E-News - May 1, 2020

Coe College E-News — Updates and information for alumni, parents and friends of Coe

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#KohawkDay rescheduled for June 11

#KohawkDay is a day to celebrate what it means to be proud alumni, students, friends, faculty and staff of Coe College. Though the world looks a little different now, we look forward to this celebratory day where we will share, give and connect like we have in years past.

Your involvement in our annual day of giving is key. Here are some ways you can celebrate what it means to be a Kohawk:

  • Support our students with a gift (Busy on June 11? Make your gift early, and it will count toward goals and challenges on #KohawkDay.)
  • Sign up to be a challenge leader or social ambassador.
  • Track our progress throughout the day at alumni.coe.edu/kohawkday.
  • Follow along on social media and share your Kohawk pride.

We are all more connected now than ever before. We hope you will join us on June 11 to share your Kohawk pride and join as one Coe family!

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Coe From Your Couch

Coe is excited to be launching virtual programming that will provide you access to experience Coe...all from the comfort of your couch!

Hear from professors you once had, learn something about a subject you're interested in and connect with Coe through a variety of webinars. Each week there will be at least one webinar. All you need to do is preregister, show up and enjoy. There will be a Q&A session at the end of each webinar to get all of your questions answered.

Stay tuned for more information at alumni.coe.edu/events.

IACC Awards.pngMia Resa ’20 (left) and
Dr. Renee Penalver (right)

Coe student and professor named Iowa Campus Compact Presidents’ Award recipients

Psychology major Mia Resa ’20 and Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Renee Penalver have been named Iowa Campus Compact (IACC) Presidents’ Award recipients. Resa is the recipient of a Student Leadership Award, and Penalver is the recipient of a Civic Engagement Leadership Award.

The IACC Presidents’ Student Leadership Award honors an individual who models a deep commitment to civic responsibility and leadership, evidenced by initiative, innovative and collaborative approaches to addressing public issues, effective community building and integration of civic engagement into the college experience.

Resa served through AmeriCorps at local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition clinics and in Cedar Rapids schools where she mentored and tutored students. She has conducted graduate-level research and worked with the elderly to fight social isolation and build community. Resa is an executive member of I’m First, Coe’s organization for first-generation college students. She also received a scholarship and award for academic excellence in the Hispanic community and is a member of the American Association of University Women.

The IACC Presidents’ Civic Engagement Leadership Award recognizes a member of the faculty who has significantly advanced their campus’ distinctive civic mission by forming strong partnerships, supporting others’ civic and community engagement and working to institutionalize a culture and practice of engagement.

Penalver’s work as the faculty fellow for community engagement at Coe is largely focused on empowering the Coe and Cedar Rapids communities through increasing access to information and resources for all and connecting people and organizations. Evidence of Penalver’s work has spanned her teaching, scholarship, service and fellowship. She has played a major role in touting the benefits of faculty and community partnerships while serving as a valuable resource to Coe’s faculty.

“I was incredibly honored to nominate both Mia and Renee for these distinguished awards,” Coe President David McInally said. “They both deserve recognition for the crucial roles they play in our Coe and Cedar Rapids communities. Congratulations, Mia and Renee!”

Coe’s Office of Community and Civic Engagement within the C3: Creativity, Careers, Community center also assisted with the process of nominating Resa and Penalver for the awards. “Playing a role in this process was very rewarding. Learning about all the ways in which Coe students and faculty make a positive impact in our community reaffirms the importance of these partnerships,” said Director of Community and Civic Engagement Joe Demarest. “Our office is excited to work with the rest of our C3 and off-campus partners to continue to create new opportunities.”

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.

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Student Research Symposium goes virtual

Dozens of students showcased their academic projects online at this year’s Student Research Symposium on April 29. Visit coe.edu/student-research-symposium to see posters, slideshows and presentations from many talented and creative Kohawks.

Espen FredriksenEspen Fredriksen ’13

Traveling Kohawk nurse cares for COVID-19 patients in New York City 

Espen Fredriksen ’13 recently began a 13-week contract in the emergency department of NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, helping meet the city’s desperate need for health care workers to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although he has worked in the emergency departments of two other hospitals, Fredriksen has found this experience to be somewhat different. Emergency department nurses are typically assigned three to four patients during a shift; in the first week of his new contract, Fredriksen was assigned eight to 12 patients, many of whom were being treated for COVID-19. “Every unit in the hospital has been converted to treat COVID-19 patients, including the operating rooms, endoscopy suites and most recently the cafeteria. Most of these spaces are makeshift intensive care units (ICUs),” he said.

Fredriksen experienced one of these makeshift ICUs when he was assigned there during a shift. The unit consisted of a hallway lined with beds in every available space and temporary shelving units set up to hold supplies. Nurses tended to sedated and ventilated COVID-19 patients in the loud, chaotic environment. “Normally an ICU nurse has one or two patients to care for, possibly three in a pinch. I saw nurses caring for five patients who all had heavy and specialized needs,” Fredriksen said.

While Fredriksen’s current situation is overwhelming, he feels equipped to handle the challenge. The skills and training he gained from his Coe nursing education, a clinical rotation in an ICU and his previous work in emergency departments have served him well. He also spent the last two years as a travel nurse in Australia, sometimes working in remote desert towns with limited resources where he had to take independent action and improvise on a regular basis. “One thing that these facilities, large and small, have in common is that we are here to do our very best with the tools that we have,” he noted.

Fredriksen is glad to be able to provide some support to his fellow nurses in New York City. “The local full-time staff here are exhausted and struggling. They have lost co-workers and family to this pandemic,” he said. Fredriksen has seen some occasional ebbs in the flow of patients in the emergency department, which could be a sign that COVID-19 preventive measures in the city are helping. Like many front line health care workers, he encourages people everywhere to continue following instructions to stay home and social distance. “Real people are experiencing life-changing anguish, and we all have the power to help. It is helping here, and it will help at home. You will never know who you save,” he said.

To read about some of the other Kohawks working hard to keep us safe, visit our Front Line Heroes page.

Alumni, share your story with Coe!

We want to hear about all the great things our alumni are doing out in the world and share them with the Coe community. Click here to tell us your story.

Steve Staker.pngSteve Staker
(photo credit: Doug Thompson)

Remembering one of Coe’s legendary football coaches

Retired Head Football Coach Steve Staker passed away on April 28 after a courageous battle with cancer. 

Staker came to Coe in 2004 as an assistant coach after a 36-year career as a teacher, hall of fame coach and athletic director at Fredericksburg High School. He took the helm as head coach of the Kohawks in 2008, where he remained for eight seasons. By the time he retired in 2015, he had the third most wins in Coe history with a record of 55-29. He led the Kohawks to the NCAA Division III playoffs three times, including the first back-to-back appearances in the team’s history. He coached three Iowa Conference MVPs, seven D3football.com All-Americans and 67 All-Iowa Conference players, 32 of whom were first-team selections.

Staker and his wife, Linda, have strong family ties to Coe as well. All five of their children — along with several of their spouses — are Coe alumni, and several are Coe staff members: Cody Staker ’90; Lance Staker ’93 and Coe Vice President for Enrollment, Marketing & Institutional Effectiveness Julie Kleis Staker ’93; Shane Staker ’97 and Kelly Isbell Staker ’96; Shannon Staker Cook ’02 and Coe Director of Athletics & Recreation and Head Baseball Coach Steve Cook; and Coe Head Football Coach Tyler Staker ’06 and Kristy Upah Staker ’08.

About a week before his passing, Staker’s family invited well-wishers to drive past his house since he could not have visitors. Hundreds of friends, extended family members and former players joined the parade to show their support. The day proved to be a lasting tribute to a beloved friend, mentor and coach, and will stand as a testament to the tremendous impact Staker had on so many who were blessed by the opportunity to know him. Watch the video from KCRG here.

If you would like to share condolences and memories with the Staker family, you can do so on the Coach Staker Fan Club Facebook page.

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C3 seeking alumni to be part of Coe's Career Communities

In partnership with the Alumni Office, C3: Creativity, Careers, Community has created 10 Career Communities as another way to bring students and alumni together.
The communities are based on broad categories or groupings of careers with similar skill sets and interests, with each one led by a C3 career specialist and a faculty mentor. They are made up of students and alumni with the express purpose of learning from each other, connecting and networking. “Career Communities are a great way of taking what we typically do in a one-on-one manner and extending it to a larger group of students. Connecting students and alumni in this way is a win for everyone," said Professor of Chemistry and C3 Faculty Co-Director Marty St. Clair.

Get involved by finding the communities below on LinkedIn, joining one or more groups and helping us show how Coe's connections become our students' connections. Or, contact C3 Co-Director Barb Tupper at btupper@coe.edu, and she will send you a LinkedIn invitation to the group(s) you are interested in joining.

  • Arts, Communications, Media and Entertainment
  • Business and Entrepreneurism
  • Data and Technology
  • Galleries, Libraries, Archives & Museums
  • Health & Wellness
  • International Affairs, Government and Public Policy
  • Legal, Law Enforcement and Public Service
  • Natural Resources, Agriscience and Environment
  • Science Research
  • Social Sciences, Counseling and Education

Upcoming Alumni Events

May 5 — Coe From Your Couch: Steve Feller — In this webinar led by B.D. Silliman Professor of Physics Steve Feller, hear stories and see photos showcasing student trips that Feller took part in over the past few decades. Along the way he will describe some of their discoveries in glass science and talk about some of the labs in which they’ve had the privilege of working.
May 13 — Coe From Your Couch: Angela Ziskowski — In this webinar led by Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Professor of Ancient History and Archaeology Angela Ziskowski, learn how an active field archaeologist works. Ziskowski will talk about some of her experiences on excavations in Greece and Italy, as well as some of the experiences Coe students have had in the field school at the Lechaion Harbor and Settlement Land Project.