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McNair Scholar 2011Jessica K. Thompson

Jessica K. Thompson is a senior at the University of Minnesota, majoring in youth studies. Her research interest includes urban youth work, youth identity development, and youth participatory action research. Jessica wants to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work and Public Policy.

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My dream is to receive my Masters degree in Social Work and Public Policy. With this I want to start my own non-profit organization for youth in urban communities. I hope to also become a role model for my family and other young people.

Research project

Media Arts: Sociopolitical Development of Urban Youth of Color

Abstract: Literature on youth development often focuses on individual, family, and community risk and reinforces white, middle class norms of development. As such, it tends to dismiss the unique developmental needs of urban youth of color who face societal inequalities. Social Justice Youth Development (SJYD) and associated research explores the contexts and complexities of youth development among urban youth of color. As part of a larger Participatory Action Research project that evaluated a local, media-arts program based in SJYD theory, my research question asks: "How does a media arts program contribute to the sociopolitical development of urban youth?" Over ten weeks, participant-observation data was collected and analyzed. Data was cross-referenced with theories SJYD to establish themes including: 1) awareness of oppressive forces, 2) limited spaces to engagement awareness, 3) media as a form of expression and engagement and 4) a sense of self. Implications for policy, practice and youth development research are discussed. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Dr. Katie Johnston-Goodstar received her Bachelor’s degree in Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. She went on to earn a Masters in Social Work and Public Policy and a Doctorate in Social Welfare from the University of Washington-Seattle. Her research interests are youth development and civic engagement among Native and Urban youth, youth and media, and critical pedagogy. She has published: “Becoming Protagonists for Integration: Youth Voices from Segregated Educational Spaces” (2007), “Critical Media Literacy in Action: An Evaluation of an Urban Classroom” (2011) and “Critical Pedagogy through the Reinvention of Place” (2011). Katie is a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Youth Studies department. Our research project is called: “An Evaluation of Youth Development in Media Arts Program in the Twin Cities”.