Penalver named Engaged Scholar Research Fellow

Renee Penalver
Renee Penalver
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Coe College Assistant Professor of Psychology Renee Penalver has been named a 2018-2019 Engaged Scholar Research Fellow by Iowa Campus Compact.

The program, now in its second year, supports Iowa faculty in the scholarship of community-engaged teaching and learning. Each scholar will receive support for completing and publishing their research, including sponsored participation in the 2018 Pen to Paper Writing Retreat in Seattle, Wash.

"I am so excited to have been selected for this opportunity. It is an honor to represent Coe in this capacity," Penalver said. "I am excited to receive help with advancing my career in the area of engaged research in cognitive psychology. It is so important to me to bridge the gap between science and the community, and this is my first step toward narrowing that gap."

Penalver, a cognitive psychologist, researches how word frequency and bilingual language proficiency impact source memory. As a fellow, she will continue to partner with Aging Services (AbbeHealth) and CarePro Health Services in Cedar Rapids to create a Cognitive Health Program, studying the impacts of community-engaged coursework on community health. This especially relates to preventing Alzheimer's disease through language learning.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to support the work of scholars like Dr. Penalver," said Emily Shields, executive director of Iowa Campus Compact. "Her work will help to improve the way we approach community partnerships in the classroom and beyond."

With a doctorate in psychology from the University of Texas at El Paso, Penalver is among the 95 percent of Coe faculty who hold terminal degrees. In her first year at Coe, she has served as faculty sponsor for several student research projects and facilitated the annual Psychology Internship Symposium.

"We are delighted at the selection of Renee Penalver as an Engaged Scholar Research Fellow. Dr. Penalver has been leading community-engaged courses and transforming students' lives and our community since her first term at Coe," Coe Provost and Dean of the Faculty Paula L. O'Loughlin said. "This award is well deserved as Dr. Penalver's scholarship shows the same commitment and community focus. She exemplifies the excellence of the faculty at Coe College, and we could not be prouder."

"I feel it is my responsibility to share knowledge not only to students, but to the community. I am really excited to be embarking on a project that has the potential to impact the health of our community in an important way," Penalver said.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. Campus Compact supports institutions in fulfilling their public purposes by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. As the largest national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact provides professional development to administrators and faculty to enable them to engage effectively, facilitate national partnerships connecting campuses with key issues in their local communities, build pilot programs to test and refine promising models in engaged teaching and scholarship, celebrate and cultivate student civic leadership and convene higher education institutions and partners beyond higher education to share knowledge and develop collective capacity.

Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.

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