Thomas Akiva
Faculty - EdD Coordinator

My research focuses on understanding and improving out-of-school learning (OSL) program experiences for children and youth. My team investigates child and youth program processes at multiple levels, with studies about program practices, staff professional development, and cross-program networks. This research is designed to uncover practical findings to support adults who work with youth in program settings. Our projects focus on youth-adult relationships, innovation, and equity. This research takes place in three strands:

  1. Understanding youth programs and their features
  2. Professional development for youth workers
  3. Building equitable systems for cross-setting learning

You can read about our research on p. 8 of the Fall 2015 School of Education newsletter.

Current active projects include:

School Affiliations

Recent Grants

Remake making: Understanding adoption and adaptation of facilitated making in libraries, National Science Foundation: Advancing Informal STEM Learning, PI, 2017-2019, $299,495.
Modeling the Creative Learning ecosystem in Pittsburgh, The Heinz Endowments, PI, 2019, $49,500.
Out-of-School Learning in Urban and Disrupted Suburban Areas, The Grable Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, PI, 2017-2018, $35,000 ($17,500 Grable, $17,500 Heinz Endowments).
Evaluation of the Pittsburgh Youth Organizing for School Change Program, The Heinz Endowments, PI, 2014-2017, $555,000.
Simple Interactions 2.0, The Grable Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, PI, 2015-2017, $280,000.
Evaluation of the 2016 Learn & Earn Pittsburgh Summer Youth Employment Initiative, Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, PI, 2016, $69,500.

Recent Publications

Akiva, T., *Carey, R. L., Cross, A. B., Delale-O'Connor, L., & Brown, M. R. (2017). Reasons youth engage in activism programs: Social justice or sanctuary? Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 53, 20-30.
Wilson, C., Akiva, T., Sibthorp, J., & Browne, L. (2019). Fostering distinct and transferable learning via summer camp. Children and Youth Services Review, 98, 269-277.
Akiva, T., & Delale-O'Connor, L. (2018, Apr). Social justice and sanctuary: Youth activism programs as settings for development and learning. PittEd School of Education Magazine. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh School of Education.
Thomas Akiva


University of Pittsburgh
5938 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260