unh UNH outreach Engagement and Outreach donate Donate

Michael Young
Program Team Leader, Youth and Family

Michael Young works as the Team Leader for Youth & Family Programming  at UNH Cooperative Extension.


Michael Young has worked in the field of experiential education and counseling for over 15 years. 

Before to taking the job as State Program Team Leader in 2012, Mike was an Extension Educator for 4-H Youth development in Rockingham County for two and half years. Prior to his work with UNH Cooperative Extension, Mike focused on educational program evaluation and improvement, while working on a PhD in education at UNH. This  included: developing a web-based practice research network involving over 25 different residential treatment facilities across North America; facilitating and analyzing an Appreciative Inquiry at an alternative school in Massachusetts; and convening the international 2007 Adventure Therapy Best Practices Conference.

Prior to this, Mike worked as an outdoor experiential educator, counselor, and administrator, at a variety of programs across the US and abroad.  This experience included six years as the program director for North Star Adventure, a community-based therapeutic adventure program serving special-needs and at risk families in Massachusetts.

Mike is an avid outdoorsman and lives in Kittery, ME, with his wife Karen and his two children: Macy and Evan.


Current Research

  • Using Appreciative Inquiry for organizational development at educational programs

  • Client outcomes at residential treatment centers, therapaeutic boarding schools, and outdoor/wilderness programs

Educational Background

  • University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH: PhD, Education, 2011

  • Harvard University, Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA: Master of Education, 2000

  • Brown University, Providence, RI: Bachelor of Arts, American History, 1994 (Semester abroad at the University of Queensland, Australia, 1993)


  • National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs/University of New Hampshire, AZ/NH: Research Coordinator, 2007-2009

  • North Star Adventure, Rowley, MA: Director, 2001-2007; Assistant Director, 2000-2001; Experiential Counselor, 1998-1999

  • Longacre Expeditions, Newport, PA: Course Director, Summers 1997-1998; Trip Leader, Summers 1995-1996

  • Penikese Island School, Woods Hole, MA: Shift Leader/Residential Counselor, 1996-1998

  • Homeward Bound, Brewster, MA: Outdoor Behavioral Health Instructor, 1995-1996

  • North Woods Resource Center, Camp Widjiwagan (YMCA), Ely, MN: Intern Naturalist, Fall 1994

  • Sailing Centers & Summer Camp in MA and CA: Sailing/Watersports Instructor, Coach, and Camp Counselor, Summers 1990-1992, 1995

Professional Associations

  • Association of Experiential Education

  • American Educational Research Association

  • National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs

Program Specialty Areas

  • Positive Youth Development

  • Experiential Education

  • Outdoor/Adventure Education

  • Program Evaluation

  • Appreciative Inquiry

Select Publications

  • Young, M.. (2012) An Analysis of Appreciative Inquiry as Organizational Development for an Alternative School. Ph.D. dissertation, University of New Hampshire, (Publication No. AAT 3467359).

  • Tucker, A., Zelov, R., & Young, M. (2011). Four years along: Emerging traits of programs in the NATSAP Practice Research Network (PRN). Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, 5 (1), 10-28

  • Young, M., & Gass, M. (2009). Preliminary Data from the NATSAP Research and Evaluation Network: Client Characteristics at Admission. Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Program, 3(1).

  • Young, M., & Gass, M. (2008). Current Descriptions of National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP) Members. Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, 2(2).

  • Gass, M., & Young, M. (2007). Dealing with Issues of Program Effectiveness, Cost Benefit Analysis, and Treatment Fidelity: The Development of the NATSAP Research and Evaluation Network. Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs, 2(1)

  • Young, M., and Seaman, J. (accepted). Expanding horizons: A look at “Other ways of learning.” Journal of Experiential Education.

Contact Information

Taylor Hall
59 College Road

Durham, NH 03824-2621 View Map

Phone: 603-862-1805
FAX: 603-862-1585
E-mail: michael.young@unh.edu