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About Us  Our Goals

Melinda C. Bier, PhD
Principal Investigator

Spring Schmidt
Curriculum Specialist

Cindy Pulley
Curriculum Project Coordinator

Phil Betts
Media Production Coordinator

Michael Butler
Webmaster and Online Education

Steve Sherblom, PhD
Research Associate

David Shields, PhD
Research Associate

Billy Rucker
Program Intern

Henry Waterford
Artist and Technical Assistant

Katy Till
Graduate Student

Kris East
Student Intern

  • To help young people acquire the necessary skills to use today's information and communication technologies effectively and safely.
  • To teach kids to think critically about the ways in which the media impacts values, behaviors, and beliefs.
  • To encourage young people to develop critical thinking skills so they can become active participants rather than passive consumers in today's society.
  • To provide media education to teachers, health professionals, and agencies serving youth.
  • Develop and provide media literacy resources to schools, parents, and community members.
  • Promote service learning opportunities through policy analysis, media advocacy and civic engagement.

The Youth Empowerment in Action! project is a media literacy-based program hosted by the Center for Character and Citizenship in the College of Education, University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Media Literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and produce communication in a variety of forms.

There are five basic principles for critical analysis of media messages:

  • Media Messages are constructed.
  • Messages are representations of reality with embedded values and points of view.
  • Each form of media uses a unique set of rules to construct messages
  • Individuals interpret media messages and create their own meaning based on personal experience
  • Media are driven by profit within economic and political context

Why Is Media Education Important to Health?

Mass media has an undeniable impact on child and adolescent health. Children living in a media saturated society learn many things from the constant flow of messages, including information about health, such as messages about nutrition, sexual activity, tobacco and drug use, and violence.  According to Michael Rich, MD, MPH, Harvard Medical School, “The Media is the primary environmental health issue for our foreseeable future.”  Media Education counters the barrage of media messages by encouraging children to make healthy choices based on sound information.

Children receive nearly 95% of their information via electronic media sources. Media Literacy is a catalyst for learning that engages and empowers youth while addressing important health concerns such as childhood obesity, tobacco prevention, violence prevention, and social and behavioral development. Media Education is a 21st Century skill that is necessary to empower children to make informed decisions and healthy choices.

The YEA! program consists of 3 primary components:

1) Media Literacy-to teach students about how the media works and understand and evaluate its impact in their lives.

2) Civic Engagement-Encourages students to research and develop public policy ideas. Students then engage in a social marketing campaign and present their ideas to local community and government organizations.

3) Production-Students gain a deeper understanding of professional media when they have direct experience with video production methods. The YEA! Program assists in hands-on creation of video projects, newsletters, and other artistic expressions to help them experience the many facets of media production.

Youth Empowerment in Action!
College of Education
University of Missouri - St. Louis
One University Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63121 USA