Loyola University Maryland

Department of Sociology

Student Research

Independent research by students is supported by the Sociology Department in several ways:

  • All students must design an original project and write a formal proposal as a component of the Social Research Methods course (SC 342). Some choose to put their designs into action by registering for independent study credit with a specific supporting instructor in a subsequent term.  
  • Students also can enroll in a quantitative analysis course (SC 383) and a qualitative analysis course (SC 384).
  • Many upper-level Sociology courses (SC 360-499) require extensive research projects.
  • Some students encounter issues that interest them in the course of their service to the community and approach instructors with ideas that are developed through independent studies.
  • Faculty may also invite students to serve as assistants on ongoing investigations.

Sociology students may enroll for credit to conduct research under the mentorship of a professor in the department.

  • SC 341               Independent Study in Gender & Sexuality Studies
  • SC 398/399    Independent Study I/II
  • SC 498              Forensic Studies Experience

Registration for independent studies requires faculty permission and completion of a form specifying what the student will accomplish during the term. Thus, students interested in undertaking independent research should initiate conversations with faculty about their ideas the term before they are interested in starting.

Students may register for independent study credit for consecutive terms, if completion of a research project requires an extended period.

Several sources of funding are available to students

The Sociology Department does not have funds to support independent student research. However, individual faculty may have research funds that they can use to hire Loyola undergraduates.

Loyola University Maryland offers the Kolvenbach Summer Research Grant to foster and encourage research that strengthens and supports the work of non-profit organizations working in Baltimore and the university’s connection to the community. These $3,500 grants are available to the entire College community: undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Students with research interests that fit within this scope should visit the ORSP site for more information and application instructions. Research initiated through a Kolvenbach Summer Research Grant could be completed during the Fall term through an independent study course.

Prior sociology student recipients of Kolvenbach grants:

Dominic T. Walker. Community Agency: St. Ignatius Loyola Academy; Socialization and Education: Navigating Class and Race in Education, 2012

The Governor's Summer Internship Program (GSIP) introduces students to the challenges and rewards of working within Maryland's Dashante Smith (2nd from right) GSIP 2014 poses with Martin O'Mallystate government. This fellowship program provides the best and the brightest of Maryland’s college students with the opportunity to work full-time in state agencies while being mentored by senior level administrators, such as department secretaries and directors. Additionally, they attend biweekly seminars to explore all facets of state government, speak with key decision makers, and receive coaching by a UMBC Political Science professor on policy writing. The fellows work together in groups, applying the knowledge gained in the seminars and at their sites to research and prepare a policy analysis and recommendation. The program culminates in a celebration at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, where fellows present their policies to the Governor and other key decision makers!  Students are paid a stipend of $3,500 for their participation in the program.

Prior sociology student recipients of GSIP Awards:

  • Da'Shante Smith ('15) sociology major, pictured second from right with Governor Martin O'Malley.
  • Molly Cioffi ('16) interdisciplinary major sociology-psychology.

Several presentation opportunities are available for students

Loyola University Maryland Undergraduate Student Research & Scholarship Colloquium (USRSC)

Photo of Jillian Skerchak and her URSC Poster April 2018.

The Undergraduate Student Research & Scholarship Colloquium offers students an annual opportunity to present their research orally and via posters and compete for cash prizes. The goal of the Colloquium is to encourage scholastic endeavors that focus on the generation of new knowledge and the creative integration of existing scholarship. Students who been mentored by sociology faculty have presented on a wide variety of topics:

2018 - Jillian Skerchak - "Children's Assignment of Meaning to Craniofacial Bone Diseases: The Influence of Parental Reactions"

2018 - Jessica Brown - "Understanding Lesbian and Gay Movements in The Middle East and North Africa" (See Jessica's Prezi here)

2015 - Angelica Puzio - "Sexual Assault Resource Knowledge: Survey and Analysis" (1st place; This research has been published since - see Angelica's published article here)

2013 - Joseph Kropff - "Observing the Disconnect: Dispensing the Law vs. Experiencing the Law" (1st place)

2010 - Brendan O'Kane - "Suicide and White Males" (3rd place)

2006 - Tamika Jones - "Racial Group Perceptions and Neighborhood Influence" (1st place)

2005 - Stephanie Golden - "Risk Factors for Recidivism with Juvenile Offenders" (3rd place)

2004 - Dana Moss - "Print Media and the Gender Socialization of Teenage Girls: A Content Analysis of Seventeen Magazine" (2nd place)

2004 - Christina Moorer - "Racial Health Disparities: African American Women and Low Birth Rate" (3rd place)

2003 - Marta Ziola - "A Multivariate Analysis of Integration Ideology" (1st place)

2003 - Paul Strock - "A Multivariate Analysis of the Effects of Black-White Contact on Racial Preferences Concerning Racial Integration" (2nd place)

Regional sociology association meetings also offer presentation possibilities.

Photo: Joe Kropff presents his research to Dominic Walker and other sociologists at the Eastern Sociological Society Meetings.

Joe Kropff presents his poster to Dominic Walker and other sociologists at the Eastern Sociologcal Society meetings.The Eastern Sociological Society sponsors a four-day Annual Meeting in the early spring. Undergraduate students may submit papers for the annual meeting.

The Southern Sociological Society sponsors a professional meeting in the late spring. SSS also offers the Odum Award, which carries a cash prize of $100 and up to an additional $200 toward expenses of attendance at the SSS meeting. The Odum Award recognizes outstanding research papers by undergraduates and graduates in the southern region or by students outside the region whose work is mentored by a current SSS member.  Eligibility: The paper must have only one author and conform to the style guidelines and length conventions of Social Forces. The student author need not be a member of the SSS. It is expected that the author will not have presented the paper at another professional meeting. Papers will be judged on the basis of originality, clarity of exposition, conceptualization and analysis. Faculty are asked to nominate no more than one student paper in each category per year. 

The Mid-South Sociological Association sponsors a professional meeting in the fall. 

The following papers were presented at regional meetings by Loyola University Maryland sociology undergraduates:

Tubman, Hannah. "Industrialization and Impairment: Transnationalizing Disability Studies." Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. March 2020

Truijillo, Hector. "Structure: Worldview, Agency, and Choice." Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. March 2020. 

Debold, Amanda and Cierra Lynn Thurmond. "Identity Formation of Positive Deviants. A Case Study of Academically Advanced High School Students." Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. March 2020. 

Walker, Dominic. “Life at Prep: Testimonies of Navigating Elite Private High School.” 5th Annual Diversity in Research and Practice Conference, Columbia University, New York, NY. May 2014.

Kropff, Joseph. “Police Offender Profiling.” Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD. February 2014.

Walker, Dominic. “The Code of High School Education.” Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting, New York, NY. February 2013.

Moorer, C., Peyrot, M., and Smith, L.  "The Effects of Demographic Factors, Psychosocial Factors, and the Healthcare System on Infant Birth Weight in the United States.” Eastern Sociological Society, 2004.

Moss, D., Smith, L., and Peyrot, M. “Print Media and the Gender Socialization of Teenage Girls: A Content Analysis of Seventeen Magazine.” Eastern Sociological Society, 2004.

Strocko, P., Peyrot, M., Smith, L.,and Ziola, M. "The Effects of Racial & Ethnic Contact on Residential Segregation." Eastern Sociological Society, 2003.

Ziola, M., Smith, L., Peyrot, M., and Strocko, P. "Contact and Integration Ideology: Analysis of Attitudes toward Racial Inclusion." Eastern Sociological Society, 2003.

Smith, L., Peyrot, M, and Donnelly, A. “It Takes a Village: An Examination of the Impact of Neighborliness, Community Organization, and Religiosity on Adult Intervention in Youth Conflicts.” Eastern Sociological Society, 2001.

Josefina Munoz Nogales


For Josie, a dedicated mentor has fostered her academic growth and provided opportunities to conduct meaningful research

Psychology, Sociology