Undergraduate Research Fellowship

CCIH, in support of the Catholic Studies Minor, funds a year-long fellowship to undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in the Catholic Studies Minor program.  This fellowship was first designed in tandem with CCIH funded faculty research projects. However, it has gradually morphed into an opportunity for students to research and present on topics that are near or intriguing to them. Thus, students can either operate as research assistants to Center-funded faculty-led projects, or may construct their own, accompanied by a faculty mentor of their choosing. 

Students submit completed applications online through the Loyola Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (LUROP) by March 1.‌

Current Undergraduate Research Fellows

Mark Gomez (2023-2024)

Advisor: Paddy Gilger, S.J. 

This project will examine Jesuit education and philosophy’s impact on students here at Loyola. Gomez is curious to see how such elements particularly relate to and shape a student’s experience on campus, specifically if it has affected their religious or interpersonal spiritual life. To do so, he want to conduct a sociological inquiry and ask second-year students who lived on campus last year how they felt they had grown spiritually over the previous year, if at all, and why they feel so. He is curious to see what classes may have shaped students’ opinions and would also like to know if they interacted with any religious organizations on campus. In contrast, he would also be interested to know if any students felt a decline in their spiritual/religious life while on campus and why. Gomez wants to tie his project into Father Gilger’s SOCL 370/CATH 390 – Spiritualities In a Secular Age class, which he am taking, and submit his findings as a final. As for his methodology, Gomez is putting together a Google form that he will send out to a sample group of second-year students. Half of the group will be female, and the other male. He will ask questions such as age, any previous and or current religious affiliation, and what kind of high school they attended prior to coming to Loyola, e.g., public or private, as well as if they were a part of any student groups or communities religious or non-religious. The main question he will be asking is whether they feel like they have grown in their spiritual/religious life, stayed the same, or declined. Once he receives enough responses, he will pick three students from each response category group and interview them personally. Gomez will then take his findings from each interview and write an essay response to analyze and reflect on the student's responses. Lastly, he will submit said essay as a final for Father Gilger's class.

Matthew McKenna (2023-2024)

Advisor: Jeffrey Fisher

Luigi Taparelli SJ coined the phrase ‘social justice’ to extend the socio-political philosophical tradition of which he was an heir and participant—namely, Aristotelianism.  An earlier Jesuit, Francisco Suarez SJ, was also such an heir and participant. To date, however, little work has been done to uncover what impact Suarez’s views had on the development of that Aristotelian tradition, particularly on the development of social justice within it. This research project will analyze and articulate Suarez’s views of justice and the common good with a view toward how they relate to the eventual development of the concept of social justice.

Grace Shallal (2023-2024)

Advisor: Paula Tallman

Grace Shallal is a fourth-year undergraduate student in Political Science and Philosophy with minors in Bioethics and Catholic Studies at Loyola University Chicago. During her fellowship at the Hank Center, she will join a larger, interdisciplinary team examining women’s health in Tambogrande, Peru to specifically focus on teenage pregnancy prevention using a Catholic bioethical lens. In the first half of her fellowship, Grace will review programs rooted in Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body,” which emphasize the reasons “why” to pursue abstinence-based approaches. Additionally, she will review programs that include the biology of reproduction so young people can gain a more holistic understanding of “how” pregnancy occurs. Grace will summarize the literature related to the “Theology of the Body” with a particular focus on how this program has been deployed both in her local community in Detroit and outside of the US. In the second half of her fellowship, Grace will work with her team’s Peruvian partners to understand how the “Theology of the Body” can be implemented into community and school-based programming in Tambogrande, Peru. This will involve close collaborations with the Jesuit non-profit organization, Fé y Alegría. The overall goal is to develop a holistic and unique approach to sex-education that is both rooted in Catholic bioethics and locally-appropriate.


Past Undergraduate Research Fellows

Sarah LaVanway (2020-2021)
Majors: Theology, Global and International Studies
Minor: Catholic Studies

Frances Rafferty (2020-2021)
Major: Environmental Policy
Minor: Catholic Studies

Joseph I. De Larauze (2018-2019)
Majors: Economics, English
Minors: Business Administration, Catholic Studies

Sarah Miklius (2018-2019)
Major: International Studies
Minors: Catholic Studies, Peace Studies

Sylvester Francis Alonz (2017-2018)
Majors: Religious Studies
Minor: Catholic Studies

Jenna Meyers (2017-2018)
Major: Economics
Minors: Business Administration, Catholic Studies, Theatre

Jay Egan (2016-2017)
Majors: Philosophy
Minor: Catholic Studies

Michael Malucha (2016-2017)
Major: Philosophy
Minors: Catholic Studies

Gustav Roman (2015-2016)
Major: English
Minors: Catholic Studies, History, Theology

Katie Dubielak (2015-2016)
Major: Social Work
Minor: Catholic Studies

Zac Davis (2014-2015)
Majors: Philosophy, Theology
Minor: Catholic Studies

Caley Terry (2014-2015)
Majors: English, Theology
Minor: Catholic Studies

Evan Thompson (2014-2015)
Major: History
Minor: Catholic Studies

Sarah Balas (2013-2014)
Major: English
Minor: Catholic Studies

Steven Patzke (2013-2014)
Majors: Theology, Philosophy
Minors: Catholic Studies, Pastoral Leadership

Mario L. Cuttone (2012-2013)
Majors: Accounting and Sport Management
Minor: Catholic Studies

Martha Ligas (2012-2013)
Majors: Psychology and Sociology
Minor: Catholic Studies

Gerard James Luisi II (2012-2013)
Majors: Philosophy and Political Science
Minor: Catholic Studies

Zachary Hugo (2011-2012)
Majors: Philosophy, Theology
Minor: Catholic Studies

Courtney Clark (2011-2012)
Majors: Religious Studies, Global and International Studies
Minors: French, Catholic Studies

Past Hank Center Undergraduate Research Assistants

2018-2019: Joseph De Laurauze and Emily Kate Marticello

2017-2018: Amy Christenson & Sarah O'Hanian

2016-2017: Angelo Jesus Canta & Gustav Roman

2015-2016: Ron Amiscaray, Gustav Roman, & Guy Valponi

2014-2015: Angelo Jesus Canta & Zac Davis

2013-2014: Paul Jentz, Samantha Ropski, & Alicen Schade

2011-2012: Lucia Wiley-Kellerman

2010-2011: Nuria Martinez

2009-2010:Daniel Wood