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.