ECU doctoral graduate advocates for her students


Name: Stacy Stanford

College: College of Education

Major: Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership

Age: 38

Classification/Year: Graduate student

Hometown: Greenville, North Carolina

Hobbies/interests: Spending time with my husband and two children, hiking, and trips to the mountains.


Favorite hangout: River Park North

Favorite place on campus: Main Campus Student Center

Favorite places to eat: EC Pho

Favorite class: Dissertation 9000

Professor who influenced you the most: Travis Lewis, my dissertation chair


Current job: ECU Assistant Dean of Students and Care Team Coordinator

Your words to live by: “Be kind to others and yourself.”

What advice do you have for other students? Be proactive, and remember that an entire community is here to support you.

What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year? The different student organizations and campus resources available to students.

Stacy Stanford will cross the graduation stage this winter as a triple Pirate with her doctorate in educational leadership.

Growing up in Greenville, Stanford was no stranger to East Carolina University.

“My family had season tickets and my brother and his wife both went to ECU’s medical school,” she said. “Also, my mom is a former teacher and took classes here to continue her licensure.”

Previously, she received her Bachelor of Science in family and community services and master’s in social work from the College of Health and Human Performance. When pursuing her doctoral degree, she turned to the Department of Educational Leadership in the College of Education.

Stanford completed her dissertation on bridging academic barriers for pregnant and parenting students.

Stanford completed her dissertation on bridging academic barriers for pregnant and parenting students.

Through her program’s required dissertation, Stanford was able to build on the work she has done as the assistant dean of students and care team coordinator at ECU to promote the services that the Office of the Dean of Students provides. Her research explores ways to bridge barriers academically for pregnant and parenting students through faculty and campus engagement.

“It’s rewarding to see what you learn about in practice and being able to use it in your daily interaction with parents or students or colleagues,” she said. “You read about it, but until you actually start doing it, then it becomes part of your practice. I think that’s been very insightful.”

Before returning to ECU in 2014, Stanford worked in Texas and Kansas as a dialysis social worker. Transitioning from social work to higher education was an almost seamless transition for her.

“You change your client from patients to students,” she said. “You’re working with students who have socioeconomic issues, homelessness, food insecurity, mental health, physical health, access to resources, the same kind of thing.”

What originally drew her to the field of social work was her own history of adoption. While she hasn’t had the smoothest path to where she is now, Stanford doesn’t let her past define her and keeps an eye to what’s coming next. One of the best life lessons that she has learned at ECU revolves around advocacy.

“Being both a student and working in the Dean of Students office, I’ve learned you should advocate for yourself and also allow others to advocate for you as well,” she said.