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Dr. Nicole Shoenberger

Associate Professor
Nicole Shoenberger portrait

Dr. Shoenberger speaking at a podiumNicole Shoenberger joined Loyola University Maryland in 2018. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology with a concentration in criminology from Bowling Green State University in 2012 where she also minored in Quantitative Methods. She received a dual B.A. in criminology and sociology from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2004. After receiving her Ph.D., she taught at Penn State Behrend for 6 years and was granted tenure in 2018 before moving to Baltimore to start teaching at Loyola.

Dr. Shoenberger is currently involved in various projects. One area that she has maintained as a primary focus is positive deviance. This concept is newer to the field of deviance and explores how deviance rests on a continuum where one can underconform to a social norm (negative deviance; e.g. crime) or overconform to a social norm (positive deviance; e.g. high achieving students). Regardless of the action, most behaviors will elicit a social reaction. Both negative and positive behavior can garner negative and positive reactions. It is this conceptualization that Shoenberger is interested. She recently created a psychometric measure of academic positive deviance/rate-busting (overconforming while receiving a negative reaction).Nicole Shoenberger at Oil Creek

Dr. Shoenberger’s interest in criminological theory has also influenced her work on examining social control. Using Hirschi and Gottfredson’s theory of self-control, Dr. Shoenberger and Rocheleau examined effective parenting techniques and their connection to imparting self-control in children and whether this differed by the gender of the child. Dr. Shoenberger also extended her love for theory by examining the life course theory and whether the assumptions of the theory were applicable across race. She recently applied Cohen and Felson's Routine Activity Theory to the well-known Sonja Farak drug scandal.

Currently, Dr. Shoenberger has been passionate about issues that plague the criminal justice system. Within this, she has worked with probation offices to help calculate proper recidivism rates, has become involved in projects focused towards disproportionate minority contact in the criminal justice system, and has provided data for city council on the decriminalization of marijuana.Dr. Shoenberger at Eastern State Penitentiary

Dr. Shoenberger enjoys working with students and openly invites students to work on current research projects. When she is not working, you can easily find Dr. Shoenberger running ultra marathons and at local food establishments eating as much food as possible to replenish her calories!


Courses Taught

  • SC 233 - Juvenile Delinquency
  • SC 260 - Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • SC 331 - Deviance and Social Control
  • SC 332 - Sociology of Crime and Criminals
  • SC 342 - Social Research Methods
  • SC 371 - Sociology of Serial and Mass Murder

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