CUNY SPS Wins Grant to Study Impact of Covid-19 on NYC Youth

Group of young students in classroom

The CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) is proud to announce that the CUNY Interdisciplinary Research Grant (IRG) program has awarded $40,000 towards a research project examining the effect of COVID-19 on New York City youth entitled Amplifying Potential: Youth Generated Research on COVID-19 and a Vision for How to Build Back Better

This project will be led by CUNY SPS faculty Dr. Sarah Zeller-Berkman, director of the youth studies program and the Intergenerational Change Initiative, along with Dr. Jason Bryer, assistant professor of data science and information systems, and Dr. Isabelle Elisha, associate director of psychology programs. 

“I am eager to partner with Dr. Bryer and Dr. Elisha on this innovative project that engages the skill sets and perspectives of the CUNY SPS youth studies, data science, and developmental psychology programs while also positioning young people as co-researchers and experts of their own experiences,” said Dr. Zeller-Berkman. “We will use CUNY’s Interdisciplinary Research Grant to create youth-informed data and tools that can be used by advocates, activists, and policy makers to help our city build back better post COVID-19. 2021 is an opportune time for CUNY and NYC to use a democratized, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational approach to promote neighborhood resiliency and strength.”

As outlined in the proposal, the project is designed to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on young people in New York City, the areas young people believe are most critical to address post-COVID-19, and whether these are mitigated by location. 

In order to answer these questions, the research team will use the funding from this research grant to partner with a core group of youth researchers to collect 2021 youth census data from youths ages 13-24 and analyze that data along with external data sources (e.g. COVID-19 rates and economic indicators). The team will then use data science methods (i.e. machine learning, geographic information systems [GIS]) to examine the impact of COVID-19 on particular geographic areas.  

This project is an outgrowth of a Youth ask Youth (YAY) census conducted in summer 2020 by the Intergenerational Change Initiative (ICI), an organization that brings together teams of young people from around NYC with CUNY SPS students and professors to practice youth participatory action research with the goal of making the city a better place for youth. The group hopes to conduct the YAY census as an annual temperature check on the city by its youngest citizens.  

Findings from the 2020 YAY census will also be presented on April 7 at the CUNY SPS Youth Studies virtual event I C the Future: Report backs from the Intergenerational Research Teams. For more information or to register, visit here.

About the CUNY School of Professional Studies

For over 15 years, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) has been leading online education in New York. Notable for offering the most online bachelor’s and master’s degree options at the City University of New York, and for serving transfer students as the University system’s only undergraduate all-transfer college, CUNY SPS meets the needs of adults who wish to finish a bachelor’s degree, progress from an associate’s degree, earn a master’s degree or certificate in a specialized field, and advance in the workplace or change careers.

The School’s growth has been remarkable, with twenty-four degrees launched since 2006. Enrollment has risen by more than 30% in the last four years to over 4,000 students in the credit-bearing programs. Thousands more are enrolled in non-degree and grant-funded workplace learning programs. In addition, the School has an active alumni network and has established the CUNY SPS Foundation, which offers multiple scholarship opportunities to current students.

CUNY SPS has consistently been named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the country’s top online institutions. This year, the School was ranked in the top 2% in the nation on the publisher’s list of the 2021 Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs.

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