Carrie Sweeney ’03 has spent much of her career learning on the job in fast-paced, high-tech environments. As she has risen through the ranks of companies like Google and Pinterest, Sweeney has drawn on the strong foundation she built as a Program of Liberal Studies major at Notre Dame. “Spending those four precious years on campus doing something that you can’t do any other time — shaping your worldview, your ethos by engaging with great texts — that’s just irreplaceable,” Sweeney said. “You can go learn about balance sheets afterward, whether that’s on the job or by getting an MBA. But there’s never going to be a time in life when you can really grapple with foundational ideas as effectively as you can while you’re at Notre Dame.”
Michelle Gaseor ’11 doesn’t meet many other history majors in the tech world. But in her career, which has taken her from educational publishing and user experience design to the forefront of conversational artificial intelligence, she continually builds upon the foundation she established in the College of Arts and Letters.
By the time Conor Hanney ’14 sat down to start his senior thesis for his film, television, and theatre major, he knew exactly what he wanted to do for a living — write for live-action TV targeting the kids and family demographic. And within 16 months of graduation, that’s exactly what he started doing. Hanney, a writer, lyricist, and composer for Netflix, works on various family programming, including the live-action comedy series The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia, The Healing Powers of Dude, and Prince of Peoria. He is currently working on the upcoming Kenny Ortega musical series Julie and The Phantoms.
A neuroscience and behavior major, Giglia traveled to Ireland four separate times as an undergraduate — once for a semester at University College Dublin through the Dublin Global Gateway, and three times for Summer Language Abroad programs at Oideas Gael in County Donegal. After graduation, she was awarded a Naughton Fellowship to complete a master’s degree in neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin. She now works as a research assistant in the neurology department at Trinity, focusing on motor neuron disease.
Before Beth Gee ’10 studied abroad in Tokyo during her junior year, the Japanese and political science major had never left the United States. Now, as a U.S. foreign service officer, Gee travels for a living. She is currently working at the American Embassy in the Republic of the Congo — where she employs the language, communication, and critical thinking skills she cultivated as a student in Arts and Letters.
Before leaving for a Summer Language Abroad program in St. Petersburg, Russia, after her junior year, Kristen Stone ’11 had never been outside North America. After graduation, she spent seven years living and working abroad in Russia and South Africa. Her Arts and Letters education prepared her for a career in education, journalism, and now consulting.
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.
Growing up in southern California, Jennifer Sharron Richardson ’01 knew she wanted to go into the entertainment industry. But she had no idea she would one day be co-executive producing an award-winning late night talk show like Jimmy Kimmel Live!. It took a Notre Dame liberal arts education, a passion for softball, and a little luck to get her there.
Taking a traditional path never much interested Mark Winkler ’11. He knew he wanted to go to medical school, but he sought something beyond a strictly science-based course of study. He says his majors in economics and Arts and Letters pre-health led to him to where he is now — a graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine and a resident physician in radiology and biomedical imaging at the University of California, San Francisco.
Christine Swanson ’94 has written and directed multiple award-winning films. Her husband, Michael Swanson ’93, is an Emmy-winning producer and studio executive who has worked on hit Universal Television shows. The married Department of Film, Television, and Theatre alumni also make movies together through their Los Angeles-based production company, Faith Filmworks. Grounded in their Notre Dame liberal arts education and inspired by their deep Christian faith, the Swansons use their skills to tell the type of uplifting stories they feel are missing from big Hollywood studios.
Mark Schurr, professor and acting chair of Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology, is dedicated to research that doesn’t just serve academic ends, but can also do good for the world. At his latest research site — the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie near Joliet, Illinois — he is exploring what life was like for 17th-century Native Americans and working to determine how to best restore the area to a natural environment that allows visitors to enjoy and learn from the land.
As an orthopedic resident at Loyola University Medical Center, Daniel Schmitt ’11 sees a wide variety of patients. Schmitt, who majored in anthropology and biology, relies on his liberal arts education to connect with his diverse patient base and treat them comprehensively at the Level I trauma center — a hospital providing the highest level of surgery to trauma victims.
Evelyn Diaz’s career has taken her to the top of Chicago’s governmental, social service, and nonprofit sectors. And at every stop along the way, Diaz ’92 has relied on skills she cultivated as an English major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
For his entire academic career, Sean Reardon ’86 has sought to use his passions — the humanities and quantitative research — to make a difference in the field of education. One of the nation’s leading experts on educational inequality, Reardon researches how opportunities and outcomes vary in the United States for students of different racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic backgrounds. Reardon’s path to his current position, Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education at Stanford University, is long and sprawling. It includes stops on a South Dakota Indian Reservation, a New Jersey Quaker school, and further academic work at Harvard and Penn State — but it all began at Notre Dame.
Libby Hasse ’08 always knew she wanted to join the Peace Corps. She just didn’t realize what an impact it would have on her career. The experience still resonates today in her work as an attorney at the Tahirih Justice Center — a national nonprofit that provides pro bono legal services to immigrant women.
The decisions Dr. James Gajewski ’78 makes are often ones of life and death. Over the course of his nearly 35-year medical career, the Portland, Oregon-based hematologist has specialized in stem cell and bone marrow transplants and cancer treatment, where anywhere from 30 to 70 percent of his patients may die. When he’s faced with difficult decisions, though, he relies not on his medical training, but on his College of Arts Letters education.