Allison Stubbs ’19 and Hayley Walton ’19 recently discovered they are headed abroad for the 2019-20 academic year. Both Coe seniors received prestigious Fulbright grants for English Teaching Assistantships. Stubbs and Walton join the elite group of 26 Coe graduates to receive Fulbrights in the past seven years.
As the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, the Fulbright is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world. The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship program offers recent college graduates the opportunity to teach in primary and secondary schools across the globe.
Stubbs, a biology and neuroscience major, is headed to the La Roja province in northern Spain. “After I fulfill my Fulbright, I hope to study occupational therapy, eventually working with elementary-age children with disabilities,” Stubbs said. “Having the Fulbright experience will be a great way for me to get used to an educational environment.”
Walton, an international business and psychology major and economics minor, will complete her Fulbright assignment in Vidin, Bulgaria. After spending two May terms studying abroad, Walton was convinced she needed to spend additional time overseas. “Coe has given me a passion for connecting with others, giving back to my community and learning,” Walton said. “These qualities will be indispensable to my experience as an English teacher in a country that is new to me.”
Coe Fulbright applicants and recipients receive guidance from Professor Amber Shaw, who serves as the college's national fellowship advisor, as well as other faculty members. “Allison and Hayley have joined an impressive group of Coe students and alumni who have received Fulbright awards,” Shaw said. “Their commitment to cultural exchange and service exemplifies Coe's mission to prepare students for meaningful lives and fulfilling careers in a diverse, interconnected world. We are so proud of them.”
Coe College continues to be a top producer to Fulbright recipients and is included among the U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2018-19 Fulbright recipients. The college has been recognized on this list for five of the past seven years, positioning Coe among the top 12 Fulbright-producing bachelor’s institutions in the nation.
Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 390,000 participants the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Approximately 2,000 U.S. students, artists and young professionals in all fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English and conduct research abroad each year. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program operates in over 140 countries throughout the world.
Nathan Dvorak ’19, a Coe College physics and mathematics major, recently received a Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dvorak joins alumni Emily Roberts ’16 and Dahlia Baker ’18 as the third Coe graduate in the past four years to yield this prestigious fellowship.
The oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP recognizes outstanding graduate students in NSF supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees.
“I now have the opportunity to become a Ph.D. student at a Top 10 graduate school in my field,” Dvorak said. “I was accepted into the electrical engineering Ph.D. program at University of Michigan.”
As a GRFP fellow, Dvorak will receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance along with opportunities for international research and professional development.
“At Coe, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in research, internships, Division III sports, Greek life and multiple clubs,” Dvorak said. “Being such a well-rounded student helped me earn this fellowship.”
Following Dvorak’s sophomore year at Coe, he attended SRI International’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in Menlo Park, California. After his junior year, Dvorak completed an internship with Firefly Photonics in Iowa City, Iowa. He also spent a summer performing material science research with Coe professor Dr. Mario Affatigato.
"The NSF GRFP is a very prestigious research fellowship that is mostly given to graduate students. Still, it is not surprising that Nathan was awarded this fellowship,” Coe Associate Professor of Physics Ugur Akgun said. “He is not only a good student, but he is also a well-established researcher, who did research throughout his time at Coe. I am sure he will make us proud in years to come."
“Coe helped make this happen for me. I received support from my physics and mathematics professors throughout the application process,” Dvorak said. “Dahlia Baker, a recent recipient of the fellowship, even offered advice on my research proposal.”
This year, the NSF awarded 2,050 fellowships throughout the country. Since 1952, NSF has funded over 50,000 Graduate Research Fellowships out of more than 500,000 applicants.
Each year the nation’s top college students pursuing careers in public service submit their Truman Scholarship application. This year netted 840 applicants from 346 colleges and universities. The scholarship committee narrowed the field to 199 finalists who participated in formal interviews. Of the 2019 finalists, 62 new Truman Scholars were selected. Coe College is the only college in the state of Iowa to produce a Truman recipient.
Kohawk Larrisa Alire ’20, a political science and pre-law major, received a coveted Truman Scholarship. The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 to be the nation’s living memorial to President Harry S. Truman. The mission of the foundation is to select and support the next generation of public service leaders.
Alire began the application process for the United States’ premier graduate fellowship, which awards $30,000 per student for graduate school, nine months in advance. The application requires the submittal of seven essays and a detailed policy proposal.
Alire’s passion for public service involves advocating for women and children “to have a voice for those who don’t” and “to help the most vulnerable victims,” she said.
"In naming Larrisa the 2019 Scholar from Iowa, the Truman Foundation has recognized Larrisa's potential to be a transformative leader and dedicated public servant. Larrisa's involvement at Coe has developed her academic excellence, selfless leadership and community involvement, all of which distinguish her as an ideal Truman Scholar. It's been a privilege to help her achieve this incredible honor," Coe professor and National Fellowship Advisor Amber Shaw said.
Growing up in a diverse community in Colorado, Alire knew a number of women who experienced domestic violence. With the ultimate goal of becoming a district attorney, she looks forward to being in a position to offer her assistance to those who need it the most. “I want to make sure victims have the resources that a lot of district attorney’s don’t take the time to offer,” Alire said.
In addition to advocating for women and children, Alire stays active on campus and in the community. At Coe, she has been involved in Student Senate, Model United Nations and founded the Latinx club. She also spends time volunteering with local nonprofits Waypoint and KidsPoint.
During her sophomore year, Alire took advantage of Coe’s Washington D.C. term and spent time as a legislative intern to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado. A term in D.C. further fueled her passion for public service. She spent time studying top political issues including immigration, education and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
“Everyone at Coe was supportive throughout the Truman application process,” said Alire. “Professor Shaw reviewed my essays and even set up a panel of professors to help me practice interviewing. They were all there to support me even though I hadn’t previously had them as professors.” She also received guidance from Provost Paula O’Loughlin and 2018 Truman Scholarship recipient and Coe College senior Kelly May ‘19.
"Congratulations to Larrisa on receiving this prestigious scholarship. Larrisa's contributions both on campus and in the community embrace the essence of the Truman Scholarship — public service leadership. Larissa is a true change agent. We are humbled to support students like Larrisa as they work to make the world a better place and proud that Coe is part of her story," Coe Provost Paula O'Loughlin said.
“Coe has given me opportunities I wouldn’t have had at other colleges. My plan was to stay in Colorado for my undergraduate education,” Alire said. “But as a recipient of Coe’s full-tuition Williston Jones Diversity Leadership Scholarship, Coe made college possible for me.”
Former NBA coach Bill Fitch ’54 is one of 12 honorees to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, in September.
A native of Davenport, Iowa, and a graduate of Cedar Rapids’ Wilson High School, Fitch came to Coe in 1950. He played basketball for the Kohawks, averaging 15.4 points as a senior and led the team to a second place finish at the NAIA regional tournament in 1954. He also excelled on the baseball diamond where he hit over .300 while playing catcher for the Kohawks.
After graduating from Coe in 1954, Fitch served in the Army for two years before attending graduate school at Creighton University where he started his coaching career as an assistant. He returned to Coe in 1958 as an assistant professor of physical education and coached the Kohawk men's basketball team, compiling a 44-40 record over four years in his first collegiate head coaching job. He moved on to coaching positions at the University of North Dakota, Bowling Green State University and the University of Minnesota. He led North Dakota to three NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament appearances and took Bowling Green to the 1968 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.
In 1970, Fitch began his NBA coaching career with the expansion Cleveland Cavaliers. In the team's sixth year of existence, Fitch led Cleveland to a Central Division championship and to the Eastern Conference Finals. He moved on to Boston in 1979, compiling a 242-86 record in four seasons with the Celtics. He is the second coach in NBA history to lead a team to three straight 60-win seasons. He went on to coach the Houston Rockets (1983-88), New Jersey Nets (1989-92) and Los Angeles Clippers (1994-98).
Fitch’s NBA career spanned 25 years and included many impressive highlights. He is third on the all-time list in games coached (2,050) and 10th all-time in wins (944). The two-time NBA Coach of the Year (1976 and 1980) directed the Boston Celtics to the 1981 NBA championship and guided the Houston Rockets to the 1986 NBA Finals.
Fitch was inducted into the Coe College Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.
Click here to read the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2019 announcement.
Iowa Campus Compact (IACC) has announced winners and finalists of the 2019 Engaged Campus Awards. Coe College Associate Professor of History Brie Swenson Arnold and Assistant Professor of Psychology Renee Penalver are among those identified.
Each year IACC recognizes faculty, staff, students, alumni, community partners and businesses for their work in civic and community engagement. This year Coe is recognized in both the civic mission leadership and community partnership categories.
As the winner of the civic mission leadership category, Swenson Arnold has demonstrated leadership for higher education civic engagement and has worked to give a voice to the civic mission of higher education. She was nominated by Coe student Briana Gipson ’19 for her work in commemorating the roles of African Americans, women and the working class in transforming and building communities in Iowa.
“I nominated Dr. Brie for this award because of her passionate and persistent dedication to moving Iowa communities forward through education and research,” Gipson said. “Our community’s understanding of underrepresented groups is being transformed and celebrated in powerful ways.”
Swenson Arnold and her students completed research focused on the local Cedar Rapids community and its inhabitants. This research resulted in a walking tour of Cedar Rapids.
“It is an honor to be nominated by Briana,” Swenson Arnold said. “This is a great opportunity to bring attention to our work within the community and how valuable our research is to what we teach.”
The community partnership category showcases Penalver as a finalist in creating a campus-community partnership that is deep, reciprocal and transformational. Penalver was nominated by Coe’s Director of Community and Civic Engagement, Kara Trebil-Smith, for her collaboration with Aging Services of Abbe Health, an affiliate of UnityPoint Health.
Penalver’s cognitive psychology class worked with Aging Services to create digital stories of the lives of individuals suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. This collaboration allowed students to apply class knowledge to the community in a meaningful way, helping the participants to preserve and relive important memories.
“I am honored to be a finalist representing Coe. Aging Services is equally as invested as Coe in making the community a better place,” Penalver said. “It’s exciting to see that so many people are invested in the work of joining academia with community engagement, and I hope to see more of these relationships in the future!”
IACC is a statewide association of college and university presidents providing leadership for the civic mission of higher education and strengthening the capacity of its member colleges and universities to prepare all students to become engaged citizens.
On April 11, Kohawks from around the world united on Coe’s Day of Giving. Thank you to everyone who donated, participated in celebrations and connected on social media.
#KohawkDay is a 24-hour giving day, but it’s about much more than raising money. It's a day to connect members of the entire Coe community, no matter how far away from campus they may be, through school spirit and the common goal of supporting the college.
Because of you, we had the most successful #KohawkDay to date with 874 donors, raising $527,141.32 in gifts and pledges for Coe! A special thank you to all of our challenge leaders and social ambassadors who helped promote #KohawkDay.
If you haven’t already done so, we hope you will visit our website to check out the complete results. If you missed #KohawkDay, please consider making a gift today to keep the momentum going for Kohawk Nation! Please reach out with any questions to Coe Fund Director Mary Springer at 319.399.8569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nearly 100 students showcased their academic projects at the Student Research Symposium on April 16.
The symposium presentations, which ranged from research projects to artistic displays and performances, were the culmination of work completed by students over the academic year. Some of the student work was done independently, with some accomplished as part of a student and faculty team. The featured work represented in the symposium was the result of honors projects, student participation in ongoing professional research programs and the cumulative products of undergraduate careers of achievement in the arts. Each case reflected an extraordinary effort by a highly motivated student.
The symposium also featured distinguished alumni speaker Dr. Kristie Dotson ’96 who presented “Boredom and Beginnings: A Story from a Coe College Alum.” Dotson received her degree in African American studies, business administration and English literature from Coe. She went on to earn an M.A. in literature from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1999 and an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Memphis in 2005 and 2008 respectively.
Dotson is an associate professor of philosophy at Michigan State University. Over the past several years, she held the Cowling Distinguished Professorship at Carleton College, the Presidential Visiting Associate Professorship at Yale University, a visiting professorship at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and served as a senior fellow at the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School. She is part of the coalition #WhyWeCantWait, which attempts to challenge the way current visions of racial justice are constructed to outlaw open concern for women and girls of color.
Dotson’s academic work focuses on research and writing in epistemology, feminist philosophy and critical philosophy of race. She edited a special issue on women of color feminist philosophy for Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy entitled “Interstices: Inheriting Women of Color Feminist Philosophy” and has been published in numerous journals including Hypatia, Comparative Philosophy, The Black Scholar, Feminist Philosophical Quarterly, Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society and Social Epistemology. She is currently working on a book entitled “Varieties of Epistemic Oppression” and a monograph entitled “How to Do Things With Knowledge.”
Upcoming Alumni Events
June 1 - Baseball Alumni Gathering at DIII Championship — Having recently earned his 500th win for Kohawk Baseball, Coach Cook invites baseball alumni to join him during the Division III Baseball Championship being held in Cedar Rapids.