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Developing YOUth! Project

Measuring the long-term impact of a STEM-based out-of-school time program

July 19, 2017

Meet Our New Project Manager

Posted by Alison Mroczkowski on July 19, 2017

Hello! My name is Dr. Alison (Ali) Mroczkowski, and I am the new project manager for the Developing YOUth! Project. I recently completed my Ph.D. in community psychology from DePaul University, where I studied the educational experiences of Latina/o youth and mentoring. I am excited to be a part of the Developing YOUth! Project because I have a special interest in programs that support youth development. For my dissertation research, I conducted an in-depth qualitative study of the effects of a science support program on the development of low-income Latina/o youth, and the results provided a more nuanced understanding of how out-of-school time (OST) programs can support positive youth development. 

The results of my dissertation research provided evidence that students benefited in several ways from participating in the program. For example, students’ science knowledge increased and they developed science research skills, they demonstrated increased science interest and improved attitudes toward science, and their academic performance improved. The program also encouraged students to think critically about their identities, and it helped to broaden students’ worldviews. The results also identified the program activities that led to these benefits. For example, working in a science research lab and interacting with mentors were two activities that were related to the benefits of participating in the program. 

I am eagerly looking forward to getting to know the outstanding students in the Science Minors and Achievers (SMA) Program, and I am excited to learn more about their experiences, perspectives, and plans for the future. My goal for this summer is to interview the recent graduates of the SMA program, and I am starting to schedule interviews now. If you are a recent graduate of the SMA program, keep an eye out for an email from me inviting you to participate in the interview. I’d love to get to know you over lunch or coffee!

When I am not conducting research, I can be found with my husband chasing after our 10-month-old son, Wyatt, and our French bulldog, Zoe, who are usually getting into some sort of trouble together. My other interests include cooking, sewing, catching up on my Netflix queue, exploring the Chicago food scene, and physical fitness, and I’ll never pass up an opportunity to engage in a fun outdoor recreation activity (except horseback riding…just say no to horseback riding…).