ESI Paper Competition

The Matilda White Riley Early Stage Investigator Honors

MWR Sociology SeminarMatilda White Riley’s legacy extended widely in academia and she was always concerned with creating opportunities for the development of future researchers and scientists.

To honor and further that legacy, in 2016 the National Institutes of Health Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) launched the Matilda White Riley Early Stage Investigator Honors, a paper competition for Early Stage Investigators (ESI). The winners will present their research on the Matilda White Riley Early Stage Investigator Honors Panel.

2017 Call for Articles


2017 Matilda White Riley Early Stage Investigator Paper Awardees


Erika Fuchs, Ph.D., MPH

Erika Fuchs, Ph.D., MPH
Assistant Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology
The University of Texas Medical Branch

Dr. Fuchs completed a PhD in epidemiology and an MPH in maternal and child health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Her expertise includes social/behavioral epidemiology focusing on maternal, infant, and child health. Her ESI Paper Awards presentation reflects her research agenda in examining relationships between maternal behaviors and the uptake of vaccination and other preventive health care in children.

Dr. Fuchs is currently a NIH/ORWH Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) scholar at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Before her current position, Dr. Fuchs was an NIH/NRSA T32 postdoctoral fellow in reproductive women's health.


Erika Fuchs, Ph.D., MPH

Emily Hohman, Ph.D.
Research Associate
The Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Hohman joined the Center for Childhood Obesity Research in August 2014 after completing her PhD in Nutrition Science at Purdue University. Her role at the center is to manage data for INSIGHT and SibSIGHT and to assist in analysis of data from these studies. She is also involved in curriculum development and data analysis for other previous and ongoing studies at the Center. Emily also has a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University.

Her previous research training focused on nutritional physiology, and working at CCOR has allowed her to gain additional experience in behavioral research in nutrition. Her research interests broadly include the predictors of diet and weight status in early life and their effects on later health outcomes.

On March 1, 2017, Emily transitioned to a faculty position. As faculty, she coordinates research projects designed to promote healthy dietary behaviors among mothers and infants, toddlers, and pre-school aged children; promotes the Center within Penn State through funding agencies, foundations and worldwide; fosters and supports the Center’s scientific activities, developing independent research, as appropriate; writing proposals and articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals in collaboration with colleagues at Penn State and elsewhere and participates in Center activities including seminars and conferences.


Frank Infurna, Ph.D.Frank Infurna, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Arizona State University

Dr. Infurna earned his PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University. Before coming to ASU, he was a Visiting Research Scholar at the German Institute for Economic Research and a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Institute of Psychology at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Drawing from seminal notions of lifespan development and emerging methodologies for longitudinal analysis, Frank’s research agenda focuses on two intertwined research objectives:

  1. Psychosocial factors and job characteristics that promote healthy aging.
  2. How health events and life transitions shape the course of one's developmental trajectory.

Recently, he and his colleagues have examined pathways that link perceived control to healthy aging, such as physical activity, biological health, and physical fitness. Events of current focus include the onset of disease, disability, spousal loss, retirement, and unemployment—and how specific factors, such as socio-demographics and health, social, and personal resources, particularly, resilience, contribute to better overall outcomes prior to, during, and following these events.


Jacqueline Torres, Ph.D. Jacqueline Torres, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar
The University of California, San Francisco

Jacqueline Torres completed her Ph.D. in Community Health Sciences at UCLA. Jacqueline’s research brings theoretical contributions from the life-course perspective and transnationalism to the field of immigrant health. Her published work examines if pre-migration context and continued cross-border social ties matter for the health of immigrants and their families after arrival in the US, and has appeared in the American Journal of Public Health and Social Science & Medicine.

When a Robert Wood Johnson scholar, Jacqueline examined how cross-border social connection and separation influences the health of immigrants in the US, specifically, the psychological mechanisms linking cross-border social ties to health outcomes, and the potential for cross-border connection to buffer immigration-related stressors, with possible implications for health interventions with immigrant families.

Her research also addresses the potential for cross-border family separation to adversely influence health outcomes for immigrants and their families, which is relevant for understanding the health impacts of US immigration policy. Jacqueline received her M.P.H. and M.A. in Latin American Studies, both from UCLA, and her B.A. from UC Berkeley.


2017 Matilda White Riley Early Stage Investigator Paper Awards Review Committee