The Justice-oriented Youth (JoY) Education Lab
Drexel University School of Education
“It is a beautiful thing to be on fire for justice...there is no greater joy than inspiring and empowering others”. ~ Dr. Cornel West
The Justice-oriented Youth (JoY) Education Lab was founded in 2019 by Dr. Ayana Allen-Handy in the School of Education at Drexel University. Our team of faculty, graduate, undergraduate, youth, and community researchers engage in research methods and critical civic praxis rooted in culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogies, critical race theory, intersectionality, and social justice youth development, with the intent to advance justice in all of its’ forms, particularly education, social, and racial justice. Our project-based research approach includes Youth-led and Community-led Participatory Action Research (YPAR/CPAR), what Dr. Julio Cammarota and Dr. Michelle Fine call a dynamic, co-constructed research process that is designed to interrogate and transform systems and institutions to produce greater distributive justice. The JoY Education Lab strives to democratize traditional research methods (which are often reserved for and sanctioned by the academy) by centering the lived experiences, cultural ways of knowing and being, and expertise of our youth and community researchers. Ultimately, we seek to cultivate joy amongst our diverse, intergenerational community of scholars in our collective pursuit of justice.
SPONSORED RESEARCH PROJECTS
- The West Philadelphia High School Youth Archivists: Preserving History for the Persistent Legacy of West Philadelphia High School
- Black Girls STEAMing through Dance [BGSD]: Building a Pipeline for Future STEAM Majors and Careers
- Anti-displacement: The Untapped Potential of University-Community Cooperative Living
- Engaging Women in Engineering: Training Mentors to Make a Difference [EngWINS]
- Using Culturally Sustaining Learning Environments to Explore Computational Learning & Identity
Allen-Handy, A., Thomas-EL, S.L., & Sung, K.K. (2020). Urban youth scholars: Cultivating global leadership development through youth-led justice-oriented research. Urban Review. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-020-00568-w
Allen-Handy, A., Ifill, V., Schaar, R., Rogers, M., & Woodard, M. (2020). Black girls STEAMing through dance: Inspiring STEAM literacies, STEAM identities, and positive self-concept. In K. Thomas & D. Huffman (Eds.). Challenges and opportunities for transforming from STEM to STEAM education. Hershey, PA: IGI Global
Allen-Handy, A., Thomas-EL, S.L., Bhuiyan, T., Carroll, X., Karlen, E., Medlock, I., Weeks, I. (2019). Urban youth/international scholars: Critical solutions in support of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. In P.A. Robinson, A. Allen-Handy, A. Bryant & C.W. Lewis (Eds.) Global perspectives on issues and solutions in urban education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.
Allen-Handy, A., & Thomas-EL, S. L. (2018). Be(com)ing critical scholars: The emergence of urban youth scholar identities through research and critical civic praxis. Urban Education, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085918814589
Allen-Handy, A., Ifill, V., Schaar, R.Y., Woodard, M., Rogers, M.(forthcoming) The emerging critical pedagogies of dance educators in an urban STEAM after school program for Black girls. Journal of Urban Learning, Research, and Teaching
Allen-Handy, A., Meloche, A., Brown, J., & Frazier A. (2020, March). Nurturing transformative youth-adult partnerships in youth participatory action research: A collaborative autoethnography of identity and sharing power across difference. Paper presented at the 41stAnnual Ethnography in Education Research Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
Allen-Handy, A., Walker, M., Meloche, A., Brown, J., Frazier, A., Dia, J., Burns, I., Ervin, Q., Edwards-Chapman, N., Holloway, A., Thomas, M., Wortham, I. (2020, March). Preserving History for the Persistent Legacy of West Philadelphia High School: A Youth Participatory Action Research Project. Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Multicultural Education. Radnor, PA.
Allen-Handy, A., Meloche, A., Brown, J., Frazier, A. (2019, October). Preserving History for the Persistent Legacy of West Philadelphia High School: A Youth Development Summer Internship. Drexel University School of Education Research Presentation. Philadelphia, PA.
Allen-Handy, A. (2019, June). Empowering urban youth’s critical scholar identities: Reflections from an after-school program in one urban community. Paper presented at the Critical Race Studies in Education Association Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA.
Allen-Handy, A., & Thomas-EL, S. (2019, April). Be(com)ing critical scholars: The emergence of urban youth scholar identities through research and praxis. Paper presented at the 2019 American Education Research Association Conference, Toronto, ON.
- Founder/Director: Ayana Allen-Handy, Ph.D.
- Faculty Partners: Jacquie Genovesi, Ph.D. (Academy of Natural Sciences), Valerie Ifill (Westphal), Kirsten Kaschock, Ph.D (COAS), Diane (Dee) Nicholas (Westphal), Michelle Rogers, Ph.D. (College of Computing & Informatics) Raja Schaar (Westphal), Rachel Wenrick (Writers Room), Christopher Wright, Ph.D. (School of Education)
- Graduate Research Assistants: Karena Escalante, Turea Hutson, Rasheda Likely, Ph.D. (alumni), Ague Mae Manongsong, Alysha Meloche, Kimberly Sterin, Shawnna Thomas-EL, Ph.D. (alumni), Monique Woodard
- Undergraduate Research Assistants: Destiny Bugg (alumni), Kalilah Dozier, Alisia Lipsey, Tejante Wainwright (alumni)
- West Philadelphia High School Teacher Researcher: Marie Walker
- West Philadelphia High School Youth Researchers: Jahyonna Brown, Isaiah Burns, Nehemiah Edwards-Chapman, Qudia Ervin, Ayanna Frazier, Anna Holloway, Melissa Thomas, Iminie Wortham
- Community Researchers: Carol Richardson McCullough, De’Wayne Drummond