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DeLeon Gray

Associate Professor, Educational Psychology and Equity

Poe Hall 602K


DeLeon Gray is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Equity in the College of Education at North Carolina State University. He was recently a Scholar-in-Residence in Michigan State University’s College of Education, and has previously held appointments at the Association for Psychological Science, the American Institutes for Research, and the National Institutes of Health. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) (B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies) and The Ohio State University (M.A., Quantitative Research, Evaluation, and Measurement; Ph.D., Educational Psychology). He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (initiated Fall 2003), and enjoys bowling, karaoke, being a master of Connect 4, and having a winning fantasy football team.

Selected Scholarly Publications

Gray, D. L., McElveen, T. L., Bryant, L. H., & Green, B. P. (2020). Engaging Black and Latinx Students through Communal Learning Opportunities: A Relevance Intervention for Middle Schoolers in STEM Elective Classrooms. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 60, 1-17. doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2019.101833
Gray, D. L., Hope, E., & Byrd, C. M. (2020). Why Black adolescents are vulnerable at school and how schools can provide opportunities to belong to fix it. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 7(1), 3-9. doi: 10.1177/2372732219868744
Gray, D. L., Hope, E., Matthews, J. S. (2018). Black and Belonging at School: A Case for Interpersonal, Instructional, and Institutional Opportunity Structures. Educational Psychologist, 53(2), 97-113. doi: 10.1080/00461520.2017.1421466
Gray, D. L. (2017). Is psychological membership in the classroom a function of standing out while fitting in? Implications for achievement motivation and emotions. Journal of School Psychology, 61, 103-121. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2017.02.001
Gray, D. L. (2014). Understanding STEM-focused high school students’ perceptions of task importance: The role of “standing out” and “fitting in” in mathematics class. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 39, 29-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2013.12.001

Courses Taught

School Belonging
Community-Engaged Approaches to Educational Research
Applied Quantitative Methods in Education (Part I)
Applied Quantitative Methods in Education (Part II)
Motivation in Education


Doctor of Philosophy Educational Psychology The Ohio State University

Master of Arts Quantitative Research, Evaluation, and Measurement The Ohio State University

Bachelor of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychological Foundations of Education) University of Maryland - Baltimore County (UMBC)

Area(s) of Expertise

DeLeon Gray aims to support educators, parents, leaders, and mentors in unpacking the concept of motivation, and works jointly with them to disrupt structural aspects of schooling environments that leave marginalized students vulnerable to anxieties about belonging. His program of research has been recognized by receipt of prestigious honors including a 2018 Best Article Award for his collaborative publication in Educational Psychologist entitled, “Black and Belonging at School: A Case for Interpersonal, Instructional, and Institutional Opportunity Structures.” In 2015, he was featured in Black Enterprise Magazine as one of 100 men of color who are “living up to a standard of excellence and using their talents and influence in their respective industries to shift the perception of men of color to create and encourage a positive narrative.” Most recently, he received the Change Agent Award of Appreciation from St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, NC.