Jennifer Marrone and David ShortJennifer Marrone and David Short consider the U the backbone of the state and are proud to support it.

Helping students through uncertain times

COVID-19 has left many students in a bind

As the economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic were becoming fully realized, the U took immediate steps to make sure help was available to its most vulnerable population—its students. The Student Emergency Fund was established to assist those facing financial insecurity in these unpredictable times. The fund helps students obtain access to housing, food, tuition, mental health services, and transportation. 

As soon as they were aware of the fund, Jennifer Marrone,’82 BS, and husband David Short, ’88 BS, couldn’t make a gift fast enough. “Prevailing COVID-19 circumstances clearly left many students in a bind and they need help,” Jennifer says. “It is important that the U can be there for them when the new normal returns.” She says the fund is just a piece of how people can try to facilitate student needs in the interim and ultimately, their return toward their education. “All of us who have benefitted over the years while living in Minnesota owe a debt of thanks and gratitude to the U,” she says. “Were it not for the foundational history and strength of the U, many of us would otherwise not have had successful careers, nor be here today.”

“Prevaling COVID-19 circumstances clearly left many students in a bind and they need help.”

Jennifer has more than 30 years of experience in the medical product industry, including expertise in regulatory affairs, quality systems/compliance, clinical studies, and preclinical research. Her experience throughout her career focused on the development of regulatory strategies and submissions and relationships with regulatory bodies in efforts to obtain worldwide medical product clinical study approvals, and ultimately, commercial release approvals. After many years of working at large, medium, and innovative start-up medical device companies, she co-founded the Regulatory and Clinical Research Institute (RCRI), Inc. in 1999. She met husband David in 1980, where they began their careers at the Medtronic Physiological Research Laboratory.

“David and I have long recognized the University enables the state of Minnesota to be a leader in education, innovation, medical research, and social reform,” Jennifer says. “Attending the U helped each of us transform our dreams and working lives into fulfilling careers in medical research.” David agrees. “The U is the backbone of the state, the engine that drives overall health and wellbeing of our everyday lives,” he says. 

Jennifer and David are not new at supporting the U. They are strong supporters of CEHD’s Educational Technology Innovations (ETI) and have a study abroad scholarship in their names. “ETI has created a new paradigm for the realization of educational and technological innovation using the research and development and intellectual property of CEHD,” Jennifer says. “ETI illustrates the transformation of educational ideas into social and economic good. This is our collective future and we find this very motivating.”

As for study abroad, Jennifer and David find it a vital component of the global awareness which influences students as they are learning and shaping their ideas and vision for their future and working lives. “The horizons can be endless, when the boundaries are opened up and when we become aware of the world beyond our individual perspectives,” David says. 

Jennifer also gives with her time, as she is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board. Comprised of academic and industry professionals, it is a place for the dean to discuss and review plans and assess potential impacts of CEHD needs, goals, and challenges. “It is a sounding board for the dean and the administration,” Jennifer says. “My motivation to serve on the board is to be a voice for the extraordinary and global accomplishments and vision of CEHD and to share comments with the dean,” she says.

Story by Kevin Moe | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Marrone & David Short | Winter 2021