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NMSU doctoral student receives NCAA research grant

Jessica Jackson, a doctoral student in New Mexico State University’s College of Education, has received a research grant from the NCAA Research Committee to study experiences of racism and responses to race-related events.



Jessica Jackson, a doctoral student in New Mexico State University’s College of Education, has received a research grant from the NCAA Research Committee to study experiences of racism and responses to race-related events. (Courtesy photo)

Jackson’s research proposal was one of seven selected by the NCAA to receive funding during the 2016 cycle of the NCAA Graduate Student Research Grant Program. The program is aimed at stimulating research on college sports by providing financial support to graduate students in social and behavioral science fields.

“I am both honored and grateful for this opportunity,” said Jackson, a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology. “I am excited to continue the work on my dissertation and hopefully make a meaningful contribution to the field of psychology.”

Jackson’s research will focus on utilizing scales measuring experiences of racism, stress responses to race-related events and psychological distress, and aims to understand a potential unique source of stress for NCAA black male student-athletes. The mixed-methods study will investigate the influence of race-related stress on psychological distress and chronicle participants’ experiences of race-related stress.

“It is intended that results of this study will provide preliminary evidence of the prevalence of race-related stress among collegiate athletes and effects of this form of stress on psychosocial well-being,” Jackson said. “Clinical implications based on the results will be useful for mental health professionals working with black male student-athletes.”

Jackson is an NMSU RISE scholar and her research endeavors, including writing the proposal for the NCAA Research Committee grant, were supported by the RISE program.

Anna Lopez, assistant professor in the NMSU Counseling and Educational Psychology department, has worked closely with Jackson over the past two years. Lopez said the grant will be instrumental in helping Jackson complete her dissertation, and is thankful the importance and quality of Jackson’s work is being recognized.

“Jessica is an intelligent, motivated, driven and responsible student, always looking for ways of challenging and improving both her clinical and research skills,” Lopez said. “During these past two years, I have witnessed her commitment to the counseling psychology profession. In particular, I have seen the commitment she has to continuing to engage in social justice work. In the midst of juggling many other responsibilities, Jessica has prioritized her dissertation work and has identified and pursued a number of opportunities that have enhanced her dissertation work.”

Lopez said Jackson’s aspiration toward the research award is consistent with the initiative Jessica has shown in her doctoral program.

“She is always looking for ways to go above and beyond what is expected or required,” Lopez said.

NCAA officials said the work of Jackson and the six other graduate students selected to receive funding will help inform NCAA member schools and the public on key topics by introducing new studies to the field. Awards for these grants are set at a maximum of $7,500 for one-year projects. Recipients are expected to culminate their project in an article suitable for publication in a scholarly journal or in a completed thesis or dissertation. They will be invited to present their findings to the NCAA Research Committee in fall 2017.

For more information about the grant program, visit http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/research/ncaa-graduate-student-research-grant-program. For more information about NMSU’s Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, visit https://cep.nmsu.edu/.