King's Profile - Laura MacDiarmid
Laura MacDiarmid ‘09 is an alumna of King’s with an Honors Bachelor (BA) in Criminology. She then went on to receive her Master of Arts (MA) at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Laura is currently the Research and Evaluation Hub Manager (Western Region) of YouthREX at King’s. In addition, she is also a new instructor at King’s.
The Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange (YouthREX) is a province-wide initiative based at York University with five regional hubs across Ontario to promote the integration of research evidence and evaluation in the development and delivery of Ontario’s youth programs. Launched in December 2014, YouthREX is primarily funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) with contributions from York University and partnering universities. The Southwestern Ontario YouthREX hub is housed within the School of Social Work at King’s University College.
What courses do you currently teach?
Youth in Conflict with the Law at King’s University College
What are your areas of research?
While completing my education, my area of research was in restorative justice and responses to youth in conflict with the law. My publications have focused on youth subculture, cybercrime, and culturally integrative responses to gendered violence.
Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work with, and learn from, a number of exceptional leaders in the non-profit sector. For the last two years I have focused on assisting organizations in their evaluation pursuits. As such, my current research experience involves working with community-based organizations in developmental, impact, and process evaluation. I have worked on a number of exciting projects including programs focused on youth justice, youth engagement, youth substance abuse, youth literacy, human trafficking, and honour-based violence.
My current role at YouthREX allows me to merge my passion for the non-profit sector and my dedication to research and evaluation in a personally meaningful and exciting career.
How does your program make a difference?
YouthREX@Kings is making a difference by providing research and evaluation resources, supports, and services to youth-serving organizations in order to improve wellbeing outcomes for youth in Ontario. Our goals are to foster knowledge mobilization, build the internal capacity of the youth sector, and provide customized evaluation supports to assist organizations in their research and evaluation goals.
Are you working on any current projects?
My current position as Research and Evaluation Exchange Manager for Southwestern Ontario’s YouthREX hub has afforded me the opportunity to work in collaboration on a number of exciting projects alongside youth-focused, grassroots organizations in the nonprofit sector, our local advisory committee, and our team of research assistants.
Currently, we are providing supports to a number of organizations spanning from London, Windsor, Chatham-Kent, Hamilton, Niagara Falls, and Bruce county. Under the direction of our academic lead and co-founder of YouthREX, Dr. Siu Ming Kwok, we are working on establishing communities of practice, training and information workshops/webinars, youth innovation spaces, tools and processes for research and evaluation, and information exchanges to build the capacity of the non-profit sector.
What do you enjoy about working at King's?
As a graduate of King’s University College in 2009, it is great to be back! I enjoyed my educational experience at King’s largely as a result of the exceptional professors and staff. The community at King’s is welcoming and supportive. I am honoured to have the opportunity to give back though this position to the youth-sector and work alongside a great team.