Marquette's engineering dean receives honors from Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network and STEM Forward

February 27, 2017

MILWAUKEE — Dr. Kristina Ropella, Opus dean of Engineering, has received a pair of honors. Ropella has been awarded the 2016 Outstanding Dean Award from The Kern Family Foundation, and has been named 2016 Engineer of the Year by STEM Forward.

The Foundation award was presented at the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) National Conference in Jacksonville, Florida. STEM Forward presented the award to Ropella during its annual Engineers Week Banquet in February in Milwaukee.

"I am both honored and humbled," Ropella said. "I have many deserving colleagues who are transforming engineering education around the country. I am blessed to be part of such a community."


Marquette is one of 29 partner institutions in KEEN collaborating to develop best practices in engineering education and to champion the entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering students.

"We want to publicly acknowledge your exceptional leadership, both at Marquette University and within KEEN," the foundation said in a statement. "We hope that others will be inspired by your successes and your commitment to building a strong network dedicated to instilling the entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students."

Membership in KEEN gives Marquette unparalleled access to resources for faculty education, tools for enhancing the engineering curriculum, and a network of schools that share their values and goals for fostering an entrepreneurial mindset within its students.

"The KEEN program has been transformational for our faculty, particularly our more junior professors who will be tomorrow's leaders," Ropella said. "It has been exciting to see the changes in our faculty approach to education and student learning. KEEN has triggered a broader commitment to the student experience."

STEM Forward

The Milwaukee-based nonprofit organization cited Ropella for focusing her research and teaching career on biosignal processing, bioinstrumentation and medical imaging. It also lauded her for developing clinical applications of functional magnetic resonance imaging, including presurgical planning and evaluation of rehabilitative outcomes after injury or pathology.

The Engineer of the Year award has been a tradition since the 1950s, given to a remarkable person who has made an extraordinary contribution to the engineering profession.

For interviews or a headshot, please contact Christopher Stolarski at (414) 288-6060 or at

About the Opus College of Engineering

A diverse community of engineering scholars, the college has four departments: biomedical engineering; civil, construction and environmental engineering; electrical and computer engineering; and mechanical engineering. Student-centered learning is encouraged, and the college educates engineering leaders who thrive in innovative, entrepreneurial and dynamic environments while putting research in action.

About The Kern Family Foundation

Founded by Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern in 1998 after selling a division of Generac Power Systems, the Foundation is a grant-making organization dedicated to developing good character, increasing educational achievement — particularly in science, technology and math — and instilling an entrepreneurial mindset, especially in undergraduate engineering students.

About STEM Forward

STEM Forward is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and metro Milwaukee's leading STEM education and outreach provider. STEM Forward's programs, events and activities inspire local youth to pursue STEM careers and provide a pipeline of talent to businesses in southeastern Wisconsin.