Loyola University Chicago

Gannon Center for Women and Leadership

Gannon Scholar Research

About the Gannon Scholar Research Process

Gannon Scholars are required to complete a research project in their field(s) of study by graduation that engages the Gannon Center’s mission of creating a more just social order. Note: Scholars are not expected to enter college with any previous research experience.

First year Gannon Scholars are required to enroll in the one-credit “Research Matters” UNIV 102 course in the spring semester. This course introduces students to various research concepts and prepares them to write a research project proposal. During their sophomore year, Scholars work with the Program Coordinator to clarify their potential research interests and connect with potential faculty research mentors. As the year progresses, sophomore Scholars write a research project proposal based on developing an independent research study, with the guidance of a faculty mentor, or collaborating with a faculty member already engaging in research that is of interest to them.

Scholars then engage in this research work, with the guidance of a faculty mentor, during their junior and senior years. Scholars have the opportunity to present their research at Loyola’s annual spring Undergraduate Research Symposium and often are able to attend professional conferences and symposia outside of Loyola as well. The time spent on research can vary greatly depending on the nature and duration of each individual’s research project. For some upperclass Scholars, the time they spend on their research fluctuates significantly throughout the year, whereas others may dedicate regular time to their research each week.

Why research? The Association of American Colleges and Universities identifies undergraduate research experience as a “high-impact practice” that has been widely shown to promote effective learning and student engagement. Engaging in research also builds professional and leadership skills such as critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and connecting theory to practice. In the context of the Gannon Center’s mission, undergraduate research offers an opportunity for Scholars to use their academic knowledge and intellectual interests in service of fostering a more just, sustainable, and humane world.

Gannon Scholar Research Examples

While many people associate the word “research” with scientific fields, Gannon Scholar research projects are not limited to a particular field of study. Gannon Scholars’ research projects are as diverse as each individual’s interests, ranging from social work to computer science to marketing to literature. Additionally, the culmination of Scholars’ research can vary significantly. While nearly all Gannon Scholars present their research at Loyola’s Undergraduate Research Symposium, many also choose pursue additional opportunities to share their research, such as presenting at an outside conference, creating community-focused resources, or preparing a paper for publication. Below we have included a small sampling of past Gannon Scholar research projects to illustrate the breadth of possibilities.

Masha Bandouil ’21“Questioning the Mind/Body Dichotomy in Scientific Communication”

As a dual Biology-Dance major, Masha undertook a large-scale dance film project in collaboration with the Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics in order to explore how dance can be used to make science more accessible and relatable to the general public. The films illustrate and explain principles of genetics, as well as genetic diseases and hereditary cancers that disproportionately affect the Jewish community. The Sarnoff Center is using Masha’s films to enhance their public educational resources, and Masha was recently honored as the first place winner in the Science Communication Conference Film Festival at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

You can see a compilation of their films here: https://youtu.be/G8MlTc9FRqs 

Colette Copic ’19“Environmental Justice Organizing in a Gentrifying Community”

Colette’s researched focused on the organizational dynamics of Chicago’s Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (PERRO). Through interviewing PERRO members, she explored dynamics of promoting environmental equity without contributing to the marginalization or displacement of communities of color. Her undergraduate research culminated in an internal report to PERRO to inform its recruitment strategies and strategic goals. Continuing at Loyola as a master’s student, Colette analyzed how PERRO navigated challenged around improving the environmental health of a community that was rapidly gentrifying. Her research findings were published in the academic journal, Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services.

You can see Colette’s article here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1044389420952247 

Kate Hansen ’20 – “Partisan Identities and Interpretations of Economic Data”

In an age of political hyper-partisanship, Kate was interested in exploring if and how an individual’s political beliefs influenced their understanding of objective facts. Combining her interests in statistics, politics, and economics, she designed a series of experiments that presented factual economic data and asked for participants’ interpretation of that data. She and her mentor then analyzed the factors that affected these interpretations. Her research findings were published in the academic journal, Politics, Groups, and Identities.

You can see Kate’s research article here: https://doi.org/10.1080/21565503.2020.1864420

Farah Harb ’21“Examining the Mental Health of Immigrant Mothers”

Farah has been working as a research assistant in Loyola’s Children Adapting to Stress and Adversity (CASA) Lab since her sophomore year. This psychology lab focuses on studying how immigrant and low-income children and families manage stressful circumstances in order to promote programs that foster resilience. In addition to collaborating on the lab’s overall projects, Farah has designed two related independent research project. The first examined the impact of income level, economic stress, and partner status on the mental health of Mexican-origin immigrant mothers. The second, which will be Farah’s thesis for the Psychology Honors Program, focuses on the relationship between maternal depression and anxiety and children’s coping skills in immigrant families.

You can learn more about the Loyola CASA Lab here: https://casalabluc.weebly.com/

Emily Robertson ’20“Gender, Taboo, and Diversity: How Tampon Advertising Has Evolved from the 1920s to Today”

As a Creative Advertising major, Emily was interested in how advertising for period products reflected and has shaped societal attitudes towards menstruation. In her study, Emily analyzed print and commercial tampon ads in the United States over the past century, identifying key themes, historical trends, and cultural representation. She also worked on a related project analyzing period-related hashtags on social media. Through her research, Emily had the opportunity to travel to Dallas to present at the Association for Consumer Research’s national Gender, Markets, and Consumer Behavior Conference.

You can see a copy of her research poster below: