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EDUCATOR SPOTLIGHT | Dr. Lauren Mims | NYU Steinhardt



Lauren C. Mims, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University. Formerly, she was an assistant professor in the Department 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.


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 has recently won the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development Carras Research Award. An annual Carras award for promising young scholars was established in 2004 at NYU Steinhardt. This $1,000 award is given to a member of the faculty who is in the first, second, or third year of a pre-tenure appointment. The award is named in honor of a former associate dean and professor emeritus, W. Gabriel Carras, in recognition of his many years of invaluable mentoring of junior faculty.


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