Youth-Nex 2024 Speaker Bureau

Source: Youth-Nex

Youth-Nex is dedicated a) to providing a venue for scholars and practitioners whose work is furthering the goal of racial justice, b) to supporting developmental science that is not only anti-racist but is in the service of dismantling white supremacy, and c) to amplifying the voices and lived experiences of adolescents who have been marginalized.

Interested in having one of our scholars provide a talk or workshop to your organization in 2024-25? Start your planning now with our 2024 Speaker Bureau!

In alphabetical order, learn more below about Dr.s Tish Jennings, Wintre Foxworth Johnson, Seanna Leath, Channing Mathews, Irène​ Mathieu, Amanda Nguyen, Stefanie Sequeira, Ashlee Sjogren, Lora Henderson Smith, Julia Taylor, and Katy Zeanah.

Patricia (Tish) Jennings, M.Ed., Ph.D.

Professor Jennings offers powerful workshops, captivating keynote addresses, and impactful webinars that tackle the pressing issues our schools confront today. Resilience, the ability to adapt to challenging situations without lasting harm, is now more crucial than ever for our students and educators. Teaching is fundamentally an emotional endeavor, with the social and emotional dynamics in the classroom playing a pivotal role in enhancing student learning and promoting positive behavior. Drawing on research from neuroscience, psychology, and education, Professor Jennings offers valuable insights into how mindfulness and compassion-based techniques, combined with instruction in emotional skills, can help educators manage the demands of the classroom, create a supportive learning environment, and rejuvenate the teaching and learning process. These adult skills can also be applied to support students facing trauma and adversity. In addition, Professor Jennings brings expertise in introducing mindful awareness and compassion practices to children and adolescents in developmentally appropriate ways, backed by evidence-based approaches.

Wintre Foxworth Johnson, Ph.D.

Wintre Foxworth Johnson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education. Prior to joining the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia, Johnson served as a Teacher Leadership Coach (PreK-8) with the equity-focused policy and practice non-profit organization Teach Plus. She has extensive experience in teacher training and professional development, in particular, supporting educators in considering ways to translate culturally responsive and sustaining theories to practice in elementary school contexts; encouraging educators to excavate implicit biases, anti-Blackness, and other oppressive ideologies that inform their pedagogy; generating action-oriented dialogue that addresses the structural inequities that deleteriously affect marginalized students’ schooling experiences; and training preservice and inservice teachers to consider and enact pedagogical possibilities at the intersection of language arts and history instruction. One of her recent articles, published in the peer-reviewed journal Language Arts, is entitled “To Dream, to Fly, and to Be: Depictions of Black Livingness in Contemporary African American Children’s Literature”. Dr. Johnson earned her Ph.D. in Reading/Writing/Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Seanna Leath

Dr. Seanna (Shawna) Leath (Leeth) is an assistant professor in the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department at Washington University in St. Louis. She directs the Fostering Healthy Identities and Resilience (FHIRE) Lab, which focuses on the holistic development and wellbeing of Black girls and women within their families, schools, and communities. Her research expertise includes identity development, gendered racial bias and discrimination, and cultural socialization processes in Black families. She has hosted workshops on Black women’s health and wellness, racial and gender inequities in higher education, and family-school partnerships for Black youth.

Dr. Channing Mathews (she/her/hers)

Ethnic-racial identity (i.e., the process and meaning associated with the role of ethnicity and race in one’s life) and critical consciousness (i.e., one’s awareness of social inequality and the tools, beliefs, and actions used to challenge inequity) are two processes that are salient in the development of Black and Latinx youth. Though both processes have demonstrated consistently positive outcomes across academic, socioemotional, and sociopolitical domains, little work examines how these two processes interact for these youth over time. I argue that we cannot fully understand the development of youth of color without investigating where ethnic-racial identity and critical consciousness processes intersect. Using my Integrated Model of Ethnic-Racial Identity and Critical Consciousness Development (Mathews et al., 2020), I examine how youth of color draw upon this process to find success and thriving within and beyond STEM contexts, with particular attention how ethnic-racial identity and critical consciousness promote activism throughout adolescence and adulthood. 

Irène​ P. Mathieu, MD, MPH (she/her/hers)

Dr. Irène Mathieu is a general pediatrician with experience in community-engaged research in both U.S. and international settings. She is currently the principal investigator of the Wellness And Youth Social action (WAYS) Lab at the University of Virginia, where she leads a team of adult and youth researchers focused on understanding and addressing the adolescent mental health crisis. Dr. Mathieu uses youth participatory action research (YPAR) as a core approach to her work. She is also an award-winning author of multiple poetry books and has experience teaching poetry to adolescents and adults. She has particular expertise in the use of literature to teach learners about health disparities and social determinants of health.

Dr. Amanda Nguyen

Dr. Amanda Nguyen is a Guerrant Global Health Equity Professor and Associate Professor at the University of Virginia (UVA). Her work focuses on design, implementation, and evaluation of mental health and psychosocial support interventions in global and rural settings. She regularly leads complex, community-engaged research partnerships and has particular expertise conducting mental health research in humanitarian and emergency settings. She would be delighted to speak on topics related to child protection and mental health in humanitarian response, global and rural mental health, community-engaged research, implementation science, and international program evaluation.

Stefanie L Sequeira, PhD (she/her)

Stefanie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at UVA. Stefanie’s training is in clinical and development psychology, and she specializes in the study and treatment of affective psychopathology (e.g., anxiety, depression) in childhood and adolescence. Stefanie integrates multiple methods, including functional magnetic resonance imaging and ecological momentary assessment, to examine social threat and reward processes (e.g., neural responses to peer rejection or acceptance; self-reported social anhedonia) in adolescents with or at risk for anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. She would be excited to speak on topics related to adolescent mental health, adolescent peer experiences and social media, or developmental affective neuroscience. 

Dr. Ashlee Sjogren

Ashlee Sjogren is a research assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy and a faculty affiliate of Youth-Nex. Her research interests focus on equitable education and student engagement in out-of-school contexts. She regularly speaks on a variety of topics such as adolescent development, Out-of-school time systems, student motivation, and student voice. As an educational psychologist, she often brings a social context lens to understanding questions of equity, access, and motivation in our education systems. If these topics interest you, please reach out to have her join as a speaker.

Dr. Lora Henderson Smith, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)

Dr. Lora Henderson Smith is an expert in school mental health and culturally responsive practices. She is available to provide expertise on supporting student mental health in schools. In particular, she is passionate about supporting students’ mental health needs as they return to school after mental-health related Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations. She also conducts community-based research in collaboration with Indigenous community partners and she is available to discuss this line of research and partnership.

Julia V. Taylor, Ph.D.

Julia V. Taylor, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Counselor Education. Prior to academia, Julia worked as a school counselor and dean of student services in a variety of K-12 settings. During this time she supervised school counselors-in-training, developed district-wide counseling curricula, served on school and district-level teams, and authored several counseling-related books. She has delivered hundreds of presentations at the local, state, and national level to K-12 educators and currently speaks about 1) mental health literacy, 2) girls’ leadership development, 3) improving school counselors’ use of data, and 4) designing, implementing, and evaluating effective small group counseling services.

Dr. Katy Zeanah (she/her), PhD, LCP, NCSP

Katy is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and Licensed Clinical Psychologist who has over 15 years of experience working in K-12 schools and mental health clinics. She has experience presenting to schools, community agencies, as well as local and national conferences.

As a certified trainer for the National Association of School Psychologists’ school crisis prevention and intervention training curriculum: PREPaRE, she helps schools develop crisis teams and safety plans that address mental health, physical health, and safety risk within the context of the school culture.

In addition, Katy is committed to increasing the availability of high-quality mental health services for students in school, particularly students who are at risk for mental health concerns and those who face barriers to receiving care. Her research has focused on the training and supervision of school-based mental health professionals, school-based mental health, and social justice in educational settings.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please email Please visit the Youth-Nex Homepage for up to date information about the work happening at the center.

Research in Brief: Teaching Anti-Racist Counseling Theories

By: Natoya Hill Haskins


  • The Research in Brief blogs summarize research articles recently published in academic journals, and often align with other initiatives, such as February being Black History Month.
  • In this publication, the authors provide decolonizing therapeutic strategies and counselor educator recommendations.
  • Summarized in this blog, I describe an intersectional approach of Black liberation theology and narrative therapy that specifically addresses the cultural and spiritual needs of Black clients.
Source: Canva

This article focuses on how counselor educators can support counseling trainees as they serve Black clients who are impacted by oppressive religious experiences. Theories such as Black liberation theology (BLT) may offer a supplemental process to support students in effectively meeting the needs of Black clients.

Black Liberation Theory

BLT, an anti-racist theory used to understand the Black experience and its hegemonic foundations, can serve as a guide to understand Black cultural narratives, oppression, and liberation mechanisms. Unfortunately, these historical understandings regarding the Black community have been relegated to seminaries or biblical perspectives, even though it has implications for mental health practice. It is paramount that counselor educators go beyond traditional theories to include approaches such as BLT, which can expand social constructivist perspectives such as applications of narrative therapy, and potentially improve the efficacy of counseling with diverse, spiritual clients.

Narrative counselors who practice from a BLT lens use narratives to help Black clients cultivate agency. BLT and narrative approaches articulate the need for connection and empowerment through the dismantling of oppressive historical, spiritual, and social contexts.

Teaching Black Liberation Narrative Therapy (BLNT)

The goal of this process is threefold: (a) to help Black clients examine the debilitating narratives and dominant discourses that have hindered their experiences, (b) to help Black clients explore their personal dialogue that serve to confirm or disconfirm these narratives, and, (c) to identify ways they can validate self and develop a narrative that is not hindered by oppressive dominant theological discourse. Aspects of BLNT can be infused into theories, group counseling, multicultural, transpersonal, as well as techniques courses using one or more of these five processes.

  • Validating Blackness: Anti-Blackness continues to impact the experiences of Black clients. To align with the BLNT approach, educators actively teach trainees how to minimize power within the relationship by allowing the client to be the expert in their own story and by listening to their experiences related to the oppressive narratives with openness and empathy. In addition, the counselor educator can assist trainees learn how to share their own stories of liberation as it relates to dealing with the biblical and church doctrine.
  • Examining the Eschatology of the Present: The eschatological roots of the Black Church were grounded in understanding the finiteness of the human condition. Counselor educators can help the counselors in training focus on hope as it relates to liberation, where they help the client to examine present oppression as it relates to their current and future relationships, decisions, and interactions. During the learning process, the trainee can explore how justice cannot only occur with cosmological or apocalyptic expectations, as there is no need to accept oppression now. As such, the counselor educator can encourage the trainees to ask the client the following: “What do you believe about injustice?” and “What can you do to experience liberation or freedom now?”
  • Dismantling Oppressive Religious Structures: Dismantling oppressive religious structures can help strengthen the client’s sense of meaning regarding their story. As a result, the counselor educator will want to teach the trainee how to question the client about alternative accounts and experiences of their experience in their church community, “Are there times when you did feel liberated while communing with the Black Church and within the society?” Counselor educators can teach trainees about cultural messaging and how it can and has helped to maintain the current state in Black spiritual communities.
  • Creating New Values Towards Liberation: According to BLT, courage is necessary to circumvent socially constructed notions or stereotypes that the client may have related to feeling powerless. The counselor educator can teach trainees to help the client explore marginalizing social constructions related to being a member of the Black Church and the Black community, and the impacts on their mental health. To illuminate these areas, the counselor educator can have trainees ask the following questions: “When do you feel like you are oppressed related to church?” and “With whom do you feel oppressed?”
  • Creating Opportunities for Reconciliation: The counselor educator can describe how the trainee can specifically validate the Black client’s desire to advocate and to stand alongside them as they advocate in their communities. Counselor educators can share how trainees can help clients in counseling solidify the new narrative and reconciled identity that may include other Black individuals who have triumphed over marginalizing ideology.

Implications & Conclusions

By utilizing this integrative model, counselors and trainees have an operative framework through which they can provide therapy that empowers, uplifts, and validates Black clients. However, counselor educators may have limited training in Black liberation and how it can be used in clinical practice. Counselor educators need to help trainees focus on how the client makes meaning of their liberatory experience and planned steps for maintaining their growth. Additionally, it is important to consider the various religious beliefs of Black clients and how parts of this approach may be useful for different clients. Empirical studies are needed to examine the effectiveness of BLNT with clients and its clinical outcome.


Haskins, N. H., Harris, J. A., Parker, J., Nambiar, A., & Chin, P. (2023). Teaching anti-racist counseling theories: Black liberation narrative therapy. Counselor Education and Supervision, 00, 1–13.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please email Please visit the Youth-Nex Homepage for up to date information about the work happening at the center.

Author Bio: During her 20-year career in counseling and counselor education, Natoya Hill Haskins has been committed to equity and inclusion. Haskins developed the Social Justice and Diversity Research Fellows Program for graduate students, with the aim of addressing research training disparities for students of color who are interested in conducting equity and social justice research. In addition, she has created affinity group spaces for African American women in counselor education. Haskins has over 40 publications in the areas of womanist clinical applications and social justice competence in P-20 schools. Haskins is the 2022-2023 president of the Association of Counselor Education and Supervision. Prior to that, she served as the president of the Southern Association of Counselor Education and Supervision (2017-2018).

Refugee Youth Voices: Introducing the R_PEACE Coalition

By: Jennifer C. Mann

This is the first post in a the Refugee Youth Voices series that is uplifting the voices of young people with refugee- and immigrant-backgrounds.


  • This post is introducing the Refugee Youth Voices blog series with the Refugees Pursuing Education And Community Excellence (R_PEACE) coalition.
  • I present information about the students from refugee backgrounds and the inequitable systems they face.
  • I introduce the work and impact of R_PEACE and set the stage for upcoming student-written blogs in this series. Additionally, I provide resources for learning more. 
Source: Jennifer Mann

I spent sixteen years as an educator, mostly to refugee- and immigrant-background students who recently arrived in the United States. I am currently a Research Scientist at Duke University, where I work on making education more accessible and more welcoming for such students.

Refugee Backgrounds & Inequitable Systems

Refugees relocate to escape violence, poverty, and extreme conditions. They also arrive in new countries hoping for educational opportunities. However, despite their interest in educational achievement, there are many reasons refugees face educational barriers.

First, the process of migration for refugees often involves emotional trauma and may result in post-traumatic stress disorder.1 Additionally, there are often gaps in children’s formal education before and during the resettlement process.2 Students with limited or interrupted formal education have had at least two fewer years of schooling than their peers and have varying levels of formal education.3

Furthermore, refugee-background students often face mixed reception by community and school personnel.4 Overall, there is evidence of a continued deficit perspective held by teachers and administrators towards refugee and immigrant students and a subsequent lack of access to rigorous learning opportunities.5

In response to the lack of rigorous learning, I wanted to provide refugee-background youth with opportunities for complex learning and critical engagement. One important research project I led was a social design-based experiment, which was conducted in an effort to bring about social transformation through a reconceptualization and reorganization of standard educational practices. Central to social design-based research is inviting participants to partner in taking action to help transform the inequitable systems which adversely impact their lives. In this social design-based study, I worked with a group of young adults from refugee backgrounds who wanted to increase college access for other refugee-background students.

They formed a coalition called R_PEACE (Refugees Pursuing Education And Community Excellence). Through R_PEACE they traveled around to nonprofits who work with refugee- and immigrant-background students and shared some of their educational experiences and insights and offered their support. Additionally, R_PEACE spoke to over a hundred educators about how they can better support their students who are new to the country or new to the language.

The Coalition’s Work & Impact

The R_PEACE students have incredible insight into the unique complexities of being refugees. Driven by a motivation to help, they are able to:

  • Clearly communicate their own experiences.
  • Challenge others to consider how they can help craft better educational experiences for other refugee-background students.
  • Create better experiences and better futures for others.
  • Openly share their own difficult experiences.

It is my hope that we can all be open to hearing and learning from them. In the upcoming series blogs, Sue Mar, Gigi, and other students share profound insights that are relevant to us all as we seek to make the world a better place.

As educators, we can improve the world by making strides towards cultivating spaces of belonging. As researchers, we can seek out humanizing and participatory research approaches which allow the participants to partner with us in seeking solutions to the problems they face. As both an educator and a researcher, one of the most important actions I can take is listening to learn. It is my hope that we will each pause in our busy lives and listen to learn from the wisdom of others.

Resources for Learning More

In addition to listening to learn, we can read to learn. I’ve included some resources for those wanting to know more. Learn more about teaching refugees from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the world’s leading refugee organization. Visit Harvard’s page on research, education, and action for refugees around the world for academic and creative resources. Finally, read an article I wrote about the importance of caring relationships and relevant and relatable curriculum.


1Tuliao et al., 2017; 2Daniel & Zybina, 2019; 3Hos, 2016; 4Roxas & Roy, 2012, p. 469; 5Alford, 2014; Daniel & Zybina, 2019; Lau, 2012

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please email Please visit the Youth-Nex Homepage for up to date information about the work happening at the center.

Author Bio: Jennifer C. Mann is a Research Scientist at Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy. In 2023, she received her Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Learning Sciences from North Carolina State University. Dr. Mann spent sixteen years as an educator, teaching high school English, elementary and adult English as a Second Language (ESL), and undergraduate pre-service English and ESL education. Her research interests include refugee and immigrant education, culturally sustaining critical pedagogies, and the social-emotional well-being of marginalized students.

Round Up: National Mentoring Month 2024

By: Leslie M. Booren


  • January is National Mentoring Month and we are revisiting our archives from the last year.
  • Summarized are the news stories, blog posts and research articles published in the last 12 months, each advancing our understanding of effective mentoring.
  • Highlighted below are resources associated with youth mentoring, the various sources of mentoring, and adult professional mentoring.
Source: Canva

Researchers at Youth-Nex and the UVA School of Education and Human Development are contributing to a growing body of research on how and why effective mentoring works, as highlighted in this 2024 national mentoring month round-up.

Youth Mentoring

  • Addressing Youth Loneliness: Close youth mentoring relationships can improve mentees’ relationships with other people and their sense of loneliness. In this study, researchers evaluated the relationship between youth mentoring participation and peer social acceptance. Findings suggest that mentoring relationships are the most beneficial for mentees who have fewer relationships but do not necessarily feel lonely. Read Blog Post.
  • Young Women Leaders Program: The Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP) is a community-based mentoring program that pairs undergraduate women with middle school girls. Olivia, a 19-year-old, participated in the program as a middle schooler mentee and now as a UVA undergraduate college mentor. In a Vlog, Olivia shares more about her experiences in YWLP, and some advice for adults and youth who may want to participate in mentoring programs. Watch Youth-Nex Vlog.
  • Caregivers & Natural Mentoring Relationships: A change that occurs during adolescence is the development of close relationships outside of the immediate family unit. This study examined pathways between Black adolescents’ attachment to their parents and the quantity of natural mentors, or other youth and adult relationships in their pre-existing social networks. These Youth-Nex researchers found that more secure parent-adolescent attachment predicted a greater quantity of natural mentoring relationships. Read Article.

Sources of Mentoring

  • Community-Based Mentoring: Youth today face challenges of loneliness and isolation, impacting mental health negatively. Community mentoring programs are one possible solution. In this post, a Youth-Nex & EHD graduate student share more about how mentoring programs should consider the limitations of one-on-one relationships and adopt a comprehensive approach to maximize their impact. Read Blog Post.
  • Informal Mentors & Academic Success: There is little research recognizing pathways through which schools promote human capital development – by fostering informal mentoring relationships between students and their teachers, counselors, and coaches. This study, conducted by a Youth-Nex researcher and colleagues, used longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of adolescents. Findings suggest that informal mentoring supports students’ long-run academic success, especially for students of lower socioeconomic status. Read Article.
  • Social Support in Mentoring Relationships: Social support is associated with positive physical and psychological health outcomes for youth. This qualitative study examined the sources, forms, and functions of social support youth receive from natural mentoring relationships in their lives. Findings suggest that different types of adults had the capacity to provide different types of support, and their support differed based on the adult’s role with the youth. Read Article.

Adult Professional Mentoring

  • Telementoring: School-based mental health providers play an important role in supporting students, especially at a time when evidence suggests students have increasing needs. This year, a team of our researchers published an article about a telementoring model that is a low-cost, flexible way for school mental health professionals to access professional learning. The findings support the use of telementoring to improve school mental health professionals’ understanding and application of the evidence-based school counseling model. Read Article.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please email Please visit the Youth-Nex Homepage for up to date information about the work happening at the center.

Author Bio: Leslie M. Booren is the Associate Director for Communications and Operations at Youth-Nex and the Youth-Nex blog editor. In this role, she manages operations, HR, events, communications and marketing for the center. Previously she has worked at the Center for Race and Public Education in the South (CRPES), EdPolicyWorks, and the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) in various roles from research faculty to managing director. She has a strong interest in community and youth development by bridging applied and research-based practices.

Mentoring Matters, Especially for Young Women

By: Olivia, 19-year-old


  • The Young Women Leaders Program (or YWLP) is a community-based mentoring program that pairs undergraduate women with middle school girls.
  • I participated in this program as a middle schooler mentee and now as an undergraduate college mentor.
  • In this video blog for National Mentoring Month, I share more about my experiences in YWLP, and some advice for adults and youth who may want to participate in mentoring programs.

My name is Olivia and I am a mentor in the Young Women Leaders Program (or YWLP). YWLP is a community-based mentoring program that pairs UVA undergraduate women with middle school girls from the Charlottesville area. I have participated in YWLP both as a mentee in middle school and now as an undergraduate mentor while I’m studying at UVA!

YWLP is unique because it combines one-on-one mentoring with group activities that address girls’ sense of self, scholastic achievement, body image, peer relationships, and healthy decision-making. I know firsthand how YWLP empowers middle school girls as leaders in their schools and communities!

Importance of Mentoring Programs

From my experience, I think that mentoring programs are important because it helps ground both youth and the adult mentors. Being a mentor allows us to reconnect with parts of ourselves that we may have forgotten or lost along the way. For example, giving yourself time to live in that childish energy and relate to young people can be important. When we get older, we forget to do that!

So by being a mentor, youth can remind you how to relax and have fun. But also for the youth, they have someone to help ground and guide them. Mentoring is important for both adults and young people!

My Advice for Adults

To the adults out there that are hesitant in joining a mentoring program, I say just get involved and just do it! Although you may be nervous in the beginning, you have to trust yourself that you are going in with the best intention. Trust that the youth will also go into a mentoring relationship to learn with you.

To ensure you have a positive experience, my advice before going into a mentoring relationship is to:

  • Reflect on yourself.
  • Ask yourself why you want to get involved.
  • Think about what you want to gain from this experience.
  • Consider what you have to offer.
  • Avoid being nervous!

Remember, just have fun! Mentoring is supposed to be an enjoyable experience; it can help you connect with others, and it doesn’t have to always be serious. It is OK to just spend time with youth just so they have a better day, and it doesn’t have to be that you are changing their life. You can learn a lot by just having fun!

This approach actually does exist today, when people discuss varied cultural backgrounds. People allow for differences in attitudes, traditions, foods, clothing, and practices, without trying to force their own views. It has been hard to allow for such debates in the political sphere since the discussion there seems to want to define the “uniquely best American way”. It’s time that the schools taught us again that we are all Americans, even if we have different views.

YWLP, and their big brother program the Men’s Leadership Project (MLP), are accepting mentors or bigs for their programs next year! YWLP is open to marginalized genders including anyone who identifies as a woman or girl, and non-binary and gender non-conforming people who are comfortable in a space that centers the experiences of women and girls. We encourage students from a variety of backgrounds and identities to apply to the Young Women Leaders Program! For more information about YWLP or to donate, please visit their website.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please email Please visit the Youth-Nex Homepage for up to date information about the work happening at the center.

Author Bio: My name is Olivia Thompson and I’m a second year at UVA majoring in Sociology and hoping to double major in Spanish. I’m from Louisa, VA. I grew up in a small town and moved around a lot. I plan to go to grad school in the future and hope to eventually become a licensed clinical social worker. I want to live a life based around service and use what I’ve learned from those who have guided me to give back to not only my community, but communities that exist outside of me.

Supporting Youth Loneliness & Social Isolation through Community-Based Mentoring

By: Westley Fallavollita


  • Youth today face challenges of loneliness and isolation, impacting mental health negatively. Reports from the U.S. Surgeon General emphasize changing ways of building relationships, leading to issues like depression and substance use.
  • Community mentoring programs are one possible solution, but challenges like trust issues and diverse backgrounds require a personalized approach. Inclusive training for mentors and activities promoting community engagement can help address these issues.
  • To maximize the impact, mentoring programs should consider the limitations of one-on-one relationships and adopt a comprehensive approach. This includes recognizing the importance of peer relationships during adolescence, integrating community activities, and providing evidence-based support to empower lonely and isolated youth.
Source: Canva

Loneliness and social isolation are big challenges facing youth today. The U.S. Surgeon General recently released reports on the importance of protecting youth mental health[1] and the epidemic of loneliness and isolation[2]. One common theme between these reports is that typical ways of connecting and building relationships are changing, and youth mental health is suffering as a result. This has important implications because youth loneliness and social isolation are associated with negative outcomes such as depression, substance use, and suicide attempts. For other youth, the desire for a sense of belonging and acceptance can lead to associating with delinquent peer groups or antisocial behaviors, leading to early and avoidable encounters with the juvenile justice system. There’s a growing interest in how community-based programs like youth mentoring can provide support. Researchers have suggested that community-based mentoring programs could be a good strategy to prevent youth loneliness and social isolation because of the focus on building strong mentor-mentee relationships[3]. However, loneliness and social isolation are complex and influenced by many individual factors among young people. A strong mentoring relationship alone may not be enough to fix loneliness and social isolation, but engaging in specific mentoring program practices and activities could help. Such approaches could also enhance community-based youth mentoring programs by making them more inclusive, and creating more opportunities for youth to build relationships with peers and become involved in their community. The following discussion will describe some of the challenges of close mentoring relationships alone and opportunities for specific mentoring program practices to support lonely and socially isolated youth.

While mentoring relationships have the potential to help prevent loneliness and social isolation from taking hold, there are limitations to how much a close mentoring relationship can help mentees who are particularly vulnerable or already experiencing these challenges. Youth who have been bullied by peers or experienced difficult relationships with adults may be uncomfortable forming a relationship with a mentor due to trust issues, fear of rejection, or low self-esteem. Mentors and mentees with dissimilar backgrounds, life experiences, and racial identities may encounter additional difficulties such as differences in perspectives on handling life challenges, communication styles, and social networks. Other youth whose feelings of loneliness derive from neurodivergence or other developmental differences might struggle with the social communication differences needed to form new connections, sensory sensitivities that make mentoring activities uncomfortable, or social anxiety that impacts their ability to engage in mentorship. For LGBTQ+ youth, fear of discrimination, absence of parental support, or mentor lack of understanding can contribute to difficulties achieving a safe and affirming mentor-mentee relationship. All these individual circumstances can contribute to feelings of loneliness and social isolation, so addressing these challenges requires a thoughtful and individualized approach. While mentors can not be trained to work with all possible intersections of youth identity, they can be trained to approach their mentoring relationships with cultural humility, openness, and a commitment to fostering safety and belonging.

Mentoring programs play a crucial role in preparing mentors to effectively engage with vulnerable youth. To support mentors in their efforts to engage with youth who are prone to loneliness and social isolation, community-based mentoring programs should focus on training mentors in inclusive and affirming practices. Cultural humility training is crucial for efforts to build trust and effective communication with mentees, and training in this area can help mentors address stereotypes, identify their implicit biases, and navigate microaggressions. Similarly, trauma-informed mentorship training can help mentors approach their mentees with sensitivity and understanding, creating feelings of safety and trust, and supporting appropriate responses to personal disclosures. Such toolkits can be found online, such as the trauma informed-mentoring toolkit offered by the OJJDP (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention)[4]. Mentoring programs can also support mentors through regular check-ins and the creation of support networks with other mentors. Regular meetings with program coordinators and other mentors in the program create the opportunity to share challenges, receive feedback, and enhance collective knowledge. While it is a challenge to prepare mentors for the many different ways youth may come to struggle with loneliness and social isolation, inclusive program design and support for mentors’ ongoing professional development will help mentors be sensitive to the unique needs of their mentee and tailor an individualized approach to creating a close relationship.

Another important factor to consider when employing mentoring to support lonely and socially isolated youth is the developmental shift towards same-aged peers that occurs during adolescence[5]. Beginning in late childhood and early adolescence, acceptance or rejection by peers, not adults, becomes central to feelings of belonging and self-esteem. Even with a close mentoring relationship, feelings of loneliness and social isolation will still exist if there are challenges with peer relationships. These feelings can be particularly pronounced for bullied or otherwise peer-rejected children, where a close mentoring relationship will not alleviate the negative effects of ongoing rejection by peers. Similarly, peer relationships can be disrupted by significant life transitions, such as entering a new school or relocating to a new home. Other youth face systemic barriers to peer relationships, such as poverty that contributes to less opportunities and out-of-school activities, or having a different identity in a highly homogenous community. Such structural challenges suggest the need for additional supports to help some mentees develop peer relationships. To support such lonely and socially isolated mentees, mentor-mentee relationships need to extend beyond the individual mentor-mentee pair, and build a network of peer and community connections.

Community-based mentoring programs can support peer relationships and community connectedness by integrating specific activities and approaches into their mentoring programs. Mentoring activities that involve community engagement and service-learning opportunities, such as volunteer work or participating in community events, can alleviate loneliness and social isolation by fostering a sense of purpose, connection, and social responsibility. If done in tandem with other mentor-mentee pairs, this approach can create a shared experience and relationships among mentees, which mentors can support by facilitating reflections and peer discussions. In general, group mentoring and joint outings create opportunities for mentees to network with each other, build a sense of community, and for natural peer-mentoring relationships to emerge. If mentee’s have challenges during these activities, the close relationship with their mentor can be a “secure base” for safety and emotional support, in line with the importance of attachment in a close mentoring relationship.

In tandem, mentoring programs can incorporate empirically supported activities into their programming. These evidence-based activities would support mentee interpersonal effectiveness, which could help with feelings of loneliness and social isolation, in addition to supporting positive development more generally. The type of curricula could be selected by program administrators to meet the needs of the mentee population. Some youth might benefit from a social-emotional learning curricula[6], whereas others may benefit more from support for emotional regulation challenges such as through DBT Steps-A[7]. While these programs could theoretically be administered individually by mentors, training individual mentors in evidence-based curricula would be difficult in practice. Instead, instruction could be facilitated by mentoring program staff (in a group setting!) or through an online curriculum, and mentors could support youth through follow up conversations that emphasize skill-building, goal setting, tracking progress, and other positive youth development approaches. Mentee investment in such activities would benefit from a close mentor-mentee relationship, and mentors could encourage mentees to apply these skills to peer relationships and community involvement to reduce loneliness and social isolation.

By acknowledging the limitations of the mentoring relationship in certain contexts and supplementing it with complementary strategies, community mentoring could become an important service to address youth loneliness and social isolation. However, the mentoring relationship alone may not be a powerful enough corrective experience for youth already experiencing such feelings[8]. To maximize mentoring’s potential, it may be important to adopt a comprehensive approach that combines mentoring relationships with complementary strategies to help youth to build relationships with peers and become involved in their community. This approach may be especially important for youth who are particularly vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation, or require additional support due to structural disadvantages like poverty. By adopting inclusive training practices and complementary activities, mentoring programs can foster supportive relationships and community connections, while also empowering lonely and socially isolated youth with resilience, coping strategies, and a sense of belonging.

This post originally appeared on the National Mentoring Resource Center website.


[1]The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory. (2021). Protecting Youth Mental Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[2]The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory. (2023). Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

[3]Keller, T. E., Perry, M., & Spencer, R. (2020). Reducing Social Isolation Through Formal Youth Mentoring: Opportunities and Potential Pitfalls. Clinical Social Work Journal, 48(1), 35–45.

[4]Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (September 2019). Trauma-Informed Mentoring.

[5]Standford Medicine Children’s Health. (2023). Teens: Relationship Development.

[6]Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). (n.d.). Program Guide.

[7]DBT is Schools. (n.d.). DBT STEPS-A Curriculum: DBT Skills in Schools: Skills Training and Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents.

[8]Fallavollita, W. L., & Lyons, M. D. (2023). Social acceptance from peers and youth mentoring: Implications for addressing loneliness and social isolation. Journal of Community Psychology, 51(5), 2065–2082.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please email Please visit the Youth-Nex Homepage for up to date information about the work happening at the center.

Author Bio: Westley Fallavollita is a doctoral student in Clinical and School Psychology in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. Before beginning his studies, he served for two years in the national service programs AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and City Year Washington, DC and is a recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Working with his research mentor, Dr. Mike Lyons, he has published several articles on youth mentoring, including an examination of mentoring and social acceptance from peers and implications for addressing loneliness and social isolation.

Awards: 2023 Year in Review

By: Leslie M. Booren


  • As the holiday season approaches, Youth-Nex is revisiting the 2023 archives for our award winners.
  • We highlight the Youth-Nex researchers who have been recognized in their respective fields of study.
  • Read more and see what you may have missed in 2023 in this awards year in review.
Source: Youth-Nex

Youth-Nex, as a trans-disciplinary center, continues to conduct translational research in all our scholarship and innovation. Our researchers aim to expand and apply the science of positive youth development to enhance the strengths of youth and to prevent developmental risk such as violence, physical and mental health issues, substance abuse, and school failure.

The scholars at Youth-Nex are being recognized locally, nationally and internationally for their research, teaching and field-building work in our communities. Highlighted here are some awards and honors from 2023:

Please join us in congratulating these scholars and the awarding organizations for providing opportunities for recognition!

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please email Please visit the Youth-Nex Homepage for up to date information about the work happening at the center.

Author Bio: Leslie M. Booren is the Associate Director for Communications and Operations at Youth-Nex and the Youth-Nex blog editor. In this role, she manages operations, HR, events, communications and marketing for the center. Previously she has worked at the Center for Race and Public Education in the South (CRPES), EdPolicyWorks, and the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) in various roles from research faculty to managing director. She has a strong interest in community and youth development by bridging applied and research-based practices.

Youth Voices on Classroom Censorship Take Center Stage

By: Liz Nigro


  • Youth spend a majority of their time in schools, yet they have very little say about what is (or is not) censored in their classrooms.
  • One youth-led social justice theater troupe, the EPIC Theatre Ensemble, is touring the country at the intersection of action and art to share their teen-written plays on topics important to young people.
  • Learn about their recent performance on classroom censorship and review resources relating to adult critical motivation and action.
Source: Liz Nigro & EPIC Theatre Ensemble

It is estimated that youth spend on average 4-6 hours a day in classrooms, many of which are heavily adult-led and governed by policies that likely were developed without youth input. Many believe that youth deserve a say in what is happening in their learning environments, including what is censored or allowed in classrooms.

Uplifting youth voices about classroom censorship may be a key component for future policy discussions. UVA recently hosted the renowned youth-led social justice theater troupe, EPIC Theatre Ensemble, who performed a student-written play on the topic of classroom censorship, specifically bans of “critical race theory” (CRT) and lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, etc. (LGBTQ+) content.

Why Engage with the Issue of Classroom Censorship

Classroom censorship in the Commonwealth of Virginia and nationwide is a relevant and timely issue. For instance, in 2022, the VA governor released executive order one, banning the teaching of “divisive concepts,” specifically what the administration labeled CRT, in K-12 public schools. More recently, in 2023, additional guidance was released rolling back protections for transgender students. School board meeting minutes and book bans suggest Virginia residents should be increasingly concerned with suppression of historically marginalized voices.

The youth involved in EPIC are at the intersection of both action and art on every students’ right to learn. While in Charlottesville, the three high school and one college student performed a play and facilitated a dialogue about classroom censorship in front of an audience of community members, including UVA undergraduate and graduate students across schools, professors, former and current teachers, as well as current students in the K-12 system. The four players jumped between satirical sketches and longer form commentary on the state of classroom censorship. More specifically, performance highlights included an absurdist game show for teachers trying to teach histories of enslavement, civil rights, etc., without words banned in various states’ legislation, a family teacher conference discussing students’ right to learn, and student commentary. After the performance during a guided dialogue, audience members expressed how the performance cleverly illuminated tensions currently facing teachers, students, families, administrators and the public as well as glimmers of hope within resistance movements, as seen in Indiana.

Classroom Censorship Resources

Classroom censorship is a national and state issue that is important whether you are a parent, educator or youth-serving professional. Look up more about your local school board and get involved! If you are wanting to learn more, here are some additional informational resources that may be helpful:

Looking forward, the EPIC Theatre Ensemble plans to continue using art as a mechanism for social change during their upcoming southern tour, sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center as well as additional shows with school district partners. The non-profit also plans to continue using a UVA student-designed survey to gather information on how their work catalyzes motivation and action. Additionally, they hope to provide localized resource guides, with action suggestions, like the one created for the Charlottesville visit.

EPIC’s Mission & Work

For more than twenty years, New York City based EPIC Theatre Ensemble has worked to inspire youth to be creative and engaged citizens, encourage community collaboration, as well as enlighten and empower those involved. To achieve this mission, EPIC has a multi-prong approach:

  1. EPIC partners with schools throughout the country to host week-long social justice monologue writing sessions during middle or high school class periods.
  2. In New York City, they host EPIC Remix throughout the school year, which is an afterschool program of up to 60 students, which culminates in a theater or film performance alongside professional artists.
  3. Seniors in this program also receive individualized college counseling, with 100% of participants going on to college.
  4. EPIC Next, perhaps the most ambitious arm of the program, hires youth from EPIC Remix as summer interns to conduct interviews about pressing social justice issues and write what will become a thirty-minute-long touring play.

Topics of EPIC’s touring plays include school segregation, why become a teacher, and classroom censorship. To learn more about EPIC or to donate, please visit their website.

The UVA performance was directly followed by a dialogue and a UVA student-designed survey to gauge audience members’ critical motivation following the show. The EPIC teens also toured UVA and met with supporters like Jessica Harris, a former UVA theater major, current employee at the Equity Center, and the founder of the local non-profit, Empowered Players. The performance was supported in part by funds from the School of Education & Human Development’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusions, and Youth-Nex.

In conclusion, EPIC Theatre Ensemble’s visit to UVA represents cross-school and community collaboration, mobilization to social change through the arts, and youth participatory action research partnerships.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please email Please visit the Youth-Nex Homepage for up to date information about the work happening at the center.

Author Bio: Liz Nigro is a former general and special education teacher in D.C. public and public charter schools, who is currently researching turn-around efforts and the politics of equitable schooling with her advisor, Beth Schueler. Nigro’s primary research interests include ethno-racial and socioeconomic integration in early childhood education as well as how to mobilize critical consciousness and equitable education reform. She is excited to use the quantitative survey and qualitative data collected from this event to produce a research-practice partnership product.

Research in Brief: Restorative Practices, Socio-Emotional Well-Being, & Racial Justice

By: Delaney Desman


  • This Research in Brief blog is part of the School Mental Health series highlighting work and resources for mental health professionals.
  • This brief originated from the Virginia Partnership for School Mental Health (VPSMH) project, which partners with VA school divisions and institutions of higher education to expand support for school mental health services.
  • This brief summarizes a research article about completing the circle by linking restorative practices, socio-emotional well-being, and racial justice in schools.
Source: Canva

The authors propose a three-part model to implement restorative practices in schools with efficacy. First, they recommend targeting student and faculty behaviors through restorative practices to help reduce stress, foster trust between students and teachers, & increase classroom engagement. Second, the authors argue for the integration of tier three mental health supports within restorative practices through community partnerships and collaboration. Finally, the authors highlight the importance of school staff recognizing and understanding the impact of structural and interpersonal racism, particularly for Black and Latinx youth. They recommend schools take a trauma-informed approach to bolstering student mental health supports and services. By focusing on these three actions, schools can better ensure restorative practices are benefiting students in an equitable way.


School mental health professionals must be cognizant and actively combat ways institutionalized racism impacts students, such as exclusionary discipline. When students are suspended they are not able to engage in school, maintain academic achievement, and have positive associations with their school community.

Equity Considerations

The article fails to address implications for students with disabilities, various socioeconomic statuses, or English language learners. This Western perspective is not explicitly addressed and raises concerns about whether or not restorative practices are culturally relevant or appropriate for all students.

Practitioner Tips

  • Schools should emphasize strengthening the tier 1 socio-emotional climate within the school. This approach supports students and staff, builds community, and strengthens relationships within schools.
  • Fostering a positive school climate and using a trauma-informed lens to support students is an important step to creating a positive school culture.
  • Ensure acute mental health needs of students are addressed through services and resources to allow for true restoration to take place.
  • Address systemic and interpersonal racism within schools (past and present) to ensure restorative practices benefit students equitably.


Huguley, J.P., Fussell-Ware, D.J., Stuart McQueen, S., Wang, M.T., & DeBellis, B.R. (2022). Completing the circle: Linkages between restorative practices, socio-emotional well-being, and racial justice in schools. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 30(2), 138-153. 88989

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please email Please visit the Youth-Nex Homepage for up to date information about the work happening at the center.

Author Bio: Delaney Desman is a graduate student in the Counselor Education program at the University of Virginia, pursuing the School Mental Health emphasis offered to trainees through the Virginia Partnership for School Mental Health. Trainees in this emphasis complete additional coursework and field experience requirements that prepare them to take on leadership roles in addressing the mental health needs of students in K-12 schools.

Mitigating Implicit Racial Bias Through Improved Mindfulness & Social Emotional Competency

By: Pamela Nicholas-Hoff


  • Educators, like physicians, should seek to ensure safety and justice for those they serve including, and especially, their students.
  • Understanding educator stress and burnout, and reducing implicit racial bias is an important part of creating safe and just learning environments for students.
  • Engaging in mindful awareness practices is a promising intervention for reducing implicit racial bias and its effects.
Source: Adobe

Educators, like physicians, should seek to ensure safety and justice for those under their care. Physicians who recite the Hippocratic Oath upon completion of medical school pledge to “keep [patients] from harm and injustice”1. Though the Hippocratic Oath is considered outdated by many institutions, this particular phrase within that famous text is relevant to the teaching profession.

Ensuring safety and justice for students is not as easy as one might think. Unlike physicians who are required to participate in prolonged, supervised residencies under close scrutiny, educators only participate in brief periods of supervised instruction before being permitted to engage with students in relative isolation. The potential for harm is evident in such situations, especially when educators are unaware of their implicit racial bias. Educator stress and burnout can also lead to unsafe learning environments as they increase the likelihood of reactivity and reliance on heuristics (e.g., racial bias and stereotyping).

Educator Stress & Burnout

Again, similar to medical professionals, educators experience higher levels of stress and burnout. During the school year, rates of daily stress for teachers were found to exceed those of all other occupations surveyed, including physicians, and tied those of nurses2. Stress negatively impacts teachers’ effectiveness and students’ academic outcomes3. Elevated levels of teacher stress affect the health, well-being, and quality of life of teachers4 and can result in unsafe learning environments for students, especially students of color. Chronic stress can lead to burnout5.

According to a more recent poll6:

44% of K-12 workers responded they “always/very often” felt burned out at work which a) is the highest percentage of burnout reported by workers in all professions surveyed, b) represents a 22% increase from March 2020, the start of the pandemic, to February 2022.

Burnout can exacerbate implicit racial bias.

Understanding Implicit Racial Bias

Unlike explicit biases of which individuals are aware, implicit biases are unconscious. Implicit biases influence one’s behavior, decisions, and understandings7. Implicit racial bias is ubiquitous among U. S. citizens8. This type of bias manifests at an early age and continues developing due to the environmental messages one receives9,10 throughout their lifetime.

Implicit racial bias is thought to be a primary cause of the disproportionate rates of exclusionary discipline consequences for Black students. Factors contributing to implicit racial bias include automaticity of response11, socio-cultural conditioning12, media representation of Black people13, hearsay14, and stressful situations15. Like many in our society, educators are exposed to and/or experience all of these factors.

So what can we do to help ensure students’ safety and just treatment? In addition to courageously and authentically identifying, acknowledging, understanding, and examining our biases, including implicit racial bias, we can:

  • Develop greater self-awareness,
  • Respond thoughtfully rather than react automatically to situations and others,
  • Manage stress in healthy ways, and
  • Cultivate self-compassion.

Mindfulness can facilitate all of the above!

Mitigating Bias through Mindful Awareness Practices

Mindfulness has been described as a “state of mind,” personal trait, or practice16. The American Psychological Association states that:

“Mindfulness is awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings. Mindfulness can help people avoid destructive or automatic habits and responses by learning to observe their thoughts, emotions, and other present-moment experiences without judging or reacting to them.”17

In a recent blog, I discussed some of the benefits of mindfulness and how we can establish and maintain a mindful awareness practice. Spending consistent time in practice can increase self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making; these are attributes that the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning18 refers to as social emotional competencies (SEC). In addition, when we possess greater SEC and are more mindful, our ability to assess situations with nonjudgmental awareness, openness, curiosity, and compassion increases. We are less likely to perceive situations and the actions of others as personal attacks, thus reducing the likelihood that we will react automatically and commit egregious acts (conscious and unconscious) resulting in harm to students.

The term “mindful awareness practice” encompasses a broad range of activities. Two types of practices, in particular, have been shown to reduce implicit racial bias: focused awareness and compassion or lovingkindness practices, as detailed here: 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

  1. Focused awareness practice involves focusing on and maintaining focus on an object or activity with openness and curiosity24. As thoughts and distractions arise, the mindful awareness practitioner acknowledges, and perhaps notes or labels them25, and redirects their awareness back to the focus target.
  2. Though Lovingkindness/compassion practice may vary, it often involves sitting quietly and focusing first on oneself with love, compassion, and kindness26, then, while maintaining feelings of love, compassion, and kindness, the practitioner’s focus gradually extends outward to close loved ones, neutral others, challenging others, and then back to self, extending well-being to all. During lovingkindness/compassion practice, the practitioner may visualize specific individuals and/or group of individuals to develop/increase empathy and compassion toward those individuals/that groups of individuals23.

In addition to reducing stress and increasing empathy, lovingkindness/compassion practice increases positive emotions26 often related to stress coping adaptations27. Even seven to ten minutes of focused awareness and/or lovingkindness inductions can reduce implicit biases22, 23.

Tips to Get Started

Educators have an obligation to keep students safe and ensure their just treatment. Here are some practitioner tips to integrate mindfulness into your educational practice:

  • Practice self-compassion as you identify, acknowledge, gain insight into, and examine your biases.
  • Though engaging in brief mindfulness practices has been shown to reduce implicit racial bias, consistency is key; therefore, set aside time and space for a daily 10- to 15-minute practice. (For tips on how to establish and maintain a consistent practice, please see this recent back-to-school blog.)
  • Try engaging in a focused awareness (e.g., the awareness of breath practice) or lovingkindness/compassion practice such as the ones found here. After becoming comfortable with the lovingkindness/compassion practice, consider visualizing specific individuals and/or group of individuals to develop/increase empathy and compassion toward those individuals/that group of individuals.

By identifying, acknowledging, understanding, and examining our biases and through the practice of mindfulness, we can reduce implicit racial bias, cultivate SEC, better manage stress, and assess situations with nonjudgmental awareness, curiosity, and compassion helping to ensure the safety and just treatment of all students.


1Markel, 2004, p. 2028; 2Gallup, 2014; 3Hoglund et al., 2015; 4Souza et al., 2012; 5Maslach & Leiter, 2016; 6Gallup, 2022; 7Staats et al., 2015, p. 62; 8Jones et al., 2012; 9Castelli et al., 2009; 10Baron & Banaji, 2006; 11Lueke & Gibson, 2015; 12Heitzeg, 2009; 13Dorfman & Schiraldi, 2001; 14Dasgupta, 2013; 15Bertrand et al., 2005; 16Jennings, 2015, p. 2; 17American Psychological Association, 2023, para. 1; 18CASEL, n.d.; 19Fabbro et al., 2017; 20Hirshberg et al., 2022; 21Kang et al., 2014; 22Lueke & Gibson, 2015; 23Stell & Farsides, 2016; 24Jennings et al., 2013; 25Kabat-Zinn, 1994; 26Fredrickson et al., 2008; 27Fredrickson et al., 2003

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please email Please visit the Youth-Nex Homepage for up to date information about the work happening at the center.

Author Bio: Pamela Nicholas-Hoff is a triple Hoo and postdoctoral research associate supporting work in Youth-Nex and the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education. Before earning her Ph.D., Pam spent 17 years teaching at the middle school level (five of those years were spent teaching at an alternative middle school serving students who were pushed out of traditional schools) and seven years teaching health and physical education teacher preparation courses. Pam is also a certified CARE facilitator and is working toward her certification to facilitate Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction courses. Her research focuses on using mindful- and compassion-based practices to mitigate teacher-based implicit biases, stress, and automatic responses and to eliminate exclusionary discipline disparities for historically marginalized students. In her spare time, Pam enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and fitness training.