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Scholar. Author. Disruptor. 

The function of freedom is to free someone else.

                                                                         -Toni Morrison

Nicole A. Telfer earned her PhD in applied developmental psychology, with specializations in child and adolescent development, educational context of development, community engagement, and DEI from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is deeply committed to improving the lives of racially and ethnically minoritized (REM) youth through research and practice. Grounded in the theory of intersectionality, Dr. Telfer’s research areas of focus include parents’ ethnic-racial socialization practices, DEI initiatives in the educational outcomes of Black and Brown youth, neurodevelopmental disabilities, and the influence of socio-cultural factors on REM youth’s development.

Dr. Telfer is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC- Chapel Hill, an intern at the University of Maryland medical center’s pediatric unit, a trainee at Georgetown University’s leadership education in neurodevelopmental disabilities (LEND) program, and a trainer and consultant for the Color of Autism foundation based in Detroit, Michigan.

Outside of her work, Dr. Telfer is an avid traveler and reader, a professional spoken-word artist of 8 years, a proud auntie to 5 amazing humans, and a plant mom. She has also authored and co-authored four books; the most recent two are titled, “Our Doctoral Journey: A Collection of Black Women’s Experiences” and an Amazon bestseller, “A Black Woman’s Guide to Earning a PhD.”


Dr. Telfer's Books

Freed: Book of Poems 

covers a personal and vulnerable journey about abuse, healing, love, Blackness, and womanhood into three chapters. Freed also has a fourth chapter that invites five poets to share their amazing pieces. The poems in this book are intended to inspire others to share their story. Everyone has thoughts in their mind that are worth acknowledging. Indeed, Freed speaks to the life experiences of various people from various backgrounds, but in the voice and story of a Black woman.

A Black Woman's Guide to Earning a PhD

More Black women
are needed in the academy. More Black women may want to join the academy, but the academy has not always been accepting of us. Black women who are currently in academia or in doctoral programs face a wide array of social challenges, from racial discrimination to sexism to anti-Black women experiences. Many Black women have hesitated on applying to or starting their doctoral programs to avoid such social challenges. A Black Woman’s Guide to Earning a Ph.D. provides Black women with tips and resources on how to navigate and survive as a doctoral student at a predominantly white university or program. This book focuses primarily on the first two years of graduate school as years 1 and 2 are typically the most challenging. In this book, Black women will read personal stories related to mental health, the impostor syndrome, racial discrimination experiences, and much more. Lastly, this book was written to encourage more Black women to write about their experiences in their doctoral program for others who will come after them. We are all we’ve got.

Our Doctoral Journey: A Collection of Black Women's Experiences

Data from the Education
at a Glance in 2019 states that less than 2 percent of the United States’ and world’s population holds a doctorate degree. Germane to this fact, the National Center of Education statistics reported that, in the 2018-19 academic year, of the doctoral degrees awarded to women, only 10.9 percent were awarded to Black women compared to 63.6 percent awarded to White women in the U.S. Black women who are interested in pursuing a doctorate, already in doctoral programs, or in their field of doctoral work are in crucial need of resources, community, and support. For too long, Black women have faced many systemic barriers and various forms of racist exclusion and oppression in educational settings, which has often led to burnout, low sense of belonging, and low retention rates. This memoir, “Our Doctoral Journey: A collection of Black women’s experiences,” serves as a resource and toolkit for Black women doctors, future doctors, and professionals. Prepare yourselves to read transparent and ground-breaking stories from 24 co-authors, ranging from doctoral students to doctors to professionals, who, with great tenacity, have chosen to share their doctoral experiences. Undeniably, this memoir will give you hope, motivation, and determination to choose what is best for you and persist in your program or in your field of work. As the saying goes, “We’re all that we’ve got.”

Education and Training


The Pennsylvania State University, 2018
Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies (Lifespan Developmental Science)
Minor in Psychology


University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2020
Master of Arts in Applied Developmental Psychology


University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2022
Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Developmental Psychology
 Specializations in Child Development, Community Engagement, and Educational Contexts of Development


Georgetown University, 2023
Certificate in Early Intervention, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities


UNC Chapel Hill, 2023
Certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Research

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Until Liberation,

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