Barry Lopez believes we are on the verge of global upheaval — in the way democracies function, in the way economies work, in the way countries cope with unprecedented numbers of refugees and the effects of climate change. But he also believes that Notre Dame students are “unusually qualified to do something about it.” A renowned essayist, fiction writer, and former Department of American Studies faculty member, Lopez received his bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters in 1966 and a master’s degree in 1968. He returned to his alma mater last month to give a lecture on sustainability — and to offer his encouragement to current students.
In her academic research, Debra Javeline leads two lives. She is passionate about sustainability—and how post-Communist Russia is perceived. She is focused on coastal adaptation to climate change—and on the response to political violence in a small Russian town. An associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science, Javeline is pursuing multiple projects in two distinct research areas—one focused on politics, conflict, and protest in Russia and the other involving the environment and sustainability.
An interdisciplinary team of four Notre Dame students won second place Friday (January 27) in the Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition. Mark Davidson, Jessica Klouda, Erin Rice, and Madeline Zupan were honored for their project, “The Spirit of the Isle,” a manmade island where guests enter from behind a waterfall to experience an engaging amphitheatre, explore sweeping terraces, or venture into a cave beneath the falls, which can double as an ice-skating rink in winter.
Imagine bringing the magic of a Disney theme park to the Notre Dame campus. Students in Scott Shim’s Collaborative Product Development course recently took on that challenge—with great success. A team of four students from that class has made the finals of the Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition, earning an all-expenses-paid trip to Walt Disney Imagineering—the creative force behind the Disney parks, resorts, and attractions—in Glendale, California, this week.
Notre Dame’s rapidly growing Department of Economics has added six new faculty members who bring diverse expertise in political economy, econometrics, labor mobility, market design, urban geography and poverty, and international finance. Lakshmi Iyer, Marinho Bertanha, Nilesh Fernando, Michèle Müller-Itten, David Phillips, and César Sosa-Padilla join the ranks of a vibrant department that has added more than a dozen faculty members in the last four years and offers one of the University’s largest undergraduate majors.
Three Notre Dame faculty members—Associate Professors Darren Dochuk, Karen Graubart, and Sean Kelsey—were offered fellowships last week from the National Endowment for the Humanities, continuing the University’s record success winning support for humanities research. Arts and Letters faculty have won 61 NEH fellowships since 1999—more than any other private university in the country.
History is often viewed through the lens of social movements, political trends, or intellectual advances. But for Korey Garibaldi, there are also important insights to be found in more fleeting elements of American culture—like briefly popular texts from the 20th-century publishing industry.
César Sosa-Padilla, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded the 2016 John Charles Polanyi Prize by the government of the Province of Ontario. The annual prize recognizes up to five outstanding, early career researchers in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, or economic science.
Stephen Lancaster, an associate professor of the practice in voice in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Music and Sacred Music at Notre Dame program, has been awarded the 2016 American Prize in Vocal Performance. Lancaster, who is also head of the graduate studio in voice, won the prize for the men in art song and oratorio, professional division.
On a sunny spring afternoon, Amy Mulligan leads a class of Notre Dame undergraduates to the shore of Saint Mary’s Lake. Sitting on the grass, the students take turns reading aloud passages from a 12th-century Irish text. “We make these campus pilgrimages to consider how a text is transformed when you move into a natural environment,” said Mulligan, an assistant professor of Irish language and literature who recently won both a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship and a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award.
Marisel Moreno, an associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, has been selected to receive the 2016 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor in the College of Arts and Letters. Moreno, whose research and teaching focus on Latino literature and culture, helped launch a community-based learning program in her department in 2010. Students in her classes enhance traditional literature study by volunteering at La Casa de Amistad, a local Latino community organization.
French literature has received a lot of attention lately from an unexpected source—economists. Julia Douthwaite, a professor of French in Notre Dame’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, wants to evaluate their interpretations and delve deeper into literary representations of money. Douthwaite has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities—her second—for her book project on the topic, tentatively titled Financiers We Have Known: A Capitalist History of Literature.
César Soto wants to know how the spark of political revolution can transform religious concepts of community and inclusion. To better understand the issue, he’s turning to the literature of England, Ireland, and Mexico in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Soto, a Ph.D. candidate in Notre Dame’s Department of English with a graduate minor in Irish studies, has been awarded a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship for 2016-17 to support his project.
Graduate students Filippo Gianferrari and Adriana Monica Solomon have been awarded Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships to delve deeper into the lives and impact of two intellectual archetypes—Dante and Isaac Newton, respectively. Gianferrari, a Ph.D. candidate in the Medieval Institute, is investigating the Latin authors who may have influenced Dante. And Solomon, a philosophy Ph.D. candidate in the History and Philosophy of Science Program at the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, is shining a light on Newton’s lesser-known contributions to philosophy and science.
For a talented group of students and young alumni from Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, the dream of having their film screened at a Los Angeles film festival was realized this summer. The showcase, hosted by the College of Arts and Letters, was held at the Directors Guild of America Theatre this summer. It featured six student films and a short documentary from the “First Time Fans” series, directed by alumni filmmakers.
From the first flicker of life in Frankenstein’s monster to the spark of unexpected connection between two high school students, the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre’s 2016-17 theatre season features an array of diverse, compelling productions. The department will present two student-written plays, In Paradisum and The Pink Pope, followed by an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Lauren Gunderson’s I and You, and Christ’s Passion: Medieval Mystery Plays.
From investigating the lives of medieval Islamic scholars to studying 15th-century manuscripts from the confessors of Burgundy, history graduate students at Notre Dame are traveling the world to conduct original research. Six Ph.D. students in the Department of History have been awarded 2016-17 research grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program.
Political science major Patrick Vassel '07 didn’t come to Notre Dame dreaming of a career on Broadway. But a path that began with acting and directing in shows on campus has led him to New York's biggest stage. He's now associate director of Hamilton, the blockbuster musical that's won Tony Awards, a Grammy, and the Pulitzer Prize. Vassel has been a key figure in the show's development, working with actors and technicians night in and night out.
Seven students in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have been awarded graduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for 2016. Another six have been recognized with honorable mentions. The NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) honors and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and social science disciplines. The award provides a stipend, tuition support, and research funds for three years.
Notre Dame sociology graduate students are getting a rare inside look at the academic publishing process—and valuable experience that will give them an edge in their own research and careers. The students serve as assistant and coordinating editors of the American Sociological Review (ASR)—the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association (ASA)—under the direction of Professor Omar Lizardo, Professor Rory McVeigh, and Professor Sarah Mustillo.
Two juniors in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, Caleb “C.J.” Pine and Christa Grace Watkins, have been named 2016 Truman Scholars. Established in 1975 as a living memorial to President Harry S. Truman, the prestigious scholarship includes $30,000 in graduate study funds, priority admission and supplemental financial aid at select institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and internship opportunities within the federal government. Just 54 college juniors have been selected as Truman Scholars this year from a pool of 775 nominees. Six Arts and Letters students have received the Truman Scholarship since 2010.
When Elizabeth Troyer began diving into her senior thesis research, she wasn’t alone. She was one of 17 seniors in Notre Dame’s Department of English honors concentration—all of whom participated in a colloquium as they embarked on their senior thesis projects. Students in the class discussed their thesis research in small groups, offered feedback, completed outlines and bibliographies, and shared presentations on their main ideas with the class. It’s just one example of how faculty members have worked to build a sense of community in the department and in the honors concentration.
About seven years ago, Mary Celeste Kearney began noticing how much “sparkle” had become part of girls’ culture—in makeup and clothing, as well as in girl-oriented media. She began compiling a “taxonomy of sparkle” in contemporary films and TV series to explore its sociocultural significance. The resulting essay, “Sparkle: Luminosity and Post-Girl Power Media,” has been honored with the Katherine Singer Kovács Essay Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.
The young people of war-torn northern Colombia want their homes and their lifestyle back. Displaced from their villages by guerilla and paramilitary groups, they have spent the last 10 years in urban centers—making them prime targets for recruitment by those same criminal enterprises. But rather than falling prey to a violent cause, they’ve founded a successful peace-building movement. Notre Dame Ph.D. student Angela Lederach ’07 wants to know why. She’s spent the last two summers living in Cartagena, Colombia, researching the Peaceful Movement of the Alta Montaña, and plans to return in August for at least a year to continue researching the organization for her dissertation.
How do we form abstract concepts—like “dog”—given that we only experience concrete, particular objects—like “Fido”? Therese Scarpelli Cory, a Notre Dame assistant professor of philosophy, examined Aquinas’ answer to this question in her article, “Rethinking Abstractionism: Aquinas’ Intellectual Light and Some Arabic Sources.” Her work, published in the Journal of the History of Philosophy, was awarded the publication’s 2015 best article prize in January.
Matt Ardell ’10 grew up dreaming of working for Nike. Now, five years after graduating from Notre Dame with a degree in economics and history, he is living his dream at Nike’s corporate headquarters in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. As a football marketing field rep, Ardell travels the country building relationships with head coaches, athletic directors, and teams. The foundation for his success in the business world, he said, is his liberal arts education.
Nine months before his May 2016 graduation, Matt Castellini knew where he was headed after Notre Dame. An economics major enrolled in the department’s new Financial Economics and Econometrics concentration (FEE), Castellini landed a job as a credit sales analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch after interning with the company last summer. He’s not alone, either. Just one year into the new program, the concentration’s first cohort has yet to graduate, but many have positions waiting for them at firms such as Boston Consulting Group, Mercer Consulting, and Deutsche Bank.
Notre Dame students in the College of Arts and Letters’ newest major see neuroscience and behavior as great preparation for any number of exciting careers. Whether they plan to pursue medical school or graduate school, clinical research or lab work, neuroscience majors can customize the curriculum to fit their needs. Students are also able to integrate research opportunities based on their individual interests.
In a dense Nairobi slum best known for its toxic garbage dump, the crowded streets are lined with roadside stands. With no job prospects, residents’ best chance to eke out a living comes from selling foods and handcrafted goods at these tiny stalls. Three assistant professors in Notre Dame’s Department of Economics—Wyatt Brooks, Kevin Donovan, and Terence Johnson—are researching ways to help those entrepreneurs succeed and increase their income.
The abandoned island of Inishark off the coast of western Ireland is coming to life again thanks to new technology—a multimedia book project by Notre Dame anthropologist Ian Kuijt and filmmaker William Donaruma ’89. Through an innovative collaboration, they’ve created Island Places, Island Lives, a guidebook detailing the heritage and history of Inishark and its neighboring island, Inishbofin. Along with text and photographs, the book incorporates short videos of the island that appear on a smartphone or tablet when readers, using a free companion app, hold their device over key images in the book.