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Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Dr. John Ungerleider


Youth development practitioners must be cognizant not only of youth development and social justice education theories, but also of how they—in the context of their lived experiences—engage with youth development work. My initial experiences with youth development lacked intentionality; however, as I began to critically examine my own experiences through the lens of theorists such as Freud, Piaget, Ericksen, hooks, and Freire, I realized the vitality of reflective practice. This paper unpacks my experiences as a Group Leader for The Experiment in Argentina, Nicaragua/Cuba, and South Africa, analyzing my approach to the Group Leader role and how it affected my participants’ experiences. The body of theories that I incorporate into this analysis include youth development, youth empowerment and social justice education as they not only build upon each other but are also not mutually exclusive in that a youth practitioner must consider all three in this work. In this process of self-actualization as an educator, I not only incorporate theory into practice but also identify my strengths and areas of improvement in my youth development work moving forward.


Developmental Psychology | Educational Leadership | Educational Methods | Leadership Studies


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