Sarah Zeller-Berkman

Academic Director of Youth Studies Programs at CUNY SPS


101 W. 31 street 7th floor 

NY NY 10001

Phone: (212) 652-2862

Areas of Expertise
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Youth Studies
  • Critical Youth Studies
  • Intergenerational Policy-Making
  • Youth-Adult Partnerships

Sarah Zeller-Berkman, PhD is the academic director of the Youth Studies Program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) and director of The Intergenerational Change Initiative. At CUNY SPS, she oversees the MA and advanced certificate in youth studies programs and directs the Intergenerational Change Initiative (ICI), a youth participatory action research project involving mobile tech and participatory policy making.

Dr. Zeller-Berkman has spent the last two decades as a practitioner, researcher, evaluator, and capacity-builder in the field of youth and community development. Trained in social-personality psychology, she has worked in partnership with young people on participatory action research projects about issues that impact their lives such as sexual harassment in schools, incarceration, parental incarceration, and high-stakes testing. Her publications include articles and chapters in the Journal of Community, Youth and Environments, The Handbook of Qualitative Research, AfterSchool Matters, New Directions for Evaluation, Globalizing Cultural Studies, and Children of Incarcerated Parents. She is committed to using participatory design principals, youth-adult partnerships, a critical participatory action research approach, and the latest technical tools to be part of a larger movement to alter the status quo for/with young people.


YS 610 - Youth Development 
YS 699 - Capstone

Academic Programs

Graduate Program

Youth Studies

Advanced Certificate Program

Youth Studies

Recent News

Youth Studies Professors Dr. Zeller-Berkman and Dr. Bishop discuss race and justice with outside scholars Damaris Dunn and Dr. Barrales during panel discussion

Youth Studies Professor Showcases Latest Book in Panel Discussion

May 22, 2024

During the event, Dr. Bishop discussed her recently published book Whiting Out: Writing on Vulnerability, Racism and Repair.

Black & white photo of CUNY students protesting in 1970s used as still from the documentary The Five Demands

Youth Studies Program Introduces Film Series for Annual Community and Youth Organizing Event

March 07, 2024

This year's Community & Youth Organizing series featured screenings of three documentaries that demonstrate youth and/or community organizing principles in action.

CUNY SPS Youth Studies students at Winter Wonderland data sharing event

Partnering with Youth on Policy Change

January 04, 2024


In December 2023, students from the CUNY SPS Youth Studies programs participated in Winter Dataland, a citywide event in which the program shares data generated by young people in partnership with YS students and hundreds of other young people in NYC. Patricia Kerrigan, a BA in Youth Studies student, shared her reflections on the evening and the possibilities it offered for youth workers and advocates in the year to come.
Smiling CUNY SPS students at youth studies event.

Youth Studies Launches ‘23 with Community-Building Events

February 17, 2023

The School's youth studies program hosted back-to-back events that focused on youth programs, social justice, and self-care.

Additional Areas of Expertise