Pasadena Students Celebrated for Research Project


Parents, teachers and superintendents came together recently for an award ceremony honoring local high school students who were part of Youth Research Vox. The new Pasadena-based nonprofit gives students the tools to complete academic research projects.
The group’s Closing the Gap Project was born during the pandemic, when educators Joyce Coffey and Meg Spaulding wanted to reach students from their homes. Students were faced with uncertainty and isolation, and yet many of them were doing more than ever to help their communities.
One Youth Research Vox member, Westridge School sophomore Maya Lurvey, led a free virtual summer camp for Pasadena youth. While many volunteered their time, all of the students began thinking about education in a new way. Closing the Gap gave them the opportunity to conduct high-level research usually only attainable at the post-secondary level. The students rose to the occasion, creating detailed and nuanced studies about the American education system.
Seventeen students from Pasadena and Greater Los Angeles worked in small groups for four months to conduct research, analyze data and write formal papers about how to close the achievement gap between poor and non-poor public schools across the country. At least one research article will be submitted to several academic journals, including the Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University.
During their research project, many team leaders conducted interviews with superintendents from some of the best school districts in the country. Those superintendents were at the ceremony to present the researchers with their awards, which honored the teams and team members who finished this intensive endeavor.

Researcher Awards:
• Reema Rafifar, Westridge School: Most Well-Rounded Researcher
• Kaavya Venuturupalli, Westridge: Social Media Outreach Champion
• Maya Lurvey, Westridge: Most Assertive Young Professional
• Melanie Mosqueda, Westridge: The Ultimate Achiever

Team Member Awards:
• Nancy Calderon, East College Prep: Best Action Team Member
• Atalanta Carrig-Braun, Westridge: Best Action Team Member
• Adam Lurvey, Sequoyah School: Best Action Team Member
• Diana Shidaeva, Temple City High School: Best Action Team Member

Student Researchers From Pasadena:
• Reema Raffirar, Westridge
• Kaavya Venuturupalli, Westridge
• Maya Lurvey, Westridge
• Melanie Mosqueda, Westridge
• Atalanta Carrig-Braun, Westridge
• Crystal Zhang, Westridge
• Mckenna Dahlen, Westridge
• Yasmeen Elrabat, Mayfield Senior School
• Adam Lurvey, Sequoyah

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