Paying It Forward With a Gift

Judy Eckert

Judy Eckert ’83 (ENGR)

When Judy Eckert ’83 was at UConn, there were only about 10 women in all of her engineering classes combined.

The ratio is a bit better at UConn these days, but there’s still room for improvement. That’s why Judy stepped up to help. She has decided to create a permanent scholarship in her will for a female engineering student at UConn.

“I think it’s important for women to go into STEM fields. They bring a whole different dimension to problem-solving and critical thinking. I wanted to help,” she says.

Judy first discovered her passion for computer engineering when she was 14. She interviewed a computer operator at a local bread factory for a school term paper about possible career options. She quickly discovered that she didn’t like that job, but found she was intrigued by the computer engineer who wrote code for the plant. She had found her passion and decided to major in computer engineering at UConn.

After graduating, Judy carved out a long career as a computer engineer, starting with a brief gig as a video game designer. She then worked in other jobs coding everything from dictation machines to water pollution control systems before landing at Pitney Bowes, where she worked as a product manager for 25 years. She then switched career paths and entered insurance sales. She is currently director of project management at Prudential Financial, Inc.

Judy lives in a colonial with her spouse, Liz McGovern, on Forest Lake in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In her spare time, she takes stand-up comedy classes and does the occasional stand-up routine at the Ridgefield Playhouse and charity events.

She got her first taste of stand-up at UConn when she entered a talent show at Beecher residence hall. She didn’t do much with it until years later when she was about to be laid off and her spouse asked her what she would do if she knew she wouldn’t fail. She immediately said, “Stand-up!” Liz signed her up for an eight-week class in stand-up comedy at the Ridgefield Playhouse.

Judy is involved in UConn’s Women and Philanthropy group, which provides scholarships and support for UConn women. She hopes that her scholarship will not only encourage more women to become engineers, but pay it forward as well.

“I hope other women will follow suit and provide scholarships for young women who can’t afford to come to UConn, but have the brains and determination to do so,” she says.

To learn more about ways you can support UConn students, contact Gregory Knott at (860) 336-1468 or giftplanning@foundation.uconn.edu.