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The goal of the Youth Engagement Program (YEP) is to engage high school students across Ontario in research at McMaster University. Dr. Young and her team have been successful in working with secondary schools across the Hamilton-Wentworth Board.

YEP has been in the works for several years now, based on the Early Research Award the proposed Director (Young) received in 2017. Dr. Young's team is working in collaboration with McMaster University's Engagement Office.


Below is an outline of the previous and upcoming events related to the YEP. 





Are you aged 15 to 18 and curious about the university experience?

Are you interested in university-level research opportunities?

Do you want to learn how to prepare for the transition from high school to university?

This spring, McMaster University’s Department of Sociology invites you to participate in a 60-minute virtual workshop to explore these topics and answer your questions about the university experience. During the workshop, you’ll participate in interactive activities exploring how your neighbourhood impacts your mental health, how university experiences can influence students’ well-being, and how COVID has shaped all of our daily experiences. Y

The virtual workshop is 50 minutes long and designed for you to learn more about the type of research conducted by students and faculty in post-secondary education. The seminar will be divided into three short sessions and we will discuss topics related to community resources, work-family conflict, student mental health, and how COVID impacts the resources available to us. We will also discuss how research can be used to promote positive change in the world. 

There will be lots of opportunities for you to participate as well! An intermediate Q & A period will offer an opportunity to discuss the skills that help students transitioning from high school to University not only survive but thrive. The workshop will conclude by asking you to fill out a google form about a situation you would like more information about, and how researching that topic will have an impact on your community.


Your participation in the workshop may also be eligible as a contribution towards Ontario high school’s community service requirement for graduation.” [Note, we are working on confirming these details across participating secondary schools in the Peel and Hamilton-Wentworth districts]

Workshop Facilitators
This program is directed Dr. Marisa Young (Associate Professor, Department of Sociology; Canadian Research Chair in Mental Health and Life Transitions) and facilitated by Jessica Monaghan—a third year undergraduate student at McMaster University.Learn more about our workshop facilitators on our research team page >>


The initiative is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.


For the 2018/19 year, we designed a workshop that would allow high school students interested in the social sciences to learn about how research is conducted while also getting the chance to visit the McMaster University Campus and learn more about the various programs offered in the social sciences.


The workshop began with a brief presentation about the social sciences at McMaster and an overview of the FFCR project. Following this, students were shown various survey questions and were tasked with deciding whether they were “good” questions or if they needed to be improved. This was meant to be a fun and interactive portion of the workshop to introduce students to survey-based research methods and what is required to create an appropriate survey question.


Next, the students were given a small questionnaire with questions that pertained to homework, social media, sleep patterns, etc. They were asked to administer the questionnaire to a partner. We then collected these questionnaires and had them enter the data that they collected on their own into the statistical program Stata. We then showed the students how to examine and interpret descriptive statistics such as means and standard deviations and how to graph the results in a histogram. They particularly enjoyed the software’s graph editor with which they had the chance to engage. Finally, the workshop portion of the day ended with challenging the students to try to locate a relationship between two of the questionnaire items. We then showed them how to create a scatterplot and discussed possible interpretations of the data that they had collected themselves.


With the workshop portion complete, we allowed the students to ask questions before the final activity of the day. Students were given a handout with various places they could visit in the Student Centre on campus. They were split into groups of around four and given 30 mins to complete a scavenger hunt. With each located office, program, or place, they were asked to take a group selfie as proof that they had been there. The group with the most selfies were given a prize (small trinkets like candies or pens etc.)

Feedback we received from teachers was very positive. They expressed appreciation for the way that we incorporated learning about research methods in a fun and interactive way that the students enjoyed.







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