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DeLeon Gray

Associate Professor, Educational Psychology

Poe Hall 602K

Research Description

Dr. Gray’s research program examines how adolescents and emerging adults perceive and interpret their social encounters in achievement contexts, and whether these mental representations account for their achievement beliefs and behaviors. Currently, his research program is comprised of two components. The first component includes investigations highlighting the role of social identity processes in achievement contexts, particularly in terms of students’ strivings to “stand out” and “fit in” within their peer circles. The second component of Dr. Gray’s research focuses on understanding students’ judgments about socializers (e.g., teachers, parents, and mentors), and students’ interpretations of the messages that these socializers convey about scholastic achievement. Dr. Gray’s research program ultimately will serve as a platform for collaborating with practicing teachers and administrators on initiatives that encourage students to make engaging in scholastic activities a priority.


Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology from The Ohio State University
Master of Arts in Quantitative Research, Evaluation, and Measurement from The Ohio State University
Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychological Foundations of Education) from University of Maryland - Baltimore County (UMBC)


Selected Scholarly Publications

  • 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

  •  Motivation in Education
  •  Applied Quantitative Methods in Education (Part I)
  •  Applied Quantitative Methods in Education (Part II)
  •  Educational Psychology

Research Areas