2020 CSBBCS Mid-Career Award Winner: Dr. Penny Pexman

Dr. Pexman is an exceptional, universally-respected, and internationally-celebrated scientist. She uses her position to promote, mentor, and support her students and fellow scientists rather than leverage that reputation for her own benefit. She is the classic picture of the well-rounded scientist. Her scientific work is rigorous and substantive and she makes contributions in the domains of both theory and data. She gives her time freely to the discipline including CSBBCS (e.g., she is a CSBBCS Past President, Editor of CSBBCS’s own CJEP, and Co-founder of WICS-Canada).

The scientific contribution of Dr. Pexman is exceptional. She obtained her Ph.D. in 1998 and has since published 117 articles in leading journals like Current Directions in Psychological Science, Cognition, JEP: General, JEP: LMC, and Journal of Memory and Language, 7 books, and 7 book chapters. According to Google Scholar, her citation record is 5,669 citations and her H index is 41. Her outstanding contributions have been acknowledged by NSERC, which in 2008 awarded her a Discovery Accelerator Supplement which is given by NSERC to “a small group of outstanding researchers who have a well-established research program, and who show strong potential to become international leaders in their respective area of research”. The promise was fulfilled and Dr. Pexman is now clearly an international leader. The quality of Dr. Pexman’s work has been acknowledged many times. CSBBCS, APS and CPA elected her fellow, and in 2016, she received the Richard C. Tees Distinguished Leadership award from our Society. The quality of her work is also evidenced by the continuous funding provided by agencies like NSERC and SSHRC, as well as support received from other agencies like CFI.

Dr. Pexman’s scientific contributions are of high quality, original and at the forefront of the field. She made major contributions to the fields of lexical processing, embodied cognition and experimental pragmatics. Her theoretical work has shaped our understanding of semantic processing and figurative language understanding. Dr. Pexman developed new materials and norms and made them available to the whole community through five important publications in Behavior Research Methods. In addition to investigating topics in psycholinguistics with innovative methods, Dr. Pexman has provided additional insights through her studies with various populations including typically developing children, healthy adults, patients with epilepsy and children with autism.

Dr. Pexman also made major contributions to training the next generation of leading researchers. She has received multiple teaching and mentorship awards. She received the University of Calgary Faculty of Graduate Studies Great Supervisor Award in 2015 and the University of Calgary Faculty of Graduate Studies Outstanding Achievement in Supervision Award in 2003 and again in 2010. This award was very well deserved considering the large number of students she supervised or co-supervised. Her students (4 post-doctoral fellows, 11 PhDs, 11 MSc, and 35 Honours students) are first author on 55 articles and students are almost always co-authors on her publications. Dr. Pexman is also very active both in her department as a member of numerous supervisory committees and outside her institution as an external examiner.

Dr. Pexman is a spokesperson for our discipline. She is the Associate Editor for Journal of Memory and Language, a member of four editorial boards, and she has been Editor in Chief for the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, in addition to being guest editor for two special issues: one at CJEP and one at Frontiers. Dr. Pexman is a member of the Governing Board of the Psychonomic Society, and Co-Founder of Women in Cognitive Science-Canada. Active with funding agencies, she has been a member and co-chair of NSERC grant selection committee: Biological Systems and Functions, in addition to her work as a member of the Banting postdoctoral fellowship national adjudication committee, the Alberta Heritage graduate scholarship committee and the Alberta Innovates trainee advisory committee. Dr. Pexman has also been a member of the APA working group on the Publication Manual (6th Edition) and she wrote books published by APA on how to present research findings. Dr. Pexman’s leadership in her research field is also well exemplified by the 27 invited talks she gave across the world, in addition to her 272 conference presentations. The work of Dr. Pexman is of the highest quality and has a great impact with 19 publications cited more than 100 times, according to Google Scholar