Education, Social Welfare & Public Health

Youth Equity Discovery Initiative (YEDI) in Education, Social Welfare and Public Health

The Youth Equity Discovery Initiative (YEDI) provides 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 addresses 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.

YEDI Scholar:

“The YEDI program was a safe space for me where I didn’t feel the pressure that came from rigorous academic assignments and deadlines. It genuinely felt like a place to learn and it left me with a broader perspective on a multitude of public health related topics.”

YEDI Scholar:

“YEDI gave me the space to practice communicating research. Through the cascading mentorship model, I had the opportunity to learn not only from the amazing graduate students but also from my own peers, who are all also passionate about youth equity.”

The YEDI Immersion Experience

Students engage in a YEDI Immersion Experience as a member of a faculty-driven team conducting community-engaged research. Students are scaffolded through an experience of cascading mentorship that supports them through a deep research experience around questions related to youth and youth equity. Students 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 foster their inter-professional skills for addressing youth inequities in their careers and promote a community of YEDI scholars who not only support youth, but also support each other. Support from the Discovery grant has enabled an expansion of our YEDI program, increasing the number of undergraduates that can participate each year. 

The 2023-24 Cohort of YEDI Scholars

YEDI Scholars Find Community

Research Mentorship and Training

Our YEDI scholars program is a year-long research mentorship and apprenticeship program that scaffolds students working on research projects through cascading mentorship, skill-building workshops, and professional development.

The Youth Equity Discovery Initiative (YEDI) at UC Berkeley seeks to provide undergraduate students – some shaped by lived experiences of marginalization – with a mentored trajectory of meaningful research experience around issues of youth equity. YEDI serves as a research mentorship and training program for undergraduates working on faculty-led youth equity research projects. YEDI also recognizes the importance of these students' insights in this work, and aims to empower them through cascading mentorship, skill-building workshops, professional development opportunities, and community.

YEDI Scholar:

“YEDI has been one of my favorite parts of Cal. Research was initially scary and unfamiliar to me, but through YEDI I quickly became more confident in my own abilities and more passionate about research and youth equity. And of course, along the way I got to be a part of such an amazing and supportive community.”

YEDI Scholar:

“The program gave me a better sense of what academic research looks like and I feel more prepared to continue higher level research with UC Berkeley and beyond.”