We gathered information from academic papers, blog posts, news articles, and content from local non-profits to gain a better understanding of this space including the adolescent immigrant experience and extracurricular involvement.
We developed a framework that would help us continue to explore three distinct aspects of extracurricular experiences: discovery, programming, and quality assurance.
Download our report here.
We prioritized conducting many semi-structured interviews with professionals experienced in working with immigrant and refugee communities. This helped us understand the role of extracurricular engagement in the adolescent immigrant experience.
We also received feedback on our plan for primary research including best practices for working with sensitive populations such as immigrant communities.
State Refugee Coordinator of the Office of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance
Program manager for Youth Tutoring Program supporting Immigrants
Software engineer actively supporting Syrian refugee resettlement in the WA
Associate Director of the Vietnamese Friendship Association
Refugee School Impact Program Director for School’s Out Washington
Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington Information School
Central to our research activities was speaking with immigrants themselves. To respect the vulnerability of immigrant teenagers who are currently in the midst of identity formation, we focused on recruiting first-generation immigrants aged 18-24 who lived through adolescence in King County. We also prioritized recruiting a group of individuals who are diverse in their countries of origin.
To accompany our semi-structured interviews, designed a Cultural Probe consisting of three short activities that participants completed before our scheduled interview sessions. Our goal with these activities was to encourage and support reflection which was crucial for our research since participants we spoke to had already lived through adolescence
Through the activities, we were able to gain deeper insights into the relationships that impacted our participants’ lives and how they related to their extracurricular involvement choices.
Using an experience mapping activity during our sessions helped us visually document the journey of a participant’s involvement with a specific extracurricular activity depicted in chronological order.
Our goal with this experience mapping exercise was to help us better understand the stages of emotions involved in extracurricular involvement for our participants. We also hoped to explore especially positive moments or needs for improvement in the participants’ experiences.
Throughout our r
After conducting our interviews, we transcribed our data using affinity diagramming. Through this process, we collaboratively synthesized themes from groups of data points. These themes supported our process of insight generation.
To ensure our insights accurately reflected the narratives of our participants, I created experience maps that reflected individual participants' stories. On these maps, I identified salient moments that aligned with specific insights we generated.
These artifacts were extremely effective in helping our team iterate on our insights and in helping us keep the narratives of our participants central to all of our work. They also served the dual purpose of communication or sense-making tools for sharing our research with others!
“I was one of the kids that was getting a lot of help. And, I mean, I was thankful, but also just like, help someone else because you already know that I'm fine. But that wasn't the case in my high school. They just love to help those who have potential not really those who need it.” (P7)
“During middle and high school, there was a lot of tiptoeing around about what it meant to be American. Going from speaking English at school and coming home and transitioning to our native tongues was what I had to figure out and navigate.” (P2)
“In middle school [it] was really hard to get my parents agreed on anything. Because they felt like we were super young. You had to fight to do things” (P3)
“My parents didn't want to stay after school. They didn't want me to go home late. Because there were scared that I would be kidnapped or something.” (P5)
“I was part of the student board and I stayed up to school a lot of times to do things. But that was only because I had a teacher that my parents really trusted.” (P3)
“Since I moved, I've always wanted to be helpful for anyone like me who’s been in like my case.” (P1)
“I didn't have like a color mentor. It was a lot of white people looking out for me. I wish I had someone that looked like me.” (P7)
“You don't get into college by just studying. My parents didn't understand that extracurricular activity is a part of it all. They're just like: all you need to do is study. Why are you doing volunteer activities? So how can you explain to people from Ethiopia that something like Key Club exists?” (P3)
“The young persons who are part of the two cultures are a great bridge between the two. They become the translator and the person who knows how things work.” (E4)
Leverage the existing network of eager youth to cultivate connection and mentorship grounded in similar cultural backgrounds.
Support immigrant families’ understanding of the U.S. educational system and benefits of extracurricular involvement.
Check back later!