Institute for Positive Psychology & Education

Wendy Gwyn

Program of Study: PhD

Thesis: The Helmsman Project: Giving Disadvantaged Adolescents Skills to Navigate Life’s Journey and Reach Their Full Potential

This thesis aims to test the effectiveness of a novel program that combines psychological coaching and outdoor adventure education for able, but disadvantaged, youth. The program is designed to foster positive psychological outcomes by developing goal strategies, resilience, self-regulation, and hope. The program’s ultimate goals are to cultivate well-being, increase academic resilience, and improve educational attainment, thereby assisting its participants to reach their full potential.

This thesis will also use Kegan’s constructive-developmental theory to explore the ways that the adolescent participants make meaning of their experiences in the program, in order to better understand the program’s impact.