valpo Solar Energy Research Facility

Professor Marley Shares Passion and Curiosity

Jennifer Marley, Ph.D., joined the College of Engineering in 2017 and has embraced the Valpo way of preparing students to lead fulfilling and successful careers while making the world a better place.

Professor Marley is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and each level of undergraduates holds a special place in her heart.

“In the first-year courses, I get the experience of helping students explore various engineering disciplines and fostering their curiosity,” Professor Marley says. “In my upper-level electives (taken in the junior/senior year), I then have the opportunity to share my chosen field of power and control engineering with students. Both are equally rewarding.”

Outside of her teaching load, Professor Marley is involved in a few different research projects at Valpo. Her main research focus is on applying optimization methods to power systems. She has developed tools to schedule generation resources, such as wind energy, to optimally supply demand while maintaining the reliability of the larger network. Several students have contributed to this effort, working on topics ranging from data analysis to programming optimization algorithms.

She has also collaborated with Professor Doug Tougaw, Ph.D., and Professor Mark Budnik, Ph.D., on educational research. With Professor Tougaw, she has investigated best practices in their fundamentals of electrical and computer engineering course, and with Professor Budnik, best practices in their linear circuit theory lab.

One of the highlights of teaching for Professor Marley is the creative solutions students bring to class projects. Especially in the fundamentals of engineering and fundamentals of electrical and computer engineering courses, she finds the interdisciplinary projects help the students grow and share their different areas of expertise with each other.

“I try to encourage students to explore topics in which they are genuinely interested and then to share that enthusiasm and knowledge with others,” Professor Marley says. “I believe that sincerity and eagerness to collaborate are important leadership skills. I also integrate as many classroom discussions and/or group work activities as possible to help students develop these skills.”

Professor Marley earned her bachelor’s degree in her home state at North Carolina State University and her master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Michigan. Her professional affiliations include the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the IEEE Power and Energy Society, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and Eta Kappa Nu (HKN), the international electrical and computer engineering honor society of the IEEE. On campus, Professor Marley is a co-advisor for the Valpo chapter of Eta Kappa Nu.