Erin Nolen is a doctoral candidate at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. Erin’s research focuses on sexual objectification, sociocultural influences on body image, and women’s health. Her long-term goal is to promote a social justice approach to body image development and eating disorder prevention by intervening through media, policy, and sexuality education. She is an affiliate researcher at the Center for Body Image Research and Policy at the University of Missouri and was competitively awarded the University of Texas at Austin Continuing Fellowship. Her methodological specializations include mixed methods research, program evaluation, and survey development.
Prior to her doctoral studies, Erin served as assistant director of research for the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, where she developed program evaluations, community assessments, and data-informed strategies for addressing food insecurity. Her earlier practice experiences included state-level policy work on human trafficking and food insecurity issues and case management for women who faced unplanned pregnancies. Many clients lacked access to contraception and faced other issues related to restricted bodily autonomy and reproductive justice. The intersecting issues of material hardship, low-quality sexuality education, and sexual objectification disproportionately impact vulnerable women of color (and individuals in the LGBTQI+ communities). These experiences shaped her professional commitment to address sociocultural factors—including gender stereotypes, discrimination, and resource access—that influence bodily agency and health outcomes. Erin received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Baylor University.
Sexual objectification; sociocultural influences on body image; women’s health; food insecurity and program evaluation; mixed methods