Sarah Zeller-Berkman

Sarah Zeller-Berkman

Youth Studies Program Academic Director | CUNY School of Professional Studies

Sarah Zeller-Berkman, PhD is the Academic Director of the Youth Studies Program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies and Director of Youth Studies Initiatives at the John F. Kennedy, Jr. Institute for Worker Education. At CUNY SPS, she oversees the MA and Advanced Certificate in Youth Studies programs and directs the Intergenerational Change Initiative (ICI), a youth participatory action research project involving mobile tech and participatory policy making. Dr. Zeller-Berkman has spent the last two decades as a practitioner, researcher, evaluator, and capacity-builder in the field of youth and community development. Trained in Social-Personality Psychology, she has worked in partnership with young people on participatory action research projects about issues that impact their lives such as sexual harassment in schools, incarceration, parental incarceration, and high-stakes testing. Her publications include articles and chapters in the Journal of Community, Youth and Environments, The Handbook of Qualitative Research, AfterSchool Matters, New Directions for Evaluation, Globalizing Cultural Studies, and Children of Incarcerated Parents. She is committed to using participatory design principals, youth-adult partnerships, a critical participatory action research approach, and the latest technical tools to be part of a larger movement to alter the status quo for/with young people.

Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?

I believe participatory practices are of the utmost importance to maintaining a healthy democracy and engaged citizens as well as produce the best outcomes for individuals and communities.

What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?

I hope to learn and be inspired by work that is happening around the country as well as see if some of the tools ICI has been developing could be adapted to other contexts etc.