Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Provides $1.5 Million Grant to George Mason University to Help Youth Seize Opportunities to Accelerate and Enhance their Education

Jan 31, 2020

George Mason University will Leverage the Science of Learning and Development to Transform Adolescent Learning Environments

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April 7, 2017 | Students at Summit Shasta (Daly City) | Chandler West for Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
April 7, 2017 | Students at Summit Shasta (Daly City) | Chandler West for Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) today announced $1.5 million in funding to the Well-Being Laboratory at George Mason University to develop and evaluate a ten-week psychological intervention with youth pursuing meaningful goals under the mentorship of adults. The intervention is geared towards enhancing curiosity, self-direction, and purpose in young adults’ lives.

Todd Kashdan, professor of psychology and director of the Well-Being Laboratory at George Mason University, is working with Anthony Burrow, Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development at Cornell University, and GripTape CEO, Mark Murphy, to clarify whether the intervention improves the psychological, social, academic, and life outcomes of youth, how it works, and for whom. Based on the results, the team plans to refine and expand the program to a larger group of teenagers around the United States. 

Today’s announcement builds on CZI’s efforts to expand the definition of student success beyond academics to include the identity, physical, mental, cognitive, social and emotional development of individual students. This project reflects elements of Comprehensive Student Development (CSD), a research-based framework designed to ensure that every young person enters adulthood with the knowledge, skills, habits, and agency to thrive in a changing world. 

“Adaptive qualities such as agency, self-control, curiosity, resilience, and meaning and purpose in life are being widely studied by researchers,” said Todd Kashdan, Professor at George Mason University. “We now know that these elements are greater contributors to living a fulfilling life than the achievement-oriented subjects which are taught in schools today. Little is known about how to enhance adaptive capacities in youth (or adults). GripTape is the most promising intervention I have been exposed to and the more I discovered about their approach, the more I knew I wanted to collaborate with them. Our goal with this generous grant from The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is to help youth reach their full potential.”

CZI is committed to ensuring that every young person enters adulthood with the skills and abilities they need to reach their full potential. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has a history of funding practitioners and researchers as part of their work to enable every young person — not just the lucky few — to enter adulthood with the knowledge, skills, habits, and agency to contribute to and thrive in a changing world. Learn more about CZI’s education work at https://chanzuckerberg.com/education/.

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About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education, and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grant-making, impact investing, and policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit www.chanzuckerberg.com.