June 3, 2020

Purdue bestows 2nd annual Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University is proud to announce the awarding of the second annual Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award, a scholarship that memorializes Trent’s inspiring legacy. The 2020 recipient is Kamryn Dehn, a senior from Frankfort, Indiana, in the College of Agriculture, the Honors College and the College of Liberal Arts, majoring in aquatic sciences and anthropology.

Funded through a combination of gifts, the Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award is awarded to undergraduate students at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus who have encountered serious physical or similarly daunting adversity in their pursuit of higher education. Students may nominate themselves or be nominated by others. A committee of Honors College students who are also Stamps Scholars makes recommendations for the top three nominees; the recipient is chosen by Purdue President Mitch Daniels (video of Daniels informing Dehn of the award)

“Kamryn’s story showcases the signature Purdue spirit of resilience, grit, and improving the world around them,” Daniels said. “It is our hope and ambition that all Boilermakers will be inspired by her story, a worthy continuation of Tyler Trent’s legacy.”

Diagnosed with hip dysplasia at just one week old, Dehn has persevered through years of hip pain. A rare condition called Perthes disease resulted in further complications, resulting in two hip surgeries at a very young age, one as an infant and one at age 2, both requiring a body cast. 

In high school, she began experiencing complications, including painful back spasms, nerve pain, and deep hip and leg aches. These symptoms were highly variable, often flaring without warning, and she struggled to find medical solutions. In college, her physical challenges increased.  Her pain level grew, and a muscle in her hip socket was shredded during her sophomore year. After that incident, she was unable to walk longer than 20 minutes at a time. Following an extensive surgery by a hip specialist, Dehn returned to campus that fall. That semester, she had to relearn how to walk and was on crutches for six months. She is now walking independently.

“I feel very honored that my story was selected for this award,” Dehn said.  “I’ve learned that having courage and resilience is about being the best that you absolutely can be given your circumstances. That’s what Tyler embraced, and it’s what I hope to continue embracing in my life.”

Scholarship recipients embody Tyler’s legacy by rising above hardship, turning it into something positive, and continuing to seek their passions. Dehn made a particular impression on Daniels and the selection committee in the way she used her personal challenges to create positive and lasting change in the lives of those around her. In the semester following her surgery, during a difficult and challenging recovery, she served as an officer for the Purdue American Fisheries Society, service chair for the Wesley Foundation campus ministry, and the volunteer recruitment chair for Purdue Winterization, a large community service project based at Wesley. She emphasized that a support system was crucial to her success, including friends, family, medical personnel, and the on-campus Disability Resource Center. 

The scholarship is in honor of Tyler Trent, who was diagnosed with bone cancer at the age of 15 and died at age 20. He founded Teens With a Cause, which recruits young people to perform service projects for families affected by cancer. He went on to earn an associate degree from Purdue in computer information technology. His activities at Purdue helped raise cancer awareness with a young audience. He joined the Purdue Dance Marathon Club, a student organization that raises funds and awareness for Riley Hospital for Children, where he received treatment. He was also named honorary team captain for Purdue’s Hammer Down Cancer football game, and served as the first student member of the Director’s Advancement Board of the Purdue Center for Cancer Research.

Sean P. English of Northville, Michigan, last year was selected as the inaugural recipient of the honor.

To support endowment

If you would like to support the Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award or the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment at Purdue:

Checks may be sent to Purdue Foundation, 403 W. Wood St., West Lafayette, IN 47907.

Online credit card gifts may be made via this link: https://giving.purdue.edu/tylerstrong.

For more information on the Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award, visit https://www.honors.purdue.edu/current-students/trentaward/index.php. 

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 6 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu. 

Writer: Logan Judy, ljudy@purdue.edu 

Media contact: Jim Bush, 765-336-1909, jsbush@purdue.edu

Source: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Note to journalists: A video of Purdue President Mitch Daniels informing recipient Kamryn Dehn of the honor is available on Google Drive at https://purdue.university/2yIViC7

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