Kitchen Table Talk - Dr. Erin Willer
From Tracy Debellevue
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Erin Willer (COMN) - Professor Erin K. Willer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Faculty Director of the Wellness Living & Learning Community at the University of Denver (DU). Dr. Willer’s pedagogy and research are guided by the question: how can we engage storytelling, art, and embodied practices to cultivate creativity, compassion, and community in the face of illness, death, and loss? Dr. Willer’s lived experiences as a bereaved mother/daughter/teacher/student inspire her scholarship. She is the founder of the Scraps of the Heart Project, a community-based research collective dedicated to empowering families and educating communities about the experience of pregnancy and infant loss. Erin teaches several courses at DU, including Communicating Grief and Loss, Visual Narratives of Women’s Health, Communicating Empathy and Compassion, and Running as Feminist Embodiment. Erin and her students have collaborated with several local and international organizations such as Colorado Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Services, Girls on the Run of the Rockies, lululemon, Montessori Academy of Colorado, and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Dr. Willer has been honored with several research and teaching awards, including the 2016 DU Center for Community Engagement to Advance Scholarship and Learning’s Service-Learning Faculty of the Year Award, the 2018 Journal of Family Communication Article of the Year Award, and the 2020 Western States Communication Association’s Distinguished Teacher Award. In her “free” time, Erin can be found artmaking, running, and mothering Matilda and Fyo, her black Labrador Porter, and a jungle of plant babies.