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Meet the Team: Text

To guide our work, members of the Gender Justice Initiative research team abide by a shared set of values and priorities. It is through these values that we ground our work with communities. We invite those we work and interact with to adapt and live by these values and shared priorities too. 

  1. We believe survivors.

  2. We reject the lie of white supremacy.

  3. We commit to anti-oppressive work.

  4. We commit to expanding our thinking on how to reach liberation.

  5. Individuals and communities know best what they need.

  6. Individuals and communities are experts in their own lived experiences and are in control of their own narratives.

  7. Individuals and communities are in control of if, what, and how they share pieces of themselves, their histories, and their identities.

  8. Social science is a tool to achieve social justice.

  9. We bear witness.

  10. Gender-based violence is a form of structural violence that results from and serves to maintain oppression. We can end gender-based violence. We can achieve liberation.

Meet the Team: Image
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Principal Investigator

Jessica Shaw, Ph.D., is a community psychologist, with specializations in evaluation, and organizational change and development. Her research focuses on improving within and between system responses to sexual assault by relying on community partnerships to facilitate empirically-informed, sustainable change. Her work has been funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, National Institute of Justice, and the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. She has been invited to present her research at the White House and has served as a subject matter expert on several national committees focused on improving system responses to sexual assault. Prior to joining the Community and Prevention Research program in the Psychology Department at UIC, Dr. Shaw was an assistant professor in the Boston College School of Social Work, and a visiting fellow with the National Institute of Justice.

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Graduate Research Assistant

Caroline Bailey is a doctoral student in the Community Prevention and Research Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to coming to UIC, Caroline graduated from Boston College School of Social Work and is a clinically trained social worker. While in the program, Caroline will work under Dr. Jessica Shaw, who has also been Caroline's mentor and employer for the past three years. Caroline's previous work includes being a Research Coordinator at UIC, a counselor at a domestic violence community agency, and a social work advocate and consultant in an Immigration Legal Clinic. Caroline is passionate about issues surrounding gender-based violence and social justice and believes that social change should be rooted in feminist and abolitionist principles and ideologies. Her research interests include community responses to survivors of sexual and domestic violence and hopes to continue engaging in research that can influence policy and practice.

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Graduate Research Assistant

Carlos is a doctoral student in the Community and Applied Developmental Psychology program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before joining the program, Carlos graduated from Dominican University ’21 with a BA in Psychology and Study of Women and Gender. As an undergraduate, they adopted, implemented, and evaluated a 10-week sexual assault prevention program intended to expose students to a community and systems-approach to ending sexual assault on campus. Carlos is a value-based researcher, engaging in projects which seek to disrupt oppressive systems of power and create material change for people impacted by those systems. They are passionate about centering marginalized communities to develop and advance culturally responsive programs, practices, and policies to promote equity and liberation. They are deeply committed to social justice and organizing communities through empirical research and intersectional critical frameworks.


Graduate Research Assistant

Nyxel recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology and minors in Criminology, Law, and Justice as well as in Spanish for the Professions from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She first joined the GJI team in 2019 as an undergraduate research assistant and has rejoined the team as post-baccalaureate teaching fellow. Prior to rejoining the GJI team, Nyxel was an intern at the YWCA where she completed her 40-hour rape crisis intervention training and worked closely with survivors of sexual assault. While working with the GJI team, Nyxel also hopes to apply to graduate school, specifically to get a PhD in Community and Prevention Research. Nyxel is passionate about helping not only female survivors in their needs but to help male survivors as well. Her research interests include community responses to male survivors of sexual assault as well as community responses to survivors in BIPOC communities. Nyxel is excited to rejoin the team and continue working with Dr. Shaw.

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Graduate Research Assistant

Anastasiya is a doctoral student in the Community and Prevention Research program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before joining the program, she graduated from Dominican University and completed an internship in Washington, D.C., where she worked with a restorative justice organization and the court system to help teens and adults obtain alternative sentencing options through community service to avoid incarceration and remain a part of their community. Anastasiya is committed to the values of our GJI team and is passionate about using these values along with empirical research to help uplift marginalized voices and dismantle systems of oppression. Her goals are to improve system responses to gender-based violence and the access to post-assault services for immigrant survivors.

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Graduate Research Assistant

Mandi completed her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at the University of Georgia and her Master's degree in Applied Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. She also completed two graduate certificates in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Applied Behavior Analysis. She is now a doctoral student in the Community and Prevention Research program at UIC working under Dr. Jessica Shaw. She has worked on a few different research projects involving Latin-American asylum seekers, refugees, and creating a diversity training where she honed her passion for helping marginalized communities through researching and creating change together. Specifically, she is passionate about utilizing research on rape culture and its relationship with the justice system to help create improvements for survivors within the Latinx community. Mandi is eager to join the team and work with Dr. Shaw to conduct research with the community to help survivors and foster a more equitable society overall.

Meet the Team: Lab Members


Meet the Team: Our Team
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Alexandra Burrell is a recent alumna at UIC with a Bachelor’s in English. She is currently taking a gap year to work full-time and save up money for law school as well as study for the LSAT. She plans to attend law school in the future in hopes of becoming a lawyer who aids survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. 


Meet the Team: News & Resources
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