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Academic Research

As a Loyola student, you have the opportunity to work alongside our talented professors to partner in collaborative research. Learn more about some recent research and projects currently underway.

Dr. Anthony Ladd's Recent and Forthcoming Publications and Presentations on Fracking

Professor Ladd’s research has yielded many publications and invitations to speak, which include:

Ladd, Anthony E. (ed). 2017. Fractured Communities: Risk, Impacts, and Protest Over Hydraulic Fracking in U.S. Shale Regions. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press (forthcoming).

Ladd, Anthony E. 2017. “Motivational Frame Disputes Surrounding Natural Gas Fracking in the Haynesville Shale.” Forthcoming in Anthony E. Ladd (ed.), Fractured Communities: Risk, Impacts, and Protest Over Hydraulic Fracking in U.S. Shale Regions. Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Ladd, Anthony E. 2016. “Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss: The Continuing Hegemony of Fossil Fuels and Hydraulic Fracking in the Third Carbon Era.” Humanity and Society 40: (doi: 10.1177/0165976166).

Ladd, Anthony E. Advisory Board, 2016-2019. “Hazards SEES: The Risk Landscape of Earthquakes Induced by Deep Wastewater Injection.” National Science Foundation Grant. Dr. Abbie Liel (PI) & Drs. Ann Sheehan and Liesel Ritchie (Co-PIs), Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Ladd, Anthony E. Co-PI, 2016-2020. “Understanding the Social Impacts of Extreme Energy Extraction in the U.K.” Submitted to the Economic and Social Research Council, Drs. Michael Long & Paul Stretesky, (PIs), Dr. Duane A. Gill & Dr. Liesel A. Ritchie (Co-PIs). Grant proposal under review.

Anthony E. Ladd Organizer/Facilitator, “Fractured Landscapes: Wastewater Injection, Induced Seismicity, and Environment Injustice Surrounding Oil & Gas Fracking on the Western Plains.” Association for Humanist Sociology meetings, November 2-6, 2016, Denver, CO.

Anthony E. Ladd and Charles Perrow. “Institutional Dilemmas of Hydraulic Fracking: Economic Bonanza, Renewable Energy Bridge, or Gangplank to Disaster? American Sociological Association meetings, August 20-24, 2016, Seattle, WA.

Anthony E. Ladd Organizer/Facilitator, film screening of “Merchants of Doubt”; Organizer/Facilitator, “Emerging Issues in Environmental Sociology session, Association for Humanist Sociology meetings, October 21-25, 2015, Portland, OR.

Ladd, Anthony E. 2014. “Environmental Disputes and Opportunity-Threat Impacts Surrounding Natural Gas Fracking in Louisiana.” Social Currents 1(3): 209-228.

Ladd, Anthony E. 2013. “Stakeholder Perceptions of Socio-Environmental Impacts From Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Hydraulic Fracturing in the Haynesville Shale.” Journal of Rural Social Sciences 28(2): 56-89.

Anthony E. Ladd, “Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss: Fossil Fuels, Fracking, and the Third Carbon Era.” Association for Humanist Sociology meeting, October 9-12, 2014, Cleveland, Ohio.

Anthony E. Ladd, “Unconventional Energy Development, Hydraulic Fracking, and The New Carbon Era:Ecological Modernization or Risk Society?” American Sociological Society meetings, August 16-19, 2014, San Francisco, CA.

Anthony E. Ladd, “Don’t Frack With Our Water: Stakeholder Perceptions of Negative Impacts Associated with Hydraulic Fracturing in the Haynesville Shale.” Association for Humanist Sociology meetings,  October 9-13, 2013, Arlington, VA.

Anthony E. Ladd, “Frame Disputes and Opportunity-Threat Impacts Surrounding Hydraulic Fracturing in the Haynesville Shale.” American Sociological Association meetings, August 10-13, 2013, New York City.           

Anthony E. Ladd, “Meet the Frackers: Framing Support for Hydraulic Fracturing in the Haynesville Shale Formation of Northwest Louisiana.” Midwest Sociological Society meetings, March 27-30, 2013, Chicago, IL.

Senior Capstone Projects

All majors in French, Latin American Studies, and Spanish prepare a senior Capstone project which is normally presented during their last semester at Loyola. Projects vary greatly, from literary analysis, to concerts, to social research, or whatever makes sense with the student's background and interests. For some examples, click here.

Organic Superconductor Synthesis

Students working under Dr. Qin will have the opportunity to synthesize novel charge transfer complexes based on sulfur-rich, aromatic, heterocyclic molecules; students will then test these compounds as new organic conductors and superconductors that could help form the basis for superconducting power grids.

Nearly one-tenth of all electrical power is lost as it travels from the electric generators to the final consumers. A superconducting power grid would eliminate this wastage and have tremendous economic and environmental benefits. The best intermetallic superconductors have achieved Tc’s (the temperature at which superconductivity occurs) as high as 100 K, which allows them to operate at liquid nitrogen temperatures, but they are brittle, dense solids—a serious shortcoming for power cables. In contrast, organic materials tend to be lighter in weight and more pliable than inorganics, making them promising components of superconducting power grids.

Although inorganic chemists and physicists have dominated the field of superconductor discovery, superconductivity was first observed in organic molecules in the late 1980s. Despite this fact, this field is under explored, and there are very few classes of organic superconductors. Dr. Qin hopes to further the field and help solve the problem of energy waste.

Physical Chemistry

Our ultimate goal is to better understand the balance of forces that determine the vast array of observed crystal structures. This knowledge can be used to build desired nanoscale architectures. Students who work in the Koplitz lab learn to use a variety of programs to visualize molecules and crystals. They also use differential scanning calorimetry to precisely characterize melting points and other thermodynamic properties of isomeric pyridinium and anilinium salts that they have made themselves. Since 2003, the Koplitz group has published thirteen new crystal structures. Students frequently present their research results at national and regional scientific conferences and over the past decade, ten students have co-authored peer-reviewed publications.

Water Quality Change in the Mississippi River

Dr. David A. White and Dr. Jenneke M. Visser published an article "Water quality change in the Mississippi River, including a warming river, explains decades of wetland plant biomass change within its Balize delta." Aquatic Botany 132 (2016) 5-11.


•Wetlands in the Mississippi River’s Balize Delta, USA showed an overall plant biomass increase with a large inter-annual change from 1988–2008.

•River discharge and sediment negatively impacted the biomass over these decades, whereas river temperature had a positive impact.

•The decadal plant biomass likely increased because of the impact of a 0.9 °C/decade increase in river temperature on growing season length.

•The added river temperature increased the growing season 0.7 days each year from 1983–2012, or 14.7 days over the shorter biomass study period.

•Climate change and land use/cover change in the catchment are likely responsible for the river and wetland biomass change in the Balize Delta.



Ecosystem properties of riverine wetlands are known for high inter-annual variability. This multi-decadal study within the wetland complex of the Mississippi River’s Balize Delta, USA assesses how river parameters (temperature, discharge, and sediment load) impact wetland plant biomass over time and space. The Mississippi River’s annual temperature has increased 0.9 °C/decade, while discharge and sediment load has varied without trend over the same period. End-of-season herbaceous biomass increased 14 g/m2/year between 1988 and 2008, extrapolating to large (m-ton) area-wide increases. The river’s temperature, discharge and sediment impacted the Delta’s biomass in two ways: the increase in temperature had a positive impact on the growing season length which increased biomass; whereas discharge and load had negative impacts affecting the inter-annual variation without a temporal trend. The results explain natural variability in ecosystem processes in a dynamic deltaic system and likely trace a signal related to both climate warming and land use change within the drainage of the Mississippi River. The discovered decadal increase in herbaceous biomass has implications on carbon storage in the inshore and offshore receiving basins of the world’s riverine wetlands experiencing longer growing seasons.

First-Year Seminar on Cultural Blending

Islam, Spain, New Orleans
(This course is ONLY open to students who are enrolled into the Honors program)

Professor Eileen J. Doll, Department of Languages and Cultures

Disciplines:  Literature, Medieval History

How does one culture influence another? Starting with the medieval history of Spain, when Islamic culture was at its peak in Europe, this course examines how Islamic culture affected the existing Christian and Jewish cultures of the Iberian Peninsula. We explore the cross-cultural history of 18th-century New Orleans, when it was part of the Spanish empire. Connecting to the present, we also investigate current immigration --legal and illegal-- from Africa to Spain, and compare the problems and benefits of cross-cultural assimilation to those in the United States, and particularly to Louisiana. The class includes a required Service Learning project for the Isleños Museum and community of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.

Dr. Doll teaches all areas of Peninsular Spanish Literature and Culture, as well as introductory, intermediate, and advanced Spanish language classes. Dr. Doll is the Director of the Loyola Summer Program in Spain. 

Florence Clement (Philosophy/Spanish major 2015), Loyola Undergraduate Collaborative Scholarship Scholar with the University Honors Program, assisted Dr. Doll in the creation of this class. Florence did bibliographic research, helped plan the Service Learning Project, and developed questions for some of the readings.

For more information, see this video:

Making a better world: A project examining motivation to improve collective well-being

Dr. Chuck Nichols' project seeks to better understand the correlates, causes, and effects of wanting and working toward collective betterment.  Caring about and helping close others and even complete strangers can provide strong psychological benefits for the helper as well as the helped. However, some surveys suggest that individuals may be becoming more selfish and less other-focused in recent decades, potentially undermining overall well-being. This project employs survey and experimental methodology to explore what leads people to care about and act to help others.

Mental Health Risk and Resilience in Service Members Deployed to Combat Zones

Kate Yurgil, Assistant Professor of Psychology, pursues multidisciplinary research that integrates measures of human behavior, cognition, and neurophysiology. Her most recent work, to be funded through a Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research (CDMR) Program Neurosensory and Rehabilitation Research Award, focuses on tinnitus (i.e. ringing of the ears) and hearing loss in relation to blast injuries, which have been deemed the signature wounds of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. An estimated 12-23% of returning service members attest to a traumatic brain injury, and among those exposed to explosions, up to 77% sustain permanent hearing loss and 60-75% report tinnitus. Dr. Yurgil will collaborate with Dr. Dewleen Baker, Research Director at Veterans Affairs Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health in San Diego, CA and Professor of Psychiatry at University of California San Diego, the PI, who directs multiple research programs on post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Drs. Yurgil and Baker, together with a team of physicians, scientists, and clinicians, integrate biological, physiological, psycho-social, and neuroimaging techniques to investigate predictors of mental health risk and resilience in service members deployed to combat zones.

Senior Capstone Projects

The central component of the Department of Sociology's required Senior Capstone course is a one-to-one faculty-mentored, collaborative research project. The department also has a consistent record of incorporating students into grant funded research projects.

Below are examples of some of the recent Senior Capstone projects:


Twitter Wars: Social Media, Ethnicity, and Political Participation

Zahra Abdeljaber with Dr. Talukdar


Restore the Oaks: Public Art as Social Protest in the Historic Treme Neighborhood

Mark Gouda with Dr. Parham


Vulnerabilities to Trafficking Among Foster Care Youth

Molly Alper with Dr. MacGregor


The Lasting Impact of Participation in a Black Greek Letter Organization: An Examination of Social Capital

Eli Green with Dr. MacGregor


HIV in Prisons

Hannadi Mirfiq with Dr. Kondkar


Exploring the Gendered Curricula of Formal Sex Education 

Callie Dorsey with Dr. Talukdar


School to Prison Pipeline

Eleni Roulakis with Dr. Capowich


Child Abuse as an Extension of Violence Against Women 

Amy Cole with Dr. Kondkar


An Exploratory Study of Social Network Influences on Cultural Creativity in Popular Culture

Emily Bauer with Dr. Capowich


No Such Thing as a Free Lunch? Social Exchange Among the Hare Krishna

Caitlin Cowlen with Dr. Kondkar


The Role of Faith Based Initiatives in Corrections

Gianna Carbone with Dr. Voigt


The After School Zone of Kipp Central City Primary: A Case Study

Kelsey Coyle with Dr. Miron


Judging Books by Their Covers: An Intersectional Analysis of the Male Gaze and Attitudes toward Thinness

Marisa Gentler with Dr. MacGregor


Exploring the Relationship between Antidepressant Use and Suicide

Julie Castellini with Dr. Kondkar

National Identity After A Conflict

Dr. Natasha Bingham is writing a paper with a student entitled "Redefining National Identity after a Conflict: National Identity Formation among Northern Irish Youth."