Meeting Black Girls on the Moon

About Lauren C. Mims, PhD

Lauren Mims earned her doctorate in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education. Lauren 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, Lauren's research examines how school environments influence how African American youth learn and develop their identities. She has addressed these issues extensively in her research, scholarship, teaching, and service. 


Lauren 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.


Lauren's manuscript style dissertation, Meeting Black Girls on the Moon: A Qualitative Exploration of Black Girls’ Experiences in Schools, centers and privileges the voices of thirty-one Black girls to explore how ongoing practices, assumptions and processes across multiple levels of schooling perpetuate racial inequalities or promote racial equity. In seeking to better understand the lived experiences of Black girls in schools, Lauren highlights opportunities for educators and policymakers to better support Black girls ("meet Black girls on the moon"). 


Based on her work with/for Black girls over the past decade, Lauren is developing a socio-emotional program for Black girls. As with her previous work, Lauren take a strengths-based approach that centers Black girls’ voices. Specifically the program calls for the girls to apply what they learn to draft new curriculum, research proposals, and policies each week. Michelle Obama’s bestselling novel “Becoming” serves as the anchor text. Her work has been featured in popular press outlets such as Black Enterprise, The Root, and Bustle.