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UK PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR
WINS TEMPLETON AWARD

By Kelley Bozeman

Photo of Suzanne SegerstromSuzanne Segerstrom

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"Dr. Segerstrom's selection as the winner of the Templeton Prize is a wonderful tribute to the influence of her research on the field of positive psychology and is an indication of her growing stature as one of the leading scholars in this area."

-- Mike Nietzel, UK's acting provost

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May 28, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Suzanne C. Segerstrom, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, is the first place winner of the 2002 Templeton Positive Psychology Prize. Segerstrom received psychology's largest monetary prize for her research showing the health benefits of optimism. The $100,000 award is divided as a cash prize of $30,000 to be used any way Segerstrom chooses and a grant of $70,000 to support her research in the positive psychology field.

"Dr. Segerstrom's selection as the winner of the Templeton Prize is a wonderful tribute to the influence of her research on the field of positive psychology and is an indication of her growing stature as one of the leading scholars in this area," said Mike Nietzel, UK's acting provost.

Nietzel said Segerstrom's study of the beneficial effects of optimism on physical health has attracted considerable attention in several fields and is breaking new ground in our understanding of how psychological factors promote or impair health.

He said the dual selection of another UK professor, Don Lynam, as a winner of one of the American Psychological Association's awards for distinguished scientific contributions coupled with Segerstrom's Templeton Prize in the same year represents an outstanding level of achievement for the UK Department of Psychology.

"These are highly coveted awards in psychology and to have UK faculty selected for both of them brings a wonderful level of recognition to the University," Nietzel said.

Now in their third year, the Templeton prizes encourage first-rate mid-career scientists to devote their best efforts to positive psychology topics. The prize is open to researchers from any country in all the social sciences, not just psychology.


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