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Fran Mervyn

Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award to FrAN Mervyn

A Message from the President

Dear All:

A few weeks ago, I received this note from one of our alumnae. Let me encourage you all to read it:

“I am a 1982 graduate of MSPP, one of the pioneers. I am writing to advise you of a recent development which I would like the MSPP community to know about.

In October, 2011, there was an announcement in the APA Monitor for a call for nominations for the Dr. Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award. The announcement asked for 'anyone' to nominate a 'current or former teacher, professor, or instructor' for the Beckman award. The student had to be a 'current or former student who was inspired by the nominee to create an organization or establish a concept, procedure or movement.'

I read the article: Immediately, I thought of Dr. Frances Mervyn, my former professor and advisor. Dr. Mervyn was a key player in my educational process at MSPP. She was not only my academic advisor, she was mentor and an excellent professor of Community Psychology. In her class, I learned about the loss aspect of a crisis AND I learned about the opportunity that a crisis experience presents for growth. In my training up to that point, I had learned only about how to teach others about the "loss" aspect. Growth opportunity was an entirely new concept, and it was a concept that greatly impacted my view of these encounters. I was working in at the NH Hospital in the Forensic Unit where I saw lots of loss, and I learned about the emotional cost of loss to the family of victims.

With permission from Dr. Mervyn, I proposed a Directed Study which allowed me to co-author a grant in conjunction with the NH Crime Commission. The grant project needed to be accepted by Dr. Mervyn as I could not do the project except or unless I received academic credit. Thankfully, Dr. Mervyn was a creative visionary (even then). She approved my proposal for which I received 2 Trimester credits. The grant, however, was accepted in Washington, D.C. by the Department of Justice and funds were allocated for a pilot project under auspices of Law Enforcement Assistance Administration.

Out of that project grew the Victim/Witness Service of Hillsborough County, NH. The long story is that the project was successful and it now exists in all ten counties in NH; it was an enduring concept - it bridged the gap between law and psychology. So, when I saw the APA Monitor call for nominations, I knew that Dr. Mervyn was a professor who encouraged me to create "an organization or to establish a concept, procedure, or movement." I just knew that I had to nominate Dr. Mervyn for this recognition.”

I am pleased and very proud to announce that Dr. Fran Mervyn has received the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award from the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman was an educator, a renowned author and a pioneer in the field of Psychology. She was one of the first female Psychology professors at Columbia University, and she taught at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Beckman authored nine books and textbooks about child and adolescent Psychology. Dr. Beckman was a champion of gender equality and an advocate for the advancement of women in academia.

In addition to a $25,000 monetary award, this recognition places Fran in excellent company. Past recipients have been Drs. Carol Dweck of Stanford University, Alan Kazdin of Yale, James Prochaska of URI and Judith Resnik of Yale Law School. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Fran Mervyn on her well-deserved award.


Dr. Nicholas Covino, President
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
One Wells Avenue, Newton, MA 02459
617-327-6777 (x1281, Lilly Manolis)

Updated 8/20/12

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