What is it really like to be a young person in America?
“Experts” often speak on behalf of youth. Policymakers. Educators. Doctors. Community leaders. The media. But do these experts really know the views of young people?
The MyVoice team believes that youth are the best experts of their own experiences.
Every week, MyVoice connects with young people through real-time text message polling. We reach young people where they are mostly likely to respond – their phones – and where they have the ability and the privacy to quickly provide honest and insightful responses.
Directly engaging youth, aged 14-24, allows us to highlight their lives in their own words and to share what we learn with people who need to better understand what youth need, think, and experience.
The data are quickly and expertly analyzed, then shared with the policymakers, public agencies and community groups making decisions that directly affect the lives of young people.
MyVoice is elevating the voices and experiences of young people to inform policies and programs that improve their lives.
Overview of the Participants
Geographic Representation of Participants
Where You At?
Who Are They?
Quotes From MyVoicers
What motivates them to answer our questions each week?
“I signed up originally for the gift cards, but now I genuinely enjoy the questions. I like seeing the variety of topics, how you guys explore them. I hope my answers make a difference. “
“i saw the code randomly from someone i know who lives in michigan and i answer the question for the amazon money even though i have a job now and get a lot more from that lol”
“I get bored”
“I wanted some extra money”
“I think this is super easy way to share my opinions. I’m a bit too shy to go to political ralleys or protests, but this way I feel more important.”
“I like having weekly reminders to think about current issues”
“It’s kind of an endorphins thing? Like i see the messages and I suddenly realize it’s Friday! And I get super excited”
“I do it for the gift card so I can get Christmas presents”
“Get to speak my mind”
“I won’t lie and say that part of the reason I joined MyVoice was due to the Amazon money that I can use to buy books. But I also feel good when I get the chance to give valuable input.”
“To let people know what I want our world to be”
“It’s motivating knowing I can answer a simple text message and help others as I do so”
“The money and the fact that both my parents do research and participants are so valuable and crucial to the success of a study.”
“After I saw that article about people’s responses being used to make actual change, I showed me that giving my opinion every week actually can have an impact”
“I am young so I wanted a way to make some money without TOO much work”
“I love being a part of research that could actually change policy! It’s also nice to have my voice heard without any judgement and a sense of anonymity. The dollar a week also helps :)”
“money and a passion for public policy/polling”
“At first I wanted to get a gift card but I think the questions are really interesting because I suspect these are issues that are happening on campus”
“Well bc of the gift card of course but also bc…it’s nice to get asked questions about things that matter and potentially get my voice out there idk
I thank you guys for everything”
“yes, they affect how a person sees themself beyond what is fact or fiction”
“it’s easy, gets me thinking, and i feel like i’m contributing towards something”
“It comes to my inbox and it’s usually about issues that I do have a personal stake or opinion in! I think it’s important to contribute to open dialogue”
“A quick way to earn a few bucks every couple of weeks :)”
“I participate in a lot of surveys that pay for the little bit of extra income, but I like yours a lot because while most are companies testing products for marketing research, yours are questions that matter”
“Honestly I’m not sure. Mainly because I am broke”
“I’m curious about the topic and the gift card”
“I just feel like I should have a voice in the world and learn how to phrase what I say”
“I just like to share knowledge, plus, I’m saving up money to buy a sketchbook on Amazon!”
“Sometimes I find it difficult answer questions due to my busy life, but I usually find the motivation because I want to give my opinions on the topic at hand.”
“I like that it’s low time commitment and I still get an extra perk!”
“I just don’t want to miss them, I feel kind of guilty if I do miss one”
“I think the questions push boundaries in a cool way and it’s good to know my opinion is actually being used and valued”
“Y’all always keep me in the loop”
“Seeing the data and the compensation is nice”
“I think it’s important that my generation is listened to on important topics, especially the ones affecting us.”
“I think that I really do enjoy answering the questions that are sent through my voice. I was even surprised of my thoughts about these various issues because I have never been asked these kinds of questions. I also think that I answer in the hopes that someone will read these responses and use them to create change in our society.”
Who Are We
MyVoice was created out of our passion for elevating youth voice to inform policies and practices that affect their lives and wellbeing. MyVoice is driven by the collaborative efforts of our team of physicians, health researchers, social scientists, computer scientists, designers, and students.
High School Students
Postdocs & Fellows
Faculty & Staff
Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, MS
Matthew Davis, MD MAPP
Melissa Dejonckheere, PhD
Timothy Guetterman, PhD
Cornelius Jamison, MD MSPH
Sunghee Lee, PhD
Okeoma Mmeje, MD MPH
Michelle Moniz, MD, MSc
Noa Kim, MSI
Cathy Park, BSI
Missy Plegue, MS
Sarita Schoenebeck, PhD
Ellen Selkie, MD, MPH
Kendrin Sonneville, ScD, RD
V.G. Vinod Vydiswaran, PhD
Marika Waselewski, MPH
Youth Voice in Academic Publications and Popular Press
Crissman HP, Czuhajewski C, Moniz MH, Plegue MA, Chang T. Youth perspectives regarding the regulating of bathroom use by transgender individuals. J Homosex. 2019;1-16. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2019.1618646
DeJonckheere M, Fisher A, Chang T. How has the presidential election affected young Americans? Child Adol Psychiatry Ment Health. 2018;12:8. PMCID: PMC5809872
DeJonckheere M, Nichols L, Moniz M, Sonneville K, Vydiswaran VG, Zhao X, Guetterman TC, Chang T. MyVoice national text message survey of youth 14-24yo: Study Protocol. JMIR Res Prot. 2017;6(12):e247. PMCID: PMC5742661
Guetterman TC, Chang T, DeJonckheere, M, Basu T, Scruggs E, Vydiswaran VGV. Augmenting qualitative text analysis with natural language processing. J Med Internet Res. 2018;20(6):e231.