Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Photo of Morton, Terrell R.

Terrell R. Morton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Identity and Justice in STEM Education

Educational Psychology


Building & Room:

3230 ETMSW


1040 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60607, USA

Office Phone:

(312) 996-3014


Dr. Terrell R. Morton is an Assistant Professor of Identity and Justice in STEM Education in the Department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education. Dr. Morton graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a M.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Miami, and a Ph.D. in Education concentration Learning Sciences and Psychological Studies from UNC Chapel-Hill. Dr. Morton identifies as a Scholar-Activist! His research and work focus on identity as it informs the persistence and engagement of racialized and minoritized students in STEM postsecondary education. He draws from critical race theory, phenomenology, and human development to ascertain Black students’ consciousness and how it manifests in their various embodiments and actions that facilitate their STEM postsecondary engagements.

As a scholar-activist, Dr. Morton works to transform the positioning and understanding of Blackness in mainstream education, specifically STEM, seeking justice and joy for Black women, Black students, and other minoritized individuals given the social-cultural-political-historical positioning of their identities. He advocates for identity, justice, and joy to be fundamental for education. He also works to transform STEM learning environments, creating spaces that are recognized and understood as extensions of students’ identity rather than sites of oppression that perpetuate hostility and exclusion.

Selected Grants

National Science Foundation: 2140901, Collaborative Research: EHR Racial Equity: Examining Blackness in Postsecondary STEM Education through a Multidimensional-Multiplicative Lens. Education and Human Resources Directorate, $8,826,392, Principal Investigator

National Science Foundation: 2217343, RCN-UBE: Deepening and Expanding the Mission and Outcomes of the Re-Envisioning Culture Network. Division of Biological Infrastructure, $500,000, Principal Investigator

National Science Foundation: 2100823, Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE): Expanding the Reach and Impact of Innovations in STEM Education. DRL – Discovery Research K-12, $3,307,943, Co-Principal Investigator

National Science Foundation: 2020709, Louis Stokes Regional Center of Excellence for the Study of STEM Interventions. Division of Human Resources Development, $1,000,000, Co-Principal Investigator

Selected Publications

Morton, T.R. (2023). Critical race theory and its relevance for chemistry. Nature Chemistry, 15, 1043-1046. DOI: 10.1038/s41557-023-01271-5
Morton, T.R., Agee, W., Ashad-Bishop, K.C., Banks, L.D., Barnett Z.C., Bramlett, I.D., Brown, B., Gassmann, W., Grayson, K., Hollowell. G.P., Kaggwa, R., Kandlikar, G.S., Love, M., McCoy, W.N., Melton, M.A., Miles, M.L., Quinlan, C.L., Roby. R.S., Rorie. C.J., Russo-Tait, T., Wardin, A.M., Williams, M.R., & Woodson, A.N. (2023). Re-envisioning the culture of undergraduate biology education to foster Black student success: A clarion call. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 22(4), 1-13. DOI:

McGee, E.O., Morton, T.R., Frierson, W., & White, D.T. (2023). Accelerating racial activism in STEM higher education by institutionalizing an equity ethic. Teachers College Record, 125 (9), 108-139. DOI:

Roby, R.S., Udoh, E., Williams, M.R., Hunter, A.E., Wardin, A.M., Miles, M.L., & Morton, T.R. (2022). #SayHerName: Anchoring Black feminist epistemologies at the crux of postsecondary STEM culture. Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 28(3), 83-99. DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.2022036607

Ortiz, N.A., & Morton, T.R. (2022). Empowering Black mathematics students through a framework of communalism and collective Black identity. Journal of Urban Mathematics Education, 15(1), 54-77.

Morton, T.R., Miles, M.L, Roby, R.S., & Ortiz, N.A. (2022). “All we wanna do is be free”: Advocating for Black liberation in and through K-12 science education. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 33(2), 131-153. DOI:

Morton, T.R. (2022). Critical race theory and STEM education. In P.G. Price (Ed.). Oxford Encyclopedia of Race and Education. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. DOI:

Morton, T. R. (2021). A phenomenological and ecological perspective on the influence of undergraduate research experiences on Black women’s persistence in STEM at an HBCU. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 14(4), 530–543.

Morton, T.R., Gee, D.S., & Woodson, A.N. (2019). Being vs. becoming: Transcending STEM identity development through afropessimism, moving towards a Black X consciousness in STEM. The Journal of Negro Education, 88(3), 327-342. DOI: 10.7709/jnegroeducation.88.3.0327

Morton, T.R., & Parsons, E.C. (2018). #BlackGirlMagic: The identity conceptualization of Black women in undergraduate STEM education. Science Education, 102(6), 1363-1393. DOI:

Professional Leadership

Chair (2023 - 2026), American Educational Research Association, Equity and Inclusion Council

Member (2023 - 2026), American Educational Reseach Association, Social Justice Council

Monitoring Editor (2021 - 2024), Cell Biology Education-Life Sciences Education

Editorial Board (2021 - 2024), Journal of Research in Science Teaching

Notable Honors

2021, Ernest D. Morrell Emerging Scholar, Comparative & International Education Society, African Diaspora Special Interest Group

2020, Omega Man of the Year, Epsilon Delta Chapter, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc


Ph.D. Education - Learning Science and Psychological Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill (Chapel-Hill, NC)
M.S. Neuroscience, University of Miami (Miami, FL)
B.S. Chemistry, North Carolina A&T State University (Greensboro, NC)

Professional Memberships

Comparative and International Education Society

Association for the Study of Higher Education

National Association for Research on Science Teaching

American Psychological Association

American Educational Research Association

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Fraternity, Inc.

Selected Presentations

Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research, Seminar Series

  • October 21, 2020
  • Provided a talk titled “But is it really ‘just’ science?: Engaging Critical Race Theory to Unpack Racial Oppression with Implications for Black Student Engagement” as part of SABER’s A Call to Action: Striving for Racial Justice in Academic Biology seminar series [635 national attendees + additional viewers through recording].
  • Link to view:


2021 Assessment and Teaching Conference, University of Pittsburgh

  • February 12, 2021
  • Lead Keynote address titled “It Is More Than Just Good Instructional Strategies: Ideologies and Praxes ofInclusive Teaching in Postsecondary STEM” delivered to approximately 150 administrators, faculty, andstaff at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Link to view:


Patrick, B.J., Clark, L, Roby, R.S., & Morton, T.R. (2021, March). From HBCU to PhD: Social capital & student success. Presentation at South X Southwest EDU annual conference, Virtual.

• Link to view:


California State University, COAST and CSUPERB Collaboration


National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Presidential Webinar Series

  • October 6, 2021
  • Provided a presentation titled “Countering & Rejecting the Master Narrative: Black Student Engagement in Postsecondary STEM” that was part of the inaugural NARST Presidential Webinar Series “Disrupting the Image of Who Can Be a Scientists: What Does Inclusions Look Like? What Should Inclusions Look Like?” provided to 185 members of NARST and the broader, global science education community.
  • Link to view:

University of Southern Mississippi, Center for STEM Education 2022 STEMed Speaker Series

  • April 14, 2022
  • Provided a presentation titled, “Critical Perspectives of Blackness in STEM Education” to approximately 24 administrators, faculty, and graduate students at USM.
  • Link:

Lawrence Technical University, IDEA Factory

  • February 21, 2023
  • Provided a presentation titled “Seeking Justice and Joy: Facilitating Institutional Cultural Change in an Era of Anti-Blackness” to approximately 125 administrators, faculty, staff, and students as Lawrence Technical University, Oberlin College, Albion College, University of Michigan, and the greater Detroit, MI community.
  • Link to view:

Research Currently in Progress

Black epiSTEMologies:

Black epiSTEMologies is a multi-institutional collaborative research project seeking to develop theories, research methods and tools (e.g., qualitative protocols, quantitative instruments), and forms of knowledge that expand the field of STEM education’s conceptual understandings of and implications for racial equity in STEM for Black students. Black epiSTEMologies is funded by the National Science Foundation (EHR Racial Equity) and encompasses the following research awards:
UIC & TSU: 2243109 GSU: 2140902 American Uni: 2140903 UT- Austin: 2140904 NC A&T: 2140905.