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A math major loved his first Italian class and saw ‘no reason to stop’ — a decision that led to a second major, studying abroad, and a national essay prize 

Author: Sophia Lauber

Categories: Internationalism, Alumni, Research, Undergraduate News, and General News

Matthew Canonico ’20 has won the Dante Society of America’s Dante Prize for best undergraduate essay — the third time since 2014 that a Notre Dame student has received the award.

A mathematics and Italian major, Canonico combined his two academic interests to explore deeper truths in Dante’s Divine Comedy

“There are a lot of hidden treasures in Dante,” he said. “Sometimes when reading Dante, something would click, and I’d get tingles down my spine. It’s an inexhaustible piece of art that, 700 years later, is still inspiring scholarship.”

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Arts & Letters pre-health and Spanish alumnus challenges mental health stigma through his Harvard Medical School residency, work on ABC News, writing, and podcasting

Author: Kate Flanagan

Categories: Alumni and General News

Nick Nissen ’16 saw his decision to major in Spanish while preparing for a career in medicine as a leap of faith — and one that has paid off. After Notre Dame, he went on to medical school at Brown University and is now completing his residency at Harvard Medical School. In addition to working in a hospital, Nissen is a doctor on the medical unit for ABC News, and recently appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the relationship between insomnia and COVID-19. He's also written and published a children's book on empathy and launched a podcast on mental health. “In the College of Arts & Letters, I felt encouraged by my advisors to go ahead and do something that was really interesting to me. And it worked out perfectly,” he said. “It is so empowering to say, ‘stop thinking about what everyone else is doing, stop thinking about what you feel obligated to do, and start thinking about what your true interests are.’ Because if you pursue your true interest and pursue it well, you'll be able to achieve your career goals through it.”

 

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Popular theology course The Heart’s Desire and Social Change to serve as basis for new podcast and ThinkND series exploring life’s meaning and mission

Author: Lauren Fox

Categories: Faculty News, Catholicism, Alumni, and General News

How does one find meaning and a mission in our restless world? How can we make decisions that help ourselves and others? How do we find the path that leads us to discover the deepest desires of our hearts and aspirations to make the world a better place? “The Heart’s Desire and Social Change,” a new podcast series and online community produced at Notre Dame, helps us explore these issues and navigate these big questions in our lives. Rev. Dan Groody, C.S.C., vice president and associate provost at Notre Dame, will host the program, which is based on the popular theology course of the same name that he teaches to undergraduates and students in the Inspired Leadership Initiative, which sponsors the podcast.

 

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Four Arts & Letters alumni are honored by Alumni Association as part of 2020 Domer Dozen

Author: Joanne Norell, Alumni Association

Categories: Alumni and General News

The Notre Dame Alumni Association announced its second annual Domer Dozen cohort, honoring 12 graduates ages 32 and younger for significant contributions in their fields, as well as in service to others. Four of the young alumni are from the College of Arts & Letters and have excelled in the fields of health care, education, youth ministry, and cultural advocacy.

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From the classroom to professional production: How a Notre Dame-developed musical took its next steps to the big stage

Author: Brandi Wampler

Categories: Arts, Alumni, Undergraduate News, and General News

The musical production My Heart Says Go has come a long way since Jorge “Jay” Rivera-Herrans ’20 began writing it in his dorm room at the University of Notre Dame. Rivera-Herrans had recently switched majors – from pre-med to film, television, and theatre (FTT) – and that became his inspiration for the production. But going from concept to a fully developed musical has been a winding journey.

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How the liberal arts instilled curiosity, boldness, and fearlessness in a history and Japanese student — and carried her from USA Today to Hollywood red carpets

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Alumni and General News

For Arienne Thompson Plourde ’04, the first step toward a successful journalism career was to study history and Japanese. Although it might seem an unlikely combination for an aspiring journalist, it gave her a strong foundation to build on — and just as importantly, four years to study what she loved. “For me, I always knew that I wanted to be writing and thinking and reading — and being immersed in the world of letters. It was almost like breathing. What else could I have done?”

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The power of words shaped Molly Spencer’s life — as an economics major, a teacher of public policy students, and an award-winning poet

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Alumni and General News

Molly Spencer ’94 knows how much words matter. As a writing instructor in the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and and the author of two books of poetry, she appreciates the connotation, the shades of meaning, the nuance in every word. “People often ask me how it is that I teach policy writing and write poetry because they seem like such opposite pursuits. But I feel that they’re actually very closely aligned — policy practitioners and poets all care so deeply about the world,” said Spencer, who majored in economics. “And as in poetry, in policy work it’s important to get the words just right because of the way policy shapes our society and our everyday lives.”

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Alumnus Alan Page, trailblazing jurist and Hall of Fame football player, to be featured speaker at MLK Day event

Author: Erin Blasko

Categories: Alumni and General News

Retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page, a 1967 University of Notre Dame graduate and the first African American justice to serve on Minnesota’s highest court, will join G. Marcus Cole, the Joseph A. Matson Dean of Notre Dame Law School, for a virtual “fireside chat” at noon Jan. 18 (Monday) as part of the University’s commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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For economics alumna Grace Choi, the liberal arts encouraged exploring tangents — which led her to cooking, the Food Network, and her own recipe app

Author: Emily McConville

Categories: Alumni and General News

At Notre Dame, Choi chose to major in economics and enjoyed pursuing courses on statistics and the economics of education for her major, as well as classwork in psychology and theology. Now, after a cookbook, a doctoral degree, and a spot on the Cooking Channel, she’s using emerging technology and her extensive knowledge of the role food plays in people’s lives to reinvent the idea of a recipe.  

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London Alumni Series: How a class in London put Lily Falzon on a different track

Author: Joanna Byrne

Categories: Internationalism, Centers and Institutes, Alumni, Research, Undergraduate News, and General News

When Lily Falzon ’18 started at Notre Dame, she thought she wanted to be a doctor. But a course on culture in medicine she took while studying abroad gave her a different perspective on health care and inspired her to study sociology and Chinese instead. It also led her to research China's success in building an integrative health care system — and her own Chinese ancestry. After graduation, Falzon was named a Yenching Scholar at Peking University in Beijing.

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From Here to There: Program helps underrepresented students advance their academic career

Author: Erin Blasko

Categories: Internationalism, Centers and Institutes, Alumni, Undergraduate News, and General News

A small but growing number of tenure-track faculty have roots in Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), a program of the Division of Student Affairs at Notre Dame that provides access to opportunities and resources for historically underrepresented students to thrive at Notre Dame and beyond. “Because of MSPS, I was lucky enough to have professors that took an interest in me and pointed me in the right direction to come to the idea that graduate school was something that I could do,” said Camille Suarez, a 2013 Arts & Letters graduate.

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College of Arts & Letters launches Beyond the Dome toolkit to help students with career discernment and preparedness

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Alumni, Undergraduate News, and General News

The College of Arts and Letters is introducing Beyond the Dome — a new set of tools and resources to help guide Arts and Letters students through the career discernment process. The program features a number of opportunities that are exclusive to A&L students — including a peer-mentoring program, an online discernment tool linked to a job-matching board, an alumni speaker series, and a year-by-year guide to career readiness — that are designed to enhance and increase awareness of the resources at the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development.

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How a PLS alumna puts her liberal arts background to work, landing jobs at Google and Pinterest

Author: Jack Rooney

Categories: Alumni and General News

Carrie Sweeney ’03 has spent much of her career learning on the job in fast-paced, high-tech environments. As she has risen through the ranks of companies like Google and Pinterest, Sweeney has drawn on the strong foundation she built as a Program of Liberal Studies major at Notre Dame. “Spending those four precious years on campus doing something that you can’t do any other time — shaping your worldview, your ethos by engaging with great texts — that’s just irreplaceable,” Sweeney said. “You can go learn about balance sheets afterward, whether that’s on the job or by getting an MBA. But there’s never going to be a time in life when you can really grapple with foundational ideas as effectively as you can while you’re at Notre Dame.” 

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Kylemore Abbey Global Centre, campus partners announce new program on literary works and films during pandemics

The Kylemore Abbey Global Centre, along with six partners from across the University of Notre Dame campus, has launched the Kylemore Book Club, an open, multimedia, educational enrichment program featuring Notre Dame’s expert faculty. The debut program, “Literature and Film in Lockdown,” is led by Professor of English and the Donald R. Keough Family Professor of Irish Studies Barry McCrea

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History alumna follows her curiosity and ‘growth mindset’ to a career in publishing, artificial intelligence, and podcasts

Author: Jack Rooney

Categories: Internationalism, Alumni, Undergraduate News, and General News

Michelle Gaseor ’11 doesn’t meet many other history majors in the tech world. But in her career, which has taken her from educational publishing and user experience design to the forefront of conversational artificial intelligence, she continually builds upon the foundation she established in the College of Arts and Letters. 

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Twenty Arts and Letters students and alumni awarded Fulbright grants

Twenty-six University of Notre Dame students and alumni — including 20 from the College of Arts and Letters — have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to teach or study abroad during the 2020-21 academic year. Notre Dame has been a top producer of Fulbright students for six consecutive years.

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A&L alumna Nikole Hannah-Jones wins Pulitzer Prize

Author: Dennis Brown

Categories: Alumni and General News

Nikole Hannah-Jones, a 1998 University of Notre Dame alumna and an investigative reporter for The New York Times Magazine, has won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for criticism, journalism’s highest honor. Hannah-Jones was recognized for her introductory essay to the newspaper’s landmark The 1619 Project, an ongoing and interactive series she created that focuses on the 400th anniversary of when enslaved Africans were first brought to what would become the United States.

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Video: Government major Chris Wilson '85 on his career in finance

Author: Todd Boruff

Categories: Alumni and General News

“I think being a lifelong learner is important, both in a career and in life,” said Chris Wilson ’85, senior partner at Stonehill Capital Management in New York. Wilson started at Notre Dame as an engineering major, but realized early on that it wasn’t a good fit for him. “I thought, ‘Somebody really needs to know the forces acting on that bridge and somebody really needs to know that really well, but it doesn't have to be me,” he said. Fortunately, he loved the elective courses he had been taking in government, so he switched majors. 

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Good Morning America head writer Adriana Pratt '12 on how to get started in broadcast journalism

Author: Todd Boruff

Categories: Alumni and General News

Adriana Pratt ’12, head writer and a senior producer for Good Morning America on ABC, majored in political science and minored in the Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy. Multiple newspaper, magazine, and broadcast internships helped her land an assistant position at ABC News when she graduated, and she has been at that network ever since. Internships are the primary qualification she looks for when hiring — for the skills students gain from those experiences and the insight it gives them into working in broadcast TV.

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Majoring in FTT helped give Conor Hanney '14 the opportunity to build a career as a TV writer

Author: Jack Rooney

Categories: Arts, Alumni, and General News

By the time Conor Hanney ’14 sat down to start his senior thesis for his film, television, and theatre major, he knew exactly what he wanted to do for a living — write for live-action TV targeting the kids and family demographic. And within 16 months of graduation, that’s exactly what he started doing. Hanney, a writer, lyricist, and composer for Netflix, works on various family programming, including the live-action comedy series The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia, The Healing Powers of Dude, and Prince of Peoria. He is currently working on the upcoming Kenny Ortega musical series Julie and The Phantoms.

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By minoring in Irish language and literature, Rosie Giglia ’17 opened the door to a life abroad

Author: Jack Rooney

Categories: Internationalism, Alumni, Undergraduate News, and General News

A neuroscience and behavior major, Giglia traveled to Ireland four separate times as an undergraduate — once for a semester at University College Dublin through the Dublin Global Gateway, and three times for Summer Language Abroad programs at Oideas Gael in County Donegal. After graduation, she was awarded a Naughton Fellowship to complete a master’s degree in neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin. She now works as a research assistant in the neurology department at Trinity, focusing on motor neuron disease. 

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Arts and Letters alumna Ashley Zhou named Gates Cambridge Scholar

Author: Erin Blasko

Categories: Alumni, Undergraduate News, General News, and National Fellowships

University of Notre Dame alumna Ashley Zhou will study medical science at the University of Cambridge this fall as a member of the Gates Cambridge Scholar class of 2020. Zhou is a 2019 Notre Dame graduate from Gaithersburg, Maryland. She received a bachelor of arts degree in neuroscience and behavior and minored in innovation and entrepreneurship. 

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Video: How Mary Cecilia Mitsch ’10 went from graphic design major to art gallery director

Author: Todd Boruff

Categories: Alumni and General News

Mary Cecilia Mitsch ’10, director at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York, works with visual artists represented by the gallery to prepare their works for sale. Understanding and cultivating the emotional connection with the artworks is central to her role at the gallery. “To get to work with these objects that mean something bigger than us or are reflective of humanity is really important to me,” she said.

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Japanese major’s study abroad and internship experiences help launch career as U.S. diplomat

Author: Jack Rooney

Categories: Internationalism, Alumni, and General News

Before Beth Gee ’10 studied abroad in Tokyo during her junior year, the Japanese and political science major had never left the United States. Now, as a U.S. foreign service officer, Gee travels for a living. She is currently working at the American Embassy in the Republic of the Congo — where she employs the language, communication, and critical thinking skills she cultivated as a student in Arts and Letters.

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PLS alumnus and political scholar Chris Beem ’83 on how liberal arts students develop valuable professional skills

Author: Ted Fox

Categories: Alumni and General News

With a Side of Knowledge is a podcast produced by the Office of the Provost at the University of Notre Dame. The 10th episode of the show’s third season, “On Democracy and Difficult Questions,” was released Thursday, Dec. 5, and features Chris Beem, managing director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University. 

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How a visit to the career fair launched a psychology alumna’s career at the FBI

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Alumni and General News

Erin walked into the fall career fair her senior year — and walked away with a job at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She visited the FBI’s booth, secured an interview for the next day, and was promptly offered an entry-level position. “My job hunt was very easy because of that one choice,” she said. “I just went to the career fair, and that was it — that was how it all started.”  Now an analyst, Erin has connected to a network of Notre Dame alumni at the FBI — and said graduates from every major are valuable to the bureau.

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Q&A with Katie Bugyis, assistant professor in the Program of Liberal Studies

Author: Emily Mahan and Carrie Gates

Categories: Faculty News, Centers and Institutes, Alumni, Research, General News, and Q and A

Katie Bugyis, who received a bachelor's degree in history and a Ph.D. in medieval studies from Notre Dame, recently joined the faculty as an assistant professor in the Program of Liberal Studies, concurrent assistant professor in the Department of Theology, and faculty fellow of the Medieval Institute. In this Q&A, she discusses her return to Notre Dame, how she became interested in medieval studies, and why the Program of Liberal Studies is the best home for her teaching and research.

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Russian and political science alumna unlocks a world of possibilities in media, policy, and consulting

Author: Jack Rooney

Categories: Internationalism, Alumni, and General News

Before leaving for a Summer Language Abroad program in St. Petersburg, Russia, after her junior year, Kristen Stone ’11 had never been outside North America. After graduation, she spent seven years living and working abroad in Russia and South Africa. Her Arts and Letters education prepared her for a career in education, journalism, and now consulting.
 

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Back to school: Notre Dame bond leads theology and pre-health alumnus back to teach at South Bend Catholic school

Author: Erin Blasko

Categories: Catholicism, Alumni, and General News

When theology and Arts and Letters pre-health alumnus Andy Miles took a job teaching math and science, he returned to not just to the middle school — on its own, a place of considerable influence with regard to his intersecting views on education and the faith — but to the very classroom he helped renovate as an undergraduate.

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How a Notre Dame faculty member and alumnus are connecting Black students to financial services firms — and helping them land jobs and internships 

Author: Brian Wallheimer

Categories: Faculty News, Alumni, Undergraduate News, and General News

After Kaleem Minor graduates with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the College of Arts and Letters this spring, he’ll head to California for a job he’d never dreamed of. In fact, less than a year ago, the soon-to-be analyst for a $35 billion alternative investment firm knew next to nothing about the world of finance. A trip over spring break last year changed his perspective — and his career path. Minor was one of 16 Black Notre Dame students who participated in an “alternative investment trek” to the West Coast to learn more about careers in the financial services industry. 

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