Professor Jennifer Marley Joins Accomplished College of Engineering Faculty

As the 2017–2018 academic year rapidly comes to a close, Jennifer Marley, Ph.D., assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, concludes her first year with the College of Engineering faculty. She has quickly made Valpo her home, embracing her mentorship role, thriving off of the energy of her students and colleagues, and looking for ways in which to prepare the College of Engineering and, more importantly, her students for the future.

“Professor Marley is proof that representation matters. In such a male-dominated field, having a female faculty member as my professor and being able to work with her has been an incredible experience in my senior year,” says Sydney Senger ’18, electrical engineering major and Christ College student. “She has a strong presence in the classroom and has been a wealth of knowledge and advice for those who seek it out. I am so grateful for her presence on campus, and I am very excited for all the students that will have her as a professor in the coming years.”

It was as an undergraduate student that Professor Marley first realized her ambition to one day obtain a position in academia. She tutored both individuals and groups, finding great joy in working with students and seeing the ways they learned. This extended into her graduate program, where she became a graduate student instructor and solidified her plan to pursue teaching as a profession. Professor Marley has expressed a keen interest in getting involved with the Hesse Center at Valpo in the near future.

“The emphasis on undergraduate education drew me to Valpo as I really enjoy working with undergrads. And, upon visiting the University, I noticed a rapport between the students and faculty that I really liked.” Professor Marley says. “Valpo has been a good fit for me. Nothing has gone exactly how I thought it would, but in a better way. From the enthusiastic students to the unmatched faculty support, Valpo has proven to be the perfect environment for me.”

Professor Marley’s research lies within two general regions — optimization and power systems — and where those two fields intersect. Through her research, she seeks to uncover a means to integrate renewable regeneration in power systems while maintaining reliability. In fact, she is currently working on the last piece of her Ph.D., addressing the general problem of how to schedule resources to meet demands through usage of renewable generation, like wind, without compromising system security.

Since her arrival at Valpo, Professor Marley has taught a variety of courses, including Introduction to Engineering, Control System Design, and a linear circuit theory lab. She describes her approach to teaching as “active,” with frequent student activities, whether small or large, and student polls to gain insight into their comprehension. Professor Marley is currently co-teaching Fundamentals of Electrical and Computer Engineering with Doug Tougaw, Ph.D., P.E., department chair and professor of electrical and computer engineering.

“Jenny is an exceptionally talented and dedicated teacher, and she has already begun to make a tremendous impact on our students and our department,” Professor Tougaw says. “Her ability to teach both introductory courses and advanced elective courses equally well in her first year is truly remarkable. I look forward to working with Jenny for many years to come.”

The opportunity to work with a wide range of students, from freshman to senior, is something Professor Marley has truly embraced. In the future, she hopes to push her students to become impactful leaders in society and delve into research with her students, drawing upon student interest within her field of expertise. This summer she will work alongside Jeff Will, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Scott Duncan, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of mechanical engineering, to develop a technical writing course for electrical and computer engineers for the fall.

Professor Marley earned her bachelor’s degree in her home state at North Carolina State University and proceeded to earn both her master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Michigan. Her professional affiliations are the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the IEEE Power and Energy Society, and Eta Kappa Nu, the international electrical and computer engineering honor society of the IEEE.

Outside the classroom, she has appreciated her time at the Dunes and sightseeing in Chicago. Professor Marley also likes to run, but she admits she hasn’t done very well in that regard this year.

“I enjoy helping students learn not only through the delivery of material but by exploring various general learning techniques they can leave the classroom with,” Professor Marley says. “I’m excited to be here and really enjoyed my first year. I sincerely believe education is my calling.”