Jennifer Huffman, MPAff started with CFRP as a Graduate Research Assistant while a Master of Public Affairs student at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She has now been on staff since 2016 and is currently a Senior Research Associate leading several child welfare and adolescent health projects.
Jennifer holds a Master of Public Affairs from The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Texas Lutheran University.
Pictured: Jennifer and her husband, Ryan.
Where and when did you grow up?
I am a born-and-raised Texan. I spent my childhood in Allen, Texas. My fondest childhood memories include spending summers swimming in my grandparents’ pool eating rocky road ice cream cones and going on weekend camping trips in my family’s travel trailer. I moved to Round Rock as a teenager and went to Stony Point High School, where I played soccer and played clarinet in the marching band. I then went to Texas Lutheran University, where I studied Psychology and continued to play soccer as a midfielder and defender for the TLU Bulldogs Women’s Soccer Team. After moving back to Austin, I completed my Master’s Degree at the LBJ School of Public Affairs here at UT Austin and married my high school sweetheart, Ryan. A giant gray cat named Franklin completes the family.
What or who influenced you to choose your career path?
When I was in middle school, my family became a foster family, so I had many infant and toddler foster siblings. This front row seat to the child welfare system helped me develop a passion for learning how we can make our community systems work better so that children and families are better protected and better able to thrive, as well as for making sure that the dedicated staff and community members who serve Texas children and families have the support and tools they need to do their work the best they can.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would love to still be working in research and program evaluation- I love getting to spend my time learning what works and what doesn’t, to help frontline staff in the field be as equipped as possible for their work, and I hope to keep working in the area of child welfare.
What are you happiest doing, when you’re not working?
I LOVE to be outside and I am really active- running, hiking, kayaking, biking- I love it all, even in 100 degree Texas heat. I love to travel, and camping is my absolute favorite. My idea of the perfect Austin Saturday includes a loooong hike on a new trail followed by a visit to a new brewery or enjoying a cold iced coffee from my favorite coffee shop, Mozart’s, while watching the sunset over Lake Austin.
What’s your favorite taco in Austin?
I have a few close contenders for favorite taco, but queso is the tiebreaker. My favorite taco and queso combo is from Torchy’s: the fried avocado taco with a side of hillbilly queso, which is loaded up with green chiles and chorizo.