Research Scholars Program

The goal of the Research Scholars Program is to support and expand the pipeline of emerging scholars, including those from historically underrepresented populations, pursuing research on Hispanic children and families that can inform programs, policies, and services to promote the social and economic well-being of Hispanic children and families.

The application period for the 2020 Research Scholars Program is now closed.

Program description

Scholars work remotely for 12 months with a lead Center investigator on an ongoing Center project. Projects fall within one of the Center’s research priority areas: (1) fatherhood, family structure, and family dynamics; (2) early care and education; (3) poverty reduction and self-sufficiency; and/or (4) cross-cutting topics.

Scholars are matched with one of the Center’s lead investigators who serves as their mentor. This mentor meets with the Scholar weekly to help to identify the scope of the Scholar’s work to be completed during the Program. When appropriate, the Scholar will also receive support from other Center staff to further support their overall professional development goals.

Additionally, scholars participate in biweekly calls with the Center’s Steering Committee (composed of the Center leadership, co-investigators, and federal program officers) and have the opportunity to share their proposed work for feedback from committee members. They also have opportunities to participate in Center capacity-building and professional development activities, such as webinars; conference panels; mentoring and networking activities; developing interactive data tools, Hispanic Family Facts, or data training events; and training in social media, accessible writing, and data visualization.

Contact information and questions

The 2020 application period is now closed. For questions about the program, please contact


2020 Awardees

C. Andrew Conway, MSW, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Family Science at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, where he serves as a research assistant in the Latinx Immigrant Family Experiences (LIFE) Lab. His research interests focus on the mental health and well-being of immigrant Latino families. He is also interested in the unique Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) of immigrant Latino youth. Andrew completed his Master of Social Work degree at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, followed by a post-graduate fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center.

Ying-Chun Lin, MSW, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Associate at Duke University’s Social Science Research Institute. Her research interests focus on the intersections of early care and education (ECE), the well-being of economically disadvantaged children and children of immigrants, and public policy. Her dissertation examined access to center-based ECE among children of immigrants with a particular focus on structural factors. Ying-Chun completed her Master of Social Work degree at Washington University in St. Louis and holds a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

2019 Research Scholars

Kevin Ferreira van Leer, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Sacramento. His research examines the social and cultural contexts that promote positive development, liberation, and human rights for immigrants of color and their families. As he settles into his new home of Sacramento, he is exploring community collaborations to address access to quality education and the increasing human rights attacks with local Latinx migrant communities. Dr. Ferreira van Leer is the co-chair of the Immigrant Justice working group of the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) and collaborated on SCRA’s Policy Statement on the Incarceration of Undocumented Immigrant Families. He received his Ph.D. in Applied Developmental and Education Psychology from Boston College.

Megan Finno-Velasquez, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at New Mexico State University and is the Director of The Center on Immigration and Child Welfare, a national peer membership organization that fosters cross-sector collaboration by linking and supporting professionals across the child welfare, immigration and legal fields. Dr. Finno-Velasquez’s current work focuses on improving the broader child welfare system’s response to the unique needs of immigrant families at risk of child protective services involvement in the present immigration landscape. Her research interests include child welfare and immigration policy, maltreatment prevention in culturally diverse communities, and cultural competence in child welfare services. She received her Ph.D. in Social Work from University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA.

Past Research Scholars

2016 Research Scholars

Zoelene Hill, Ph.D.

Christina Padilla, M.P.P., Ph.D.

2015 Research Scholars

Wyatt Clarke, Ph.D.

Soojin Oh Park, Ph.D.

2014 Research Scholars

Marta Alvira-Hammond, M.A.

Arya Ansari, Ph.D.

Henry Gonzalez, Ph.D.