Gianna Van Heel’s time studying abroad while at Notre Dame was immersive and comprehensive — the nearly yearlong experience included coursework, research, an internship, and embracing the Italian way of life. She knew it was the best way to truly learn another language. Van Heel, who won the College of Arts and Letters’ Robert D. Nuner Award for the language major with the highest GPA, studied Dante during her time abroad and was captivated by his writing.
When Joseph Weiler was 8, he sustained his first concussion — and he's wanted to study the complexities of the brain ever since. Now a neuroscience and behavior major in the College of Arts and Letters, Weiler's senior thesis oversaw the implementation of the Cogstate Cognigram — a test designed to track early cognitive symptoms of concussions — in Notre Dame’s Baraka Bouts women’s boxing competition for the last two years.
Nine Arts and Letters faculty members have received Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and two have been honored with Dockweiler Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. The awards are presented by the Office of the Provost, and the recipients are selected through a process that includes peer and student nominations.
Two historians and one theologian are among 81 fellows named from more than 1,100 applicants in the 2019 award cycle. ACLS awardees are selected for excellence in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, and the fellowships support six to 12 months of full-time research and writing. Notre Dame winners include Yury P. Avvakumov, associate professor of theology; Katie Jarvis, assistant professor of history; and Emily Remus, assistant professor of history.
In new research, Kathleen Sprows Cummings — University of Notre Dame associate professor of American studies and director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism — chronicles how canonization, or the intricate process of naming someone a saint, prompted a minority religious group to define, defend and celebrate its American identity. Her book, A Saint of Our Own: How the Quest for a Holy Hero Helped Catholics Become American, is the first study of multiple causes for canonization within a United States context.
For his work in the classroom, Verdeja has been selected to receive the 2018 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award — the highest teaching honor in the College of Arts and Letters — which will be presented at a reception in his honor on May 7 at 3:30 p.m. in the McKenna Hall auditorium.
Sofia Carozza, a neuroscience and behavior major in the College of Science with a supplemental major in theology and a minor in philosophy, politics, and economics, has been named valedictorian of the 2019 University of Notre Dame graduating class. Annelise Gill-Wiehl, an environmental engineering major with a minor in international development studies, has been selected as salutatorian.
Hesburgh, a critically acclaimed documentary to be released nationwide on May 3, tells the story of Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. — reaching far beyond the borders of the Notre Dame campus to tell an epic American saga. But the making of Hesburgh is very much a Notre Dame story. Documentary filmmaker Patrick Creadon ’89 has a history of hiring Notre Dame students and alumni — and sought out no less than 19 of them to help create Hesburgh.
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, assistant professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, has won the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the country’s largest peer-juried prize for novels and short stories. She won the prize for her second novel, "Call Me Zebra," which follows a young heroine as she leaves New York and retraces the path she took with her father from Iran to the United States.
The award is named for Notre Dame professor Frank O’Malley, who taught classes on the philosophy of literature for more than 40 years. Recipients are nominated by undergraduates and approved by the Student Government. Jennifer Newsome Martin, an assistant professor in the Program of Liberal Studies with a concurrent appointment in the Department of Theology, received the award at the annual Student Leadership Banquet and will also be recognized at commencement.
As a senior associate at KPMG, Madeline Boyer’s background in anthropology often sparks curiosity. “Everybody’s always fascinated,” said Boyer ’09. “It’s an immediate conversation starter for people.” But more than that, Boyer’s anthropology major — and her entire Arts and Letters experience — gives her an edge in her career.
Led by students from the University of Notre Dame, a group of 45 fifth-graders from Clay International Academy in South Bend gathered in adjacent classrooms recently to learn Latin as part of a pilot Aequora program sponsored by the Department of Classics. The program introduces K-8 students to the basics of Latin vocabulary and grammar, Roman culture and mythology and the connections between Latin, English, and Spanish with specially designed lessons and activities.
One of the greatest assets of a Notre Dame degree is the University’s incredible global network. But those connections aren’t only with alumni — senior Nick Gabriele believes that, sometimes, the most important mentors can be fellow students. Gabriele, an economics and Spanish major who will begin working as a consultant with McKinsey & Company after graduation, launched Consulting Connect — an organization designed to educate students about the diverse field of consulting, prepare them for the recruiting process, and connect them with potential employers.
Two faculty from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters — Declan Kiberd and Dianne Pinderhughes — have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers. They are among more than 200 members of the 239th AAAS class, which includes former first lady Michelle Obama, author Jonathan Franzen, gender theorist Judith Butler, former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, NPR host Michel Martin, and neuro-oncologist Robert B. Darnell.
Notre Dame faculty member and alumnus Carlos Lozada, the nonfiction book critic for the Washington Post, is the recipient of a 2019 Pulitzer Prize for criticism, journalism’s highest honor. In announcing the award April 15, the Pulitzer jurors cited Lozada “for trenchant and searching reviews and essays that joined warm emotion and careful analysis in examining a broad range of books addressing government and the American experience.”
Arts and Letters graduates Jeremy Cappello Lee and Lily Falzon, both members of the class of 2018, have been invited to study at the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing, China, as two of approximately 125 Yenching Scholars from across the globe. Established in 2014, the Yenching Academy offers a one-year master’s degree program for students with outstanding academic backgrounds and broad curiosity. The program pushes the study of China beyond the traditional boundaries of the humanities and social sciences.
Joan Becker, a senior majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies, has traveled to Germany, Belgium, France, and Wales to explore real-world places important to the Arthurian legends. Now, Becker is funneling her experiences abroad and in her PLS classes into a unique senior thesis — a handmade and hand-bound book about King Arthur, in the style of the first books printed in the late medieval era.
Donald Crafton — a Notre Dame film, television, and theatre professor widely considered the pre-eminent scholar on early animation — received the Distinguished Career Achievement Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies last month. “Don Crafton’s work has set a high standard for historical scholarship and also has contributed vitally to the study of animation within our field,” said Heather Hendershot, an MIT professor of film and media, in her introduction of Crafton at the awards ceremony.
Senior Prathm Juneja, of South Bend, Indiana, has been named a 2019 Truman Scholar. Juneja is among 62 students — mostly juniors but also seniors in five-year degree programs — selected for the honor from a pool of 840 candidates from 346 colleges and universities nationwide. He is the eighth Notre Dame student — all from the College of Arts and Letters — to win the award since 2010.
Junior Anja Renkes will bring her three academic disciplines together in an international research experience this summer at the Dublin Global Gateway in the Irish Internship Program. She plans to create paintings of Ireland’s holy wells — small springs with devotional significance — that capture the area’s landscape as pure gift from God.