Dr. Kristina M. Ropella

Dr. Kristina (Kris) Ropella, Eng '85, is Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering and professor of biomedical engineering at Marquette University. She joined the biomedical engineering faculty at Marquette in 1990 and served as the chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering from 2004 to 2013, when she was named the executive associate dean. Ropella assumed the permanent role of Opus Dean in 2015. In this leadership role, Ropella provides vision and leads strategic planning and implementation, creation of academic programs, engagement with industry, government, and other academic institutions, fundraising and community outreach.

Ropella’s research expertise is in biosignal processing and medical imaging for diagnostic medical devices, with emphasis on monitoring of cardiac arrhythmias and brain mapping. She led the creation of several innovative educational programs, including the Joint Functional Imaging Ph.D. program with the Medical College of Wisconsin, a new biocomputer engineering major at Marquette, a GAANN Graduate Fellowship Program in Functional Imaging, and the Marquette and MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. She is also the founder and faculty director of E-Lead, a three-year curricular leadership development program that offers undergraduate students the opportunity to build on their technical skills and develop their capacity to lead people and teams.

Ropella was named the Wisconsin U.S. Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support for Education (2007). She has twice received the college’s Outstanding Teacher Award (1994 and 2002) and received the university’s Robert and Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence (2002). Ropella received the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 (2000) and Women of Influence (2008) awards; STEM Forward’s Engineer of the Year award (2016); and the Kern Family Foundation’s Outstanding Dean award (2016).

Ropella is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). She has served on the board of directors for AIMBE, the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Council of Chairs in Biomedical Engineering, and the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. She serves on the Board of Trustees for the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Board of Directors at Milwaukee’s St. Augustine Prep, the Governance Board for Milwaukee Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee (HPGM), and advisory boards for the George Washington University Biomedical Engineering Department, the PATHS-UP Engineering Research Center at Texas A&M, and the MKE Fellows.

She received her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Marquette University and earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University.