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Youth Purpose Research Awards

In 2007, 2008 and 2009, the Stanford Center on Adolescence offered $10,000 research awards to young scholars pursuing studies related to youth purpose. These awards were funded in part by the Templeton Foundation and the Thrive Foundation for Youth. Research proposals submitted to the awards program ranged from the fields of education and psychology to sociology and public health. Ten awards were granted over the three years. Below are descriptions of the awardees and their projects. For biographical information and a brief research description, select the name of the awardee.


Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology, Research and Evaluation
University of Missouri, St. Louis

Project: Purposeful Work: Civic Development from the Perspective of Adolescent Language Brokers

Doctoral Candidate, Education Department
University of California, Santa Cruz

Project: Poetry as Purpose: Extending Beyond the Self through Youth Spoken Word

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Colorado State University

Project: The Development and Exploration of a Youth Purpose Program for Middle Schools

Assistant Professor of Counselor Education
Virginia Tech (aka Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)

Project: Facilitating the Development of Purpose: Evidence for the Effectiveness of a Group Counseling Intervention with Middle School Adolescents


Assistant Professor, Division of Counseling and Educational Psychology
University of Missouri, Kansas City, School of Education

Project: Volunteerism as Purpose: Examining the Predictors of Long-Term Service Involvement

Assistant Professor
Loyola University of Chicago, Department of Psychology

Project: An Accelerated Longitudinal Study of Profiles of Purpose in Adolescence

Assistant Professor of Language and Literacy
The Pennsylvania State University, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Project: What's the Purpose?: How Urban Adolescents of Color Interpret and Respond to Noble and Ignoble Purposes Constructed in Media Texts

Doctoral candidate
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Human Development and Education

Project: Exploring Development of Skills That Sustain Youth Purpose: The Effects of Service Learning and Social Context on the Sociopolitical Change Strategies of Middle School Youth


Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology in Education
University of Pittsburgh, School of Education

Project: Building Assets: Youth Purpose and Epistemological Development

Doctoral Candidate
Oregon State University, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences

Project: Rural Youth: An Examination of Individual, Family, and Community Processes on Aspirations and Sense of Purpose