I was invited to share my research for the University of Utah College of Social Work's Beyond the Classroom Series - a series aimed at bringing research findings to practitioners.. You can view my recorded talk, titled, "(Re)imagining Third Places: Co-creating Supportive Settings with Young People at the Margins" here

Ongoing Projects

Sense of community and (third) place among young adults in permanent supportive housing: A mixed-methods inquiry 

My dissertation research partnered with young adults in permanent supportive housing in Western Colorado through longitudinal mixed methods, qualitative geographic methods, and game-based inquiry to explore: 

Through this research, I hope to impact future permanent supportive housing settings for young people, as well a third place settings more broadly, to better meet young people's self-determined needs. 

These photos were taken during "playtesting" and "pilot" sessions in my development process for the Future of Third Places Game, a game which asks players to reimagine third places (community settings) which center young people's support, affirmation, and wellbeing. As a part of my dissertation, I was able to play this game with 23 young people in permanent supportive housing. Moving forward, I hope to partner with community organizations and architects/planners who want to use this game as an engagement tool for (re)designing youth-centered third places.

This photo was taken when sharing my dissertation findings (on how residents experience the physical environment of the permanent supportive housing setting) with the Denver-based architecture firm, Shopworks Architecture, which designed the permanent supportive housing setting with which I've partnered for my dissertation work. These findings will inform future Shopworks designs, offering an incredible dissemination opportunity for direct impact. 

COVID & connection: Collective care through mutual aid

I am a Co-PI (Co-PI: Dr. Kimberly Bender) on a study examining the rapid proliferation of mutual aid amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing that mutual aid as a practice has existed for centuries - but proliferated into the mainstream in Summer 2020 - our team interviewed 25 individuals engaged in mutual aid in Colorado in Summer/Fall 2020 to understand the unique role of mutual aid in our social ecosystem during this time. We have published on the values and beliefs underlying mutual aid during this time, and the role of digital mutual aid organizing early on in the pandemic. Forthcoming articles (under review) highlight the varying conceptualizations of mutual aid (which varied by social location), social bonding mechanisms experienced by mutual aid organizers, and the use of foresight frameworks as a method of understanding mutual aid praxis.

Affirming Ground Project: Peer support for young people experiencing homelessness

I am a participatory action research (PAR) team member on a study entitled "Mutual aid among youth experiencing homelessness," a federally-funded project (Corporation for National Community service) exploring formalized peer support programming for young people experiencing homelessness. Our PAR team has published on how peer support specialists uniquely initiate and build connection with young people experiencing homelessness and how peer support workers value self-directed growth over conventional change goals when working with young people experiencing homelessness. Our team has also studied power dynamics on PAR teams (beginning by studying our own experiences) - and has published on how values and power mapping may guide power-diverse PAR teams in navigating power dynamics and created a power mapping tool. Find out more about our collective work at

Evaluating prison arts program outcomes

Throughout my doctoral program, I worked with Dr. Shannon Sliva to evaluate the outcomes of the DU Prison Arts Initiative, which offers arts programming across the Colorado Department of Corrections and performances (often in prisons) for the general public. In addition to conducting ongoing program evaluation and writing public-facing reports for DU PAI, I have led a scoping review on prison arts program outcomes, a manuscript describing our findings that participating in DU PAI programming was associated with promising socio-emotional outcomes and liberatory experiences amidst incarceration, and a theoretically-grounded manuscript describing how virtual prison arts programming may begin to build psychological proximity between incarcerated folks and the general population.

I have also had the opportunity to work with Convergence Design Lab to study Spy Hop's (SLC, Utah) Sending Messages Program  - a podcast program produced by youth involved in carceral structures (project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts). We found that listeners' views about incarcerated youth and the justice system significantly differed after listening to Sending Messages, suggesting the value of youth-produced media and arts in shaping the views of the general public towards empathy and care.