POV Challenge. Share Your POV to Support North Carolina

The Carolina Across 100 POV Challenge

UNC Engagement Week

February 27th  – March 3rd 2023

2023 POV Challenge. Students.
2023 POV Challenge students
2023 POV Challenge students

Across North Carolina, there are approximately 57,900 young people who fall into the “Opportunity Youth” definition. To understand both the barriers and bright spots these young people encounter and create, the Carolina Across 100 team has sought to learn from the experts – the youth themselves. Focus groups, recorded testimonies of local success, and student engagement activities have all helped inform their work. 

Last year, we put out a call to undergraduate and graduate students across campus – “Combine your skills and NC data to offer your own Point of View (POV) on the challenges facing North Carolina’s Opportunity Youth — help us better understand this population from your POV by using a range of quantitative and qualitative data to create a visualization or other product.” 

UNC students delivered – producing creative products such as interactive data dashboards, podcasts, and brochures that relay “Who are Opportunity Youth in NC and what are their challenges to education and work?” Of the students that submitted a project, there was representation across multiple departments and programs – such as biology, public health, human development and family science, sociology, public administration, and psychology.  

The submissions will be archived by UNC libraries so that anyone across the state can learn from their work, as well as shared directly with the “Our State, Our Work” community teams.


Team 1

Team 1 POV Challenge Thumbnail

Team 2

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Team 3

Team 3 POV Challenge Thumbnail

Team 4

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Team 5

Team 5 POV Challenge Thumbnail

Who Participated?

11 Students: 5 undergraduate, and 6 graduate
10 different majors/concentrations

  • Business

  • Information Science

  • Biology

  • Exercise and Sports Science

  • Human Development and Family Science

  • Sociology

  • Psychology

  • MPH: Global Health

  • MPH: Public Health Leadership

  • MPA

4 different campus units

Business School
College of Arts and Sciences
Masters of Public Health
Masters of Public Administration


2 Canva posters
1 interactive data dashboard
1 podcast
1 recorded presentation

In Their Own Words

As rural North Carolina students ourselves, our team chose to focus on inequalities among school systems and communities, repercussions of COVID-19, and overall well-being of opportunity youth. We chose these topics for our pamphlet in an effort to highlight needed reform in North Carolina education systems and local communities that will decrease the number of opportunity youth while increasing the quality of education for all. Being from a small-town, we have seen many friends fall into this category due to the pandemic and a lack of resources. Therefore, we hope this infographic will help convey the importance of underserved education systems and communities and the impacts they have on opportunity youth. 

— Mary Kathryn Schultz, Business, Information Science
— Jake Allred, Biology
— Cooper Acord, Exercise and Sports Science

Caregiving is often an unseen barrier to youth engagement, as many youth are hesitant to share about their responsibilities at home. This added burden can prevent youth from successfully engaging in education and employment. However, caregiving in itself is not the problem, and can provide youth with many beneficial strengths. Rather, the lack of support for caregiver youth creates a barrier which impedes their opportunities for success. The burden of caregiving was exacerbated by the pandemic, with children at home, sick family members, familial losses, and the impact of racial discrepancies. This challenge poses as a meaningful opportunity for community collaboratives to provide support to caregiver youth to help them access opportunities to pave their own paths. 

— Rachel Scrudato, Human Development & Family Science, Sociology 
— Hector Hernandez, Human Development & Family Science, Psychology 

Early adulthood represents the formative period of one’s life when opportunities for involvement in education and employment establish a firm foundation for future success. When youth are unable to engage in these opportunities, the consequences can be long-lasting and devastating. Sena Kpodzro and Vanessa Akosah, two keen Ghanaian students in Gillings School of Global Public Health, through their podcast, NC YouthEngage, attempt to define Opportunity Youth and the challenges they face, as well as the systemic issues that perpetuate the disengagement rates of Opportunity Youth in North Carolina. They also share their perspectives as to how it all relates to their home country, Ghana. Let’s dive in! **The contents of this podcast are the sole responsibility of the two students in the recording and do not necessarily reflect the views of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.** 

— Sena Kpodzro, Master of Public Health student, concentration in Global Health 
— Vanessa Akosah, Master of Public Health student, concentration in Public Health Leadership 

One of the key terms used in reports on opportunity youth is “disconnection”. Why are youth 16-24 feeling disconnected from work and school? Where, when, and how is that connection lost? Disconnection occurs over a period of time, in the context of community supports – or a lack thereof. This visualization explores the incidence of opportunity youth alongside potential indicators of community support. What constitutes community support? These could include the ability for basic needs to be met (household income), community centers (libraries), schools (K12-higher ed), ability to move around (access to transportation), and household dynamics (teen pregnancy). Young people often feel left behind by their peers and society. This visualization explores what factors play the largest role in alienating youth, from which we can look forward at what steps we as a community must take to ensure that they no longer feel disenfranchised. Communities can look to encourage healthy outlets and provide the ability for individuals’ unique interests. Community centers like libraries help provide context and meaning for youth searching for what’s ahead. The next generation is keenly aware of the existential issues our society faces. Let’s offer space to explore varied interests and the ability to work toward solutions. Let’s build a culture where young and old have the freedom to explore, imagine, and create meaningful lives. Ultimately, we hope these visualizations will continue important conversations about community supports and how the unique needs of young people may be addressed in each county.  

Dania Khan, Master of Public Administration student
Elizabeth Wilkes, Master of Public Administration student 

Our visualization is a video, as well as an interactive slideshow. Our goal was to use our visuals to tell the story behind the data. Our team chose to look at disparities among opportunity youth, risk factors influencing a youth’s likelihood of becoming an opportunity youth, and the health/long-term outcomes for opportunity youth. We hope viewers will understand that there are clear disparities among opportunity youth by geographic regions, socioeconomic statuses, and race/ethnic group. Further, as public health practitioners, we hope that viewers will take away an understanding of the many levels of intervention for opportunity youth, the long-term health outcomes of opportunity youth, and challenges faced by opportunity youth. 

Maddie Roberts, Master of Public Health student, concentration in Public Health Leadership
Hannah Darr, Master of Public Health student, concentration in Public Health Leadership 

When is the next opportunity to get involved with Carolina Across 100?

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