Erin Stanley

Erin Stanley

Erin Stanley

M.S.W. and Ph.D. S.W.A.N. student, Rumble Fellow

Currently pursuing the trans-disciplinary doctoral degree in social work and anthropology (S.W.A.N.) and a master’s in social work, Erin has been a Rumble fellow since 2017.


“A born and raised Detroiter,” Erin Stanley says she’s proud to study in the city. “Attending school in Detroit inspires work that is applicable, solution-oriented, and rooted in place; all of which are important to me.”

A second-year Wayne Stater, she’s still exploring research focuses. Yet her coursework has instilled a passion for EcoJustice Education, a framework based on “an understanding that local and global ecosystems are essential to all life, challenging the deep cultural assumptions of modern thinking that undermine those systems,” as defined by the text EcoJustice Education: Toward Diverse, Democratic, and Sustainable Communities. “I am interested in applying this framework to several areas,” Erin says, “including social work pedagogy, medical anthropology, relationship to place, community development, and housing issues, particularly tax foreclosures.”

A summer workshop with Detroit Revitalization Fellows and a Next Gen Humanities Ph.D. internship provided further insight into potential future interests.  

“Both programs emphasized the many uses for doctorate training in the community and encouraged me to consider career opportunities outside of academia.” The experiences were impactful, as they shed light on how higher-ed knowledge can move in community development and activist spaces, she says. Spaces that have informed the S.W.A.N. program.

It’s the interdisciplinarity of this program that appeals to Erin most. “Social work practices and theories are improved through the application of a critical and ethnographic lens,” she says. “Similarly, the impact and relevance of anthropology is strengthened with the commitment to social justice and applied research that social work emphasizes. I am excited to be a part of a program that encourages a different kind of scholarship, one which builds upon, challenges, and re-imagines each discipline.”

As a Rumble fellow, Erin can commit full-time to her research. “The Rumble fellowship has also made me feel secure and welcome at WSU.”

Her golden nugget of advice for Wayne State graduate students?

“Get to know Detroit beyond Midtown. It's your most important classroom!”

150 years in the heart of Detroit