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In Remembrance of Dr. Jean Coppola

Dr.+Jean+Coppola+had+been+with+Pace+since+1990
Dr. Jean Coppola had been with Pace since 1990

Dr. Jean Coppola had been with Pace since 1990

Dr. Jean Coppola had been with Pace since 1990

Jack Fozard, Feature Writer

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A professor and a pillar of the community for over 30 years, Dr. Jean Coppola, who passed away on October 29, is someone who will be deeply missed.

“I admired Jean so much. The students always talked about her and appreciated all that she did for them,” says Mary Courtney, Professor of Computer Science for the Seidenberg School in NYC. “We will miss Jean forever. This is just too sad.”

Dr. Coppola was a graduate of Pace in 1990 where she received her master’s degree in Science, after having received a bachelor’s in Science from Hofstra. Ever since 1990, Coppola did whatever she could to further her own education while remaining an integral part of the Pace community.

With a master’s degree in Science and Telecommunications and a PhD in Computing Technology in Education under her belt, Coppola then decided to enter into the field of gerontechnology, concerned with bettering the lives of elderly people with new technological advances.

“Prof. Sonia Fritz and I connected with Jean and her work with Alzheimer’s patients who were taught to use tablets to access the photos and music of their pasts,” says Elena lawton de Torruella, a PhD recipient at the Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart. “We involved our students at Sagrado Corazon in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Their response was sensitive and enthusiastic. Their final investigation matured them intellectually and emotionally.”

Apart from academics, Coppola also taught her students about the struggles of elderly people who have severe physical ailments impeding on their quality of life. She strove to give students an idea of what it was like to be working against old age before those same students would care for elderly patients themselves.

“The bottom line is they are thoroughly prepared before they set foot in that nursing home, before they teach that older adult,” said Coppola in a CBS interview in 2011. “It opens a new world. It doesn’t leave them behind. It lets them know what’s going on out in the community, out in the country, out in the world.”

Coppola’s influence lives on in the gerontechnology program she co-founded at Pace, which has been nationally recognized by publications such as the Los Angeles Times. She will be greatly missed by the community she succeeded in, both professionally and personally, for over 30 years.

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