Youth in Action Program Showcases Urban Youths’ Research at Annual Campus Event

Under the guidance of the Graduate School of Education’s (GSE) Urban Teaching Fellows more than 100 K-12 students from Newark, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, and Somerset New Jersey visited campus on Tuesday to present findings from their independent research projects.

The fifth-annual Youth in Action Research presentations featured the work of K-12 students from Central High School and Oliver Street School in Newark, Greater Brunswick Charter School in New Brunswick, Shull Middle School and Perth Amboy High School in Perth Amboy, and Franklin High School in Somerset.  The student groups used a variety of methods (including video, slides, rap, and poetry) to present their findings to their peers, teachers, friends, and family.

The Youth in Action presentations stem from an innovative after-school program run by the GSE’s Urban Teaching Fellows. Beginning in February the fellows taught the students the fundamentals of how to identify an issue or problem, formulate a research question, collect data, evaluate results and draw conclusions. The students were encouraged to select topics that could provide solutions to problems that affect their schools and communities. Issues researched include gang membership, alcohol abuse, animal shelter awareness, revitalization of outdoor spaces, and how cultural diversity among students affects socialization and community pride.

The GSE’s Urban Teaching Fellows are prepared to help their students tackle these tough issues through a seminar ran by Dr. Thea Abu El-Haj, where they learned how to plan and conduct “participatory action research” within the urban schools. Fellows met with students after school over to guide their research practices and prepare the final presentation. This year the program include three GSE Urban Teaching Fellow alumni who are current full-time teachers in Shull Middle School and Franklin High Schools.

The GSE’s Urban Teaching Fellows Program is a specialized program that focuses on bringing exceptional teachers into urban schools. The program fosters engaged teaching and learning, strong mentoring relationships, and critical inquiry among youth and teachers. The Urban Teaching Fellows program turns the traditional one-semester teaching internship into a three semester teaching residency in urban districts for GSE Teacher Education Students.


Learn more about the Urban Teaching Fellows program here.