1) Brainlink: Promoting Science Literacy Through Local TV News and the Web
Brainlink was a public education project funded by a Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health (Lawrence Kutner, principal investigator; Cheryl K. Olson, coinvestigator). The goal of Brainlink was to increase scientific literacy – particularly as it relates to neuroscience, drug abuse and addiction – by researching, producing and distributing innovative educational programs to local news viewers and to journalists, through existing but largely untapped distribution channels. The Brainlink project was designed for people who don’t typically seek out science programs, through a medium they already use: local television news broadcasts…. [read more or watch videos]
2) A Video-Based Curriculum to Help Teens Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles, and Become Successful Adults
For much of the last century, the teen years were seen as a time of stress and rebellion. Researchers and parents focused on how to minimize or cope with problems until teens grew out of them. But recent research suggests that severe turmoil is not the norm for adolescents, and that however oddly teens may dress or talk, they generally share their parents’ values. This changing view has been accompanied by a new focus on building on strengths (sometimes called “positive youth development”), and teaching or reinforcing skills and attitudes that lead to adult success.
Research suggests that several skills are key to teen thriving:
- Selection: Choosing positive goals that lead you to success
- Optimization: developing the strategies or recruiting financial, physical or social resources needed to achieve those goals
- Compensation: learning how to change your behavior when your path is blocked or your strategies fail; this may include modifying your goal or choosing a new one based on changed circumstances.
With funding from the Thrive Foundation for Youth, the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University is developing methods for measuring and teaching these S-O-C life skills to middle- and high-school youth. To give the concepts a more meaningful name, S-O-C has been recast as GPS : Goal selection, Pursuit of Strategies, and Shifting gears. The GPS project includes a mentor-guided curriculum designed for flexible use in youth clubs and afterschool programs, over multiple days or weeks—allowing time for youth to understand concepts, and to practice and master skills.
To support this effort, the Institute asked me to assist in the creation of curriculum evaluation plans and tools. I’m also producing a dozen brief documentary-style videos intended to connect mentor-guided lessons to real-life examples… [read more and watch videos]
3) Helping Low-Income and First-Generation Students Succeed in High School and College
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation helps high-ability, low-income students achieve their dreams through education. I wrote/produced several videos, with videographer Nick Ciorogan, as part of a relaunch of the Foundation’s communications program. See examples here and here.
In 2015, to raise funds for the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP), a summer program that exposes low-income minority teens to careers in health professions, I co-produced and scripted this short documentary-style video.