Angel Miles Nash, Ph.D., assistant professor of leadership development in Chapman University’s Attallah College of Education Studies, has been awarded a competitive Education Research Service Project (ERSP) grant from the American Educational Research Association (AERA). The AERA award is part of a rapid-response cycle of ERSP grants seeking to address the impact of the COVID-19 and systemic racism on education and learning through research service, in the United States and globally.

Dr. Miles Nash and her co-PI Jamelia Harris, Ph.D., (University of California, Los Angeles) won the grant for their project “She Can’t Breathe: Black Girls in the Intersection of #SayHerName and COVID-19.”

AERA reported that it received more than 120 high-quality proposals in response to its special call for projects focusing on the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism. The ERSP selection committee awarded grants to just 13 projects that focus on a diverse range of issues, from adolescent well-being during virtual learning to the retention of teacher program candidates of color.

She Can’t Breathe

The She Can’t Breathe project is a student-centered initiative that provides Critical Conversation Space (CCS) programming for Black girls and resultant professional development for educators in Los Angeles County, California. The educators specifically acknowledged the need to help Black girls students, who are navigating the intersection of the heightened risks of contracting COVID-19, systemic racism-induced civil unrest, and complications of compromised access to educational support for their academic success and social-emotional well-being.

The project will present African American female participants with the opportunity to engage in biweekly CCS that emboldens students’ narrative expressions. Rooted in the intersectional leadership framework (developed by Miles Nash and April L. Peters, Ph.D.), Miles Nash and Harris, who specialize in centering Black girls’ educational experiences, will interview AVHS teachers and administrators to examine how they approach supporting Black girls. The operationalization of this consistent identity-focused ERSP will engage Black girls’ experiences in a way that privileges their voices and provides insight into the ways their educators can responsively improve school environments.

As part of the project, Miles Nash and Harris will produce professional development and policy recommendations for the school and local district in order to materially impact Black girls and their educators’ commitment to students’ success.

Education Research Service Projects

The Education Research Service Projects (ERSP) initiative aims to encourage education researchers to offer their professional expertise on a pro bono basis to educational organizations, institutions, and community groups in areas where research can matter. The ERSP program supports education researchers who seek to provide research skills, knowledge, methods, and related services to educational entities that have specifically identified and expressed a need for such assistance (such as childcare supports or services, schools, school systems, and community organizations).

ERSP awardees receive up to $5,000 to defray direct project costs so that they can volunteer their expertise to educational organizations, institutions, and other community groups to address a need related to one or both pandemics.