Loyola University Chicago

Gannon Center for Women and Leadership


Jena DiMaggio

Jena DiMaggio
Graduation Year
English and Women's Studies and Gender Studies
Dr. Bren Ortega Murphy

Why did you choose your research topic? During my first year at Loyola, I held a work-study position at a primary school, working with a kindergarten classroom. During this year, I realized how much young children have already learned about what the world is like and how to interact with one another … When Dr. Ortega-Murphy told me of her research project, I immediately remembered my time spent with this classroom and thought that this project would be a perfect way to create a positive message for children to emulate.

How will your research benefit the world at large? Our research--which will be compiled onto a website--will help educators and care-takers select films for their children with intention. For example, a school teacher could use this database to pick a film that has characters who are multicultural, who present various models of leadership, and who challenge traditional gender roles, all while still showing a film that was created for an audience of a specific age. In doing so, these children themselves will eventually become the next generation of leaders who understand, support, and pursue feminist, Jesuit, and leadership values.