ATU’s Willmering Earns NRCA National Citation Award

Penny Willmering Award September 2023
Dr. Penny Willmering of Arkansas Tech University (left) and Dr. Ian Shadrick, National Rehabilitation Counseling Association president (right).

Dr. Penny Willmering, retired program director and current adjunct faculty member in the Arkansas Tech University rehabilitation science program, received the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association (NRCA) National Citation Award during a conference in Little Rock on Sept. 21.

According to information provided by NRCA, the organization’s National Citation Award was established “to recognize meritorious service or significant achievement in the field of rehabilitation on a local, state, regional or national basis.”

Willmering holds a Bachelor of Science degree in rehabilitation services from the University of Missouri, a Master of Arts degree in clinical psychology from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in rehabilitation psychology from the University of Wisconsin.

After working as a behavioral analyst and psychologist in the St. Louis, Mo., area, Willmering joined the ATU faculty in 1999. She retired from ATU as professor of rehabilitation science and program director in 2021, but has remained involved in the program as an adjunct faculty member.

Along the way, Willmering helped ATU become the first institution in the United States to receive accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) for an in-person rehabilitation science undergraduate degree program.

According to information published to the ATU website, the Arkansas Tech rehabilitation science program “is designed to prepare students for a variety of social service-based occupations through a foundation in client relations, industry-specific concerns and government agencies.”

Learn more about the ATU rehabilitation science program by visiting