The Youth Engaging in Research Program (YERP) (est. 2019) offers 6th-12th grade students within the Twin Cities metro the opportunity to conduct a mentor and peer supported, socially-engaged, science project rooted in their community. The program runs six months, during which, students work through their project with guidance from their mentor and support from their peers. YERP participants will present the results of their project to the broader Twin Cities community at a capstone celebration.
- Gain experience identifying and solving problems using the scientific method and how to work in a team;
- Learn how science is a tool to address community needs;
- Become civically-minded citizens by connecting to their communities in active ways;
- Engage with diverse perspectives, expertise, and role models;
- Gain confidence in their own abilities; and
- Feel empowered to achieve future goals.
Information for Students:
Students who wish to apply must design research projects that address a challenge faced within their school, local, or even global community. Applicants will apply for the program by providing a short written or video essay describing their project proposal. The science to address the social concern can be under the purview of either the hard sciences or social sciences. We cannot accept projects requiring Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.
The SASSAk12 Team will review each application and will notify the student about the status of their application. If accepted, we will pair each student with a mentor(s) whose expertise will enhance the student’s project. The student and mentor(s) will meet monthly to establish the project goals and how to achieve them, and to troubleshoot new challenges.
Students wishing to apply must have permission from a parent.
Would you like to participate? Please contact SASSAk12!
Information About YERP Research Mentors:
YERP mentors should have backgrounds in the hard or social sciences and be interested in fostering a growth-mindset while working with 6th-12th grade students.
Being a YERP mentor will only take 4-8 hours of your time each month. Each mentor will have a partner and will conduct virtual meetings with 4-5 students at a time. Mentors with experience in the public, private, and academic sectors are all welcome. SASSAk12 focuses on making connections within the community. We welcome diverse perspectives, expertise, and role models, especially women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ community members.
In addition to empowering the next generation of researchers, other benefits to becoming a YERP mentor include opportunities to engage with other experts in your community in an informal and fun way and to explore ways to improve science communication and community engagement.
Interested in helping students connect science and social studies to their communities and the world around them? If the answer is “Yes!”, we invite you to contact SASSAk12.