September 15th, 2010 - August 31st, 2013 | PROJECT

The objective of this youth media project is to provide 14-24 year olds with training and hands-on experience in engineering, and the physical and biological sciences. The project is designed around core practices that engage youth in original research and inquiry through experimentation, development, and creative use of new technologies and tools to communicate STEM to the public. Youth Radio project participants in Oakland, CA, Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC include 540 youth, 80% of whom are low-income and/or youth of color, plus another 400 youth via off-site outreach in schools and community centers. Core deliverables include: (1) "Brains and Beakers," eight live events per year where a visiting STEM researcher brings his/her work out of the lab and onto the stage at Youth Radio facilities, demonstrating key principles and discoveries and interacting with youth participants; (2) "Youth Radio Investigates," an annual 6-part multimedia series, where youth partner with university and industry-based researchers to explore the veracity of scientific claims applied to products and services and they use every day; (3) The "Application Development Lab," where youth develop, create and disseminate online embeddable and downloadable applications (12 annually) that serve real needs in youth communities. The digital media produced by the youth will be broadcast by National Public Radio and distributed online through various sites including iTunes and, one of the most frequently visited technology-focused sites on the web. Project advisors include STEM researchers in universities as well as highly experienced and successful new media technology developers. Project partners include National Public Radio, KQED, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Oakland Unified School District. This project builds on the successful prior work (NSF #0610272) that initiated a Science and Technology program within the Youth Radio organization. The summative evaluation by Rockman et al will measure how the program affects students' science and technology knowledge, skills, and attitudes. It will build on the evaluation from the prior NSF funded project (#0610272) that highlighted the organizational and staff growth processes as Youth Radio discovered how to design and implement successful, sustainable STEM programs. Rockman will evaluate the new programs (Youth Investigates, Brains and Beakers, and the Application Lab), measuring the following STEM-related student outcomes/impacts: perceptions of selves as producers/creators of science or technology; attitudes toward science and perceptions of scientists; understanding the process of scientific inquiry and research and/or technology skills development; and understanding or interest in careers in science or technology (based on National Research Council report, 2009). Data will be collected from the youth at the Oakland site and from the other Youth Radio bureaus to determine which aspects of the program transfer to multiple sites and which ones are unique to a specific location or set of circumstances. Methods include surveys of student attitudes, participant focus groups, interim assessments, objective skills assessments, and interviews. This project provides an innovative new model for collaborations between STEM researchers and under-represented youth resulting in digital media that impacts the youth as well as the public's understanding and engagement in science.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Youth Radio’s DO IT! Initiative Summative Evaluation

Team Members

Ellin O'Leary, Principal Investigator, Youth Radio


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 1011085
Funding Amount: 1285314


Access and Inclusion: Low Socioeconomic Status
Audience: Adults | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Engineering | Life science | Physics
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Community Outreach Programs | Media and Technology | Public Events and Festivals | Public Programs | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media