Identity and Agency
Agency is important for youth development, particularly for young girls and young girls of color who frequently work to make sense of their identity (Brickhouse & Potter, 2001). This process can work in two ways: (1) identity can influence both how girls view themselves and their relationship to science (see Calabrese Barton, et al., 2013), and; (2) also how they view science itself. One of the key advantages of the Science Minors and Achievers programs is how it empowers youth participants. For example, young people have the opportunity to produce a live television show that focuses on science content and is broadcast on a Chicago public access channel. Such activities draw on young people’s strengths and unique backgrounds (Calabrese Barton & Tan, 2010) and, as a result, can create a new connection to science (Gonsalves, et al., 2011; Tan, Calabrese Barton & Rivet, 2007).
Positive Youth Development
Positive Youth Development is a field of adolescent development that describes programs and models whose aim is to promote positive youth behavior outcomes and address behavioral issues among all youth (Catalano, et al., 2004; Eccles & Gootman, 2002; Larson, Eccles & Gootman, 2004). Some scholars agree that the one feature most prominent in successful youth programs is the adult-youth relationship (Ibid.). Yet research on adult-youth relationships has tended to focus primarily on parents and/or teachers. Our study takes a special look at the relationship between program staff and youth participants.
Together, these two frameworks have helped inform the design of our project and will be used as lenses to analyze data and interpret results.
Developing YOUth! Project List of References Cited (PDF)