Denise Espinoza '23 | 2021-22 Fellow

Denise Espinoza headshot
Denise Espinoza '23


I am a research scholar born and raised in Inglewood, California. Since my freshman year, I have worked in the Veteran and Military Family Research Laboratory (Rains Research Assistant Award at LMU; 2020 LMU Summer Undergraduate Research Award) where I have conducted many PRISMA models in order to map out: intimate partner violence (IPV), substance use, and mental health among military populations; I focused on female and LGBTQ+ perpetrator populations. Furthermore, I am well versed in the public health and IPV literature that focuses on family violence correlates and risk factors in heterosexual and interracial military relationships.

My previous scholarship has been recognized at the 2020 LMU Undergraduate Research Symposium where I received first place for oral presentation and I am in the process of publishing with the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. In addition, I was accepted for two presentations at the American Society of Criminology and one for the Pacific Sociological Association. My early field contributions have allowed me to be elected to the American Public Health Association as the student liaison for the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs section. In addition, I was a fellow for the 2020 Predoctoral Summer Institute for First-Generation and Diverse Scholars at USC.

At present, I continue to explore mental health and substance use issues among military populations as a McNair Scholar at LMU. I look forward to the opportunity to help benefit and guide me as I aspire to become an independent researcher and criminal psychologist.

Faculty Mentors:

Rachel Washburn is an associate professor of sociology and director of the Health and Society Program at Loyola Marymount University. She earned her doctorate in medical sociology from UC San Francisco. Washburn’s research explores the politics of knowledge production in the environmental health sciences. She is currently working on a project that examines debates about the human health harms of pesticide exposure in the U.S. during the latter part of the 20th century. Washburn is also a co-author with Adele Clarke and Carrie Friese on two books on situational analysis, a qualitative research methodology. At LMU, Washburn teaches courses on the sociology of health and illness, environmental sociology, and science, technology, and society.

Min Yoo is a part-time faculty at Loyola Marymount University. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology at UC Riverside. She specializes in race/class inequality and criminology. Her research interests fall under two areas: health and substance use. She has been teaching at LMU since fall 2019 and was previously a postdoctoral research fellow. She currently mentors Denise for the McNair Summer Research Program. She will continue working with and co-mentoring Denise for the Ellen Carol Barreto Research Fellowship in Health and Society.