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Credit: Manuel Unzueta


Action projects on language in their own peer groups, families, and communities.


Annual event where students develop an independent research project.


Graduate Students, Undergraduate Researchers, and Partner Teachers.

SKILLS (School Kids Investigating Language in Life and Society) is a social justice-oriented academic partnership that prepares and motivates California’s public school students for higher education by giving them hands-on experience in studying language, race, power, and identity. SKILLS puts students at the center of knowledge creation and social change by guiding them through the process of carrying out original research and community action projects on language in their own peer groups, families, and communities.


Partnering with SKILLS was a gift, a surprise of content and relationship. It helped our students see and honor their families' ways of knowing, being, and speaking. As educators, as students, and even as families, SKILLS involved seeing and feeling truly seen. It was genuinely life-giving to learn alongside 10 year-old “student researcher-activists” in their efforts to work toward racial and linguistic justice.

Paula Sevilla Adelante
Charter School 5th grade Partner Teacher (2017-2020)


I like everything about SKILLS. I like seeing them present, I just like those little relationships, you know, it's so fun!

(pseudonym: Ashley)

After teaching SKILLS, I felt comfortable and ready to teach undergraduates so SKILLS definitely played a huge role in giving me the confidence to teach.

(pseudonym: Cesar)


I think SKILLS was that program that made academia make sense to me.

(pseudonym: Savana)

I really valued it, I thought it was a really unique opportunity and it's definitely like, changed, um, or like, affected how I look at language.

(pseudonym: Luna)