2023 Third Space Youth Institute Summer Recap 

The summer of 2023 served as a testament to the Center for Third Space Thinking’s unwavering commitment to nurturing leadership potential in marginalized youth. According to the latest data from the  California Department of Education, over 62.7% of high school graduates from Los Angeles County are currently enrolled in colleges and universities. As an increasing number of young people continue to  pursue a higher education, it becomes imperative to provide them with soft skills that are critical for their success in college and future endeavors. With a profound dedication to guiding, empowering, and inspiring, underserved youth, the Center designed  a series of four highly impactful summer programs, each achieving unprecedented levels of  impact and engagement.

The Third Space Youth Institute had over 100 participants from various school districts, including the Riverside County Office of Education, Migrant Education; Los Angeles County Office of Education, Migrant Education; and Wallis Annenberg High School. This year marked an exciting expansion, as it was the first time Third Space collaborated with the Los Angeles Unified School District’s City of Angels School, which was made possible through a grant from the Black Student Achievement Program. 

Central to TSYI's 2023 transformative summer programs is the opportunity for participants to immerse themselves in the ACE-IT framework for problem solving.  Students are given a toolkit consisting of five critical skills needed for success including: adaptability, cultural competency, empathy, intellectual curiosity, and 360 degree thinking. Through the introduction of these core attributes, TSYI effectively equipped students not only for the academic and professional challenges ahead, but also for a lifetime as adaptable, collaborative, experimental and resilient thinkers. 

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, more than six in 10 employers are seeking candidates who are equipped with soft skills such as adaptability, intellectual curiosity, and 360 degree thinking. Data collected from this year’s participants shows that upon completion of the TSYI program, students' adaptability and intellectual curiosity increased significantly.

TSYI's commitment to holistic education was evident in its approach to learning. Throughout the one-week residential program, students had the opportunity to engage with esteemed USC faculty and industry experts through fun, interactive workshops which further amplified their understanding of our ACE-IT skills through hands-on learning. Several participants stated they had an amazing experience in the program, and truly enjoyed every second of it.

In addition to interacting with faculty, students were mentored by a team of culturally and ethnically diverse USC students who served as their Residential Advisors and Program Mentors.   The interaction allowed our participants to connect with current USC students who came from similar backgrounds, experiences and challenges. 

Developing college and career readiness in students is central to any TSYI.  That’s why we partner with USC’s College Advising Corp to provide participants with key insights into the college application process and equip them with invaluable knowledge for their future academic pursuits.

By delivering innovative learning opportunities, mentorship, and practical experiences, TSYI's 2023 summer program has ignited a transformative movement of Third Space Thinkers.. Several of our participants shared that they are eager to come back next summer to continue their ongoing journey of learning and continue to build upon the soft skills that will help propel them into a brighter future. 

“I would like to share that I truly enjoyed this program, and I want to thank all of the people at USC for giving me this opportunity to participate in the program.”