Who We Are

We (Danielle Allen, Jennifer Earl, and Lissa Soep) are part of the MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP).  The YPP was formed out of recognition that youth are critical to the future of democracy and that the digital age is introducing technological changes that are impacting how youth develop into informed, engaged, and effective actors. 


Danielle S. Allen is the Director at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University. She is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014), and Education and Equality (2016). She is the co-editor of the award-winning Education, Justice, and Democracy (2013, with Rob Reich) and From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age (2015, with Jennifer Light). She is a Chair of the Mellon Foundation Board, past Chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and American Philosophical Society.


Jennifer Earl is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona. She taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) before joining Arizona. She is Director Emeritus of the Center for Information Technology and Society and Director Emeritus of the Technology and Society PhD Emphasis, both at UCSB. Her research focuses on social movements and the sociology of law, with research emphases on the Internet and social movements, social movement repression, and legal change. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for research from 2006-2011 on Web activism and is the PI for the lead institution on a new NSF grant focused on social movement organizations. She leads the Youth Activism Project within the MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics. She has published widely, including an MIT Press book entitled Digitally Enabled Social Change, and in major sociological journals such as the American Sociological Review and the Annual Review of Sociology, as well as in respected specialty journals such as Sociological Theory and Mobilization, among others.


Elisabeth (Lissa) Soep, PhD (Stanford) is Research Director and Senior Producer at Youth Radio, a national youth-driven production company in Oakland, CA. She researches and writes about youth discourse, learning, and digital media culture for academic journals, popular publications, and books including Drop that Knowledge (Soep & Chávez, UC Press) and Youthscapes (Maira & Soep, UPenn Press). The Youth Radio stories Lissa has produced/edited for NPR have been recognized with honors including two Peabody Awards, three Murrow Awards, an Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. With NSF support, Lissa co-created the Brains and Beakers series—interactive dialogues between youth and inventors—and is launching an Innovation Lab in partnership with MIT Media Lab’s Center for Mobile Learning. She was Principal Investigator for a 2010 winning entry in the MacArthur Foundation’s global Digital Media and Learning Competition, which established Youth Radio’s Mobile Action Lab (youth partnering with pro developers to create community-inspired technology). For more than ten years, Lissa served on the Board of Directors of the United States’ premier youth poetry organization, Youth Speaks (HBO series, 2009 & 2010), where she now serves as an advisor.


Staff & Collaborators


Chaebong Nam is Action Civics Specialist at the Democratic Knowledge Project. Before YPP, she worked for an e-Government project on public participation at Cornell Law School, known as the Cornell eRulemaking Initiative (CeRI). Originally from South Korea, she taught social studies in a Seoul middle school for about four years. Her research interests revolve around youth civic engagement, digital media and learning, youth participatory research, online public discussion, and community informatics. Chaebong received a BA and MA in Education from Seoul National University in Korea and a PhD in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Adam Strom_FHAdam Strom is the Director of the ReImagining Migration Project. Throughout his career, Mr. Strom has connected the academy to classrooms and the community by using the latest scholarship to encourage learning about identity, bias, belonging, history, and the challenges and opportunities of civic engagement in our globalized world.  The resources developed under Strom’s direction have been used in tens of thousands of classrooms and experienced by millions of students around the world including Stories of Identity: Religion, Migration, and Belonging in a Changing World and  What Do We Do with a Difference? France and The Debate Over Headscarves in Schools, Identity, and Belonging in a Changing Great Britain, and the viewer's guide to I Learn America. Before joining the ReImagining Migration Project, Strom was the Director of Scholarship and Innovation at Facing History and Ourselves


Youth Radio is a youth-driven multimedia production organization located in Oakland, California. It started small in 1992 for Bay Area youth who looked for an alternative media outlet in their community. Youth Radio helped the young folks process their everyday experiences through sharing and reporting their stories from personal perspectives. It was quite a challenge at the time to the stereotypical conception of urban youth prevailing in mainstream media. Youth Radio soon gained attention and began to be recognized nation-wide. In partnership with professional journalists, Youth Radio now provides a range of opportunities for young reporters including work-based learning opportunities, professional development, and health and academic support services. After receiving several awards and recognition, Youth Radio is now acclaimed as a leading youth media institution across the country: its pieces have been aired on major radio stations, including National Public Radio and Public Radio International. See more at https://youthradio.org. Youth Radio conducts a series of interviews with each of the case study exemplars that we share alongside the Action Frame principles.

Desmond Meagley is a Youth Radio reporter who conducts those interviews. He shared his insights about the YPP Action Frame through his own unique illustrations and interview reports. Desmond has been a participant at Youth Radio since 2014. He started his first internship with Youth Radio in the Newsroom and he’s been there ever since. Now a Project Associate and a member of YR’s Youth Advisory Board, Desmond has researched, written and produced a number of pieces for Youth Radio’s various news and media outlets. His work on this project was guided by his keen interest in activist politics and the relationship between technology and social change. Desmond lives in Emeryville, California, and currently studies History at Berkeley City College.

If you have any questions, contact us (Chaebong Nam).