I am a Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University, author, and educator widely credited for my research at the intersection of inequality, public policy, and institutions, with a special focus on urban poverty and race, class, and gender studies. The consistent thread in my work from my graduate training in Harvard’s Sociology department and Multidisciplinary Training Program in Inequality & Social Policy to the present is my scholarship’s direct engagement with national debates in the public and policy spheres. As an Associate Vice President for Research and former Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University and a Trustee at Spelman College, I am also deeply engaged in issues related to higher education.

Thank you for visiting my website where you can find information about my research, leadership, media appearances, and community engagement.

I look forward to being in conversation with you.

Warmest regards,
Dr. Celeste Watkins-Hayes




  • The National Science Foundation, Early CAREER Award
  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Health Investigator Award
  • Alumnae Initiate, The Phi Beta Kappa Society, Spelman College
  • The Jacquelyne Johnson Jackson Early Career Award, Association of Black Sociologists
  • Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship, The OpEd Project and Northwestern University
  • Honoree, YWomen Leadership Awards, YWCA Evanston/North Shore
  • Honoree, Chicago’s Top 40 Game Changers Under 40, Ariel Investments and WVON Urban Business Roundtable
  • Honoree, New Vision of Hope Foundation Annual HIV/AIDS Benefit Gala
  • Blue Diamond Woman of Excellence, Spelman College National Alumnae Association, Chicago Chapter
  • Department of African American Studies Teaching Award, Northwestern University
  • Department of African American Studies Distinguished Service Award, Northwestern University


Dr. Celeste Watkins-Hayes
Dr. Celeste Watkins-HayesProfessor of Sociology & African American Studies Northwestern University
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I strive to be not simply a passive observer of the social issues that I care so deeply about but an active participant in helping to improve them. I do this through scholarly research, dialogue, and service in the following areas:

  • HIV/AIDS among women

  • HIV/AIDS among blacks

  • Inequality – economic, racial, and gender

  • Public policy for low-income families

  • Race, class, and gender

  • Welfare policy

  • Poverty

  • Public/Government workers

  • Racial diversity among public employees

To schedule a lecture or request an interview, please contact me at celeste@celestewatkinshayes.com

Dr. Watkins-Hayes’ research has been funded by the following entities:

•  The National Science Foundation
•  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
•  The Center for AIDS Prevention Studies
•  The Brookings Institution
•  Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
•  The Ford Foundation
•  Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.