Misha Inniss-Thompson

Assistant Research Professor


Misha N. Inniss-Thompson is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at Cornell University. Dr. Inniss-Thompson received her doctorate in Community Research and Action at Vanderbilt University. She is an alumnus of Cornell's Department of Human Development. During her undergraduate career, she was a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Scholar.

Dr. Inniss-Thompson’s research examines the impact of families, communities, and schools in shaping Black girls’ mental health and wellness using a cultural-assets perspective.

Research Focus

I am passionate about centering youth voices in the research process through methodological approaches such as photovoice and youth participatory action research.

My program of research investigates three primary questions:

  1. What protective processes buffer the impact of racial discrimination on Black girls’ mental health and wellness?
  2. How do social contexts shape Black adolescent girls’ mental health and wellness during the transition from middle childhood through adolescence? 
  3. What can be gained by creating epistemological and physical spaces and places that support Black girls’ development?

My secondary area of research focuses on trends in nationwide school discipline disparities (i.e., suspensions, arrests, referrals to law enforcement, and physical restraint) that impact Black girls. My report, Summary of Discipline Data for Girls in U.S. Public Schools: An Analysis from the 2015 - 2016 U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights Data Collection, has been cited by legal scholars and the 2019 documentary, Pushout, for bringing to light inequities in school policies that push Black girls out of the school system.