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.
Kevin Phaup, who is pursuing a master’s degree in industrial design, went to Nepal last summer to conduct research for his thesis project—designing stronger, safer, cost-effective temporary shelters for refugees and victims of natural disasters. While there, he worked with Hope for Nepal, an organization co-founded by Assistant Professor Ann-Marie Conrado, to construct temporary shelters, permanent homes, and schools after an April 2015 earthquake that killed more than 8,000 people and displaced more than 3 million.
For married couples, the odds aren’t good when one partner has anxiety or depression. The presence of such a mental issue significantly increases the risk that the couple will get divorced. Notre Dame psychology Ph.D. student Judith Biesen wants to find a way to improve the outcomes for those couples. With an American Dream grant from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Biesen is completing a longitudinal study of mental health—specifically, anxiety disorders and depression—and how it relates to marital functioning and satisfaction with the relationship.
A new interdisciplinary fellowship program launched by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives will train graduate students in state-of-the-art quantitative methods, allowing them to examine the impact of educational policies, programs, and practices. Beginning in fall 2016, the Rev. James A. Burns Fellowship is open to prospective students applying to Ph.D. programs in economics, political science, psychology, and sociology who plan to pursue educational research.
After adapting his award-winning documentary On the Bridge into a graphic novel that both portrayed stories of veterans and offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Olivier Morel’s emotions and struggles as he interviewed them, the FTT assistant professor was inspired to create an undergraduate course. In Graphic Wounds, Graphic Novels, in-depth readings and discussions with some of the genre’s leading authors revealed how trauma and recovery are depicted in nonfiction graphic novels.
A new beginning in Crested Butte, Colorado. A carnivorous plant on Skid Row. A chance meeting in a Moscow cafe. And, a fresh look at Jane Austen’s beloved Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. The 2015-16 theatre season of the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre offers four distinctly different productions—Wildflower, Little Shop of Horrors, The Bear and Afterplay, and Pride and Prejudice—which together make this season one not to be missed.
Continuing to strengthen cultural ties with scholars and alumni in Asia, three faculty members from Notre Dame’s Department of Music will depart on Tuesday, October 13, for Seoul, Beijing, and Hong Kong. During the 12-day tour, they will present concerts and lectures at leading universities and cultural institutions, including the Asia Society in Hong Kong. Building on the success of their previous visits, their outreach has expanded from universities to more broadly based cultural institutions as well—such as last year’s recital at the Beijing Capital Library, in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy, and their upcoming appearance at the Asia Society.
Two years and nine months. That’s how long it took Army Maj. Carl Wojtaszek to complete his Ph.D. in Notre Dame’s Department of Economics—a little more than half the typical time. An assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point since 2008, Wojtaszek received a prestigious, yet finite, award from the Army—full funding to pursue his advanced degree, but a three-year time limit to complete it.
Notre Dame psychologist Darcia Narvaez has received the 2015 William James Book Award from the American Psychological Association for her latest book, Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom. The award recognizes a recent book that attempts to bring together diverse subfields of psychology and related disciplines and demonstrates an essential underlying set of themes that serve to unify or integrate the field.
Two recent Notre Dame graduates are tackling global health issues with support from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. French and Francophone studies major Claire Donovan will work with UNICEF in Togo to examine women’s adherence to micronutrient supplement programs. Christina Gutierrez, who majored in Romance languages and literatures and political science, will pursue a master’s degree at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy and conduct research on and pilot a food co-op concept there.
A team of researchers in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters has been awarded a $3.1 million grant from the Templeton Religion Trust to examine how the concrete practices of science relate to something more abstract—what theologians and philosophers consider “virtues”—and how that connects with other areas of scientists’ lives, including their religious beliefs. The endeavor is a key component of Notre Dame’s new Center for Theology, Science, and Human Flourishing, which will serve as a hub for transdisciplinary research at the University.
With a $1.8 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, two Notre Dame professors will co-direct the Human Distinctiveness Project, seeking to advance research at the intersection of theology and evolutionary anthropology. The three-year project will support training for theologians in evolutionary and archaeological anthropology, as well as research on the evolution of wisdom.
English major Austin Hagwood ’15 doesn’t dream small. He took a train past the Arctic Circle to meet the only living Finnish rune singer. He interned in Paris at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. He taught English courses at Al-Azhar University in Egypt. He ventured to New Zealand to research Maori folklore and literature. And that’s not all.
Robert Sedlack, associate professor of visual communication design in Notre Dame’s Department of Art, Art History, and Design, has been named the winner of the 2015 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award. The Sheedy award presentation will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, in the McKenna Hall auditorium. It is open to all faculty and students.
Two faculty members from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters—Laura Dassow Walls and Sophie White—have been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for 2015. The fellowships continue the University’s record success with the NEH. Since 1999, Arts and Letters faculty members have been awarded 53 total NEH grants—more than any other university in the country.
Is physical activity a factor in how friendships are formed? Do social circles influence a person’s health and fitness choices? A team of Notre Dame researchers hopes to explore those questions with the help of smartphone apps and wearable technology devices. Faculty members in the University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications (iCeNSA) have been awarded a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the relationship between social networks and health-related behaviors.