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Meet a SLU Researcher: Ness Sandoval, Ph.D.


Ness Sandoval, Ph.D, is a professor of sociology at Saint Louis University. Dr. Sandoval’s research tells stories using maps and works with students to use data and maps to look into the future.


"From early on in my life, I knew that space was important," Sandoval said. "As my undergrad degree, I was able to get an internship as an epidemiologist. It was more than just a table when telling these stories. You could tell the stories using maps. "


"My area of strength's going to be geospatial statistics and looking at patterns that occur with that space," he said. "I have a project called Demography for Democracy, and my role is to take this more scientific aspect of the data, the formulas, and make it available to the public, and then they can make their own maps."

Working With Students

"Visualize what your neighborhood may look like in 20, 30 years," he said. "What type of resources you will need. We're bringing high school students to campus. A lot of students want to understand their own neighborhood. What do we know about immigration or what do we know about racial segregation? How do these patterns start? It's an eye-opener because they're like, 'I finally have objective evidence of my personal story.' 

"I get excited when students get excited. They want to build a skill set. So how do you program? So they can understand their spaces, their neighborhoods, the way that they experience it."

SLU Advantage

"One of the assets that SLU has to offer not only to the city, but to the region and nationally, is that we are committed to applied research," he said. "My goal as a professor is to cultivate the next generation of public intellectuals. Think about the questions that they find motivating and let them pursue those questions.  I actually feel like I'm the one that's being educated through my students."

This article was updated May 3, 2023, with a current title for Sandoval.

Meet the Researcher Video Series

This is part of a weekly series of short videos featuring faculty researchers from across the University sharing the important and cutting-edge research taking place at SLU. 

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