Notre Dame junior Stephen Zerfas has a motto that he likes to share only somewhat jokingly: “If you wanted to make a difference in the world 400 years ago, you did it through religion,” he says. “200 years ago, you did it through government; today, you do it through business. Clearly, you do not need to work in business to make a difference today,” Zerfas says, “but the statement does reflect my belief that there is great potential at the intersection of the efficiency of the private sector and the often more noble and substantial aims of the public sector.” The search for that sweet spot, he says, is what led him to pursue an economics major and the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) minor in the College of Arts and Letters.
If you’re an early riser—4 a.m. or so—chances are good that you could find the dedicated staff of The Observer, Notre Dame’s student newspaper, still hard at work on the day’s paper. When those long nights turn into early mornings, Meghan Thomassen, an honors English major in the College of Arts and Letters and the newspaper’s managing editor, calls upon her experiences studying Japanese, cognitive psychology, and Mozart to get her through—and not just coffee, as you might expect.
Xiaoshan Yang, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in Notre Dame’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, has been awarded an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship for the 2013-14 academic year. “Chinese poetry is a significant component of Chinese culture. It is known both for its antiquity and for its continuity,” says Yang, who specializes in classical Chinese poetry and poetics. “ So I was both excited and humbled to receive the award.”
Luke Pardue says he was looking for a “sense of family” when considering which college to attend. He found it at Notre Dame through the John and Barbara Glynn Family Honors program. “The opportunities that the honors program offers—from smaller seminar-style classes to summer research funding—made the opportunity to study at Notre Dame that much more attractive,” says the junior economics major.
On April 1, 2013, Stephen Lancaster, assistant professional specialist in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Music, was named the male winner at the Nico Castel International Master Singer Competition. Held annually in New York City at Carnegie Hall, the competition is sponsored by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) and the New York Opera Studio. By an audience vote, Lancaster was also declared the “favorite” among all the competitors.
As a senior in high school, Allan Joseph did not want to go to Notre Dame. That changed in spring 2009 when Joseph attended Reilly Weekend, an on-campus event for high-achieving students, and was invited to join the John and Barbara Glynn Family Honors Program if he chose to enroll at the University. “The honors program wasn’t a huge factor in my mind at first,” Allan says. “Then I went to Reilly Weekend, got to meet the people in the program, saw the opportunities—and just fell in love with the whole thing.
James C. VanderKam, the John A. O’Brien professor of Hebrew Scriptures in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, has been selected as a distinguished alumnus by his alma mater, Calvin College. “Dr. VanderKam was chosen because of his outstanding contributions to the study of the Old Testament, Second Temple Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls,” says Michael J. Van Denend, executive director of the Calvin Alumni Association.
When tragedies strike, how do we recover? Last summer, senior psychology major Benjamin Pfeifer moved closer to an answer, thanks to a research grant from the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
Rev. Maxwell Johnson, professor of liturgical studies in Notre Dame’s Department of Theology, was recently elected vice president of the North American Academy of Liturgy (NAAL) for 2013 and will become its president the following year.
Sister Mary Catherine Hilkert, O.P., professor of theology in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, recently received two prestigious honors: the Ann O’Hara Graff Memorial Award and the Veritas Award.
Choice magazine has included two books by faculty members in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters on its list of Outstanding Academic Titles for 2012. John Sitter, the Mary Lee Duda Professor of Literature in the Department of English, was selected for his Cambridge Introduction to Eighteenth-Century Poetry, while Timothy Matovina, professor of theology and executive director of the Institute for Latino Studies, was honored for Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America’s Largest Church, which also won the College Theology Society’s Best Book Award in 2012, as well as the 2013 Paul J. Foik, C.S.C. Award from the Texas Catholic Historical Society.
Daniel Philpott, associate professor of political science and peace studies at Notre Dame, and Alvin Plantinga, John A. O’Brien Professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy, were awarded 2013 book awards by Christianity Today. The magazine reviewed more than 450 entries to determine the best new book in each of 10 categories.
Writing a senior thesis can be an uphill climb—in Michael McHale’s case, quite literally. For his senior thesis, “A Journey Through the World of Petrarch’s Letters,” McHale, a Program of Liberal Studies major and 2012 graduate of the University of Notre Dame traveled across France and Italy to visit locations significant to Petrarch, the 14th century poet, philosopher, and “father of humanism.”
Well before graduation, University of Notre Dame senior Patricia Harte has already put her Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT) and political science majors to work at multiple broadcast journalism internships—and begun networking with alumni in her chosen field. Currently a production assistant at WNDU, Harte interned at Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer during her spring 2012 semester in Notre Dame’s Washington, D.C. program and worked through the summer as an intern for Cox Media Group, where she covered events at the White House, on Capitol Hill, and even at the U.S. Supreme Court.
The American Academy in Berlin, Germany’s Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study), and other prestigious scholarly institutions in Germany recently hosted a symposium in honor of Donald P. Kommers, Joseph and Elizabeth Robbie Professor of Political Science and professor of law emeritus at the University of Notre Dame. The symposium, entitled The Curious Life of the Grundgesetz [German constitution] in America, was held in Berlin. The event celebrated Kommers’ extraordinary body of work in German constitutional scholarship during the year of his 80th birthday.
Notre Dame Associate Professor Alyssa Gillespie has won first prize in the 2012 Compass Translation Competition for her adroit translation of Marina Tsvetaeva’s “The Poem of the End.” She also received a fourth place prize for translating a brief selection from Tsvetaeva’s poem “Magdalene.”
Peter Holland, associate dean for the arts in the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters and McMeel Family Professor in Shakespeare Studies in the College’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, has been selected to receive the 2012 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award. The award ceremony will take place on December 5, 2012, at 3:30 p.m. at the Notre Dame Conference Center in McKenna Hall and is open to all faculty and students.
Bringing her latest research into the classroom, Debra Javeline, associate professor in the Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science, is helping undergraduate students make a connection between politics and biology.
Some may look at Dante’s Divine Comedy and see just a dusty trilogy of poetry written by a long-gone Florentine. But for others, Dante and his opus are immortal. For them, Dante is now. In that spirit, Italian Studies at Notre Dame and the College of Arts and Letters’ William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies will host “Dante Now!”—a series of public readings from The Divine Comedy. Readings will occur simultaneously at various locations around campus on November 2, beginning at 2 p.m.
Robert E. Norton, chair of the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame, was recently named editor of The German Quarterly. Sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of German, the scholarly journal is the field’s flagship publication.
Pioneering journalist Ted Koppel will visit the University of Notre Dame on October 12 for a public discussion of contemporary journalism, politics, and world affairs. The event is sponsored by the John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy.
Think about the study of history, and you might conjure images of dusty books and timelines. But Notre Dame history majors John Karol and Christine Affleck, both Class of 2012, and senior Jordyn Smith demonstrate how the versatile skills they developed in the College of Arts and Letters can be applied to a wide array of challenging internships and career paths.
Wikipedia is often in the top results when people search for information online, but it isn’t always the most credible source. Enter a group of advanced Notre Dame undergraduates in psychology who have taken on the challenge to update, correct, or, in some cases, write new entries for the online encyclopedia. It’s all part of the new Association for Psychological Science (APS) Wikipedia Initiative—and Assistant Professor Gerald Haeffel’s Science and Pseudoscience in Psychology class is one of a select few across the country selected to participate.
As a sociology major at the University of Notre Dame, Joshua Cook ’10 learned about everything from criminal behavior to popular culture to family dynamics. And the deeper he got into his studies, he says, the more he realized that “understanding human behavior could serve as a great foundation for a career in a variety of fields, including the business world.”
Collin Erker and Erin Moffitt, both juniors in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, spent four weeks wading through the Great Lakes’ coastal wetlands to create a documentary called Waterlogged.
Anna O’Meara, a senior art history major at the University of Notre Dame, has been invited to present her paper, “Cinema against Cinema: Imagery in the Films of Guy Debord,” at the 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Research later this month. Her paper was selected from among more than 3,500 submissions.
Joseph S. Khalil, a Ph.D. student in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Theology, has won the 2011-12 Word & World Essay Prize for Doctoral Candidates. The prize is sponsored by Word & World: Theology for Christian Ministry, a quarterly journal published by Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minn. Khalil’s essay, “Qoheleth and the Overconfident Preacher,” will be published in the journal’s summer 2012 issue.
Mark A. Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, and his co-writer Carolyn Nystrom, a Chicago-based freelance writer, have won the 2012 John Pollock Award for Christian Biography for their book, Clouds of Witnesses: Christian Voices from Asia and Africa.
Notre Dame Associate Professor Alyssa Gillespie’s elegant translation of “Two Trees Desire to Come Together…” by Marina Tsvetaeva was recently awarded joint third place in the 2011 Joseph Brodsky–Stephen Spender Prize competition. This recognition comes just a few months after Gillespie, co-director of the University’s program in Russian and East European studies, won second prize in the 2011 Compass Awards, another international poetry translation contest.
Senior Nicole Shea’s love for psychology began in a pool. “In high school, I worked with children with disabilities by teaching them swim lessons,” Shea says, adding that her desire to find ways to help such children only intensified during her first psychology courses at the University of Notre Dame. “I was just drawn to it.” Shea started working in the Department of Psychology’s labs even before she declared her major, and she has already contributed to a published paper and conference poster.