Erika Kates, PhD.

Senior Scholar, Wellesley Centers for Women. Wellesley College.

Dr. Erika Kates is recently retired from her position at Senior Research Scientist at Wellesley Centers for Women, at Wellesley College, where her work focused on gender and the justice system with a focus on women, and low-income women’s access to higher education. She has extensive experience in policy analysis and research, focusing mainly on low-income women, women of color, and immigrants.

In her previous role as Research Director at the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, she was responsible for conducting research on economic inequities among women, women in prison, incidence of HIV/AIDS among women of color in Massachusetts, homeless women and children, working conditions of nursing and home care staff, mentoring and leadership, women elected to public office, and welfare recipients access to education and training.

For over twenty years, Erika examined the intersections of welfare, workforce development, and higher education policies in her work on access to education and training for low-income women, publishing many articles, monographs and book chapters on this topic. In 1996 she co-founded the Welfare Education Training Access Coalition (WETAC) at the Heller School for Policy and Management at Brandeis University, directing the project for five years. She has worked actively with state and federal policy makers, providing testimony to numerous state hearings and U.S. Congressional Debates, on welfare reform in 1994 and 2002.

Dr. Kates utilizes a participatory approach in her research, that actively involves multiple groups of stakeholders, and has engaged low-income women as researchers, and facilitated the formation of low-income student organizations.

She has taught as a professor at Smith College, University of Massachusetts (Amherst and Boston campuses), and Tufts University. Dr. Kates holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) from London University, and a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Heller School of Policy and Management, Brandeis University.

Dr. Kates joins the NCSPP advisory board in 2018, contributing her important perspective on the history of student parents and non-traditional women students’ engagement and inclusion in higher education over the past 40+ years.

She is also an active contributor to the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts.