Jenn’s Bio

Jenn Stroud added the Rossmann in May, 2000, one week to the day after adding the Ph.D. Prior to that she had simply been Jenn Stroud, give or take a brief flirtation with Jenny. Her father was a lapsed jazz drummer, her mother a lapsed mathematician. Both worked at large technology firms, in jobs that young Jenn (naively) found to be rather indistinct and to involve an inordinate number of acronyms. Her childhood was itinerant, including stops in Boston, upstate New York, San Antonio, Omaha, and Columbus, Ohio. She found that playing shortstop and strong safety, as well as knowing how to ollie, made these geographic transitions slightly less disorienting. Consistently, she found that these skills were more valued by her classmates than her tendency to be that girl who sits in front of the classroom (with her hand perpetually raised) and corrects the teacher’s grammar, and particularly to be that new girl who sits in front of the classroom and corrects the teacher’s grammar. Now that she is herself a teacher, she is beginning to see her classmates’ point. She is a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees primarily because of Reggie Jackson, but also because no matter what city you happen to be living in, you can always find a Yankees game on TV or the radio. Mel Allen and Vin Scully are men deserving of grand praise.

From 1991 to 2000, Jenn studied engineering and physics, among other things, at the University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley is, in her considered opinion, an excellent place for a tomboyish young woman with interests in physics and fiction, music and baseball, with rather obnoxious classroom protocol, to spend 4 to 9 years of her life. Among the things that made those years remarkable were Moe’s Bookstore, Amoeba Music, Linda Dayem, Lawsuit, Phil Marcus, Dale Philbrick, Zachary’s Pizza, Tuni Kundu, Tom Farber, Leonard Michaels, The Starry Plough, Stan Berger, the Oakland A’s, and Bison Brewery. Among the things that she found frustrating and difficult were Toby Rossmann and multivariable calculus. On both of these last issues, she has experienced a reversal.

Although Jenn loves to write, she has a sneaking suspicion that Mister E.E. Cummings, Mr. Don DeLillo, and Ms. Lorrie Moore said it better, first. This is to say nothing of Ms. Woolf or Mr. Shakespeare, or for that matter Mr. Homer. She is leaving Mr. Hemingway and Mr. Fitzgerald aside, as they are special cases.


Jenn finds the tone of this hypertext biography a bit stilted and more than a little wonky, but she has come this far and so she is sticking with it. Upon moving to LA (the “southland”) in 2001, she was pleasantly surprised to find it not the soulless, cultural black hole about which she had been warned by well-intentioned Northern Californians. The LA Philharmonic, Geffen Playhouse, Fountain Theatre, Book Soup, Bridget Hoida, Jen Oxley, Dr. Toby Rossmann, her proximity to her extremely splendid brother, and the faculty and delightful students of Harvey Mudd College made it, in fact, rather enjoyable.

Even the extreme skepticism of her northern Californian friends when she moved to LA did not prepare her for the response of Californians from both provinces when she announced she was moving to New Jersey. What most people think of when you say “New Jersey” consists of the Turnpike, Tony Soprano, Newark race riots, baked ziti, and graft. She can live with that, because she knows about the Shore, the cranberry bogs and the Barrens, the lush green soundwalls on the Parkway, the Jazz institute at Rutgers Newark, and the 35-minute door-to-door into Manhattan. Also baked ziti.


Jenn works now at Lafayette College, where she enjoys teaching engineering in a liberal arts context (and vice versa). Sometimes she writes. And sometimes she runs barefoot in the grass with her daughter Leda Marlowe, just to hear her laugh. Often, she can be found in the company of Lafayette students, discussing baseball, music, novels, or fluid mechanics.    Send article as PDF   

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