Firing a portable X-ray fluorescence scanner at 2,000-year-old artifacts last summer, Claire Stanecki discovered the value of hands-on education. A 2020 graduate who majored in anthropology and Spanish, Stanecki’s Arts and Letters education has been defined by exploring nontraditional forms of learning — from conducting research at a museum to studying the benefits of bilingual education in a local school. “The ability to learn about something and actually go interact with it is so incredibly mind-blowing,” she said.
When summer comes, Notre Dame students travel around the world — to build their language and cultural skills, undertake independent research, and explore career options — growing intellectually and emotionally along the way. With funding from a wide range of sources, three Arts and Letters students spent last summer researching racism in Paris, interning at the U.S. Embassy in Benin, and speaking Swahili on the streets of Tanzania. Deadlines for applications for summer research, internship, and language immersion funding are fast approaching, with some due at the end of January.
Junior Aaron Benavides is pursuing faith through service, building community through writing and design, and understanding where in the world he stands through the study of politics and theology. Through all of those activities, on campus and abroad, he is further exploring his heritage — and contemplating its significance.
Brooke Guenther's research trip — six days at the London Metropolitan Archives, transcribing files from 60 facial reconstruction surgeries performed during and after World War I — was the first to be funded by a grant through the new Medicine and the Liberal Arts program at Notre Dame’s Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values. Guenther is studying Sir Harold Gillies, the father of modern-day plastic surgery, exploring the relationship between patients and the surgeon and studying societal reaction to survivors of wounded veterans who underwent plastic surgery.
Sipping espresso and snacking on pastry, senior Terese Schomogyi counted the number of disposable cups carried out of a café into the sloping streets of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. With funding from the Glynn Family Honors Program, Schomogyi traveled last year to Amsterdam and Stockholm, Sweden, to study sustainable and ethical practices in café culture and marketing, a versatile project that would combine all her passions — political science, peace studies, and sustainability — into a senior thesis. Or, so she thought. In research, sometimes things don’t always go according to plan.
On the way to graduating with majors in Spanish and music, senior Peter Sabini has rekindled old intellectual flames, discovered new passions, and found a future that combines them all. Sabini has studied abroad in Toledo, Spain, scored music in a studio in New York City, and is now translating 40 Spanish poems into English for his senior thesis. “Four years is too short,” he said, “but I got to do a bit of everything.”
In labs, at conferences, and in public policy forums domestic and abroad, Notre Dame neuroscience and behavior majors are exploring and deepening their passion for the study of the human nervous system. Last year, three members of the Class of 2019 used grants they received through the Glynn Family Honors Program to conduct research on meditation and neglected children, measuring stress response, and rethinking justice. Through one discipline, they were able to see a variety of ways in which a firmer grasp of human thinking, affect, and behavior can serve as a force of good in the world.