Search Institute is welcoming three summer research fellows to our organization this summer. Robyn Douglas, Perla Ramos Carranza, and Stephen Gibson have been awarded the three-month Search Institute Summer Scholars Fellowships for 2022. In this inaugural year, the research fellowship will focus on equity and inclusion in youth development; pairing each fellow with a Search Institute team member, a leading scholar in the field, with the goal of producing actionable research that leverages Search Institute's existing data and significantly contributes to advancing the science and practice of positive youth development.

“A central goal of this fellowship is to broaden the pathways for emerging scholars to experience the world of applied youth development research, especially for scholars from historically oppressed populations” says Dr. Amy Syvertsen, Senior Director of Research for Search Institute. “We were particularly interested in working and learning alongside fellows who infuse new perspectives, questions, and approaches into the field. This is where innovation and change happen.”

The three fellows chosen to participate in the Summer Scholars program each took a unique approach to how they plan to leverage Search Institute’s data for secondary analysis. Robyn Douglas is researching civic-oriented positive youth development among Black youth, Perla Ramos Carranza is studying the role of families and community organizations in the positive development of Latino/a/x youth, and Stephen Gibson is focusing on Black parenting racial strategies in relation to the five elements of the Developmental Relationships Framework.

“Search Institute is an expert in shaping positive youth development and this is a further opportunity to live into Search Institute’s mission,” says Syvertsen. “We are not only working to understand root causes of equity disparities, we are proposing real-world solutions that improve practice.”

Throughout the Summer Scholars program, fellows will work closely with a mentor from Search Institute’s research team and develop new insights around their topics of interest, with a strong emphasis on generating actionable knowledge that can inform best practices around inclusive and equitable relationship building and positive youth development.  Though the fellowship occurs over three months, the knowledge generation and translation won’t end. The scholars’ relationship with Search Institute will continue, offering further opportunities to build on their applied research agenda.

“We are building professional collaborations and relationships with these fellows,” says Syvertsen. “We look forward to nurturing those collaborations for years to come.”

Meet the Scholars

Blog - Summer Scholars Fellowship-1-1Robyn Douglas is an incoming, second-year clinical psychology doctoral graduate student at Texas A&M University. As a developing scholar-activist, she is interested in investigating prosocial actions (such as civic participation, collectivism, and community liberation pedagogy) as protective/healing factors for trauma symptoms through empowerment, increasing critical consciousness, establishing healthy social networks, and creating access to safe and tangible resources. She is particularly interested in examining these factors among Black and Brown youth in disadvantaged communities. Robyn is a recipient of the Aviles-Johnson Doctoral Fellowship. 

Blog - Summer Scholars Fellowship-2Perla Ramos Carranza is a doctoral candidate at the School of Education at University of California-Irvine. Her research interests focus on the influence of family involvement and organized activities on the development of youth from underserved communities, particularly Latinx youth. Through the Search Institute Summer Scholars Fellowship, Perla seeks to expand her research interests, skills, and knowledge while engaging in applied youth development research that addresses issues of equity and inclusion. Perla also hopes that this opportunity can strengthen her career prospects as she transitions from her doctoral program into the job market.

Blog - Summer Scholars Fellowship-1Stephen Gibson is a rising fourth year Ph.D. student in the Developmental Psychology program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Stephen’s research interests are grounded in addressing the effects of racial parenting practices on various developmental outcomes among ethnic-racial minority youth. Specifically, addressing interest in the impact of racial parenting strategies on positive youth development, mental health symptomatology, and psychological needs.

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