Inspired by pioneering scientists, new VP ready to chart new territory for Marquette
Dr. Maura Donovan is an outdoor enthusiast who counts some of history’s most groundbreaking female scientists among her heroes. That pioneering spirit will surely serve her well as Marquette’s first-ever vice president for corporate engagement. Her recent appointment marks the opening of a new office for the university that is charged with formalizing, enhancing and streamlining the ways in which Marquette works with corporate partners, ultimately increasing the number of opportunities the university has to work with forward-looking organizations with shared values and strategic priorities that align with Marquette.
In her second full month on the job, the Minnesota native took some time to sit down with Marquette Today to talk a bit about family, her idyllic Canadian retreat and how she helped change the way we treat Parkinson’s disease.
Hometown: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Family: David (spouse) and two sons: Alex (28, married to Cailin) and Peter (23)
Hobbies and interests: Travel, especially to wilderness locations; backpacking; spending time with family; sourdough bread baking
Favorite movies: In general, I like movies with a happy ending and beautiful scenery. A family favorite is Waking Ned Devine.
Heroes: As a woman scientist, my heroes have always been other women scientists who have “paved the way,” including Elizabeth Blackwell, Marie Curie and Dorothy Hodgkin.
Favorite quotes/mottos: As an avid reader, I have many favorite quotes, including this one ascribed to J.R.R. Tolkien: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” —The Fellowship of the Ring
Currently reading: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, by Daniel H. Pink
Favorite vacation spots: My family has a summer home on a small island in Georgian Bay, Canada. It is very remote, very beautiful, has been in my family for 100 years, and is the place where generations of family members reconnect each year.
Biggest career learning experience: I have had many wonderful mentors throughout my career. One of these wise individuals told me early on that we should endeavor to do something difficult every day.
Fun facts: I lived in Seattle for five years and attribute my love of coffee (some might say an addiction) to those Starbucks-filled years. I majored in both Russian and chemistry in college, partly because I wanted to be able to read Russian literature in the original language (and it was good to have an excuse to get out of the lab occasionally). Also, I’m proud of being on the team that developed the first implantable neurostimulation therapy to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.