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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

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.”


Jesus Christ Superstar production at Notre Dame Stadium showcases resilience, creativity, and community of musical theatre students and faculty

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Matt Hawkins wanted to teach his students the value of resilience — and the power of performance art. At a time when nearly all live theatre has been suspended for more than a year, Hawkins found a way to safely bring back the musical his students had spent months planning for and rehearsing during spring 2020. Last month, he directed a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar at Notre Dame Stadium, featuring most of the original cast.

Sommo Poeta: Dante at Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame has long traditions in the research and teaching of Dante and is considered one of the leading centers in the world for the study of the great Catholic poet. As we approach the 700th anniversary of his death, Dante’s work still speaks powerfully, says Ted Cachey, professor of Italian and the Ravarino Family Director of Italian and Dante Studies. “I am often asked how Dante is relevant for today,” he said. “The answer is very simple: Dante confronted a world that was culturally, politically, and spiritually in profound crisis.” 

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