YoUthROC Research Team


YoUthROC is a community and University-connected youth research team working virtually and out of North Minneapolis. The team supports the growth of Youth-led Participatory Action Research (YPAR) with the goal to develop youth, kinship, and social action through the University of Minnesota's Robert J. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC). YoUthROC centers Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) youth and other marginalized communities.

The team aims to:

  1. Provide support and training for anti-racist, justice-oriented youth research;
  2. Conduct YPAR projects that center and showcase the power of BIPOC youth through accessible and culturally relevant research methods;
  3. Model kinship, nourish connections, and sustain reciprocal community partnerships; and
  4. Reclaim Northside spaces and return them to spaces that serve the community's BIPOC youth.

The team is guided by words of elder, scholar, author and civil rights leader Josie R. Johnson:

For the ancestors who struggled for me
For the future generations for whom I struggle
Always in love and always for justice

Team Projects

YoUthROC’s 2019 project asked, “What does it take to develop an accessible and sustainable space that centers BIPOC youth?” Based on data from interactive surveys and focal groups, the team’s findings and recommendations are part of a YoUthROC YPAR Magazine. The team continues to ask critical questions of community spaces and organizations, including schools, about the actions they are taking to center BIPOC youth in public, accessible spaces.

YoUthROC’s 2020 project asked, “In an uprising, how do youth move?” Using autoethnography, historical artifact cataloging, social media analysis, and focal groups, the team is developing a curriculum about youth in social movements for groups focused on anti-racism and ethnic studies.

For information on UROC's YPAR activities or to get in touch with the YoUthROC team, contact Shaunassey Johnson or Amina Smaller on Instagram @youthroc.umn, or email College of Education and Human Development Lecturer Abby Rombalski, Ph.D. at

Follow on YoUthROC on Twitter @umnyouthroc, on Instagram @youthroc.umn, and on Padlet at


YoUthROC fall team members from left to right: Abby Rombalski, Savannah McCullough, Shaunassey Johnson, Amina Smaller, and Eva García



YoUthROC graphic painted by 2019 YoUthROC member and community artist Victoria Pope @queenvicky_131