Distinguished Alumni Award - Academia & Government

As a researcher, educator and entrepreneur in the field of bioengineering, Dr. Martha J. Connolly has shaped young minds, steered public policy, and stirred an emerging industry in the Old Line State.

She is director of Mtech Baltimore, an initiative of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute at the University of Maryland. As director, Dr. Connolly fosters collaboration with industry partners and promotes entrepreneurship in biomedicine, including commercializing faculty and student capstone design projects. Previously, she was director of Mtech’s Maryland Industrial Partnerships, an academic-industrial statewide funding program for commercialization of new technology products. She has also taught entrepreneurship in life sciences at UM’s James A. Clark School of Engineering.

Dr. Connolly is co-founder of biotech company Clairus Technologies and has served as director of business development at EntreMed. She has served on numerous boards, including the State of Maryland’s Enterprise Venture Fund and the City of Baltimore’s Emerging Technology Center, a technology business incubator.

Because of her subject expertise and diverse connections, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development named Dr. Connolly as its first representative for the biotechnology industry. During her tenure, she helped grow the state’s life science footprint from 300 to 450 businesses, making biotech an emerging strength for the regional economy.

Dr. Connolly has worked on funded research from both the National Institutes of Health and the American Lung Association. She has written 37 full-length peer-reviewed publications about cardiovascular physiology and bioengineering.

She has received numerous awards, including the President’s Award from the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Bioscience Alliance. In 2007, the Daily Record named her one of Maryland’s 50 Most Influential People, followed by a 2011 listing as one of the Baltimore region’s Top 100 Women. In 2013, she was elected as a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.

Dr. Connolly graduated in the first co-ed class at Stevens, one of only 13 women among a class of 227. Her uncle Karl Schlachter ’45 and younger sister Patricia Connolly Callahan ’77 are also Stevens alumni. During her time as a student, Dr. Connolly served as a resident assistant and was a member of the Society of Underwater Engineers. She won the Thomas McCandless Music Award for her talents playing clarinet in the concert band and singing with the glee club. In March 2017, Dr. Connolly served as a panelist at the first Celebration of Women in Leadership at Stevens.

Dr. Connolly was the first woman to graduate from the Johns Hopkins biomedical engineering doctoral program. She continues to enjoy music, singing with Larksong, a local a cappella group in Baltimore.