We are a New York-based group of scientists that partners with organizations that are creating positive social change.
Our members are doctoral students, PhD-holding research scientists, and professors who donate their skilled labor and expertise to our partner organizations. We can help formulate questions that can be answered with data, analyze pre-existing data, and figure out how to act on the results. We can also serve as guides to particular domains of scientific knowledge.
We organize actions to encourage our elected officials to support both evidence-based policies and scientific discovery. We also promote candidates with pro-science platforms.
Currently, New York State and North Carolina are the only two states that prosecute all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, incarcerating them in adult jails and prisons, severely affecting their re-entry, rehabilitation, and social development. Raise the Age NY is a campaign that supports a comprehensive approach to raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York State.
At ScAAN, we are compiling scientific evidence for Raise the Age NY on brain development and on the effectiveness of adolescent intervention, and are producing infographics appropriate for public communications. We recently delivered a statement on this topic to a joint committee meeting of the New York City Council:
Will is the founder of ScAAN and a predoctoral fellow in the Center for Neural Science at NYU. He is passionate about building a network of volunteer scientists, and founded ScAAN to bridge the gap between scientists and organizations working for the public good. Will is particularly interested in issues relating to criminal justice and electoral reform.
Wei Ji is an associate professor of neural science and psychology at NYU, where his research group studies human decision-making, perception, and working memory. He is the first author of an upcoming textbook on mathematical models of behavior. Wei Ji has long-standing interests in education policy, non-profit management, and science outreach. He is the co-founder and chairman of the board of the Rural China Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which aims to improve the quality of primary education in rural China through student-centered teaching methods, community-based content, and sustainable teacher professional development.
Jenn is a predoctoral fellow in the Center for Neural Science at NYU. She is spearheading ScAAN's project with Raise the Age NY, providing scientific support for legislation that would raise the age at which juveniles are tried as adults in New York State. She is interested in working with public advocacy groups in general.
Silvia is a predoctoral fellow at the Center for Neural Science at NYU, where she studies the connection between drug addiction and decision-making. She is interested in supporting advocacy groups fighting against juvenile incarceration, racial profiling, and the criminalization of drug addiction. She is working on an initiative to connect public defenders with scientific expert witnesses.
Milenna is a predoctoral fellow in neuroscience at the NYU School of Medicine. She is working on ScAAN’s Raise the Age project, and is also interested in supporting campaigns that work to restrict solitary confinement. Specifically, she is gathering research findings that demonstrate the trauma and long-term negative consequences of solitary confinement of juveniles and of juveniles being held in adult jails and prisons.