Participatory Action Research (PAR)

CERRU has begun engaging with Participatory Action Research (PAR) as an epistemology for seeking solutions to local issues. As of now, Yael Rosenstock is facilitating two active PAR projects. The first on student-teacher communication and student social support at Robert F. Kennedy High School and the second on filling the gap of sex-related programming at Queens College.

Participatory Action Research (PAR) is research for the community that is BY the community. The epistemology purports that those with lived experiences are experts of their lives and therefore valuable members of a team in deciding how to approach a problem. PAR provides a space to elevate individual talents and expertise often ignored or overlooked by traditional research. PAR also, as the name implies, takes action with what is learned. The research team together decides how to disseminate findings to those for whom it most matters and comes up with ways to put possible solutions into play.

RFK Reality Check

Student-Teacher Communication & Student Social Support (Jan 2016-Jan 2017)

Yael Rosenstock began working with students from Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) High School in January of 2016. The group has has a couple of reiterations because of conflicting schedules but since March has been a consistent group engaging in data collection using self-created research tools. To date, 197 RFK 9th and 10th graders have taken surveys about their experiences communicating with teachers and their perceived social support. Additionally, student researchers led two focus groups of RFK teachers over the summer to learn about teacher experiences and communication with students, as well as level of social support offered at the school. Yael and the student researchers are in the transcription and analysis phase of their study as they consider creative means of distributing their findings and of actively mobilizing some of the recommendations they expect to make once the have completed a formal data analysis.

Mental Health (April 2017 – Present)

Despite the reputation of some as students uninterested in education and in their own
future, they were excited and eager to choose a new topic and begin a second year of research.
Their new focus is mental health and understanding the needs of their community, building awareness, addressing stigma, and developing pride and love of oneself as a person who is diagnosed with a mental illness.

Our work together demonstrates the importance of addressing mental health needs within educational and non-educational programs in order for students to access their own potential. The work points to the motivating drive students feel when they are respected and asked to engage in high level work relevant to their lives as a way to develop both cognitive skills and resiliency. The importance of building a shared space where students feel supported and safe to address problems that arise at home is necessary as it is difficult for adults to access information about the personal lives of students which can highly affect their
school performance and mental health.

QC Sexploration and Information Group

Yael began working with students at Queens College interested in providing more extensive sex-related programming on campus.

Need areas included the following 6 topics:

  1. Consent & Rape Culture
  2. LGBQA & GqTI2
  3. Sexual Health
  4. Virginity and Abstinence
  5. Violence and Healthy Relationships
  6. Desire and Pleasure
  7. Religion & Culture
  8. Badass Army

As of now, Yael is co-facilitating Consent & Rape Culture and Desire & Pleasure with two other students. We believe that part of addressing and dismantling rape culture and issues of consent lie in education surrounding desire and pleasure. Several of the other groups are being co-faciliated as well and more information about the project as a whole can be found here. We have begun collecting responses to an initial survey to get a larger idea of some campus needs and are in the process of developing focus group guides to get a deeper understanding of those needs. We are working on increasing our number of partners on campus to ensure that as many voices as possible can be heard to develop effective programming. We intend to have a day of sex-related programming in the spring that specifically addresses what we learn from our research. There will also most likely be several event off-shoots through the Spring and possibly Fall semester. The hope is that the group, which is now made up of at least 5 core students, will continue as a student-led coalition in the years to come as new needs develop.


CERRU engages in several forms of research. First and foremost, we evaluate our student programs to ensure that our practices remain relevant and useful....


Over 470 students, staff, faculty, and community members attended CERRU events and trainings during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Our Impact

To date, we have done intensive training with one hundred fifteen highly motivated leaders on the Queens College campus. The cohort has been as...

Innovation Exchange

Each year, CERRU brings together innovators in various fields to participate in a campus and community wide Innovation Exchange. Please join us for our fifth annual Innovation Exchange on Wednesday, November 2nd at 4:45pm in the Patio Room on the Queens College Campus.

Lunchtime 2.0

Lunchtime 2.0 is an initiative aimed at redefining the way we think of college cafeterias. Campuses across the US are becoming more diverse; however, not enough is being done to provide a mechanism for diverse students to engage and listen to each other.

Upcoming Events

CERRU encourages students to become cross-cultural leaders, faculty & staff to partner with us in your class, and communities to engage in our programming. Join Us for Our Upcoming Events!