Lauren C. Mims, PhD (she/her) is an incoming assistant professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Formerly, she was an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology at Ball State University. Dr. Mims earned her doctorate in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education. Dr. Mims obtained a B.A. in English and Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2012 and a M.A. in Child Development with a concentration in Clinical Developmental Health from Tufts University in 2014. Broadly, the ultimate goal of Dr. Mims' research is to “freedom dream” (Kelley, 2002) with Black children and their families, and then use that brilliance to guide the development of new research, policies, practices, and narratives.
Dr. Mims was formerly Assistant Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans during the Obama Administration, where she focused her efforts on student programming, strategic planning and management of projects and priorities including, but not limited to, centering youth voice, supporting federal interagency relationships, the development of research-based publications and handbooks for students, managing the Initiative social media accounts, and engaging with stakeholders through multi-media platforms. She was a member of the White House Council on Women and Girls, the U.S. Department of Education Policy Committee, the U.S. Department of Education Socioeconomic Diversity Working Group, as well as a member of First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Working Group. Lauren developed and hosted events such as the AfAmWomenLead Student Summit to Support Black Girls, a summit to support African American students with disabilities, and reading parties for youth to share resources, foster creativity and nurture a love of learning.
The late American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou once said, "You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot — it's all there. Everything influences each of us." Therefore, Dr. Mims' interdisciplinary body of work explores how the “sum total” of schooling (e.g., policies, practices, relationships, cultural representations, and other norms), as well as family processes (e.g., positive emotionality, culturally grounded learning environments), support or hinder Black children’s learning and identity development.
Her current research agenda focuses on: (1) Investigating the experiences of Black girls and women in educational spaces, and how “ordinary magic” ( Murry et al., 2018) serves as sources of affirmation and support for identity development, and 2) Understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing racial injustices influence the development of Black youth, with a particular emphasis on the positive family processes that contribute to children’s learning and development throughout the pandemic.
Dr. Mims was awarded the outstanding teacher award for the 2021-2021 Academic Year at Ball State University's Teachers College and named the Ball State University Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Excellence within the Graduate School. Her work has been featured in popular press outlets such as Black Enterprise, The Root, For Harriet, and Bustle.
Ph.D. in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science May 2019 University of Virginia • Curry School of Education
M.A. in Child Development, Concentration: Clinical Developmental Psychology May 2014 Tufts University • Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study & Human Development
B.A. in English Language and Literature and Psychology May 2012 University of Virginia • College of Arts and Sciences
Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology 2022- Present
New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development • Department of Applied Psychology
Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology 2019 - Present
Ball State University • Department of Educational Psychology
Department of Educational Psychology Teachers College, Ball State University
2019 - 2022
President Barack Obama Presidential Appointee Assistant Director,
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans
Events Hosted to Support Women & Girls of Color (selected):