Engaged Cornell Grants Support BCTR Youth Research

By Hall, Sheri | Human Ecology, Spring 2019 | Go to article overview

Engaged Cornell Grants Support BCTR Youth Research


Hall, Sheri, Human Ecology


Thanks to grants from Engaged Cornell, two

Cornell researchers are working on projects that help to connect their youth research and learning to local communities.

ACT for Youth Director Jane Powers Ph.D. '85 received a $5,000 Engaged Opportunity Grant to work with undergraduate design students and two Tompkins County organizations on interior designs for a new youth homeless shelter.

And Max Kelly '20, an undergraduate Human Biology Health and Society major and research assistant with ACT for Youth, received a $1,000 grant to analyze how gender and sexual identity affect youth's access to health care.

The grants are part of a university-wide program to build community engagement by creating partnerships between students, faculty and local organizations.

The project led by Powers in collaboration with Design + Environmental Analysis (D+EA) Professor Gary Evans brought together undergraduate design students and local youth who experience unstable housing to design an emergency shelter for homeless youth.

First, Cornell students conducted focus groups and interviews with homeless youth to better understand what prevents them from using emergency shelters. "The youth discussed barriers, most of which have are also present in the literature about why youth don't use emergency shelters," Powers said. They included too many rules, lack of safety, privacy, and choice. The youth said that services such as medical and dental care, showers, clothes, tutoring, job training and access to computers would encourage them to use an emergency shelter.

Powers' research assistants shared their findings with D+EA students, who created design guidelines that explain the needs and goals of a new emergency shelter. …

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