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Friday, October 6 • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Challenging Cultural Inequities via Media Engagement and Near-Peer Mentorship

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This panel presents research from three different yet related youth media projects designed to challenge cultural and structural inequities. Each project identifies and discusses the benefits and challenges of pairing youth with college students as near-peer mentors within the context of media and technology engagement. 

#1: Gender inequity in technology spaces persists: women hold 12% of engineering jobs and 40% of women with technology degrees leave the profession. Seeds of Change is a leadership-training program for high school and college women in technology. Participants learn foundational frameworks to recognize gendered dynamics and strategies to navigate tech environments where their participation is affected. A key curricular framework is the Train the Trainer model: Stanford technology undergraduates receive feminist training and impart this knowledge to high school students interested in media and technology majors and careers. This model empowers women to be leaders and provides high school students with relatable mentoring relationships.

#2: Despite available statewide funding, only 4% of former foster youth in Texas graduate from college. As a way to lower some of the barriers, UNT hosted a summer digital storytelling workshop that paired teens in foster care with college students majoring in media arts. The workshop taught teens basic media production skills as an avenue for sharing their own stories with peers, caretakers, and CPS. The teens reported that the experience was personally empowering and rewarding. The mentorship aspect helped to challenge misconceptions teens in care had about college as an institution and as an opportunity.

#3: The "Making Movies that Matter" Film Festival places former CalArts students in 30 LAUSD schools to teach youth how to use smartphones to make short films about something that ‘matters’ to them. The content of the films generated deeper insights into how participants perceive today’s political, social and environmental landscape. Pairing youth from communities that typically do not support the arts as a career option with students from an elite art school generated a significant need to understand how mentor/mentee relationships can cross political, class, and cultural boundaries.

Together this panel presents original research that lends a deeper understanding to the role of near-peer mentorship within youth media and technology curricula.

Friday October 6, 2017 2:00pm - 3:00pm PDT
Emerald Bay C