Youth Equity & Sexuality Lab

The Youth Equity & Sexuality research lab is focused on promoting positive adolescent and young adult sexuality development; preventing sexual violence; and fighting misogyny, cis-hetero-patriarchy, and white supremacy.

Follow and join the conversation on twitter using #YouthEquitySexualityLab

Miriam R. Arbeit, PhD

To learn more about Dr. Mimi Arbeit and her work, please visit her faculty page.

Current Research Projects

Sexual Health Against Right-wing Extremism

The first project of the YES lab will be to investigate whether and how students and staff engaged in sexual violence prevention efforts on college campuses account for the specific threats posed by right-wing misogyny. Can current sexual violence prevention efforts serve universities in addressing the right-wing extremist forces that are actively perpetuating rape culture in general, and perhaps also propelling individual instances of sexual violence in particular? How can best practices for sexual violence prevention be combined with strategies for countering violent extremism in order to best respond to the threats posed by current misogynist and white supremacist groups recruiting and radicalizing youth online and on campus? This project utilizes theory-building and resource-generating methods to investigate these and related questions.

Current Graduate Students

I’m from Burlington, MA. I did my undergrad at Suffolk University and graduated in 2017 with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. I continued my education at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island completing a master’s program in forensic and legal psychology under Dr. Alejandro Leguizamo. My master’s thesis examined perspectives of culpability and ideological frameworks in regards to attitudes towards hypothetical transgender defendants. I returned to Suffolk University in their new Applied Developmental Psychology Ph.D program under the direction of Dr. Arbeit. I came back to Suffolk for the commitment to social justice as well as working under an anti-oppression framework. I made the shift from forensic psychology to applied developmental in order to target the systems of power directly instead of operating within them.

Research Interests

Political and social activism, radicalization, decolonization, social media and political discourse, multiculturalism, intersectionality

Publications and Presentations

Leguizamo, A., Beliveau, P., Uber, J. R., Burnham, S., Conrad, M., & Zike, N. (2019). Diversity considerations in the application of evidence-based interventions with forensic clients. In E. L. Jeglic & C. Calkins (Eds.). New Frontiers in offender treatment - the translation of evidence-based practices to correctional settings. New York, NY: Springer.

Zike, N., Conrad, M., Burnham, S., Tooley, E., & Leguizamo, A. (2018, March). Ethnic Differences in Resilience, Perceived Stress, and Social Support. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association. Philadelphia, PA

Burnham, S. & Platania, J. (2018, June). Stereotypes Examined Through the Lens of Intersectionality and Integrated Threat Theory. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Pittsburgh, PA.

Milligan, C., Burnham, S., Khan, A., Kind, S., & Liverant, G. I. (2016, April). The relationship between symptom severity and emotion regulation strategy in veterans with unipolar depression. Presented at the Fenway Psychology Research Conference at Emmanuel College, Boston, MA.

Interested in joining the lab ?

The YES lab will be accepting new doctoral students to start in Fall 2020, through the Applied Developmental Psychology PhD program. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Arbeit for more information. 

Advisory Board

Duane de Four is an educator, media critic and activist with more than twenty years experience developing impactful strategic initiatives, policies, and curricula as well as facilitating highly-interactive, engaging trainings. He has published in SLUT: A Play and Guidebook for Combating Sexism and Sexual Violence, APEX Magazine, and his blog His videos critiquing advertising, video games and other forms of media are available on YouTube (please feel free use any of them in your classrooms or other educational settings). Duane is currently working toward a PhD in Higher Education at UMass Boston, while teaching at Merrimack College and serving as a member of the MA Governor’s Council on SA/DV and the board of directors at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC).

Lisette M. DeSouza, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral research scientist working with scholars at the National Institute on Out-of-School Time and at the Wellesley Centers for Women. Lisette takes an intersectional approach to the positive development of systematically marginalized youth, with the goal of youth- and community-initiated social change. This research agenda takes several forms: access to and involvement in quality youth development programs, workforce development, and civic engagement.

Emily Gorcenski is a Data Scientist by profession, a mathematician and engineer by training, and an activist by passion. Emily has over ten years of experience in scientific computing and engineering research and development. She has a background in mathematical analysis, with a focus on probability theory and numerical analysis. An advocate for social justice, Emily is an activist and survivor of the 2017 Charlottesville neo-Nazi attacks. This experience motivated her to research, track, and assess far-right threats in hope to understand the movement and to prevent future incidents. She was named as one of 2018’s most influential feminists by Bitch Magazine for her work in shining a light on far-right violence with her First Vigil project.

Elise Harris, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Associate on Metro Center’s Policy Research and Evaluation (PRE) team. Her primary area of research focuses on schooling practices and critical consciousness among youth, educators, and researchers. She leads PRE’s Exploring Youth Leadership Councils Study which is a four year, mixed methods study that examines whether and how youth leadership councils, a type of youth-adult partnership, foster developmental competencies and critical consciousness, both of which are associated with school engagement and later postsecondary outcomes.

Wagatwe Wanjuki is a feminist activist, speaker, writer, and digital strategist best known for her work as a national campus anti-violence advocate. Since launching a campaign for a better sexual assault policy at Tufts University in 2009, she's continued to work for a world free of gender-based violence. She's published in many popular outlets including BuzzFeed,, and The New York Times