Youth Equity Discovery Initiative (YEDI) in Education, Social Welfare and Public Health
Fully actualized, the Youth Equity Discovery Initiative (YEDI) will provide undergraduate students – particularly students with lived experience of marginalization -- with a coherent, multi-phased, mentored trajectory of meaningful, community-embedded research to become changemakers toward youth well-being and equity. Youth well-being and equity are a grand challenge. Youth well-being has been declining, while inequity has been rising, and COVID-19 has highlighted and magnified these vulnerabilities. Efforts to reverse these trends can impact youth well-being today, adults tomorrow, and their children to follow. The YEDI Discovery Initiative will address these issues while allowing students to connect with each other, immerse themselves in a creative journey of exploration, find their purpose, and make decisions about how they will contribute to communities and causes at the intersection of their lived experiences and their dreams for the future. This transdisciplinary Discovery Initiative is envisioned across three professional schools: the Graduate School of Education, the School of Social Welfare, and the School of Public Health.
Students will engage in a YEDI Immersion Experience as a member of a faculty-driven team conducting community-engaged research. Students will be scaffolded through an experience of cascading mentorship that supports them through a deep research experience around questions related to youth and youth equity. Students will then synthesize their experiences and share their discoveries about youth equity through a YEDI Culmination activity, tailored to their preparation and preferences. YEDI draws upon successful undergraduate training in the three professional schools and a community of faculty united around youth equity. By bringing students together into a cross-disciplinary cohort, we will foster their inter-professional skills for addressing youth inequities in their careers and promote a community of YEDI scholars who will not only support youth, but also support each other.