Crystal M. Hayes, MSW Phd Candidate

Crystal is a reproductive justice and prison reform advocate. She is also a doctoral student in social work at the University of Connecticut and teaches at Smith College School for Social Work and North Carolina State University in the Department of Social Work.

Crystal M. Hayes is a Ph.D. student at the School of Social Work at the University of Connecticut. In 2016, Crystal received the White House Equity Research Grant on Women and Girls of Color. The grant funds her preliminary dissertation work on the birthing experiences of incarcerated women. She has a master’s degree in social work from the Smith College School for Social Work and she completed her undergraduate degree at Mount Holyoke College where she was a double major in Africana Studies and Politics. Crystal began her social work career in community based mental health, and in nonprofit leadership development and management. She worked at the Center for Child and Family Health at Duke University and her practice was in maternal and pediatric mental health. She was also the Director of Racial Justice and Maternal Child Wellness at the YWCA of the Greater Triangle in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is currently on faculty at North Carolina State University (NC State) where she teaches as a part-time distance education instructor. Crystal has worked at NC State in the Department of Social Work as a Clinical Assistant Professor since 2011 in various capacities teaching in both the undergraduate and graduate social work programs, field education, and curriculum development. Crystal’s broad intellectual and political social justice commitments and research interests run deep. Born and raised in New York City at the end of the civil rights movement, on the cusp of the Black Power Movement, coming of age during third wave Feminism. Living by the Audre Lorde quote “…silence will not protect you,” she has always tried to use her voice in service to others to tell the truth about racialized sexism and other forms of oppression. Her research interests and teaching are framed by a focus on anti-oppression and social justice. Her primary research interest includes feminist and critical race theories and intersectional and human rights approaches to motherhood, race, criminality, and mass incarceration.