Associate Professor Michelle Munson to Participate in the Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring at Portland State University

Associate Professor Michelle Munson will be spending a week this July participating in the prestigious Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring at Portland State University. Munson will be one of six research fellows -- prominent, nationally- and internationally-known scholars -- who will attend the Institute and lead interactive seminars.

The Institute, which begins on July 18, aims to provide an in-depth examination of current research and its implications for youth mentoring programs, policies, and practices. Another key goal of the Institute is to allow for dialogue between scholars, researchers, and mentoring program directors. The theme of this year's Institute: mentoring youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

"Being selected as a research fellow is an honor for researchers investigating the impact and process of youth mentoring relationships," said Munson. "I am thrilled about the opportunity to lead seminars on mentoring research, particularly for child welfare-involved youth and young adults."

Munson will lead two seminars for Institute participants, who are leaders in the field of youth development. In the first, Munson will examine her research on the supportive relationships between youth with emotional difficulties -- including many who have been in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems -- and natural mentors. In the second, participants will discuss considerations involved in developing mentor program models based on research evidence and practice wisdom.

Before entering academia, Munson was employed as a social worker for many years. During this time, she directed a mentoring program, and also worked as a clinical social worker in a psychiatric hospital with young people.

"I noticed that there were some real service programmatic gaps in the system for older kids and how we help them navigate moving into adulthood and adult service systems, particularly professional services for those living with serious psychiatric problems," explained Munson. Since that time she has focused her work on mental health services and interventions, vulnerable populations of youth and young adults, and supportive relationships.

Munson said she is most looking forward to hearing about new research and thinking with program directors and policymakers about how to move the mentoring field forward. "The Summer Institute is a great example of 'research to practice' at its best."