Collage of headshots of eight people who are the core team at Youth-Nex

Youth-Nex Awarded for Excellence in Research & Youth Programming

Youth-Nex and its researchers and staff were recognized for their leadership and scientific excellence in the field of positive youth development and adolescence research.

Leslie Booren

Photo top row: Nancy Deutsch, Abby Gillespie, Mike Lyons, Sherry Bryant; bottom row: Martha Pullen, Katrina Debnam, Crystal Haislip, Leslie Booren

Youth-Nex, the UVA Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, and its researchers and staff were honored with two awards this month from the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA), highlighting significant contributions to research and programming in adolescent development.

Youth-Nex was awarded the 2024 Organizational Award for Excellence in Research and Programming that recognizes scientific research and the application of that research to promote development of young people from diverse backgrounds. This award honors organizations that play a vital role in advancing science, as well as science-based programs and policies that serve young people.

“This award truly highlights the joint work of all our faculty, researchers, post-docs, staff and students at Youth-Nex,” said Nancy Deutsch, director of Youth-Nex and associate dean for faculty affairs at the UVA School of Education and Human Development. “For more than a decade, the Youth-Nex community has been increasing efforts to use research in practice and to partner with communities to address questions of positive youth development, particularly those that address issues of historical and contemporary (in)equity.”

Jessika Bottiani
Jessika Bottiani

Research scientists at Youth-Nex were also recognized for the high impact of a research publication. Jessika Bottiani, associate research professor, accepted the Social Policy Publication Award for a paper she led on the prevention of youth firearm violence disparities with a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional team of co-authors, including Catherine Bradshaw, professor and senior associate dean for research at the UVA School of Education and Human Development. The award recognizes research on adolescence with implications for social policy.

“This article should be required reading for U.S. policymakers,” Deutsch said. “This work highlights how development, geography, culture, and social structure contribute to race disparities and most importantly the actionable policies to disrupt patterns of youth firearm violence.” 

The awards were presented at the Society for Research on Adolescence national conference on Saturday April 20th in Chicago, IL. “We are honored that SRA and our colleagues have highlighted the center and the work of our researchers,” Deutsch said.

Founded in 2009, Youth-Nex is a trans-disciplinary research center that expands and applies the science of positive youth development to address fundamental challenges facing societies around the world.


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