Alumni National Awards

College of Education Award Recipients


MendezDr. Jennifer C. Mendez, Grad '86


Tenacity may not be the first word that comes to mind when looking at this self-proclaimed “height-challenged individual,” but that is the word Jenny’s peers use to describe her.

Mendez, who received her doctorate degree from the College of Education, oversees a program for more than 1,000 health professional students at Wayne State University, in which they learn about home visits and inter-professional communication to assist 250 older adults in aging successfully. She also collaborates to lead a team of students from medicine, pharmacy and social work, and trains them to make a difference in the lives of nearly 300 elderly homeless men and women living in Detroit.

“Be the difference are words that I live by,” Jenny says. Growing up in Pakistan shaped her ability to connect with people from many backgrounds.

“Our childhood home is where all of the neighborhood children would gather, Muslims and Catholic alike,” she says.

Two years ago, Jenny’s peers from the National Association for Gerontology in Higher Education awarded her the Mentor of the Year award.

In reflecting on her time on campus, she recalled midnight Mass with Rev. John Naus, S.J., which she says allowed her to continue to practice her faith as a student. More than three decades later, she carries that experience with her as a lector at Good Shepherd Parish in her hometown.

Fun fact: Jenny had never heard of Marquette and couldn’t pronounce it before coming to campus. Her father met Marquette administrators at a Waukesha, Wis., event and the rest is history.