Alumni National Awards

Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Award Recipient


Photo of Jessica ParkerJessica L. Parker, H Sci '18
Neenah, Wis.

Running has always been a family affair for the Parker Family — Jessica’s parents met on the track team in college, and Jessica and her two sisters definitely inherited their parents’ athletic genes. The three sisters, one of them Jessica’s twin, ran at Marquette together.

Jessica credits her support system — at home and at Marquette — as empowering her to develop good habits for success in school and on the track. She says, “Coach Mike Nelson coached me to my fastest times and helped me reach my athletic goals while at Marquette. I raced confidently because of his strong training plan and encouragement.” She certainly did, as she left Marquette holding school records in the indoor and outdoor 800-meter events.

Although Jessica achieved many individual goals, combining for seven All-Big East honors during indoor and outdoor competitions and qualifying for the NCAA West Preliminary in the 800-meter run twice during her career, her favorite memories are those she spent with her teammates. She says she’ll always remember the victory lap she took with the entire team after the men and women won the 2016 Big East Outdoor Conference meet.

Jessica says Marquette helped her learn to balance academics, athletics and service. Academically, Jessica graduated with honors and was a three-time U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic individual honoree and a four-time Big East All-Academic award recipient. She’s continuing with that spirit today while she works for an orthopedic physician as a medical scribe and applies to graduate school to become a physician assistant. She looks forward to one day being able to treat her own patients. In addition, she’s living the Marquette mission of excellence, faith, leadership and service by inspiring a younger generation of runners as a middle school cross country coach.

Fun Fact: Jessica is training for her first marathon — Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn.