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McNair Scholar 2012Kynesha Patterson

Kynesha Patterson is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in Youth Studies. Her research interests include culturally relevant pedagogy, positive youth development, and urban youth work. Kynesha wants to pursue her master’s degree in social work and educational policy.

Kynesha Patterson photo
Marian Wright Edelman stated, 'Investing in [children] is not a national luxury or a national choice. It's a national necessity.' My dream is to create a community center, centered on the arts (dance, music, spoken word) and social consciousness for low-income children. I firmly believe that children should not be kept from participating in any program due to the lack of financial resources.

Research project

Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

Abstract: Research and literature reveals that urban youth work takes dedication, experience, understanding and more importantly a “twist” to mainstream culture. This is where Culturally Relevant Pedagogy (CRP) develops in youth work. Culturally Relevant Pedagogy is defined by Ladson-Billings (1995) as a pedagogy that is specifically committed to a collective empowerment for young people. It integrates the cultures of school, home, and community into the teaching and learning environment of young people (Brown-Jeffry and Cooper, 2011). Youth workers in urban communities tailor their work to fit demographics such as class, race, age, etc.   This qualitative, ethnographic analysis has explored the following questions: How do they do their work? Why do they do the work the way they do it? Our findings suggest interviewees express a deep sense of care, selflessness and resilience in their work. Youth workers goals are to help adolescents feel empowered and encouraged as they continue their journey. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

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.