erinErin M. Stephens is a doctoral student of sociology at George Mason University and a graduate research assistant at the Center for Social Science Research (CSSR) and the Institute for Immigration Research (IIR).

In her previous academic study, Erin focused on the health, cultural and social impacts of economic development on indigenous communities in the South Pacific at Davidson College (B.A. in Anthropology) and at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (MPH in Health Education and Health Behavior). Erin’s professional work has focused on youth, community engagment and social change. Prior to coming to Mason, she worked as a comprehensive sex educator for Washington, D.C., area youth and following that, as a feminist educator and organizer at Duke University. She continues to work with The Beautiful Project, a photography-based project that uses integenerational mentorship to empower black girls and women to reconceptualize beauty.

Erin’s research and activism engages discourse, pedagogy and organizing in the construction of alternative development paradigms, particularly in the city. Her current work at the IIR explores immigrant labor in the new economy, including immigrant “knowledge workers” and immigrant-owned worker cooperatives. Her dissertation will engage the socialization and deployment of young imaginations towards unseen futures through feminist and community-based social justice projects in economically and politically marginalized communities. Erin’s fields of research include: community development, youth activism, globalization, culture, & black feminist theory/thought