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Women at SAU: Marianne Fenn

A teacher at St. Ambrose University since 2011, Dr. Marianne Fenn has been around for a decade now and has become one of the leading faces in the Department of Communication. Fenn has touched on why National Women’s Month is important to her and the community here at SAU. 

Even through the current pandemic, Fenn is striving to impact lives daily.  

“I think it is important to take time to acknowledge the hard work and accomplishments of various groups, particularly those who have been marginalized in society. Women have played a vital and often ignored role in the success of America, working behind the scenes in almost every field imaginable. Women give all they have, both at home and at work every day, and this tireless effort should be recognized and celebrated,” Fenn said about how the celebration of it this month makes her feel. 

Fenn touched the struggles being a woman comes with in the workforce and her experiences as she has become a professor.

“Each persons’ positionality impacts how they view and interact in the world. During my early years in academia, I found, as a woman, I had to work harder and communicate in a more authoritarian way to be taken seriously in the classroom. I have been fortunate to work with colleagues and administration that have supported me regardless of gender,” Fenn said. 

Teaching runs in Fenn’s family, but she never saw herself becoming one.

“I swore up and down I would never be a teacher. Almost everyone in my family, including in-laws, parents, aunts, and spouse, are all teachers. I started off on a PT track, and then organic chemistry changed that dream to wanting to become a director of a study abroad program at a university. Flash forward to years later, I had the opportunity to teach at a community college during my master’s program and fell in love with helping students and also from learning from them on a daily basis,” Fenn said.

“There is no greater satisfaction than when you get a card or email, years later, from a former student in which they tell you how they are using skills taught in class they took from you in their job or personal life,” Fenn said. 

Fenn hopes to continue to inspire students and leave a lasting impact on their lives throughout her time at SAU.