Child Development director receives prestigious award

Director of the TCU Institute of Child Development, Karyn Purvis, Ph.D., received The James Hammerstein Award Monday in New York City. The award is given annually to honor someone who has displayed outstanding dedication to children in need. It is presented by Only Make Believe, a nonprofit organization that creates and performs interactive theater for children in hospitals and health care facilities.

Q: What will this award mean for the TCU Institute of Child Development?
It means further recognition internationally and nationally for the work to stand with Dena Hammerstein and Deborra-Lee Jackman and to be noted by both of these incredibly amazing women who are doing absolutely marvelous work for children. It is a great honor for the Institute of Child Development at TCU. 

Q: What is your background in child development?
A: I foster two children. I worked with children when I was in high school and college by mentoring, tutoring and so forth. When my youngest child left for college, I came back to TCU to finish an undergraduate degree and then went on to the Ph.D. program.

Q: What are some of the goals of the Institute?
A: Our goals are to create fierce advocates for children. Our program embodies the mission of TCU, and that is to change the world. You’ll see the Institute’s tagline is “Learning to change the world. . . for children.” When our students leave the program, and they come out with a child development major or minor, we love to say they have fire in their bellies and light in their eyes. They are armed and equipped; they are able and empowered to be amazing advocates for children in practical ways, whether it’s as a teacher, psychologist, nurse or in the criminal justice system. We are sending out students from five major domains that are armed and dangerous for helping children heal. In fact, our students are very sophisticated when they go to interviews for doctoral programs and master’s programs, and our students do very well in these programs because they have such sophisticated knowledge about how to help kids heal.

Q: Having won this award, how will you and the Institute move forward?
A: We will just keep doing day-to-day everything we do. We are in the process of developing and cultivating a world-class child development program. We are well on our way at TCU, and we will continue everything we have valued and cherished these last dozen years.  

Q: Will your approach to the Institute change after winning this award?
A: No, our passion is to make a difference in the world through children and literally change the world for children. That has been our guiding passion, and this award punctuates that the TCU Institute of Child Development is doing that. We are just going to keep doing everything we have done.