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Boston College Graduate School of Social Work
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Jessica Black

Jessica Black

Assistant Professor, Children, Youth & Families and Health & Mental Health

Jessica M. Black, PhD, is an Educational Neuroscientist and an Assistant Professor at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW). She obtained her doctorate in Educational Psychology from Stanford University School of Education and then completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research within the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Black’s research integrates the use of neuroimaging (functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging), standard neuropsychological behavioral testing and environmental measures, such as the home supports, to predict outcome in children with risk for school failure. Within this population, Dr. Black focuses primarily on children with diagnosis of or risk for learning disabilities and children learning in non-native linguistic settings. Keenly interested in childhood resilience, Dr. Black has extended her neuroimaging research to better understand the neural underpinnings of humor and the extent to which humor and positive emotion generally may contribute to resilience during pivotal transitions in the lives of youth.

Dr. Black has published in top research journals such as Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, and The Journal of Neuroscience. Dr. Black teaches SCWK721 Human Behavior and the Social Environment, SCWK726 Neuroscience of Human Relationships and Development, and SCWK839 Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience in the Life Course. In addition she is the faculty advisor to the GSSW Social Brain Book Club and is working to integrate neuroscience research into several foundation courses within the GSSW. Dr. Black is thrilled to be on the faculty within such an innovative and transformative environment and looks forward to continuing to provide social work students with education, training, and research opportunities in neuroscience.