Meet Renee Penalver

Renee Penalver is an assistant professor of quantitative methodology in Psychology at California State Univerisity, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). She earned her A.A. at Bakersfield College in 2009, her B.A. in Psychology at California State University, Bakersfield, in 2011, and her Ph.D. in Social Cognitive Neuroscience with an emphasis in Quantitative Methodology from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2017.  

After completing her Ph.D., she began a new chapter as an Assistant Professor at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She was the Co-Director of the Psychology Internship Program and was a Faculty Fellow for Community-Engaged Pedagogy for the entire college. Her commitment to community engagement and social justice was recognized when she received the Iowa Campus Compact’s President’s Civic Engagement Leadership Award in 2020. This award is given to faculty who significantly advance their campus’ civic mission by forming strong community partnerships. She also received the 2018-2019 Engaged Scholar Research award and the 2018 “Rising Star” award from The Junior League of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  

Missing her home state of California, she left Cedar Rapids in 2020 for an Assistant Professorship at CSUMB and immediately transferred to The Junior League of Monterey County (JLMC). In 2021, she was honored with the “Outstanding Active Member” award from the JLMC. 

Her laboratory, the Applied and Basic Cognitive (ABC) Research Laboratory at CSUMB, investigates Language, Bilingualism, Memory, and Aging. Her current research focuses on the impact of bilingualism on false memory, demonstrating her ongoing commitment to advancing knowledge in the science of Cognition.  

Dr. Penalver’s passion for mentorship, education, social mobility, and social justice is a driving force in her life. She serves as an officer for various boards, including the President of the JLMC and the President of CSUMB’s California Faculty Association (CFA), and volunteers for many others.  

Beyond academia, Renee cherishes spending time with her nieces, Aviana and Zakaiyah, and spoiling her dogs, Luther, Jojo, and Bear. She is an avid member of book clubs, enjoys attending concerts, and loves being with her family and friends.