Thomas Akiva

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Thomas Akiva

Thomas Akiva

University of Pittsburgh
5938 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-648-7320
Email: tomakiva@pitt.edu

Faculty

My research focuses on organized activities that youth attend during out-of-school time (OST) and what these voluntary environments can teach us about learning. I study this topic from a motivation perspective, investigating instructional practices, thought processes, decisions made during learning, and the developmental and educational consequences of participation. I also have interest and experience studying mindfulness among adults and youth in various learning settings.

I currently have projects in two areas:

  • Adolescent motivation to attend and engage in youth programs -- Given the multitude of ways high school students can spend their time, what factors contribute to their decisions to enroll in and regularly attend OST program activities? I am addressing this topic within an expectancy-value framework, focusing on intrinsic factors related to people (peers, staff) and content (activities, projects, cool materials in the program space).
  • Developmental effects of involving youth in authentic leadership roles in youth programs -- Through two projects I am investigating the practice of placing youth in leadership roles within youth programs. One is a youth leadership program in which older youth mentor younger youth. The second is a project to examine the effects of participation as a summer camp CIT (counselor-in-training).

School Affiliations


Education

  • University of Michigan

    2012
    PhD in Education and Psychology
  • University of Michigan

    May 2009
    MS in Psychology
  • University of Michigan

    Jul 2003
    MA in Educational Studies
  • Alma College

    May 1995
    BA in English

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Recent Awards

  • Dimond Outstanding Dissertation Award

    Apr 2013

    Stanley E. and Ruth B. Dimond Outstanding Dissertation Award, University of Michigan, April 2013

  • ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award Honorable Mention

    Feb 2013

    ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award Honorable Mention, February 2013

  • Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor

    Apr 2012

    University of Michigan

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Recent Presentations

  • Youth beliefs about where “real” learning occurs: Lifewide vs. school-centric views

    Apr 2014

    Akiva, T., Horner, C. G., Schall, J. D. (2014, April). Youth beliefs about where “real” learning occurs: Lifewide vs. school-centric views. In J. N. Jones (Session Organizer), Evolution of learning and programming in the out-of-school time field. Paper for the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Emotional expression patterns in urban youths’ developmental contexts: Differences in belonging, engagement, and motivation

    Apr 2014

    Horner, C. G., Akiva, T., Schall, J. D. (2014, April). Emotional expression patterns in urban youths’ developmental contexts: Differences in belonging, engagement, and motivation. Roundtable for the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, PA.

  • Like school, home, or just for fun: Youth perceptions of an afterschool program

    Mar 2014

    Schall, J., Akiva, T., & Horner, C. G. (2014, March). Like school, home, or just for fun: Youth perceptions of an afterschool program. Poster for the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Austin, TX.

  • “Growing with youth”: How adult leaders support youth developmental progression within youth programs

    Mar 2014

    Akiva, T., Jacobs-Priebe, L., & Russell, J. L. (2014, March). “Growing with youth”: How adult leaders support youth developmental progression within youth programs. In Larson, R. (Chair), Understanding the roles, practices, and expertise of youth program leaders. Paper for the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Austin, TX.

  • Development of leadership conceptions among adolescents in youth-adult partnership programs

    Mar 2014

    Wu, H. J., Akiva, T., & Van Egeren, L. A. (2014, March). Development of leadership conceptions among adolescents in youth-adult partnership programs. In J. Petrokubi (Chair), Youth as co-creators: How does civic development happen within the context of youth-adult partnership? Paper for the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Austin, TX.

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Recent Publications

  • Youth belonging and cognitive engagement in organized activities: A large-scale field study

    Jun 2013
    Akiva, T., Cortina, K. S., Eccles, J. S., & Smith, C. (2013). Youth belonging and cognitive engagement in organized activities: A large-scale field study. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 34, 208-218.
  • Continuous quality improvement in afterschool settings: Impact findings from the Youth Program Quality Intervention study

    2012
    Smith, C., Akiva, T., Sugar, S. A., Lo, Y. J., Frank, K. A., Devaney, T., Cortina, K., & Peck, S. P. (2012). Continuous quality improvement in afterschool settings: Impact findings from the Youth Program Quality Intervention study. Washington, DC: The Forum for Youth Investment.
  • Mindfulness training effects for parents and educators of children with special needs.

    2012
    Benn, R., Akiva, T., Arel, S., & Roeser, R. W. (2012). Mindfulness training effects for parents and educators of children with special needs. Developmental Psychology, 48, 1476-1487.

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