Emma FlanaganGraduate Studentshe/her/hers

I am a PhD student in Human Development & Family Studies, and I research the social safety net and families’ experiences navigating income support programs. I hope to uplift the voices of families in my research, centering the perspectives of marginalized groups in an effort to create policy change. I conduct qualitative research with the Baby’s First Years project, and I have also recently worked with organizations such as the Urban Institute and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. I also collaborate with community-based organizations in my research.

I graduated from Saint Louis University with a Bachelor of Science in psychology and minors in public health, biology, and urban poverty studies. As an undergraduate, I gained invaluable research experience working with the Readers 2 Leaders program, a peer-mentoring, reading partnership designed to create connections and empower students.

Prior to beginning my PhD at the School of Human Ecology, I served as an AmeriCorps member in Missoula, Montana, with Family Promise – Missoula Interfaith Collaborative. I worked as a housing navigator, creating relationships with families and connecting them to resources in an effort to secure stable housing.

I have been a teaching assistant for HDFS 535 (A Family Perspective in Policymaking), HDFS 663 (Developmental and Family Assessment), and HDFS 516 (Stress and Resilience in Families Across the Lifespan).

Selected Publications and Presentations

Flanagan, E., & Halpern-Meekin, S. (2022). Perceived Learning Costs: Mothers’ Approaches to Financial Resources during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Conference, Washington D.C.

A white woman smiling, with curly dark blonde hair, wearing silver earrings and a green top.


  • Human Development & Family Studies

Degree Program

  • PhD Human Ecology: Human Development & Family Studies