Loyola University Chicago

Weekend of Excellence

Jessica Talwar

Jessica Talwar

Majors: Sociology; political science  •  Minors: History; islamic studies
Class: 2018  •  Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

What's the most interesting project or research you've worked on at Loyola?
For my sociology capstone, I conducted interviews with members of Chicago’s Punjabi Sikh community. There is not a great deal of Sikh representation in academic articles as is, and the small amount that does exist focuses mostly on the community’s experience with prejudice after September 11, 2001. While certainly a valid topic, American Sikhs are such an interesting case study for immigration for reasons beyond this. I feel confident saying that as a Punjabi Sikh myself. For my capstone, then, I wanted to investigate Sikh identity construction through a more comprehensive lens. I asked my interviewees about prejudice, conformity in the United States, connections to ancestral India and Pakistan, the partition of India, displacement, and opinions on authority figures. I’m presenting my research on campus in April, and I’m looking to do the study again with Sikhs in California for a comparative analysis.

How has your time at Loyola helped shape you as a person?
Because of the way my majors have been structured, I have been lucky enough to take multiple classes with the same professor—and have had some professors for three classes! That consistency has been key for me, and I feel especially comfortable pulling connections from previous classes if I am with the same professors. They see my work for their class, but being able to engage with them outside of class shows me that they are interested in my projects and development outside of school. Being on a first-name basis with a professor gets rid of the student-professor dynamic and makes it feel like a conversation between friends invested in each other’s projects or simply invested in each other outside of work. I am beyond thankful for the professors who have helped me grow from sophomore to junior to senior year. I am graduating as the person I am today because of Loyola’s sociology and political science professors.