Dr. Jean Coppola, a faculty member at Pace University, has become a recognized leader in the emerging field of gerontechnology research, defined as the study of technology to promote the cognitive health of older adults, and has won numerous awards, received significant press coverage, and granted modest research monies for her work.
Jean is a dedicated member of the St. Francis Prep Alumni Board from the Class of 1982 and recently became one of the first members of the Pace University Community to receive the Jefferson Bronze Medal Award for sustained commitment to community service. The Jefferson Awards for Public Service were created "to recognize and honor individuals whose community volunteer efforts best exemplify dedication to enhancing the quality of life in their community." The Jefferson Awards for Public Service program recognizes high profile individuals at the national level as well as those who make significant contributions locally.
Last week, she, along with representatives from the other organizations that comprise the Consortium for Multi-faceted Gerontechnology Research located in Westchester County, received the 2009 Mind Alert Award for General Mental Fitness. Specifically, the award recognizes the research program in intergenerational computing that was conceived and implemented by Dr. Coppola. Begun in 2005, the program was designed to bridge the "digital divide" between older adults by enabling them to access and use computer technology. To learn more, go to Research Team Recognized for Work in Gerontechnology.
Dr. Coppola also teaches Intergenerational Computing, an offering open to all Pace undergraduates that satisfies the civic engagement requirement of the Core Curriculum. After receiving instruction in social gerontechnology and in how to instruct older adults, students go out into the community and teach seniors on a one-on-one basis how to access the Internet, send e-mail, and search the Web for medical and financial information and more.
Sparked by Dr. Coppola's contagious enthusiasm for teaching seniors new skills that broaden their horizons and keep them "connected," both the undergraduates and the seniors thrive. Pace students gain real satisfaction from helping others and often extend their involvement beyond their initial experience. Recently, two Pace undergraduate students who had completed the course, placed first in a competition to develop a prototype of livable and affordable housing for senior citizens sponsored by Westchester County. Two others, Pace graduate students in one of Dr. Coppola's Educational Technology courses, received the CASE Award for their work in assistive technology to aid people with physical handicaps as well as the elderly.
Dr. Coppola's love of the work she does is boundless and the impact she has had on her students at Pace University and members of the community is profound. She is truly the embodiment of what The Jefferson Awards stand for.
After the this news was made public, Jean told St. Francis Prep's Principal, Brother Leonard Conway, O.S.F., "I credit my service energies to my Franciscan training and the many mentors at Prep who always taught me to be of service to others."
Jean brings a true Franciscan spirit to her personal and professional life and the St. Francis Prep "family" is fortunate to have her as a member. Congratulations, Jean, on this well deserved award!
Heartfelt congratulations! It is wonderful to see you get this recognition for your achievements, so well deserved. The Prep community and your fellow boardmembers have long known and admired your dedication and passion, how nice that others do also.