Student Researchers Release Results from 2020 Young Elected Leaders Project


Tuesday, May 12, 2020 – At the end of April, the Center for Youth Political Participation‘s Aresty Research Assistants released results from this year’s Young Elected Leaders Project (YELP). Each year under the director of Dr. Elizabeth C. Matto, CYPP director, student researchers update the YELP database with current young elected leaders and analyze data to better understand different generations of leaders.

The 2020 YELP research focused heavily on gaining insights about the experiences and viewpoints of Millennial and Generation Z young elected leaders. Working with Brittany Anlar, doctoral student from the department of political science, the undergraduate research assistants participated in hands-on qualitative research to analyze and code eleven interviews with young elected leaders and draw conclusions about the nature of leadership among young adults.

“The hallmark of the Eagleton Institute of Politics is linking the study of politics with the practice. By not only studying youth leadership but learning and practicing the skills of conducting such research, our students’ learning experiences were deepened. Moreover, our research team has made a valuable contribution to scholarly understanding of young adults running for and serving in office – a topic of growing importance as Millennials and Generation Z seek elective office,” said Dr. Matto.


Learn more about the research experience from the students themselves:


Brittany Anlar, Graduate Research Assistant

“My role is to guide the undergraduate research assistants as they navigate through data collection and analysis. This project has really made me more excited about my own research – our undergraduates’ enthusiasm for this research and their curiosity has been contagious and has really made me appreciate the fact that I get to explore this topic every single day. I also believe that this experience has taught me many things about being an academic leader.

Eagleton, in so many ways, has greatly impacted my understanding of American politics and is really one of those things that I am thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of. I acted as a research assistant for Kira Sanbonmatsu at CAWP and I now have the opportunity to work with Dr. Matto. In the last three years of my time at Rutgers, Eagleton has been a constant and has provided me with many opportunities in various research areas that I love. More than that, I feel grateful to have the opportunity to attend so many wonderful events, meet outstanding leaders, and also contribute to its longevity through my work with the CYPP.”


Ashley Abrams, Undergraduate Research Assistant

“I was fortunate enough to participate in both the Aresty Research Assistantship program through Eagleton/CYPP and the Eagleton Undergraduate Associates Program. The classes I’ve taken, professors I’ve met, discussions I’ve participated in, and research I’ve done have galvanized me to deepen my understanding of my role as a Democratic citizen, and laid the foundation for a life of public service.

My experience on the Young Elected Leaders Project was an unparalleled opportunity, as I was able to conduct graduate-level research as an undergraduate student. The qualitative research skills I’ve gained have allowed me to become a more attentive reader and listener, which will prove to be valuable skills as I prepare to enter a law program after my gap year. I have also learned how to work cohesively with teammates, solve problems quickly and effectively, and speak publicly and succinctly about research findings, which are all skills that I will carry with me into my professional life. I believe the skills I have learned will not only set me apart when I apply to law schools, but will remain with me after I actually begin my career.”


Paige Chan, Undergraduate Research Assistant

“My experience with the Young Elected Leaders Project was an extremely valuable one. Not only was I able to develop skills such as perseverance, consistency, time-management, and being able to recognize patterns across data, I was able to experience a more intimate view into the world of politics that could not be accessed anywhere else. I will always be grateful for this project for teaching me practical skills as well as reinstalling hope into me about the future of this political system.

Eagleton has left me with a much more positive understanding of American Politics! I have a lot more hope for the future and far more respect for the amount of responsibility and care that local elected officials have for their constituents. In addition, seeing how the young leaders all seem to emphasize transparency and teamwork across the aisle makes me hopeful for greater bipartisanship as that generation ages.”