Eric Waithaka, PhD

Eric Waithaka
Titles and Organizations

Assistant Professor, Social Work

Contact Information

Phone: 703-993-6246
Building: Peterson Hall
Room 3620


Dr. Waithaka is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work. His research focuses on intergenerational social and economic mobility during young adults’ transitions to adulthood, with a particular focus on the role of family capital (resources & processes) and public policies influence on young adults’ life outcomes. His research on young adults, both in the United States and in East Africa, focuses on educational attainment, economic engagement and asset development. He has taught a variety of courses including research methods, macro practice, poverty and inequality, human behavior and the social environment, and social work for social justice. He has practice experience in various capacities including non-profit consulting, survey research, program evaluation and being a community support worker for individuals living with disabilities. Dr. Waithaka is a graduate of Daystar University Kenya (BA), Washington University in St. Louis (MSW) and the University of Washington Seattle (PhD, MPA).

University Service

  • MSW Program Committee, George Mason University, Department of Social Work, 2017–Present
  • Diversity Committee, George Mason University, Department of Social Work, 2017–Present
  • Champions for Change Committee, George Mason University, Department of Social Work, 2017–Present


Research Interests

  • Young adults’ education attainment, economic independence and asset development
  • Family capital and intergenerational transmission of advantage/disadvantage
  • Poverty and inequalities
  • Social institutions, and institutional change
  • African immigrant health
  • Social work practice in developing nations


Lee, J., & Waithaka, E.N. (2017). The intersections of marginalized social identities in the transition to adulthood: A demographic profile. Journal of Emerging Adulthood, 5(3), 151-163.

Waithaka, E.N. (2014). Family capital: Conceptual model to unpack the intergenerational transfer of advantage in transition to adulthood. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24(3), 471-484.

Romich, J.L., Gordon, S., & Waithaka, E.N. (2009). A tool for getting by or getting ahead? Consumers’ views on prepaid cards. Networks Financial Institute Working Paper 2009-WP-09. Available at SSRN:


"Envisioning Possible Futures: Emerging adults from families living in public housing and their visions about future stability and asset ownership," U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Early Doctoral Student Research Grant (EDSRG #H-21547SG). October 2008–April 2011. Role: Principal Investigator.

"Consumer Impact Study for Innovative Financial services," Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI). Romich, J. (Principal Investigator), March 2008–May 2009. Role: Co-Investigator

"Ethical Issues in Social Work Training among Masters of Social Work Students at the George Warren Brown (GWB) School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis," Center for the Study of Human Values and Ethics, Washington University in St. Louis. Faculty Advisors: Deborah Megivern and John Bricout, PhDs, May 2004–January 2005. Role: Co-Investigator

Honors and Awards


  • Student Award for Leadership and Service, 2011, Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE)
  • Trainee – Shanahan Endowed Fellowship, 2009-2011, Center for the Studies of Demography and Ecology (CSDE), University of Washington
  • Boeing Endowed Fellowship, 2007-2008, School of Social Work, University of Washington
  • Graham Taylor Second Year Scholarship, 2004–2005, Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Work-study Scholarship, 1997–2000, Daystar University, Kenya




  • PhD, University of Washington Seattle
  • MPA, Social Policy: Poverty, Education and Social Welfare, University of Washington Seattle
  • MSW, Social Economic Development, Washington University in St. Louis
  • BA, Community Development, Daystar University, Kenya