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Ashlee R. Barnes is a Detroit native and interdisciplinary scholar. She earned a B.A. in both criminal justice and psychology, and a Ph.D. in ecological-community psychology from Michigan State University (MSU). She has nearly a decade of practical experience with youth as she has worked in adolescent diversion, juvenile probation and detention, and in facilities serving youth diagnosed with mental health challenges. She is currently a Research Associate in the School of Social Work at MSU.



Dr. Barnes-Lee's approach to research encompasses her commitment to increasing access, equity, and opportunities for marginalized communities that often experience institutional disempowerment. Broadly, her research program aims to eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system and school-based discipline.



Overall, her research has led to 16 peer-reviewed publications in high impact scholarly journals including Criminal Justice & Behavior, Developmental Psychology, and Children and Youth Services Review. The completion and dissemination of her research have been supported by nearly $100,000 in grants, competitive fellowships, and travel funding.


Notably, she was awarded a State of Michigan King-Chavez-Park Future Faculty Fellowship. In addition, she has received three honorable mentions from the Ford Foundation for her thesis and dissertation research on racial equity in juvenile risk assessment.


In the classroom, Dr. Barnes-Lee aims to create an inclusive learning community where students can feel safe to actively engage in the learning process. Her approach has consistently resulted in strong student evaluations. In addition to her formal teaching experience, she has taught, trained, and mentored student research assistants who disseminated their findings at national conferences and later earned degrees in psychology, criminal justice, social work, and public policy.


Dr. Barnes-Lee is a member of several professional associations, including, American Psychological Association (Division 27) Society for Community Research and Action, American Society of Criminology, and Michigan Association for Evaluation. She enjoys teaching Zumba, taco Tuesdays, and movie nights with her family.

Black American woman smiling standing in a white blazer with black top.
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