Increasing Diversity in the Sciences through Critical Service-Learning


  • Christopher A. Curtis Fordham University
  • Linda Sprague Martinez Boston University



inequity, diversity, critical service-learning, critical pedagogy, youth of color


The purpose of this article is to explicate the benefits of engaging youth of color in a way that engenders a rights-based understanding of disparities. We also show how critical service-learning experiences can encourage students of color to pursue careers in applied and social sciences. The aims of this paper are met by briefly exploring the inequities presently facing communities of color; discussing the utility of engaging youth of color through critical service-learning opportunities; and the potential of experiential learning in motivating youth of color to pursue careers in STEM, health, and human service professions with a critical, rights-based lens.

Author Biographies

Christopher A. Curtis, Fordham University

Dr. Curtis is currently an assistant professor at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. His research interests are geared toward developing interventions (e.g. service-learning and youth development programs) that promote adolescent well-being and positively influence educational outcomes, particularly with underserved, youth of color.

Linda Sprague Martinez, Boston University

Dr. Sprague Martinez is currently an associate professor at Boston University in the School of Social Work. Her research is focused on how assets can be recognized and leveraged by communities to improve living environments and health. She is specifically interested in examining strategies to tackle health inequities through community engaged research such as community based participatory research (CBPR) and youth led participatory action research (YPAR).