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.

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