Research Assistants

At the CCJ, undergraduate and graduate students work closely with faculty to generate practice-informed research and analysis designed to enhance knowledge and foster system improvement. Read about our current Research Assistants and Alumnus of the Center below. 

Amira Carter

RA Bios

Amira Carter is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a senior undergraduate student obtaining her B.S. in Psychology and Criminal Justice and Criminology. Amira is working in the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice for the Fall 2020 semester as an undergraduate intern. Her research interests include the relationship between mental health and recidivism as well as reintegration for those needing mental health care. In the future, Amira would like to continue her education and pursue a career in public policy, specifically pushing for policies towards better mental health care for those who encounter the criminal justice system. 

 

Kaitlyn Foust

RA Bios

Kaitlyn Foust is from Denver, Colorado. She is a first year graduate student in Criminal Justice and Criminology at Loyola University. In May 2020, she graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Psychology and Criminal Justice & Criminology from Loyola University. Kaitlyn has been working at the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice since October 2019. Her research interests include probation programming, reintegration, and recidivism. Kaitlyn is looking forward to a career that combines her interests in psychology and criminal justice.

 

Cynthia Guzman

RA Bios

Cynthia is from Joliet, Illinois. She is a first-year graduate student in Loyola’s MA Program in Criminal Justice and Criminology. She earned her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology in the Spring of 2019 at Saint Xavier University. Cynthia began working in the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice in January of 2020. Cynthia’s research interests include juveniles, police misconduct, and probation. In the future, Cynthia would like to pursue a career in Chicago working with the Cook County Juvenile Probation Department.

 

Sophia Juarez

RA Bios

Sophia Juarez is from Chicago, Illinois. She earned her bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology and Psychology from Loyola University in Spring of 2019 and her Masters in Criminal Justice and Criminology from Loyola University in Spring of 2020. Sophia began working in the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice in January 2020. Her research interests include the disproportionate impact of criminal just system involvement, particularly wrongful conviction and gun crimes have on minority individuals and communities. She is looking forward to a research career further examining criminal justice issues and aiding those impacted by violence and abuse.

 

Sara Menchaca

RA Bios

Sara is from Chicago, Illinois. She is a senior in the undergraduate Criminal Justice & Criminology program with a minor in Psychology of Crime & Justice. Sara is working at the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice for the Fall 2020 semester. She hopes to gain insightful information about the Criminal Justice System that she can use towards her future career. In the future, Sara would like to pursue a career in Chicago working with the Cook County Juvenile Probation Department.   

 

Sean McMillan

Sean McMillan is from Elgin, Illinois. He is a senior at Loyola studying Criminal Justice & Criminology with minors in History and Computer Crimes & Forensics. He is working as an undergraduate intern for the Fall 2020 semester with the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice. After this year, Sean will be attending law school (hopefully at Loyola Law School) and will be looking to study criminal or labor law.

 

Letitia Monreal

Leti is from Houston, Texas. She is a graduate student in Loyola’s Graduate Program in Criminal Justice and Criminology. She finished her undergraduate degree in Justice Studies from Northeastern Illinois University where she graduated with honors. Leti began working in the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy and Practice in September of 2019. Leti’s research interests include recidivism and juvenile justice. In the future, Leti plans on pursuing a career in criminal justice research and is considering doctoral programs.

 

Isabella Munro

RA Bios

Isabella is from Yarmouth, Maine. She is a second-year graduate student in Loyola's MA program in Criminal Justice and Criminology. She received a BS in Biology and Psychology from Loyola University Maryland in the Spring of 2019. Isabella began working as a research assistant for Dr. Maribeth Rezey in the Fall of 2020 and recently joined the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice in May of 2020. Isabella's research interests include victimization trends, child maltreatment, and the relationship between biology and crime. In the future, Isabella would like to pursue a career in investigations working specifically with special victims wherever that might take her.

 

Vinnie Palazeti

RA Bios

Vinnie is from Flint, Michigan. He is a graduate student in Loyola’s Applied Statistics MS Program. He finished his Bachelor’s of Science from Ball State University in the Fall of 2017. Vinnie began working in the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice in March of 2020. Vinnie’s interests include data engineering, feature creation, and model optimization. In the future, Vinnie would like to have a career as a statistician in the public sector—specifically the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Energy, or Bureau of International Labor Affairs.

 

Avery Pankratz

RA Bios

Avery is from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, just outside of Milwaukee. She is a graduate student in Loyola’s Five-Year BS/MA Program in Criminal Justice and Criminology. She graduated magna cum laude with undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice and Criminology and Psychology in the Spring of 2020. Avery began working in the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy. and Practice in January of 2019. Avery’s research interests include recidivism, bail, and reintegration. In the future, Avery plans to pursue a career in criminal justice research that will allow her to continue to live and work in Chicago.

 

Jesus Rodriguez

Jesus Rodriguez is from Chicago, Illinois. He is a senior in the undergraduate Criminal Justice and Criminology Department. Jesus is working at the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice for the Fall 2020 semester. His research interests include juvenile justice, probation, and recidivism. In the future, Jesus would like to pursue a career in the Juvenile Probation Department. 

 

Vontesha Stanfield

RA Bios

Vontesha is a first-year graduate student at Loyola University Chicago. She received her bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice/ Criminology with a minor in Legal Studies and Social Welfare from Indiana State University. Her research interest include juvenile justice, law, and probation. She would like to continue her education and attend law school.   

 

Jenna Stone

RA Bios

Jenna Stone is from Chesterfield, Michigan. She is a senior in Loyola’s Criminal Justice & Criminology program with a double minor in Psychology of Crime & Justice and Cyber Security and Computer Forensics. Jenna started working as an undergraduate intern at the Center for Criminal Justice Research, Policy, and Practice during her Fall 2020 semester. Jenna’s research interests include juvenile justice/probation and the effectiveness of programs on recidivism rates within different juvenile probation facilities. After graduation Jenna is planning on pursing a career in juvenile probation while obtaining her Master’s Degree from Arizona State University. However, in the future, she aspires to be a criminal analyst/behavioral analyst.