Psychology professor wins service-learning award

Georgia Nell Nigro, associate professor of psychology at Bates College, has been named one of two 1998 recipients of the Maine Campus Compact (MCC) Faculty Service-Learning Award, one of the most prestigious awards for community service in the state of Maine.

The awards were presented recently at the MCC annual conference in Portland. Joanne DeSanto Iennaco, a member of the nursing faculty at St. Joseph’s College, received the other award.

“The award winners have shown initiative and creativity in service-learning and in advocating for service-learning on and off their campuses,” MCC director Liz McCabe Parks said.

MCC is a coalition of colleges and universities established to encourage and enhance student participation in community and public service and to integrate community service as a valued learning element of undergraduate education. MCC fosters service-learning partnerships that build on strengths of communities and higher education institutions to address significant social and environmental problems.

Shortly after Nigro arrived in Lewiston to teach at Bates in 1983, she began working with community practitioners and college students on community research projects related to her interests in child development. This work evolved into a course she now teaches at Bates on action research.

Prior to the beginning of the course each year, Nigro convenes a workshop for community partners addressing the steps necessary to convert an idea into a research question. The students in her class work closely on these research questions with their community partners.

Nigro has given talks on service-learning to faculty, college trustees and members of the community. She also has organized conferences on teacher research and serves on a national committee that makes recommendations on research in the service-learning field.

A graduate of Brown University with a degree in linguistics, Nigro received an M.S. in psychology from Yale University and a Ph.D in psychology from Cornell University, where she was an instructor before coming to Bates.

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