Brandyn-Dior McKinley, M.S.W., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Office: Lilly Hall
Pronouns: she/her

Brandyn-Dior McKinley smiles at the camera.

B.S., Cornell University 
M.S.W., Columbia University School of Social Work 
Ph.D., University of Connecticut

Selected works in Smith ScholarWorks


Brandyn-Dior (Brandyn) McKinley is an assistant professor in the School for Social Work. McKinley’s scholarship uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine the impact of racism and other forms of oppression on the holistic wellness (e.g., social, emotional, relational and economic health) of Black women and Black families. 

McKinley has been involved with research exploring the interpersonal and sociocultural factors that influence the mental health outcomes of African American women in three-generation families and relationship experiences of African American married couples.

McKinley’s recent work examines how intersections of race, class and gender inform the strategies middle-class Black mothers use to navigate predominantly white spaces on behalf of their adolescent daughters as part of their efforts to protect them from the social, emotional, and academic costs of discrimination. This work also explores how mothers empower their daughters to confront gendered racism within diverse institutional contexts (e.g., schools, peers, neighborhoods) and work toward social change.

McKinley received her Ph.D. in human development and family studies from University of Connecticut, her M.S.W. from the Columbia University School of Social Work, and her B.S. in human development from Cornell University. McKinley was also a SHASS Diversity Predoctoral Fellow in anthropology at MIT.

Selected Publications

McKinley, B., Cahill, L., & Kumaria, S. (2023). Wade in the Water: Suggestions for Centering Reproductive Justice in Social Work Education, Practice, and Organizing. Smith College Studies in Social Work,  DOI: 10.1080/00377317.2023.2260487

McKinley, B.-D., & Brown, T. L. (2020). Middle- and high-income Black families. In A. James (Ed.), Black Families: A Systems Approach (pp. 214-232). San Diego, CA: Cognella Academic Press.

McKinley, B.-D. (2014). Negotiating (il)legible identities: On being a Black female “professor in training.” Sociological Imagination, 50(3), 30-49.

Orbuch, T. L., Bauermeister, J. A., Brown, E., & McKinley, B.-D. (2013). Early family ties and marital stability over 16 years: The context of race and gender. Family Relations, 62(2), 255-268.

McKinley, B.-D., Brown, E., & Caldwell, C. H. (2012). Personal mastery and psychological well-being among young grandmothers. Journal of Women & Aging, 24(3), 177-193.\

McKinley, B.-D., & Asencio, M. (2011). Latinas and Black women negotiating multiple marginalized social identities. In M. Wearing (Ed.), Social Identity. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.