Ann Matthews

Joined 2014

Dr. Julia Torquati, advisor

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MSW, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Ann Matthews is an early childhood researcher with a commitment to translating science to practice. She focuses on developing and testing assessment protocol related to infant and maternal mental health and investigating parenting and early development during periods of family adversity. Ann has experience as the principal investigator of the Early Childhood Research Community, a project she designed to understand parenting young children in a homeless shelter. She is currently the principal investigator of the Parents of Newborns Study to investigate associations among prenatal maternal reflective functioning and mental health, and postpartum maternal behavior.

Ann has training in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research. Particularly, she has extensive experience and knowledge of qualitative analysis and served as a qualitative consultant for the Nebraska Evaluation and Research Center (NEAR) at UNL. Ann values each research method and strives to align the method with the purpose of the research. Ann has experience with Qualtrics, SPSS, SAS, Dedoose, and NVivo.

Ann has a strong background as a clinician with 15 years of experience assessing and treating patients in acute care at Bryan Health and 10 years of experience conducting comprehensive child and family assessments at Hope Spoke, an outpatient mental health clinic. These experiences motivated her decision to return to graduate school to learn more about early childhood development, particularly when there is family adversity. Ann also has experience as a college educator, teaching in both online and in-person formats.

Why CYAF at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“I chose to study early childhood development in CYAF at UNL because of the internationally recognized researchers and educators in the department and because of the department’s commitment to serve Nebraska communities. As a non-traditional student, I have appreciated that CYAF values my professional experiences and has supported my training in specific areas such as infant attachment. Additionally, CYAF offers the flexibility to take courses across the University system. Consequently, I have broadened my perspective as a researcher by taking classes in diverse departments and by gaining research experiences outside of my discipline. I use these different perspectives to enrich my own research and to expand my understanding of family systems.”


Dale and Henrietta Fleck Houghton Fellowship, 2019

Day Graduate Travel Award, 2019

Preparing Future Faculty Fellow, 2018

ASUN Grant, 2017

Bryan Health Outreach Grant, 2017

Dorotha Pond Dunham Fellowship, 2016-2018

Highlighted Publications & Presentations

  1. Matthews, A., Swanson, D., & Torquati, J. (2020). Integrating parental reflective functioning into hospital social work [Manuscript submitted for publication]. Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies, University of Nebraska Lincoln.

  2. Hebets, E. A., Hill, P. W., Matthews, A., Phillips, K., Weller, S., Whitney, C., & Corey, T. B. (2020). Using a college curriculum to integrate informal science learning opportunities for university and middle school students. Journal of STEM Outreach, 3(2), 1-17.

  3. Schachter, R. E., Matthews, A., & Piasta, S. B. (2018). How do differing stakeholders perceive instances of literacy instruction? Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, doi: 10.1177/1468798418813661

  4. Matthews, A., Parra, G., Torquati, J., & Shachter, R. (2019, November). Maternal and child behaviors during book reading. Poster presented at the annual conference of the National Council on Family Relations, Fort Worth, TX.

  5. Matthews, A., & Hamel, E. (2019, April). A case study of families raising children within a family homeless shelter environment. Poster presented at the Nebraska Healthy Kids Summit, Lincoln, NE.

  6. Matthews, A. & Hamel, E. (2018, June). The role of homeless shelters in connecting families to community resources. Poster presented at the National Research Conference on Early Childhood, Arlington, VA.