It might seem unusual for a faculty member in social work to be involved in research about brain imaging and neural systems, but Boston College Graduate School of Social Work Assistant Professor Jessica Black sees neuroscience as a critical component to the core of any social work training.
Social work uses the biopsychosocial model to understand and advocate for equal access to opportunities to thrive, especially for marginalized populations. Social workers have unique and important training, and subsequent careers considering human development through the biopsychosocial model rely on both a clinical and a policy-oriented lens. In essence, social work considers the complex and interwoven layers of individual development, from early relationships to broader community, policy, and history.
Black was a postdoctoral scholar at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research at Stanford University School of Medicine. She earned an MA and PhD in Education from Stanford University. Black's dissertation work focused on academic self-concept, subjective task value, and beliefs about intelligence in dual-language and English-only elementary school students.
Black has taught courses in Achievement Motivation, Educational Neuroscience, Developmental Dyslexia, Schooling and Dual Language Education (K-12), Childhood Resilience, and Human Behavior in the Social Environment.