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Posted June 4, 2009

Psychology doctoral student awarded APF Koppitz Fellowship

Hanna Carpenter, a fifth-year doctoral student in clinical psychology, has been awarded a 2009 Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Fellowship by the American Psychological Foundation. The $25,000 fellowship will support Carpenter’s research during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Presently in clinical rotation at Wilmington’s Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children as part of her practicum training, Carpenter is trying to understand how children’s behavioral problems are related to difficulties with language during the pre-school period of development.

Carpenter
   

“Many, many children with behavioral problems also have language problems, and the reverse is also true,” said Carpenter. “It is not really well understood why this occurs.”

She said one possible explanation is that kids with language problems might become very frustrated with failed attempts to communicate and act out for lack of more adaptive means to communicate.

“It could be that they don’t understand as much as other kids their age, or it also may be that they cannot express themselves as well; they might not know the word for something that their peers might know,” said Carpenter. “They might not be able to ask a question or combine words into a sentence the way their peers can.”

Carpenter said no one has ever specifically explored this theory before.

A native of Chicago, Carpenter earned her bachelor’s in psychology from Yale University then worked as a research assistant at Boston’s Children’s Hospital for two years before coming to Temple to earn her master’s degree in clinical psychology in 2007.

“I was really interested in the psychology research being done here,” she said about her decision to enroll in Temple graduate psychology program. “It fit really well with my own research interests.”

The Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Fellowship was created by Dr. Werner Koppitz, who made a bequest of more than $4 million to APF to support talented graduate students in child psychology as a way to honor his late wife, a school and educational psychologist who died of leukemia in 1983.

Carpenter, joined psychology graduate students at Harvard University, Virginia Tech and Georgetown University in receiving the fellowship.

Carpenter said it was “utter shock” when she was notified she had been awarded the Koppitz Fellowship. “It’s not something I ever really expected,” she said. “I wanted to give it my best shot, but I never dreamed it would actually come to fruition.”

After earning her doctorate, Carpenter said she would like to continue to pursue her current line of research by “developing larger scale projects related to understanding the co-occurrence of language and behavior problems,” as well as working clinically with children and their families.

<tr><td><span class="content_bold">CONTACT:</span> <span class="byline">Preston M. Moretz &lt;pmoretz@temple.edu&gt; 215-204-4380</span></td> </tr>
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