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Photo of Griffith, Aisha

Aisha Griffith

Assistant Professor

Educational Psychology

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Building & Room:

3541 ETMSW


1040 W. Harrison St. (M/C 147), Chicago, IL 60607

Related Sites:


Aisha Griffith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at University of Illinois Chicago. Her research focuses on the development and function of relationships between adolescents and non-parental adults within diverse learning contexts, including out-of-school time programs and schools. She is particularly interested in how mechanisms within these relationships and interactions (e.g., trust; unfair treatment; feedback; etc.) and external to them unfold to support or hinder positive adolescent development. She has conducted extensive research on trusting youth-adult relationships in out-of-school time contexts and is beginning to explore the nature of Black students’ interactions with adults within school. She has published her research in developmental psychology and youth development journals as well as being featured in spaces for practitioners (APA Division 15 Practice Brief; Profiles in Mentoring: Aisha Griffith on afterschool mentoringSummary of article on Black students' unfair experiences; Tip sheet summarizing literature on providing effective feedback distributed at the Statewide Illinois 4-H Annual Staff Meeting). Her specializations include qualitative methodology, out-of-school time programs, and youth-adult relationships.

Griffith teaches EPSY517 Seminar in Urban Youth Development; EPSY414 Developing Programs for Youth; and EPSY446 Characteristics of Early Adolescence.

Selected Publications

Griffith, A. N., et al. (2024). Centering Black adolescent girls’ voices: Strategies to prevent disproportionate discipline Part 1 (Practice Brief Vol. 5, No. 1) and Part 2 (Practice Brief Vol. 5, No. 2). American Psychological Association Division 15 Educational Psychology.

Griffith, A. N. (2023). “They do us wrong.”: Bringing together Black adolescent girls’ voices on school staff’s differential treatmentJournal of Black Psychology, 49(5), 598-645.

Griffith, A N., Leggett, C., Billingsley, J.,Wittrup, A., & Lee, S.J. & Hurd, N. (2022). A mixed methods study exploring the nature of Black adolescents’ unfair treatment by adults at school: Implications for adolescents’ trust in adults. Child and Youth Care Forum. (also summarized here)

Griffith, A.N., Johnson, H.E., Larson, R.W., Buttitta, E. (2020). A qualitative examination of critical feedback processes in project-based youth programs. Contemporary Educational Psychology.

Griffith, A.N. & Jiang, X. (2020). Trust formation in youth-adult relationships in out-of-school organizations. In Gretchen Brion-Meisels, Jessica T. Fei, Deepa S. Vasudevan (Eds.). Partnering with Youth in Out-Of-School Time Settings: The Promises, Practices, and Perplexities of Intergenerational Learning. United States: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

Griffith, A. N., Melton, T. N., & Deutsch, N. L. (2019). How group experiences influence mentor-mentee relational development in a combined group and one-on-one mentoring program for early adolescent girls. Applied Developmental Science, 1-18.

Griffith, A. N. & Johnson, H.E. (2018). Building trust: Reflections of adults working with youth in project-based programs. Children & Youth Services Review, 96, 439-450.

Griffith, A.N., Larson, R.W., & Johnson, H.E. (2017). How trust grows: Teenagers’ accounts of forming trust in youth program staff. Qualitative Psychology.

Griffith, A. N., Hurd, N. M., & Hussain, S.B. (2017). “I didn’t come to school for this”: A qualitative examination of experiences with race-related stressors and coping responses among Black students attending a predominantly White institution. Journal of Adolescent Research. (Authors equally contributed to the manuscript).

Griffith, A. N. & Larson, R. W. (2016). Why trust matters: How confidence in leaders transforms what adolescents gain from youth programs. Journal of Research on Adolescence. 26(4), 790-804.

Service to Community

Griffith has connected research to practice by presenting work to practitioners (e.g., the Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring; the Best of Out-of-School Time Conference) and serving on organizations linking research to practice (e.g., the National Mentoring Resource Center’s Research Board; Editorial Review Board of Current Issues in Out-of-School Time Book Series; the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Summer Learning Technical Working Group.


Ph.D., Human and Community Development (renamed Human Development and Family Studies), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Human and Community Development

B.A., History, Northwestern University

Professional Memberships

Society for Research on Adolescence

American Educational Research Association

Society for Research on Child Development

Society for Community Research and Action

Selected Presentations

Griffith, A. (May 2024) How the ecology of Black adolescent girls’ perceptions of school adults intersects with identity. [Poster presentation]. Society for Research on Child Development's Anti-Racist Developmental Science Summit: Transforming Research, Practices, and Policies, Panama City, Panamá.

Griffith, A., Leman, A., Swinehart-Held, K., Elrod, L., Martin, M., Beto, J., & Garcia, L. (April 2024). “Our relationship not only developed as friends, but as partners in this YPAR thing”: Development in the early stages of a cross-chapter YPAR group. [Flash talk]. The Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Chicago, IL.

Elrod, L., Griffith, A. N., Leman, A., & Swinehart, K. (May 2023). “We didn’t know other people’s stories”: Creating hybrid spaces that nurture the development of students’ critical consciousness. [Paper presentation]. The International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. Champaign, IL.

Griffith, A., Leman, A., Swinehart-Held, K., & Elrod, L. (April 2023). Exploring adolescents’ ecological sense of belonging in an FFA Youth Participatory Action Research group. [Poster presentation]. The Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, San Diego, CA.

Research Currently in Progress

My project, Black Girls’ Relationships and Interactions with Staff in Educational Settings (Black Girl RISES), centers the voices of Black girls on the topic of school staff by coupling search and screening methods associated with systematic reviews of qualitative studies with a novel approach of creating a data sample comprised only of quotes in which girls talk about school adults. Inclusion criteria were: peer reviewed articles or book chapters published between 1994–March 2021 that included at least one direct quote from a Black adolescent girl about school staff. A start date of 1994 was chosen to align with the proliferation of U.S. zero tolerance policies in which schools began using exclusionary school discipline to address school disruptions (APA Zero Tolerance Task Force, 2008) because such discipline shapes the nature of student-staff interactions.

Data sources from Time 1 of data collection ranged from having 1-33 quotes on school staff. We are conducting qualitative analyses to identify patterns across our data sample of 286 quotes.

The 50 data sources identified as having at least 1 quote on a school adult are listed here beginning on page 2. Check out the powerful work being produced by scholars on Black girls' experiences!

Black Girl RISES was supported by the UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy Faculty Fellowship.