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Youth-Nex Events

Youth-Nex hosts an annual fall conference and sponsors other events throughout the year.

























OCTOBER 26 & 27, 2017






Youth Act: Social Justice, Civic and Political Engagement — #YouthAct17
The conference is by invitation only. Please contact Ellen Daniels if you'd like to receive an invitation.


Young people are society’s future leaders, whether governing and contributing in the public arena or participating as voters and organizers in the private sector. But beyond that, they are actively working towards social change today

Now more than ever, youth civic and political engagement is critical to our country, and the world’s, development. Our conference will focus on the role of civics education, youth political engagement, and youth activism in the context of education, policy, and social programs.

The 6th Youth-Nex Conference, “Youth Act: Social Justice, Civic and Political Engagement,” (#YouthAct17), will provide a forum for educators, policy-makers, and practitioners across the country to focus on critical questions about a range of issues around youth civics activism and political engagement.


UVA Global History of Black Girlhood Conference
March 17-18, 2017
Youth-Nex supported and participated in this event convening an interdisciplinary network of scholars to frame the emerging field of black girl history. The project grew out of the History of Black Girlhood Network, an informal collaboration among scholars researching the experiences of black girls from the sixteenth century to present in Africa, the Americas, and Europe.

"Youth of Color Matter: Reducing Inequalities Through Positive Youth Development
October 8 & 9, 2015 / #YoCM15
Conference Summary:
The United States is growing richer in racial and ethnic diversity, especially among our youth. Yet, amidst these profound changes, gross disparities persist in opportunities and outcomes, and many youth of color continue to be marginalized and viewed through narrow lenses that reinforce negative stereotypes. How can we, as youth advocates, teens, educators, parents, researchers, and policymakers, use what we know about positive youth development to generate meaningful, measurable, widespread, and sustainable strategies for addressing disparities?

The 5th annual Youth-Nex Conference, "Youth Of Color Matter: Reducing Inequalities through Positive Youth Development" (#YoCM15), provided a space for leaders across the country to investigate critical questions and reinforce narratives portraying youth of color as thriving contributors to their communities. 

"Let's Talk After-School: After-School Contexts for Children and Adolescents"
October 16 & 17, 2014

"Physical Health and Well-Being for Youth"
October 10 & 11, 2013

"In Between: Middle Schools as Centers for Positive Youth Development"
October 18 & 19, 2012 

The 2nd Annual Bullying Research Network Think Tank: New Directions for Positive Youth Development
June 21-22, 2012

"Bullying Prevention in the Promotion of a Positive School Climate: Effective Principles and Practices"
June 20, 2012

"Enhancing the Positive Youth Development Perspective: A Developmental Intervention Science Framework"
April 2-3, 2012

"Forward Thinking: Preparing Our Youth for the Coming World" (YN Inaugural Conference)
October 24 & 25, 2011



Talks are part of the Curry Research Lectureship Series. Bavaro Hall. 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Bavaro Hall, Holloway Hall, (Room 116). Lectures are FREE and open to the public. No registration is required. Parking is available at the Central Grounds Parking Garage. Bagels and Coffee will be served.


Jenny Roe, Ph.D. – Friday September 2, 2016  VIDEO
"Natural Solutions To Tackling Behavior and Performance in Urban Schools" 
The talk highlights the benefits of green space access in school settings for behavioral and performance outcomes. It presents two studies both carried out in deprived schools in Central Scotland; the first compares the effect of indoor versus outdoor education (delivered in a forest setting) on a range of wellbeing outcomes in teenagers; the second study explores the benefits to memory recall in early years pupils from curriculum tasks carried out indoors versus outdoors in a range of playground settings.



To view slides larger: Jenny Roe - Natural Solutions to Tackling Behavior & Performance in Urban Schools from youth_nex


Roger P. Weissberg, Ph.D. – Friday December 2, 2016  VIDEO  SLIDES
"Enhancing the Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning of Preschool to High School Students Across the United States" 

 During the last decade, there have been significant advances in social and emotional learning (SEL) research, practice, and policy. This talk will highlight key areas of progress and challenges as we broadly implement school-family-community partnerships to foster positive behavioral, academic, and life outcomes for preschool to high school students. My goal for this presentation is to provide a foundation to foster group discussion about future priorities for the next decade.

Roger P. Weissberg is University/LAS Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Education and NoVo Foundation Endowed Chair in Social and Emotional Learning and at the University of Illinois at Chicago. For the past 35 years, he has trained scholars and practitioners about innovative ways to design, implement and evaluate family, school and community interventions. He is also Chief Knowledge Officer of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), an organization committed to making evidence-based social and emotional academic learning an essential part of education. Weissberg has authored 250 publications focusing on preventive interventions with children. He has received several awards including: the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Contribution Award for Applications of Psychology to Education and Training, the Society for Community Research and Action’s Distinguished Contribution to Theory and Research Award, and the "Daring Dozen" award from the George Lucas Educational Foundation for being 1 of 12 people who are reshaping the future of education. He is also a member of the National Academy of Education for contributions to education research and policy. More on Weissberg.

View slides larger here: Roger Weissberg Slides


Valerie Maholmes, Ph.D., CAS - Friday February 24, 2017
"The Science of Hope and Why it Matters for Children and Families in Poverty"

This talk is part of the Curry Research Lectureship Series. Bavaro Hall. 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Bavaro Hall, Holloway Hall, (Room 116). Lecture is free and open to the public. No registration is required. Parking is available at the Central Grounds Parking Garage. Bagels and Coffee will be served.
Maholmes will review the factors that promote hope and resilience in poor children and families and will explore the focal question: "Are We Wired to Hope?" Case studies will be presented of individuals who experienced adverse events in childhood, but seem to fare well despite their circumstances. The session will conclude with a discussion on the "cost of resilience" and evidence-based strategies that help families manage the day-to-day complexities of their lives and achieve their most fundamental goal of providing a better life themselves and for their children. 

Valerie Maholmes, Ph.D., CAS has devoted her career to addressing the challenges of low-income and minority children and families. From her early work as an educator to her current role supporting biomedical and behavioral sciences research, Maholmes calls attention to the short and long term psychological and health consequences of experiencing adversity early in life. She was awarded the prestigious Science Policy Fellowship sponsored by the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS). She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, lectured and through her work at the NIH has funded research and programs on factors that influence the health and development of low-income, minority children. Notably, Dr. Maholmes co-authored a text on applied child development research published by Taylor and Francis, Psychology Press in 2010 and a comprehensive volume about the intergenerational effects of poverty titled Child Development and Poverty published by Oxford University Press in 2012. This work was followed by a text titled Fostering Resilience and Well-being in Children and Families in Poverty: Why Hope Still Matters, published in February 2014 also by Oxford Press.  With her most recent book titled Post Dramatic Relationship Syndrome: How to Find Your Drama-Free Zone, Maholmes' joins the global network of independent book authors and uses her platform to call attention to the ways in which relationship dynamics have an impact on women's emotional wellbeing and overall health.

Noelle Hurd, Ph.D. - Friday March 3, 2017
"Natural Mentoring Relationships: Why They Matter and What We Can Do To Encourage Their Formation"

This talk is part of the Curry Research Lectureship Series. Bavaro Hall. 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Bavaro Hall, Holloway Hall, (Room 116). Lecture is free and open to the public. No registration is required. Parking is available at the Central Grounds Parking Garage. Bagels and Coffee will be served.
Hurd has a primary appointment in the University of Virginia (UVA) Psychology Department. She also has an appointment in the Curry School of Education and is a faculty affiliate in Youth-Nex and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies at UVA.

Talk Abstract: Using a resilience framework, my research to date has demonstrated the potential of natural mentoring relationships (i.e., naturally-occurring, supportive, intergenerational relationships between youth and nonparental adults) to influence positively the psychosocial outcomes of adolescents and emerging adults. This presentation will focus on current and future directions of my research. These directions are guided by the following primary research questions: 1) What are key moderating and mediating factors that determine the success of these relationships in promoting more positive developmental outcomes? 2) How do the broader contexts within which youth are situated influence the formation of natural mentoring relationships? and 3) How can we intervene to encourage the onset of natural mentoring relationships among youth who are lacking these supportive ties? 

Hurd's research agenda has primarily focused on the promotion of healthy adolescent development among marginalized youth. Specifically, her work has focused on identifying opportunities to build on pre-existing strengths in youths’ lives, such as supportive intergenerational relationships. Using a resilience framework, she has assessed the potential of nonparental adults to serve as resources to marginalized youth, and she has investigated the processes through which these relationships affect a variety of youth outcomes (e.g., psychological distress, health-risk behaviors, academic achievement). She runs the Promoting Healthy Adolescent Development (PHAD) Lab at the University of Virginia. Hurd is a current William T. Grant Scholar and a Spencer/National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow.  


Erin Murphy-Graham, Ph.D. – November 5, 2015 - AUDIO
"No Longer Bogged Down: Examining the Effects of a Youth Sports-Based Job Training Program from a Capabilities Perspective"
Murphy-Graham will discuss findings from a mixed-methods randomized control study of the A Ganar program in Honduras, a country plagued by gang-related violence and one of the highest homicide rates in the world. The overall goal of A Ganar is to change the lives youth called ninis (because they neither work nor study, ni trabajan ni estudian) through their re-enrollment in the formal education system or by helping them to gain stable employment. A Ganar (which means “to win” or “to earn” in Spanish) is a youth workforce development program “wrapped up in a soccer ball.” In using the metaphor of sports, the program hopes to reach out to young men and women and instill a number of character skills including conscientiousness, sociability, and perseverance. Drawing upon the capability approach (Nussbaum, 2011) Murphy-Graham will explores the ways in which the program fosters central human capabilities, particularly affiliation, emotions, and play, and thereby enables program participants to feel that they are no longer “bogged down” (estancado). In light of new research stressing the connections between character skills and personal and social prosperity, this study hopes to contribute a deeper understanding of their importance. Biography.

Candice L. Odgers, Ph.D. – January 23, 2015
VIDEO. Slides. Read the Charlottesville Tomorrow article about the talk.
"Seven Fears and Countless Opportunities for Adolescents in the Digital World"

Many adults fear that adolescents’ seemingly constant interactions with their mobile devices are interfering with their ability to communicate, develop close friendships, and even sleep. Adolescents are indeed spending a great deal of time on their devices; 80% now own a mobile phone and send, on average, 50 text messages per day.  But are mobile devices really ruining our kids?  This lecture will evaluate the fears and opportunities surrounding adolescents’ use of new technologies and share findings from our research using mobile phones to track the daily experiences, emotions and behaviors of adolescents. The opportunities and challenges that mobile technologies present for youths, researchers, educators and parents will be discussed.

Candice Odgers is an Associate Professor of Public Policy, Psychology and Neuroscience and Associate Director of the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and completed her postdoctoral training at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre in London, England. Her research focuses on how social inequalities and early adversity influence children’s future health and well-being, with an emphasis on how new technologies, including mobile phones and web-based tools, can be used to understand and improve the lives of young people. Odgers is a William T. Grant Scholar and the recipient of early career awards from the American Psychological Association and the Society for Research in Child Development. Most recently, she received the Janet Taylor Spence Award from the Association for Psychological Science for transformative early career contributions to psychological science. Before joining the Sanford faculty in 2012, Odgers was an Associate Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California-Irvine.

Maureen R. Weiss, Ph.D. – February 27, 2015
"Youth Development in Physical Activity Contexts: Promoting Social, Psychological, and Physical Assets" - 
Millions of children and adolescents participate in a variety of structured (organized sport, school physical education, motor development programs) and unstructured physical activities (play, recess, recreation). In my presentation I will summarize the knowledge base and share my line of research on physical activity as a context for promoting social, psychological, and physical assets and healthy outcomes. Using a positive youth development approach, I first discuss robust findings on social assets, including social relationships and moral development. Second, I review the evidence base on psychological assets, including self-perceptions, emotions, and motivational orientations. Third, I discuss the unique set of physical assets that can result from engaging in youth development programs, such as movement literacy, lifetime sport skills, physically active lifestyle, physical fitness, and physical health. Throughout, I translate research to offer evidence-based best practices for promoting positive youth development through physical activity. Finally I identify areas for future research that might provide more definitive evidence of the potential for sport and physical activity to promote positive youth development.

Maureen R. Weiss is a Professor in the School of Kinesiology, and Adjunct Professor in the Institute of Child Development, at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her research is focused on the psychological, social, and physical development of children and adolescents through participation in sport and physical activity, with interests in self-perceptions, motivation, moral development, and social relationships. Previously she was a faculty member at the University of Virginia (1997-2007), where she held an endowed professorship, and at the University of Oregon (1981-1997), where research and its applications were implemented through her role as Director of the Children's Summer Sports Program, a developmental skills program serving youth 5 to 13 years of age.

Professor Weiss received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Kinesiology and Psychology, and a Master of Arts degree in Kinesiology, from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She received her Ph.D. in Kinesiology from Michigan State University. She has published over 140 refereed journal articles and book chapters in her areas of expertise. She has also edited or co-edited 4 books on youth sport and physical activity: Competitive Sport for Children and Youths (Weiss & Gould, 1986), Advances in Pediatric Sport Sciences: Behavioral Issues (Gould & Weiss, 1987), Worldwide Trends in Youth Sport (De Knop, Engstrom, Skirstad, & Weiss, 1996), and Developmental Sport and Exercise Psychology: A Lifespan Perspective (Weiss, 2004). Weiss is a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology (#360) and served as President in 2010-2011. Weiss is currently Editor of Kinesiology Review, the official journal of the National Academy of Kinesiology and the American Kinesiology Association.

Annette Lareau, Ph.D. –  April 9, 2015
"Unequal Childhoods, Unequal Adulthoods: Small Moments and Large Consequences" – Bavaro Hall, Holloway Hall - 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Reception to Follow. - VIDEO    SLIDES

Lareau is the Stanley I. Sheerr Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She conducts qualitative research on social class difference in family life, parent involvement in education, and language use. She is the author of Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, which won a distinguished publication award from the Sociology of Family, Sociology of Childhood, and Sociology of Culture sections of the American Sociological Association. She conducted two follow-up studies of the children; the latest when they were thirty years old. She is also the co-editor (with Kimberly Goyette) of the 2014 book Choosing Homes, Choosing Schools, which examines the factors that influence parents' decisions where to live and where to send their children to school. Lareau is past president of the American Sociological Association. Her visit is sponsored by the U.Va. Field Methods Workshop, The Department of Sociology, the Curry School of Education, and Youth-Nex: The U.Va. Center to Promote Effective Youth Development. 

The U.Va. Field Methods Workshop is an interdisciplinary community of faculty and advanced graduate students dedicated to "deep data," the exploration of ethnographic methods. More details at

SLIDES :   ⤵︎









Past Sponsored Talks
"Punishment and the Adolescent Brain — The Role of Developmental Science in Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decisions About Juvenile Offenders"

LISTEN TO AUDIO. Laurence Steinberg delivered the P. Browning Hoffman Memorial Lecture, "Punishment and the Adolescent Brain — The Role of Developmental Science in Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decisions About Juvenile Offenders," in Caplin Pavilion, at the U.Va. School of Law. A reception will followed.

In the past eight years, the United States Supreme Court has issued landmark opinions in three cases that involved the imposition of harsh sentences on juveniles convicted of serious crimes. In these cases, the Court drew on scientific studies of adolescent brain and behavioral development in concluding that adolescents, by virtue of their inherent immaturity, are not as responsible for their behavior as adults. This lecture will discuss the Court’s rationale in these cases and the role that scientific evidence about adolescent development played in its decisions.

October 18 - Private Colloquium. LISTEN TO AUDIO. Youth-Nex and the Law School sponsored a private colloquium where Steinberg presented material based on his new book, "Our Last Best Chance: Why Adolescence Starts Earlier, Ends Later, and Matters More than Ever.”

Some points covered: The extension of adolescence and the implications of neuroscience on policy decisions and the law— how does longer adolescence impact legal responsibility and age-related prohibitions? How should we think of the concept of “adulthood” for policy purposes? The plasticity of the adolescent brain.

Laurence Steinberg is the Distinguished University Professor and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology at Temple University. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on psychological development during adolescence. Steinberg's research has focused on a range of topics, including adolescent brain development, risk-taking and decision-making, mental health, family relationships, after-school employment, school achievement, and juvenile justice.


EDWARD MULVEY - "Outcomes in Early Adulthood for Serious Adolescent Offenders" - WATCH VIDEO - Youth-Nex is sponsoring this talk, as part of the Curry Research Lectureship Series. 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Alumni Hall  The lecture is FREE and open to the public. No registration is required. Bagels and coffee will be served. Parking is available at the Central Grounds Parking Garage.

Mulvey discussed findings from the Pathways to Desistance study, a longitudinal project following 1,354 serious adolescent offenders for seven years after their appearance in court. We know that many adolescents greatly reduce their criminal offending as they make the transition into early adulthood. Yet we know very little about what developmental processes or system interventions promote more positive outcomes in this group during this time. The influence of a variety of factors was discussed such as findings about the role of institutional placement and service provision, employment, and perceptions of the legal system. Policy implications of the study findings to date were also discussed.

Mulvey is a Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Law and Psychiatry Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. His research has investigated how clinicians make judgments regarding the type of risk posed by adult mental patients and juvenile offenders, and what treatment might be appropriate for such cases.


ANDREW MONDSCHEIN – "Learning the City: Early Experiences with Travel and the Development of the Cognitive Map" - 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Holloway Hall, Bavaro Hall. Bagels and coffee will be served. Parking is available at the Central Grounds Parking Garage. This lecture is FREE and open to the public.

Information about opportunities in the city – jobs, services, recreation, etc. – is acquired through everyday travel, yet we understand relatively little about cognitive maps are shaped by factors such as transit and auto use, walkability, and neighborhood character. Spatial learning is likely to be particularly important as children and adolescents build persistent relationships to different environments and types of travel. Early urban engagement and exploration could facilitate improved access to a range of opportunities over the long term, particularly for populations impeded by limited auto access and sparse nearby opportunities.

Andrew Mondschein, PhD, AICP is Assistant Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. He focuses on transportation and seeks to increase access to opportunities and foster community building and economic development through more sustainable forms of mobility. Mondschein's research emphasizes the experiential component of everyday travel, and includes topics such as the impacts of different travel modes on wayfinding and the cognitive map, how people cope with congestion, the role of information technologies in travel behavior, and the demographics of walking.


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