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PRYDE Scholars garner multiple awards


From left, Town of Dryden Supervisor Jason Leifer, Greta Sloan '18, Cornell Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina and Town of Dryden Deputy Supervisor Dan Lamb.

The first cohort of PRYDE Scholars graduate this year. Two seniors who served as PRYDE Scholars for the past two years have received prestigious awards for their leadership, innovation, and commitment to improving the world.

Julia Lesnick HD ’18 was awarded the 2018 Human Ecology Alumni Association’s Outstanding Senior Award, which recognizes a graduating senior who consistently exemplified the mission of the College of Human Ecology during their years at Cornell. And Greta Sloan HD ’18 has been named the 2018 winner of the Cornell University Relations’ Campus-Community Leadership Award, which honors a graduating senior who has shown exceptional town-gown leadership and innovation.

PRYDE, or the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement, aims to develop social and behavioral interventions that will benefit youth in 4-H and, ultimately, their communities. The PRYDE Scholars program chooses rising juniors who spend two years learning how to apply findings from basic research to 4-H programming in New York.

As a PRYDE Scholar, Julia works under the guidance of associate professor Jane Mendle in the Adolescent Transitions Laboratory. Her research has focused on rejection sensitivity and relationship outcomes in adolescent girls. Her poster for this work was accepted for presentation at the Society for Research on Adolescence conference for this year in April.

Julia Lesnick presenting her research poster

Julia Lesnick presenting her research

“I'm so honored and excited to receive this reward and represent the College,” Lesnick said. “The learning, research, and service opportunities I have been able to pursue through Human Ecology are incredible, and I'm so grateful to be a part of this community. I hope that I can continue to contribute to CHE [College of Human Ecology] and represent its mission and values in my future endeavors.”

Lesnick also won the Biddy Martin Undergraduate Prize for Writing in LGBTQ Studies and the Florence Halpern Award for Leadership in Community Service.

Sloan focused her research on cumulative risk in childhood ecological systems and severity of hyperactivity and impulsivity.

“I found that the accumulation of stress on a caregiver, family conflict and factors associated with poverty were linked to hyperactivity and impulsivity in a sample of youth at an East Coast behavioral health agency I interned at last summer,” Sloan said. “I was grateful for this opportunity, and care about these families.”

In addition to her work as a PRYDE scholar, she volunteered for four years and this year served as co-president of Cornell’s Youth Outreach Undergraduates Reshaping Success program, which mentors youth in mobile home parks in the town of Dryden, New York. This fall, she will serve as a Teach for America corps member, teaching in an elementary school.


Youth advocate Greta Sloan ’18 wins campus-community leadership award – Cornell Chronicle

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Using comics to convey research


By Lori Sonken for the Cornell Chronicle

A 3-panel comic showing - panel one: text, "join the NFLC - Spring 2079!" above a group image of student; panel 2: header text "what the hell is the NFLC?" above image of a student with a speech bubble saying, "It's the Nilgiris Field Learning Center in Kotagiri, India!"; panel 3: two students are talking one says, "We study sustainable development and do research in communities with our partners." the other says, "Yep, there are equal numbers of Cornell students and young people from tribal communities in the Nilgiris, like me!"

The first page of a comic Neema Kudva, associate professor in city and regional planning, is using in recruitment efforts for the Nilgiris Field Learning Center in India.

Cornell faculty members and academic staff participating in the Knowledge Matters Fellowship presented their projects, including comics, videos and websites, at a showcase wrapping up the yearlong transmedia training program May 10 at A.D. White House.

“My students said they better understood the papers they read” after creating a comic strip illustrating research and findings from a peer-reviewed journal article, said Jennifer Agans, assistant director of the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research.

Agans asked undergraduates enrolled in Human Development 4850 to make a 12-frame, persuasive comic making the research relevant for nonacademic audiences. Before tackling the assignment, students received instruction in developing comics from Jon McKenzie, the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Fellow for Media and Design and visiting professor of English, who runs the Knowledge Matters Fellowship.

Another Knowledge Matters fellow, C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell, associate professor and the Robert Dyson Sesquicentennial Chair of Resource Economics in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, produced a four-minute video that highlights research in a paper she wrote with a former Ph.D. student in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management about the effects of driving restrictions on air quality.

Making the video “made me think about how to make the research my students and I are doing interesting and accessible to a general audience,” she said.

To solicit support for a clemency case, Sandra Babcock, faculty director of the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide, is developing a PechaKucha – a presentation format that uses narration and 20 slides displaying for 20 seconds each to convey information concisely.

Maureen Hanson, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, worked with a volunteer WordPress expert to build a website for the Center for Enervating Neuroimmune Disease, which conducts research on myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome, supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The Knowledge Matters Fellowship, sponsored by the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity (OFDD), Cornell University Library, Office of Engagement Initiatives and the Center for Teaching Innovation,will be offered in 2018-19, said Yael Levitte, associate vice provost for faculty development and diversity. Email OFDD more information.

Faculty uses new formats – including comics – to convey research - Cornell Chronicle

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ACT for Youth awarded new contract with NY State


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

ACT for youth logoA BCTR project that helps New York youth lead more positive, healthy lives will expand its work with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

The state awarded a new contract to the Assets Coming Together for Youth Center for Community Action (ACT for Youth), a BCTR project focused on positive youth development and adolescent health. The project will receive $1.1 million in each of the next five years to develop training and resources, provide technical assistance, and evaluate youth intervention programs.

ACT for Youth has partnered with the NYSDOH since 2000. This is the project’s fourth contract with the state.

Headshot of Jane Powers

Jane Powers

“We’re thrilled to continue working with the New York State Department of Health, supporting their efforts to improve the health and well-being of adolescents in our state,” said Jane Powers, the project director.

ACT for Youth is currently working on several community-based initiatives that focus on adolescent sexual health promotion and youth development: Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Personal Responsibility Education Program, Successfully Transitioning Youth to Adolescence, and Pathways to Success. As part of the new contract, ACT for Youth will now also support prevention programs for sexually-transmitted diseases for youth. The organizations that house these programs are diverse, ranging from large, urban hospitals to small community agencies. Each program incorporates positive youth development strategies into their work with young people.

ACT for Youth is a partnership among the BCTR, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City, and the Adolescent Medicine Division at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Related:

ACT for Youth: Measuring positive youth development

ACT for Youth supports sex education and positive youth development at Provider Day

Teen Outreach Program helps prevent teen pregnancy

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PRYDE conference on social media literacy in youth


news-2017-prydeconf-inpost

front (l to r): David Dunning, Elaine Wethington, Kristen Elmore, Jutta Dotterweich, Jamila Simon, Esther Kim, Rachel Sumner. back: Chinwe Effiong, Paul Mihailidis, Kayla Burd, Josh Pasek, Jonathon Schuldt, Monica Bulger, Neil Lewis, Norbert Schwarz.

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

What does the research tell us about how young people use social media? And what can educators do to teach youth how to use social media in productive, positive ways?

These were the questions researchers addressed at the second annual conference hosted by the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE). The conference, titled “Media Literacy and Citizenship Development in Youth and Emerging Young Adults,” was held from November 9 to 11 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. It included multidisciplinary researchers and media developers from across the nation focused on youth, communications, misinformation, and media use.

Elaine Wethington, professor of human development and sociology and an associate director of the BCTR, organized the conference. She is a medical sociologist whose research focuses on stress, protective mechanisms of social support, aging, and translational research methods.

Sam Taylor presenting

Sam Taylor presenting

“There are few topics more urgent to address than the relationship of increased reliance on social media as a means of communication and the impact of the new media on social and political institutions,” Wethington said.  “Our long-term goal is to develop new ideas about how to translate research on promoting productive social media use among youth into effective programs that engage youth and emerging adults and their development as informed citizens.”

In addition to invited talks from leading media, communication, and social and developmental psychological researchers, the conference included discussions and group activities about how to teach youth to become positive stewards of social media and the information exchanged on the web. Moving forward, those ideas will help to inform projects in the Cornell Social Media Lab, a PRYDE collaborator.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: conference    Elaine Wethington    PRYDE    social media    youth    youth development   

Creativity at 4-H National Science Day event

Tags: 4-H,   children,   media mention,   NYC,   STEM,   youth development,  

Preparing an arm band monitor

Preparing an arm band monitor

By Jon Craig for the Cornell Chronicle

A Brooklyn elementary school was transformed into a high-tech laboratory during a Cornell-led science discovery day Oct. 4.

About 300 schoolchildren jammed all corners of Public School 21 as part of the 10th annual 4-H National Youth Science Day that reached an estimated 100,000 schoolchildren in 50 states. Last fall, Cornell led the national “drone discovery” theme.

This year’s interactive learning challenge, “Incredible Wearables,” was developed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Youths engineered and built electronic armbands that measured their fitness while exercising. The PS 21 gymnasium was filled with “wired-up” students jumping rope, spinning hula hoops or running in place. Fellow youth scientists then monitored and measured heartbeats and number of steps or jumps taken.

In another room sponsored by faculty, staff and volunteers from Cornell University Cooperative Extension-New York City (CUCE-NYC) and National 4-H Council, the schoolchildren:

  • explored New York state’s parks using a giant geological map, led by Susan Hoskins, senior extension associate at Cornell’s Institute for Resource Information Sciences;
  • learned about hydroponics, or growing plants without soil, which wowed most youngsters, led by Philson A.A. Warner, extension associate and founding director of the CUCE-NYC Hydroponics, Aquaculture, Aquaponics Learning Lab;
  • learned about energy by pedaling a bicycle that produced electricity to power light bulbs and a fan;
  • created bird feeders from pine cones and planted fall bulbs to help pollinators; and
  • learned about sugar levels in juices, beverages and fatty foods.

The goal was to inspire youths to gain interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and pursue college and careers in those fields.

Trying out the Google virtual reality viewers

Trying out the Google virtual reality viewers

Another interactive exhibit, sponsored by Google, allowed students to wear virtual reality goggles that exposed them to moving undersea images, a dairy farm in Minnesota and other science-based scenes.

Lucinda Randolph-Benjamin, CUCE-NYC extension associate for family and 4-H youth development, said this year’s combination of high-tech fitness tests in one part of PS 21 as well as interactive exhibits in another part transformed the flagship Brooklyn school into a “crazy but incredible learning environment.”

“There’s a lot more to keep track of this year,” Randolph-Benjamin exclaimed as she herded gaggles of elementary pupils.

Last fall, “drone discovery” and the accompanying engineering design challenges were developed by staff and faculty members in Cornell Cooperative Extension and the College of Human Ecology. In addition to solving real-world problems, students were taught about safety and regulations, remote sensing and flight control – a project that continues to gain national traction.

Organized chaos spells creativity at Brooklyn school science event - Cornell Chronicle

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    children    media mention    NYC    STEM    youth development   

4-H event boosts youth confidence in future studies

Tags: 4-H,   media mention,   youth,   youth development,  

By Stephen D’Angelo for the Cornell Chronicle

news-2017careerex-inpost

Career Explorations participants synthesizing gold nanoparticles by using gold chloride and citric acid in hot water

More than 400 middle and high school students from 45 New York state counties and extension programs made their way to Cornell’s Ithaca campus June 27-29 to investigate the mysteries of the cosmos, perform physical exams on small and large animals, understand the intricacies of food science and learn to program robots.

These activities were only a few of the many workshops taught by Cornell faculty, staff and graduate students during the 4-H Career Explorations conference, an annual event that exposes youth to academic fields and career exploration by delivering a hands-on experience in a college setting.

“Our main purpose of career explorations is to give young people a chance to get a feel for careers that they’ve never even heard of, or maybe never even considered for themselves,” said Alexa Maille, conference coordinator and New York State 4-H science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, a research and outreach branch of the College of Human Ecology.

“This is the first college experience for a lot our participants and we receive a good amount of feedback from these youth, both during the conference and after, saying that they are now interested in pursuing future studies or a career in one of the subject areas that they were exposed to here first,” Maille added.

Dozens of scholarships were made available through the New York State 4-H Foundation and Cornell University.

The conference’s 30 programs focused on healthy living, STEM, civic engagement and leadership and were facilitated by the Colleges of Human Ecology, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering and Information Science, as well as the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and the Museum of the Earth. The event connected youth to academic fields including engineering, animal science, astronomy, environmental science, food science, nanotechnology and human development.

A program titled “A Tour of Human Development across the Lifespan,” organized by the Bronfenbrenner Center’s Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE), introduced human development to students with interests in sociology, psychology, neuroscience, medicine, education, public health or social work.

“We really wanted to expose the youth to both the idea of lifespan human development, showing them that development continues at all ages, and to different research methods,” said Jennifer Agans, PRYDE assistant director for research on youth development and engagement. “For us, this was really an amazing opportunity to work directly with youth and teach them about social science, as well as to align to our mission in connecting 4-H programs with campus research.”

Students heard from professors about their research, visited the fMRI lab and saw how brain scans can provide insights into human behavior. They also participated in career-related activities including interviews and focus group to better understand research methods.

And students discussed academic directions and personal career pathways with graduate students, lab managers, program assistants and postdoctoral fellows, who shed light on the transition from high school to college to career.

Skyler Masse, 16, from Niagara County, participated in the human development program and is interested in a career in medicine and health.

“Working hand-in-hand with the professors and students allowed me to be able to see that it’s okay not to have a direct route to college; there are many options, and a lot more options, than you may think there are,” she said. “Interviewing graduate students and postdocs, and hearing directly from them, helped me realize that it’s okay to change what you’re doing, even in college. You don’t have to have a set major, and that they went through the same thing.”

Meghan Stang, 17, from Cattaraugas County, is considering physical therapy as a career. She said the experience has given her more confidence in her future academic and professional life.

“Just listening to all of the graduate students and undergraduate students who came and spoke to us, they were in a similar situation when they were my age, and now they are succeeding in life,” she said. “It makes me think that even though I don’t know exactly where I want to go or what I want to do around physical therapy, I’ll be okay. I will succeed.”

4-H event boosts youth confidence in future studies - Cornell Chronicle

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Teen Outreach Program helps prevent teen pregnancy


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

The ACT (Assets Coming Together) for Youth Center of Excellence at the BCTR is helping youth organizations across the state of New York launch a youth development program to help prevent teen pregnancy.

The Teen Outreach Program, or TOP, is a program for youth ages 12 to 17. It was developed for the St. Louis Public Schools in 1978. Since then, research has shown the program helps to prevent teen pregnancy and also improves academic outcomes such as increasing high school graduation rates.

With support from ACT for Youth, six agencies are funded by the New York State Department of Health to implement TOP.  As a replication partner, ACT for Youth staff will train facilitators, offer technical assistance and help the sites evaluate the program’s effectiveness. So far, one site in Long Island has nearly 300 youth enrolled.

2014 Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR) portraits.

Divine Sebuharara

The program includes lessons about healthy behaviors and life skills including critical thinking skills, goal-setting, information about healthy relationships, communication, human development, and sexual health. TOP is unique because the curriculum component offers different levels for young people in different age groups, said Divine Sebuharara, an extension support specialist with ACT for Youth.

“Facilitators also have the ability to pull lessons from other levels,” she said. “So as they get to know the kids, they can tailor the lessons to their needs. They can provide more basic information for kids who need it, or they can provide more advanced information for students who are ready for the next level. This requires a skilled facilitator who really knows their youth. Skilled and caring facilitators are an integral part of this program’s success.”

In addition, the program includes a community service learning (CSL) component where students engage in at least 20 hours on a project, or projects, they decide upon and assist in planning and implementing. “By engaging in CSL while learning new content and skills, participants are able to apply their knowledge and develop a sense of self-efficacy,” Sebuharara said.

ACT for Youth was launched in 2000 to reduce risky sexual behavior among youth by advancing the principles of positive youth development. The program is a partnership between the BCTR, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City, Ulster BOCES, and the University of Rochester Medical Center. It receives funding from the New York State Department of Health.

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Videos on purpose and youth development


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Having a purpose in life is vitally important to youth’s health and wellness. That was the take-home message from the first annual conference hosted by the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE) in the BCTR.

The conference – held last fall in California – focused on purpose and health across the lifespan. It included researchers working in areas of education, psychology, biology, and public health from leading universities throughout the country. The conference was hosted by PRYDE co-director Anthony Burrow, an associate professor of human development whose research focuses on purpose as a psychological resource.

All of the full-length talks given by the researchers at the conference are available online, and each presenter also created short videos to explain their work to a wider audience. Motivating the conference was a desire to translate the latest research on purpose into an easily-understandable form for educators, social workers, and program directors.

“The amount of scientific evidence being produced showing the benefits of purpose is staggering,” Burrow said. “Yet, there is some distance between what researchers are finding and what the public knows about these findings. We believe this is unfortunate, and therefore designed a conference that invited leading purpose researchers share their insights, and then asking them to further unpack their findings for a wider audience.

“This is the kind of translation and information delivery PRYDE is well-positioned to do, and it is an exciting and enjoyable experience to be out front in making importance science more accessible to all,” he said.

Thanks to the conference’s success, PRYDE established it as an annual event, Burrow said. Its second conference on purpose – “Purpose in a Diverse Society” – will take place this October in St. Louis. This time, a new group of researchers will present their work on purpose and diversity in a variety of settings including university lecture halls, a museum, and a public library.

You can also find two playlists of the short videos – which include topics such as identity, work and family life, health and social and emotional learning - on the PRYDE YouTube channel.

PRYDE is a program created to promote positive youth development through empirical studies and by providing evidence-based best practices for 4-H and other youth organizations. Its goal is to generate new knowledge about youth development that will directly benefit 4-H participants in New York State and beyond.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Anthony Burrow    conference    PRYDE    purpose    video    youth development   

NY 4-H student shadows MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin

Tags: 4-H,   Andy Turner,   media mention,   video,   youth,   youth development,  

John Gabalski at MSNBC studios, NYC. (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for National 4-H Council)

John Gabalski at MSNBC studios, NYC. (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for National 4-H Council)

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

A 4-H student from Orleans County learned about broadcasting last month from an accomplished role model: NBC news anchor Craig Melvin.

Fifteen-year-old John Gabalski was selected to spend the day at NBC Studios at Rockefeller Center with Melvin, who anchors MSNBC Live on weekdays and co-anchors the Today Saturday edition. The visit was part of the National 4-H Council’s “Day in the Life Experience,” which connects youth with 4-H alumni.

Gabalski, who is interested in a career in journalism, had the chance to watch Melvin’s one-hour broadcast live and learn about what it takes to work at a major news network. “It was very interesting to see how everything works behind the camera, the way they handle the cameras and the lighting,” Gabalski told his local newspaper, orleanshub.com.

Gabalski is a member of the Orleans County Rabbit Raisers and Outback Orleans 4-H Clubs, and is also a member of Orleans County 4-H Senior Council.

John Gabalski with Craig Melvin on set at MSNBC. (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for National 4-H Council)

John Gabalski with Craig Melvin on set at MSNBC. (Jason DeCrow/AP Images for National 4-H Council)

About 190,000 youth ages 5-19 participate in 4-H programs throughout New York each year. The program – housed in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research – serves as the youth outreach component of Cornell Cooperative Extension.  

A major focus of 4-H is to help youth experience hands-on learning opportunities in science and technology, healthy living, and civic engagement that help them grow into competent, caring, and contributing members of society, says Andy Turner, New York State leader for 4-H at Cornell University.

“One of the core foundations of 4-H is to connect youth to caring adult mentors who can help them explore interests and potentially help them shape their college and career pathway,” he said. “Although John’s experience with Craig Melvin was unique and exceptional, it represents the ideals and goals we are seeking for all youth involved in 4-H.” 

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Positive Youth Development online courses


PYD 101Youth work professionals, volunteers, and advocates can now easily brush up on positive youth development thanks to a new series of short, online courses. Positive Youth Development 101 Online is based on, and can be used to supplement, the training curriculum Positive Youth Development 101 (PYD 101) by Jutta Dotterweich. The online courses were created by Jutta Dotterweich and Karen Schantz of the ACT for Youth Center of Excellence, in collaboration with members of the Cornell University Social Media Lab in Cornell's College of Human Ecology.

"We are making these courses available without charge to everyone who wants to learn about positive youth development," says Dotterweich.

"First and foremost we created them with 4-H and Cornell Cooperative Extension [CCE] in mind. While CCE staff and 4H volunteers may not always be able to travel to a training, they can take advantage of this online series either to refresh their understanding of positive youth development, or to learn about it for the first time." PYD 101 Online was presented to the 2017 CCE System Conference in April.

The interactive courses take about 30 minutes to complete and cover the following topics:

  • Principles of Positive Youth Development
  • Puberty and Adolescence
  • Youth and Technology
  • Youth Voice and Engagement

Additional courses will be developed in the fall of 2017.

This project is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Smith Lever project 2015-16-143.

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(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    curriculum    Jutta Dotterweich    Karen Schantz    youth    youth development   
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