College of Education and Human Development

Connect Magazine

Giving Matters: easing financial anxiety

Yiting Li

For many PhD students, funding can be challenging. Especially if you are a first-generation international student.

Yiting Li, a PhD student in the Department of Family Social Science, has focused her research on financial anxiety, especially for couples. A paper she wrote on the subject: “A Decade Review of Publications in Family Financial Socialization, Young Couples, and Financial Behaviors: 2007–2017,” won a best student paper award by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education in 2019.

For many PhD students, funding can be challenging. Couple that with being a first-generation international student and not really knowing anyone in your host country, and it can be outright overwhelming. So for Li, financial anxiety is something she’s quite familiar with. “I know firsthand how stressful it can be if you live paycheck to paycheck,” she says. “It’s really hard for me to figure out what I need to do.”

She has been helped throughout her academic career thanks to financial support from several awards, including the M. Janice Hogan Fellowship and the Jean W. Bauer Family Economics and Policy Fellowship.

The Hogan Fellowship honors the work of Department of Family Social Science Professor Emeritus Janice Hogan, who set up the endowment in 2001 to support graduate students in her department. “Once we had a dinner together. During that meeting, she wanted to know how she could support me,” Li says. “It’s amazing for me to know her—not only from the fellowship documents, but to know her in person.”

Li received the Hogan Fellowship for the first time in 2016 and again this year. Last year, she was the recipient of the Bauer Fellowship, for which she was especially grateful. Professor Jean Bauer, a nationally recognized leader in her field, passed away in 2012, but her fellowship lives on to support family social science PhD students.

“That scholarship specifically helped me for my dissertation,” Li says. “I was supposed to graduate in 2020, but I didn’t have my data set, and it delayed me for a year.” Legal red tape held up Li’s data for a time, and the Bauer Fellowship allowed her to survive the wait. “It’s really terrifying sometimes to not know where I’m finding financial support for the next month,” she says. “I was sitting on the edge waiting on the data. Now I’m getting the data sets and finishing my analysis.”

Li expects to finish her dissertation in May or June of this year. Her goal is to secure a faculty position somewhere, fingers crossed. Wherever she ends up, she says she can thank the Hogan and Bauer Fellowships for it.

“These scholarships help get you where you are,” she says.

-Kevin Moe