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We work to sparq change in education by using behavioral science insights to promote equity and inclusion.


Building trust

Building Trust

Trust is a necessary component of our everyday interactions, but how do we foster trust among individuals with different backgrounds, perspectives, and identities? This project investigates the best practices for building trust across students’ social group differences and divides on college campuses - particularly in today’s social and political climate. Drawing from social science research and real-world programing, we are testing ways to build trust and bridge divides.

Empowering music education

Empowering Music Education

Music education can benefit youth’s cognitive abilities and engagement, but high-quality music education is often hard to access in underserved communities. Partnering with the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), SPARQ is researching the potential of music programs to foster the social-emotional development, academic engagement, and empowerment of youth from underserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles.



People often mistake race for something that people “are” rather than actions that people “do,” hindering their ability to fight racism. Partnering with Stanford’s Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE), SPARQ developed a digital toolkit for educators and facilitators who want to foster student’ and coworkers’ racial literacy. The toolkit contains a series of short films and educational materials featuring the latest Stanford scholarship about how people do race and how to undo racism. Check out the toolkit.

Authentic leadership development

Authentic Leadership Development

Youth from underserved communities rarely have access to authentic leadership development opportunities that provide pathways for mobility and the chance to make a difference in their own communities. Partnering with the Community Safety Initiative, a joint program of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and Collective Impact, SPARQ is researching the impact of CSI’s summer internship program on the individual and collective empowerment of youth from underserved neighborhoods in San Francisco. Learn more about the project.

Immersive cultural experiences

Immersive Cultural Experiences

While programs that engage people in immersive cultural experiences can produce positive outcomes, little is know about how and why they work. Partnering with Honeymoon Israel (HMI), which sends recently married couples with at least one Jewish partner on immersive trips to Israel, and Ari Kelman from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, SPARQ is examining how participating in HMI’s program can have lasting impacts on couples’ identities and relationships.

Engaging across difference

Engaging Across Difference

Conversations and learning experiences about social differences can be uncomfortable and stressful. Partnering with Stanford’s Diversity and First-Gen Office in Student Affairs, SPARQ developed a series of digital toolkits featuring activities that can help people engage across their differences and divides. This toolkit collection contains quick activities for preparing to discuss differences, a method for moderating discussions about diversity, and a format for asking sensitive questions and getting honest answers.

Image Credits

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles

Kubko / Shutterstock

Community Safety Initiative

Stanford SALLIE

Linda A. Cicero / Stanford University News Service