Loyola University Chicago

Center for Urban Research and Learning

Graduate Fellows

Graduate Fellows Photo

A graduate fellows meeting.

Center Graduate Fellowships enable graduate students to participate in collaborative research projects with community-based organizations, social service agencies, health care providers, businesses, and government in Chicago's city and suburbs. Through their research and teaching projects, fellows are active participants in Loyola University Chicago's efforts to improve the quality of life for all members of the Chicago metropolitan community.


The Graduate Fellows are selected from a pool of applicants and matched to team projects based on skills and interest. The Fellows serve in a facilitation role for the projects and act as the link between Loyola faculty and undergraduates and community researchers to keep projects on track. 

CURRENT GRADUATE FELLOWS

  • Profile

    Erica Fada

    Erica (she/they) is a master’s student in Loyola’s dual degree program for Social Work and Women’s and Gender Studies. Their research interests include gender and sexuality, mental health, impact and connection facilitated by social media, and addictions and substance abuse. Erica is interested in how her background of neuroscience helps with understanding the biological basis of mental health challenges that are so often thought of as ‘invisible’.
  • Profile

    Ariel Fleenary

    Ariel is currently enrolled in Loyola’s dual degree program for Social Work and Women’s and Gender Studies. She took three years between undergrad and the start of her graduate program to work with foster care youth in a residential setting and spent one year at Ruth Ellis Center where she worked exclusively with trans and gender-nonconforming youth in the foster care system. Her research interests include LGBT+ health topics and anything related to sex or relationships.
  • Profile

    Bushra Ghaniwala

    Bushra is a graduate student in Loyola’s Sociology program. Her research interests include gender studies, the sociology of science/technology and urban sociology. Bushra is interested in studying emerging solutions to transportation inequality and its outcomes on stratified urban communities.
  • Profile

    Moriah Johnson

    Moriah is a Master’s student in the Public Policy program at Loyola. Her research interests include race-related issues, public policy’s role in solving social problems, the experiences of Black women in lower income communities in Chicago and how trauma is experienced and dealt with in lower income communities of color.
  • Profile

    Emily Jones

    Emily is a master’s student in Loyola’s dual degree program for Social Work and Women’s and Gender Studies beginning in the fall. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Loyola. Her research interests include gender and sexuality, social and economic inequality, intimate partner violence, and mental health.
  • Profile

    Jaspreet Kaur

    Jaspreet is a master's student in the sociology department at Loyola University Chicago. Her research interests include health disparities, body and labor, gender and sexuality, race, and transnational and postcolonial feminisms. Jaspreet is interested in how mutually enforcing structures of race, gender and class enforce health inequality.
  • Profile

    Travis Moody

    Travis is a PhD student in the Sociology department at Loyola University Chicago. His research interests include race and ethnic studies, and urban communities. Specifically, Travis is interested in studying how racism affects and influences different forms of people activity.
  • Profile

    Vanessa Rangel

    Vanessa is a Master’s student in the Sociology program at Loyola. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Marketing at DePaul University in Chicago and worked in market research for three years before returning to school. Her research interests include Latinx studies, gender and sexuality, and how public policy can alleviate social and economic inequality.
  • Profile

    Vincent Sarna

    Vincent Sarna (he/him/his) is currently a Social Work masters student who graduated from Loyola with his B.S. in Psychology. His research specifically focuses on creating and evaluating interventions and institutions for the LGBT+ community based off of their needs, tailored to their needs. Overall, Vincent wants to focus and prioritize incorporating the voices of marginalized people into research.
  • Profile

    Diane Williams

    Diane is a PhD student in the School of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago. Her research interests focus on areas of aging disparities, productive aging, and older adult housing.