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Graduate Research Month

Many Programs, One School

Graduate Research Month: a student-centered event where School of Education graduate students will share thesis projects, dissertations, academic research, and other exceptional work. View recordings of past events below!

Student giving a presentation, with title Graduate Research Month.

2024 Presentations

Impact and Effectiveness of ESL Endorsements in Urban K-8 Science Education


Ryan was born and raised in the Chicagoland area and now lives on the far south side with his lovely wife, two dogs, cat, and a variety of scaled friends that crawl, slither, and swim. He likes to read, play video games, run, ride his bike, and swim (badly)Science has been his favorite subject since he dissected his first owl pellet in 4th grade...which his wife thinks is gross. He is a current student in the 3C's doctoral program and his research interests are in urban science education, English learners, and participatory action research and citizen science around climate and community issues.


Watch the recording here!


Decolonizing Wellbeing Practices on College Campuses: Theories, Limitations, and Recommendations


 Decolonizing Wellbeing Practices on College Campuses: Theories, Limitations, and Recommendations


In this presentation, Tinesh will outline the need to decolonize wellbeing practices on college campuses in order to improve overall student belonging and success. He seeks to apply critical social theories such as Mignolo and Walsh's ideas on the modernity/coloniality duality and pluriversality, Bourdieu's interrogation of unearned symbolic capital as well as reproductive educative practices, and Foucauldian discourses on power and knowledge to the college student wellbeing context. Such an analysis will ideally draw out the limitations of existing mindsets and practices, and will lead him to propose recommendations for college administrators to consider in their decision-making when seeking to address the increasingly prevalent issue of student wellbeing on college campuses. 

Tinesh Indrarajah is a PhD in Higher Education student at Loyola University Chicago researching on university wellbeing practices, minoritized student experiences, racial capitalism in education, reparative justice movements, and ASEAN regionalism policies. He is also the Managing Editor of the Comparative Education Review, the flagship journal of Comparative and International Education. He has 5+ years of experiences as a higher education professional with expertise in pastoral care, residential life, conduct management, and leadership programming. He graduated from Yale-NUS College with a B.A. with Honours in History and a Master in Public Policy from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. 


Watch the recording here!

A Trinity of Forces: a Critical Investigation of the Intersection of Community, Jesuit College Prep, and Corporate Curricula



This dissertation will examine how students of color experience Jesuit College Preparatory Education specifically in Cristo Rey Model Schools where students work in corporate settings in order to fund their education. The research strives to discover how a students “domestic curriculum” interacts, overlaps, intersects, and conflicts with both Jesuit College Preparatory and the Corporate Curricula.

Bernhard Walke's reserach interests include Culturally Responsive Education, Secondary Teacher Preparation and Coaching, Urban Education and the Cristo Rey Network Model, Ignatian Pedagogy, and Heritage Language Curriculum and Pedagogy.


Watch the recording here!


Resiliency & Positive Childhood Experiences: Implications for Black Youths’ Mental and Behavioral Health and School Engagement


Sharnequa "Nikki" Hunter (she/her), is a School Psychology doctoral candidate at Loyola University Chicago and a fellow for the Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Program (DFI). Nikki is currently completing her pre-doctoral internship at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Illinois. She was born and raised in the Austin neighborhood on the west side of Chicago. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and certification in Education & Educational Studies and earned a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree from Loyola University Chicago in 2019. Her academic research interests lie at the intersections of youth mental and behavioral health, education equity, social justice advocacy, and positive identity development.


View the recording here!


Ecological Validity: Creative Approaches to Making Psychological Research Relevant

Ecological Validity: Creative Approaches to Making Psychological Research Relevant


Jeanie Chang
Yea Jin (Jeanie) Chang, MA, is a doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology program. Her research interests include immigration experiences, Asian American identity, and critical consciousness. Her dissertation entails developing a measure of critical consciousness. She hopes to use the results from this study to develop interventions for facilitating racial identity development, healing from oppression, and training counselors in liberative psychology.
Jiwon Lee
Jiwon Lee is a second-year doctoral student in counseling psychology at Loyola University Chicago. As an immigrant, her research interests involve how experiences of racism and racial discrimination may affect Asian Americans’ social relationships, as well as different systemic interventions that could target racism.
Claude Louis
Claude's research interests include LGBTQ, minority and urban populations; development of humanistic, social justice interventions in community counseling settings to address retention, quality of mental health treatment and other disparities among urban vulnerable populations; counselor education, with a focus on counselor competency working with multicultural, immigrant, and other underserved populations. Counselor identity development and internalized racism.
Kayla Horne
Kayla is excited to research bicultural identity development and how nontraditional forms of bilingualism can contribute. She is specifically interested in understanding how the language(s) learned in dual language programs have shaped its attendees and how they have integrated the new language and culture into their identity.

View the recording here!



Good Energy: STEM Student Experience & Preparation for Vertical Transfer from 2-year to 4-year Institutions within an Alliance



This qualitative embedded multi-case case study focuses on the narratives of students and faculty to investigate how racially minoritized STEM transfer students (i.e., community college transfer to 4-year institutions) navigate the transfer process within institutions that make up Illinois Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (IL-LSAMP) alliance, a signature initiative of the National Science Foundation. In an effort to center student experiences and organizational-level processes, the study leverages Perna’s college access and choice model and Ray’s theory of racialized organizations. Findings reveal not only is the transfer process racialized, but racialization is mitigated differently by contextual layers including: (1) Tapping into Existing Expertise: Student Context, (2) Exploring Available Resources: Community College Context, (3) Considering Transfer Reception: 4-year Institution Context, (4) Investigating an Intervention: Alliance Context, and (5) Understanding External Forces: Social, Economic, and Policy Context. This manuscript discusses the student, community college and alliance context in-depth. Implications of the study address research and practice that could better identify the transfer landscape for racially minoritized STEM transfer students in the alliance and efforts to create a transfer affirming culture within the alliance.   


Victoria (Tori) Callais (She/Her/Hers) is a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education program at Loyola University Chicago and works in support of a number of projects with Dr. Demetri L. Morgan. Prior to enrolling at Loyola, Tori worked as a practitioner in the areas of orientation, first year experience, college access, and state government. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University with a major in liberal arts- concentration women and gender studies and minors in sociology and social work. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Higher Education Administration from Louisiana State University. 


Carter Olson is an academic application administrator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and a master’s student at Loyola University Chicago in the Higher Education Administration program. Their research includes the construction of queerness on college campuses, the transfer experience of underrepresented minority students in STEM, and rural higher education. In working within higher education across a variety of capacities, including but not limited to faculty development, first-year student experience, and educational technology, they have both experienced and observed how colleges and universities address the needs of queer students without necessarily changing the fabric of the institution. As such, their research interrogates how this “fabric” remains rooted in higher education. 


Watch the recording here!



2023 Presentations

Get Inspired

Learn about the importance of student research at Loyola and ask questions about gradute research initiatives with two of the School of Education's very own faculty. Listen to them share their experience with student research, and see how our students' innovative research inspires change.

Eilene Edejer, PhD


Dr. Eilene Edejer is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Research Methodology program. Her research interests include research Methodology, assessment & accreditation, and program evaluation. Watch the recording here.


Seungho Moon, EdD 


Dr. Seungho Moon is a Professor in the Teaching and Learning program. His research interests include curriculum studies and theorizing, qualitative research methodologies, cross-cultural conversation and transnational inquiry, and community-school-university partnerships. 

Watch the recording | Moon - Student Research Month Presentation


Mariana Hernandes Grassi

Mariana Hernandes Grassi is currently a Women’s Studies and Gender Studies graduate student at LUC.  In addition, she is a first year doctoral student in Curriculum, Culture, and Communities (3C’s) from School of Education. She has been a foreign language educator (Portuguese and English to speakers of other languages) since 2010, with experience in Brazil and USA. Recently, she has joined the first international online teacher cooperative, My Cool Class, which was founded in 2020. Her research interest lies in gender equality within educational institutions.

See the presentation | Watch the Recording

Kaelyn Green and Reese Hyzer

Kaelyn is a fourth year Ph.D. student in School Psychology. She is a south side Chicago Native, and enjoys traveling and trying new things around the city. She is a current DFI fellow and prioritizes research and teaching in her free time. She is currently at Rush Neurobehavioral Center (RNBC) for her advanced practicum on the diagnostic track and she is completing a supplemental practicum at Loyola Community and Family Services to get more experience with counseling and community mental health services.  Some of Kaelyn's research interests are black linguistics and assessment practices, intervention for race-based stress, equity, and school discipline reform.

Reese Hyzer is a third-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program. This year, she is completing her advanced practicum experience at Frost Academy, a public day school in Maine Township High School District 207. Reese is passionate about translational research and implementing evidence-based practices. Some of her research interests include adolescent mental health, culturally responsive practices, and school discipline reform. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, going to concerts, and traveling. 

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Maria Mendez

Maria Mendez is a fourth year Phd student in the School Psychology Program. She is a first-generation Mexican American student from Pomona, California. Prior to joining the School Psychology program, she obtained her master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from DePaul University. Currently, her advanced practicum placement is at the Illinois Masonic Hospital Pediatric Developmental Center, where she provides diagnostic and therapy support services to children and their families. She is involved in two different research teams. Frist as a Research Assistant for the Greeley Center at Loyola, where she provides research support for evaluating the Greeley Centers instructional coaching services it provides to local catholic schools. Secondly, as an external evaluator for an identity affirming program for Black and Latino boys in Milwaukee Public Schools. In both roles, Maria strives to learn about the experiences of participants and improve programming for the most optimal learning and wellness outcomes for all students. In the future she hopes to continue research that supports the development, mental health, academic needs, and overall resiliency of all students.

Watch the Recording

Reese Hyzer

Reese Hyzer is a third-year doctoral student in the School Psychology program. This year, she is completing her advanced practicum experience at Frost Academy, a public day school in Maine Township High School District 207. Reese is passionate about translational research and implementing evidence-based practices. Some of her research interests include adolescent mental health, culturally responsive practices, and school discipline reform. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, going to concerts, and traveling. 

View Recording