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UW Professor Awarded for Work With Children's Mental Health Needs

November 24, 2008 — University of Wyoming College of Education faculty member Kent Becker's innovative effort to use photography to raise awareness of children's mental health needs was recently honored by UPLIFT Wyoming, a division of the National Federation of Families.

Becker, a UW Department of Counselor Education associate professor, received UPLIFT's 2008 Making A Difference Advocacy Award for his work establishing the Wyoming SAGE Photovoice Project (

Becker received the award during UPLIFT's banquet, held in conjunction with the Governor's Roundtable on Children's Mental Health.

"This had a lot of meaning for me," Becker says. "The Photovoice Project is geared toward increasing awareness around children's mental health, about hearing their voices. To be given an award by this group really means a lot to me."

Photovoice is a technique that combines equal parts photography, research, group process, storytelling, social action and development of awareness of personal and community issues.

"The project's focus is toward the experiences of youths and families who have been in residential treatment or who have been clearly on the verge of being placed," Becker explains.

Peggy Nikkel, UPLIFT executive director, describes the qualities that Becker's selection represents.

"The outstanding qualities of Kent's advocacy efforts through Photovoice are his compassion and empathy for youth and families struggling with mental health and substance abuse," she says. "He is able to combine this with his diverse educational and clinical background to support parents and youth in becoming a dynamic voice for change in Wyoming."

Roundtable participants witnessed the project's power during a plenary session featuring the work of Becker and students in UW's counselor education doctoral program. Project participants also presented a narrated slide show featuring representative profiles. Presenters included Photovoice Project participants Lori Hutchinson and Susan Bentley and doctoral students Michael Bishop, Kelly Hubbell, Kristin Douglas and Konja Klepper.

Fellow counselor education faculty member Serena Lambert is the project's co-researcher. A qualitative research expert, Lambert will collaborate with Becker on data analysis and publishing related to the Wyoming SAGE Photovoice Project.

For more information, contact Becker at (307) 766-3123 or e-mail

Kent Becker


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