Centering Black Youth Experiences.

Through our research, MAAD Lab imagines the ways in which Black children and youth can break free of oppression in schools and communities by resisting and disrupting white supremacy, anti-Black racism, and patriarchy.

MAAD Lab is committed to uplifting and supporting racial liberation efforts and we believe that Black children and youth are brilliant! Our work seeks to center and amplify the voices and lived experiences of Black youth in ways that will dismantle oppressive systems and foster empowerment.

In short, we are:

  • “MAAD” at White supremacy, anti-Black racism, and patriarchy.

  • “MAAD” inspired by Black youth brilliance, and

  • “MAAD” committed to amplifying Black youth voice.

Our research areas include:

• School racial climate and educational outcomes

• School engagement among Black adolescents

• Race-related experiences (e.g., racial identity, racial socialization, racial discrimination) 

• Black parenting and family socialization processes

• Positive youth development and resilience among Black youth

• Adolescent social-emotional functioning, health promotion and risk behaviors

• Youth-led participatory action research (YPAR)

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Lab Director


Dr. Charity Brown Griffin

Dr. Charity Brown Griffin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Winston-Salem State University. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a M.A. and Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of South Carolina. After completing her graduate training, Dr. Griffin served children and families through her practice as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and Licensed Psychologist. Dr. Griffin’s federally funded research program integrates principles from multiple disciplines (school psychology; developmental psychology; education) to understand how Black youths’ experiences with race-related processes in schools and communities, influence educational and psychological outcomes. Her research on topics, including racial identity, racial socialization, school racial climate, and school engagement, has been published in popular media outlets such as Successful Black Parenting Magazine and PBS Kids, and peer-reviewed journals such as Psychology in the SchoolsJournal of Black PsychologyJournal of Child and Family StudiesJournal of Applied School Psychology, Journal of School Psychology, and others. Furthermore, she has received numerous awards and honors for her work including an AERA-SRCD Fellowship in Middle Childhood Education and Development. Dr. Griffin also serves as an advisor and consultant for local and national organizations, programs, and media outlets. 


Current Lab Members

MAAD Lab Scholars

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Ja'Nya Badgett

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ja'Nya Badgett is a senior psychology major at Winston-Salem State University, from Lawrenceville, VA. She has various interests in the psychology and plans to attend graduate school to continue her education. In her free time, she enjoys reading and taking care of her puppies.

Tyler Hughes

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Tyler Hughes is a junior psychology major at Winston-Salem State University from Washington, DC. She transferred from Xavier University of Louisiana in the Fall of 2020. She was always interested in the brain. Her future plans are to attend graduate school with the hopes of earning her PhD in school psychology.

Brianna Smoot

Research Assistant

Brianna Smoot is from Charlotte, NC and earned her B.A. in Psychological Sciences from Winston-Salem State University in Spring 2021. She has future plans to attend graduate school pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.


MAAD Lab Alumni

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Tyler Chisolm

2021 Lab Graduate

Tyler is a graduate student in the M.S. in Population Health Science program at Duke University.

MAAD Lab Student Research Spotlight!

Learn more from our student scholars about what we study in MAAD lab!


Research Projects:


RAce in School (RAiS) Project

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation

This project, funded by the National Science Foundation, uses daily diaries, interviews, and focus groups to better understand Black youth's experiences with racism in school. We are recruiting participants for this project and offer monetary incentives. Please contact us to participate!

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YouthRISE Summer Program

Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility

YouthRISE is a 10-week summer program for middle and high school youth that uses action research to amplify youth voice and position youth as community change agents. The project is funded by the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility and provides incentives for participation. Parents interested in their child’s participation in this summer program should contact us!

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Supporting Students Experiencing Discrimination Project

Sponsored by the National Association of School Psychologists

In collaboration with Drs. Shereen Naser (Cleveland State University), Sally Grapin (Montclair State University), Jeffery Brown (Minnesota State University, Mankato), and Sherrie Proctor (Queens College, CUNY), this project aims to document and describe school psychologists’ experiences in dealing with instances of discrimination towards students in their schools. We are currently recruiting participants for this research study!


Schools in Context (SEC) Project

Sponsored by Winston-Salem State University Professional Development Committee Research Award

Using a multi-level, short-term longitudinal design, this study explores associations among school racial diversity, school racial climate, dimensions of school engagement and disengagement, and academic and behavioral outcomes among Black high school students. We are currently recruiting high school students for this investigation!

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Perceptions About Psychology Specializations (PAPS) Project

Sponsored by Winston-Salem State University Professional Development Committee Research Award

This investigation explores 1) HBCU students’ and faculty awareness and perceptions of psychology sub-disciplines; 2) factors affecting HBCU students’ interest in and selection of graduate school programs and 3) effective recruitment and retention strategies that graduate programs can use to increase representation of Black students in psychology. We are currently recruiting undergraduate psychology majors for this investigation!

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Youth Experiences in School (YES!) Project

Sponsored by the National Association of School Psychologists

This study explored associations between school racial climate, school engagement and educational outcomes among Black youth. Recruitment for this project has ended.

Selected Publications:


In the News

Check out some selected news stories below featuring MAAD Lab student researchers!

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YES! Weekly- CSEM-loaded student busts the barriers

September 16, 2020

Charity Griffin, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences and CSEM Research Fellow, said that “Tyler Chisolm has been a critical asset to the development and implementation of my CSEM-funded, 10-week summer program, YouthRISE. Over the past two summers, Tyler’s effort with this project included taking lead role as facilitator, working directly with youth in east Winston-Salem to empower them to become community-change agents. Tyler has also presented findings from this work at academic conferences and to community stakeholders in local venues.”

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The Chronicle- Program helps East Winston students confront problems aggravated by pandemic

August 12, 2020

Called YouthRise (Youth Research in Sustaining Economics), it is based on youth-led participatory research and led by Professor Charity Griffin. The framework of her research centers on listening to and learning from young people, and aims to promote economic mobility by encouraging students to tackle the issues they face. By letting policymakers hear of their concerns, beneficial impact can result. This summer, the student collaborators, along with Griffin, and WSSU student interns LaDarian Eaton, Tyler Chisolm and Matthew Parker, helped collaborators define their needs for the community.

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Winston-Salem Journal- John Railey: Hear these young people

July 3, 2020

"Kaycee" spoke to researchers as part of a program that CSEM Research Fellow Charity Griffin started, YouthRise (Youth Research in Sustaining Economics), that is based on youth-led participatory research, “a framework that centers on voices traditionally silenced in academic scholarship,” Griffin is very intentional about building trust, referring to the students in grades 8 through 12 as “collaborators” in research aimed at breaking down barriers to economic mobility by getting policymakers to hear these students on the front lines.

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WSSU News- First undergraduate social justice fellows announced

April 8, 2019

Semaj Capers, a junior psychology major from Greensboro. Project title: “Fair and racial equity, critical consciousness, and educational outcomes among Black students in high school. Faculty mentor: Dr. Charity Griffin (Psychological Sciences).


Contact Us

Please contact the M.A.A.D. Lab to find out how you can get involved in our research!

305 Coltrane Hall
Winston-Salem, NC 27110

‪(336) 245-9222

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