Dr. Ashley Payne, assistant professor of psychology, mentors in multiple capacities at Missouri State University. This has earned her recognition in the form of the Bear Bridge Outstanding Faculty-Student Mentoring Award.
Bear Bridge places an important emphasis on creating mentoring programs for faculty and students; diversity, equity and inclusion are central to its mission.
Black Girl Talks
As an advocate for Black voices, Payne is the creator and lead researcher of the Black Girl Talks Mentoring program. This identity-affirming program pairs Black high school girls in Springfield with Black college women at MSU.
Students enjoy space to discuss issues related to Black girl and womanhood, education, identity and relationships with their mentor.
This program is also a research site for students interested in learning about the experiences of diverse populations, youth participatory action research and program development.
Additionally, Payne is the faculty advisor of five student organizations:
- Sister Circle.
- Psychology Club and Psi Chi.
- Sigma Lambda Gamma.
- Association of Black Collegians.
- MSU NAACP.
Payne is passionate about being a mentor to Black girls and women who participate in the program or research, as she provides guidance in education, identity or other psychosocial needs.
“I feel a drive to be the representation and change students need to grow and evolve,” Payne said.
“As a woman and faculty member of color, I strive to make sure students see themselves in ways they may never have dreamed and support them to reach new heights.”
Payne tries to equip all her students with the knowledge and expertise to get where they want to go and to push themselves to reach what may feel like impossible levels.
By being heavily involved on campus and spending one-on-one time with students, Payne has the opportunity to build relationships and share her journey.
“It’s important for me to let my students know that anything is possible, if you use your resources and put the work in.”