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Dr. MarraI was raised in Independence, Missouri (aka Harry Truman Country) by an Italian family. I ended up following in my father’s footsteps, completing my undergrad degree in Computer Science at Rockhurst University in 1984. My parents instilled the value of higher education in my siblings and I so continuing on that path was very important to me. For this reason, I continued on with my education at the University of Kansas in Lawrence and earned my Master’s in Computer Science.

My first position outside of university was with AT&T Bell Laboratories in Denver. I worked for them as a software engineer for nine years. It was a great job and a great company to work for but I realized I wanted to do something more people oriented. I stumbled upon the Educational Leadership and Innovation PhD program at the University of Colorado in 1991 and enrolled immediately. I completed my PhD in 1996.

From there, I went on to teach at the Pennsylvania State University as the assistant professor of Engineering and  Director of Instructional Services. I was with Penn State for fives years before I took the job with the University of Missouri, where I reside now as a professor with The School of Information Science and Learning Technologies.

My research at the University of Missouri has impacted the field of learning technology by providing assessment tools for the field of recruiting women into engineering. It has also promoted meaningful learning in online settings and using cognitive technology tools for enhancing learning.

My late husband, Dr. David Jonassen, has always been an incredible inspiration to me professionally and personally. David was a professor of learning technologies and educational psychology at the University of Missouri since 2000. In 2010, he was named curators’ professor — the University of Missouri’s highest honor for world-renowned scholars. You can read more about his legacy here.  Outside of my professional life, I have a lovely stepdaughter and grandsons whom I enjoy spending time with. I enjoy playing guitar and music, hiking, biking, and my two dogs.

More about David’s life and career