Research Project

Emergency food assistance

Jennifer Bouek was an NICHD fellow in 2014-2015 during her third year as a Sociology PhD student. She researches health and inequality. Here she describes her fellowship year.

Being a PSTC fellow gave me the opportunity to focus on and develop my research. I accomplished several goals over the course of the year. I finished my fieldwork in food pantries, completed my M.A., initiated a tangential research project, and submitted papers for publication.

Currently, my paper examining the field of emergency food assistance is under review with Social Problems. I have also turned my research on the emergency food assistance network into a book chapter for an edited volume, Food and Poverty: Food Insecurity and Food Sovereignty among America’s Poor. The chapter has been accepted, and the volume is scheduled for publication June 2016. With the support of the PSTC, I was able to initiate a second paper that uses the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine the effects of welfare receipt on the gendered dynamics of household economies. 

In addition to developing my own work, I was also able to devote ample time to working with my PSTC mentor, Susan Short. We completed two projects over the past year. One is a paper, co-written with another graduate student, which investigates the health effects of having only daughters among Chinese women using the China Health and Nutrition Survey. It will be sent out for publication shortly. The second project is an encyclopedia entry on fertility rates for The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies that has been accepted and is forthcoming. Recently, along with two other graduate students, Susan and I have begun working on a paper that explores the health implications of "time poverty"—a recent sociological concept of time deprivation. 

The most valuable asset of being a PSTC fellow is time. Having a year to concentrate on research gave me the opportunity to develop projects, to complete papers, and to explore new ideas. Being engaged with a multi-disciplinary institute also provides fodder for new ideas. My year as a PSTC fellow has provided a strong foundation for my future career.