Dr. Sarah Torok-Gerard

Teaching Area(s): Psychology and Neuroscience

With respect to interesting curricula, in addition to integrating service-learning projects into my own courses, I served on the University’s General Education Task Force since its inception and continue to serve as a member of the Integrative Core Advisory Board.

Reflections on Youth


Dear Reader,

Welcome to the Reflections on Youth (RoY) webpage at The University of Mount Union!

The following pieces were written by my Psychology of Gender (PY 385) students. Students who enroll in this class participate in a service learning project that partners with the Girls Together (GT) Program. We have been coordinating the project with the YWCA and Alliance Middle School for the last four years. The RoY essay was introduced into my course two years ago and has been well-received by members of the GT program. This year, since the program has expanded to include students at Northside Elementary and Alliance High School, we thought it would be helpful to launch a website based on the Reflections on Youth. This way, all of the GT participants could read about what the PY 385 students have shared about their life experiences.

The RoY essay requires PY 385 students to share personal life experiences that occurred during their childhood or adolescence. These can involve positive or negative experiences with academic goals, body image, career goals, family, friends, identity formation, physical and learning differences, or any other topic they feel is relevant to write about. They are asked to reflect on what happened, how it made them feel, and what they did to get through the experience (especially if it was negative). They are also asked to impart some wisdom about growing up and facing different types of adversity. In addition to their own reflections and pieces of advice, they are also asked to interview someone else (a parent, friend, teacher, etc.) who inspires them. Mainly, the idea behind these two assignments is to offer encouraging words to those who may be feeling overwhelmed or alone in their own situations.

We all know that K-12 school settings can be hard places to be in sometimes. Pressures to do well, both academically and socially, exist. Hopefully by sharing their stories and insights, my PY 385 students will convey to their audience that things do get better and help and support can always be found. If anything, my PY 385 students hope that their audience can relate to their stories and learn something from their insights on life.

On behalf of my PY 385students, both past and present, I wish our audience the best of luck and the strength and courage they need to get through any adverse situations they may face. Enjoy the following Reflections on Youth.

With warm regards,

Sarah E. Torok, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience



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