Graduate Student Council Research Grants

Document Type



Ph.D. in Education

Publication Date



Overview: My name is Shimikqua Ellis. I am in my 4th year of the English Education PhD program at the University of Mississippi. I work as a Graduate Assistant in the School of Education and was advanced to Doctoral Candidacy after I passed comps in December 2019. For my dissertation, I will explore Mississippi educators’ perceptions of using Young Adult Literature to promote social justice in classrooms. I will observe and interview teachers using the novel The Hate You Give to discuss racial injustice in classrooms across the state.

Intellectual Merit: Ta Nehisi Coates (2015) states, “English teachers should be librarians of justice, hope, and consciousness. English classrooms should provide something more complex than grammar, something deeper than the classics, and something much more meaningful than writing between the lines” (p.26). As the researcher, examines how educators in various parts of Mississippi are implementing the YA novel, The Hate You Give to promote social justice in ELA classrooms, strategies for supporting educators and preservice teachers to teach THUG will be explored. This study will investigate the following: How are Mississippi teachers using this YA novel? What challenges do Mississippi teachers face when teaching THUG to address racial injustice? What successes have teachers had using the text? What type of support and resources do educators feel they need to effectively teach The Hate You Give? The researcher seeks to utilize the findings from this study to help teacher education programs prepare English educators to implement social justice literacies in classrooms.

External Opportunity: The ALAN Foundation Grant is funded through the National Council of Teachers of English and provides $1500 toward research in young adult literature. The ALAN Grant application was due on September 15, 2019. Grant Winners also are invited to publish research findings in the ALANReview.

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