Introducing Youth Radio’s Scholar-in-Residence

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Clifford LeeHi y’all! I want to introduce myself to the Youth Radio community. My name is Clifford Lee and I am officially the new “Scholar-in-Residence.” I’m still getting used to that lofty and auspicious title. Besides acting scholarly, I will be working with Lissa Soep in researching the teaching and learning practices in the Innovation Lab, publishing and presenting our findings; leading professional development workshops at YR; designing curriculum units with youth; and updating this blog with news, insights, and reflections. You will be hearing from me every now and then on this page. And just in case you’re interested, our preliminary research questions thus far are connected to the process and results of what we do: What factors contribute to a supportive, engaging, and inclusive learning community centered on transmedia projects? What skills do youth develop through the process of creating transmedia projects?

As the old cliché goes, things really happen for a reason. As I was nearing the end of my first year as a college professor and trying to create a roadmap for my future research trajectory, a former classmate of mine forwards me an out-of-the-blue job call for this position. It might as well have been written for me… Experience teaching youth and adults? Yes! Research skills? Yes! Experience with digital media production? YES! Worked with multiple personalities and moving parts? YES!!! Already IRB approved study? Hell Yes! Wow. What are the chances? After a few weeks here, I can honestly say that I could not have asked for a better role.

Researching this work has been a seamless evolution from my dissertation research on youth produced video games about issues that are personally meaningful to them in Los Angeles. The combination of storytelling, critical literacies, and computational thinking practices from my own research to Innovation Lab’s use of app development, journalism, and research have been a perfect extension of my scholarly interest, as well as what Youth Radio has been independently creating. I am excited to share our latest news with you!

In addition to my work as “Scholar-in-Residence,” I am an assistant professor in the Kalmanovitz School of Education at Saint Mary’s College, where I teach future teachers in the Single Subject Teacher Education program. We are in the midst of developing a transformative urban educational program. Prior to my return to the Bay Area, I completed my Ph.D. from the Urban Schooling division of UCLA in 2012. And before that, I was an English, Social Studies, and Media Arts teacher at Life Academy High School in East Oakland. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my wife and soon-to-be Kindergarten son in our new home in the Dimond district and building community in the Town.

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