Dr. Tara Bengle is the Community Development Research Manager for Smith Institute for Applied Research. Through this appointment, she is supporting organizational capacity building for the Council of Elders, a leadership body representing neighborhoods in Charlotte’s Northwest Corridor. She will work with this organization to ascertain a unifying vision for the Council’s work in the community, as well as connect student and faculty research to the needs and priorities of the Elders.
Dr. Bengle’s research interests focus on community development, participatory engagement, empowerment, and community-university partnerships. She has partnered with low-income neighborhoods throughout Charlotte since beginning graduate school in 2009. One of the most significant community development outcomes of this work was the allocation of $600,000 by County Commissioners to open a new neighborhood park in a neglected neighborhood. Dr. Bengle is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 Community Development Scholars Award, a national award recognizing scholarship in community development. She earned her Doctorate in Geography and Urban Regional Analysis from UNC Charlotte in 2015. She has lived in the Charlotte metropolitan region since 1998.