YPAR Fellowship

Home » YPAR Fellowship

Youth Engaging in Action Through STEM: A YPAR Fellowship 

We are so excited to introduce a new fellowship for SciTech Alumni: a transformative school year experience for 11th and 12th graders that offers an inclusive and vibrant space for participants to expand on the 11th grade SciTechkun Olam program, immerse themselves in meaningful project-based learning, and engage in repairing the world through scientific research, creation, and action.

Throughout the 8-month program (October 2023-May 2024) participants will engage in Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), a model for youth empowerment where students and researchers co-engage with the research process to take meaningful action on issues important to teenagers. The program will be hybrid, including both virtual components and an in-person retreat in the fall. Participants will work with Tess Levinson, a doctoral researcher in Applied and Developmental Psychology and Educational Technology at Boston College, as well as the leader of the Sci-Techkun Olam workshop.

Why are we interested in YPAR? According to Berkeley’s YPAR Hub, YPAR can:

  • Redefine who has the expertise to produce knowledge to our world — not just professional adult researchers but young people who are living the issues they are studying.
  • Provide skills in inquiry, evidence, and presentation that are important to young people’s development as students and agents of positive change in schools and communities.
  • Generate findings that provide insights into issues faced by young people that they themselves experience, as well as the resources that matter in helping solve those issues.
  • Promote young people’s sociopolitical development and psychological empowerment such that they understand the roots of problems facing their communities and have the skills and motivation to take action.
  • Evaluate programs, policies, and practices that affect young people.

In this program, participants will engage in the YPAR process, working together to identify, research and act on issues in their community.

The program fee includes:

  • Twice monthly live learning sessions with our staff researcher 
  • A four-day retreat at a camp with the other YPAR fellows and teens from across North America 
  • Support in developing a collective research question, tools for gathering data, experience in understanding and drawing scientific conclusions from data, an opportunity to share out findings, and community organizing tools to solve the issues you uncover in your research 
  • A stellar story and example of a community-driven research project you can write about on your college essays, including potential for publicly sharing your work
  • A cohort of other Jewish teens interested in STEM and social justice and expanding their leadership through research and community organizing

As this is the first URJ YPAR pilot, we will be conducting research on the student experience to understand how the fellowship can improve youth empowerment and civic activism. Participating in the research is optional and not required to participate as a YEATS fellow.

The total cost to run the program is about $2,200 per person. Thanks to URJ donors, we are able to offer it at a significantly reduced base price of $995. To ensure that the fellowship is accessible to all who wish to participate, we request that all families with the means to do so contribute at the high end of (or beyond) the suggested price.

We are committed to making the program accessible to all regardless of ability to pay, and we will work with Fellows and their families privately to ensure cost is not a barrier to participation. If you would like to speak privately about program pricing for your family, or have any questions about the program, please reach out to Director of Youth Organizing and Leadership Development Logan Zinman Gerber at lgerber@rac.org.