Faculty Directory

Jessica M. Black

Associate Professor

Chair, Children, Youth and Families Field of Practice


Jessica M. Black, MA, PhD, is Associate Professor, Chair of Children, Youth and Families Field of Practice, Teaching Chair, and The Cell to Society Lab Director at the School of Social Work, Boston College. Dr. Black is an educational neuroscientist whose research centers on ways in which child and adolescent biological development is informed by surrounding proximal and distal experiences such as with sleep, family, school, and religion.

Dr. Black is dedicated to illuminating the strengths young people hold and share including humor, play, flexibility, and drive. She is at the forefront of championing efforts to fuel bridges between neuroscience and social work nationally and locally related to pedagogy, theory, and practice. She developed and leads the Neuroscience and Social Work Certificate, the first and only training of its kind.

Dr. Black’s interdisciplinary emphasis in scholarship and teaching is informed by her formal educational background in psychology, education, and neuroscience, and her essential collaborations with esteemed scholars and seasoned practitioners in social work, ministry, theology, and psychiatry.

Select Grants

New Hampshire Department of Education Grant, Bureau of Student Wellness: Black (PI)
Dates: 06/01/2022 – 09/30/2024
A Scientific Investigation of Student Wellbeing and Play-Based Intervention Programming in New Hampshire Elementary Schools  

Science for Seminaries Grant, American Association for the Advancement of Science: Doyle (PI)
Dates: 04/01/2021 – 10/30/2022
Role: Co-I
Neuroscience Education in Theology Training (NETT Project)  

Academic Technology Innovation Grant (ATIG), Boston College: Black (PI)
Dates: 06/01/2020 – 5/31/2022
Online Classroom Enhancement Project (OCEP)  

Teaching and Mentoring Award (TAM), Boston College: Black (PI) 
Dates: 06/01/2020 – 5/31/2021
Educational Neuroscience Toolbox for Higher Education

Faculty Research Expense Grant (REG), Boston College: Black (PI)
Dates: 06/01/2016 – 5/31/2017
Biomarkers in Adolescent Development and Resilience  

Ignite Grant, Boston College: Black (PI) 
Dates: 06/01/2014 – 5/31/2015 
Using a Biopsychosocial Lens to Examine Risk and Protective Processes in Students with Learning Disabilities

Faculty Research Incentive Grant (RIG), Boston College: Black (PI)
Dates: 06/01/2012 – 5/31/2014 
Prediction of Reading Achievement in Young Children

Select Appointments & Awards

Member, Task Force on Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Developmental Neuroscience, Council on Social Work Education (2019 – 2022)

Editorial Board: Social Sciences (2020–); Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research (2020– ); Education Sciences (2020–); PLOS ONE (2019–); Frontiers in Educational Psychology (2011–)

Teaching Excellence Award, Boston College School of Social Work, 2016
Teaching Excellence Award, Boston College School of Social Work, 2015