Michael Feijoo loves finding ways his everyday life relates to big-picture questions. That’s one of the many reasons the junior finds value in majoring in theology and Arts and Letters pre-health. His combination of academic passions also brought him twice to Ecuador, where served with Timmy Global Health, a nonprofit organization that provides sustainable medical care to South American countries.
One week into her senior year, Natasha Reifenberg headed to an academic health conference in El Salvador, presenting a policy brief based in research she had been involved in for the last two years. An opportunity usually reserved for distinguished academics, the trip was just one of many highlights in an outstanding undergraduate career that includes internships at the Global Fund for Women and United Nations Development Program and independent research opportunities centered around women’s issues and rights. Reifenberg attributes her accomplishments to her education in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters — particularly her philosophy major.
Growing up in South Bend, Carly Murphy ’01 always admired Marc Chagall’s Le Grand Cirque when she saw it in the Snite Museum of Art at Notre Dame. This piece of art sparked a love of French culture in Murphy, who went on to major in French and art history in the College of Arts and Letters. Now vice president of global client development at Sotheby’s international art auction house, Murphy returned to campus last semester to speak to a gathering of students, reflecting on her Notre Dame education and offering advice on entering the art world.
With skills forged in the classroom, Arts and Letters students are well prepared to tackle new opportunities and gain valuable real-world experience through summer internships. The Arts and Letters Summer Internship Program makes these experiences possible by offering students funding to offset travel and cost-of-living expenses for internships in any industry or location. The program, administered by Notre Dame’s Center for Career Development, has awarded nearly $700,000 in funding since 2010 to support more than 300 students interning around the world.
Break can act as a time for restoration after a week of midterm exams. Or it can be a time to pursue learning opportunities outside the classroom. For some Arts and Letters students, the week free of classes is the perfect chance to dive into their senior thesis research. For others, it’s a chance to travel to attend a film festival in Chicago or a museum in Washington, D.C. “That’s why I’m in the College of Arts and Letters — I’m very interested in the humanities,” said Jahlecia Gregory, a sophomore Africana studies major who visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture during break. “This trip has inspired me to find other ways that I can learn about different subjects that aren’t exactly in my major, but that I’m still really curious about.”
From the capital of Uganda, to American Indian reservations, to museums across the country, Notre Dame students travel around the world to carry out academic projects with help from the College of Arts and Letters’ Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. With UROP’s financial support, students are able to engage in on-site research that can be used as the basis for a variety of independent projects, including a senior thesis. The experiences made possible through UROP not only lead to meaningful results, but also provide students with valuable life experiences they might not otherwise have.
Notre Dame senior Sarah Tomas Morgan has always had an interest in global issues. And the College of Arts and Letters has enabled her to explore that passion through her coursework and a variety of international and internship experiences. Coming into her first year, Tomas Morgan intended on majoring in political science. But after completing a University Seminar in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS), her plans changed.
The summer after his sophomore year, Notre Dame senior J.P. Bruno was packaging maple syrup, taking care of honeybees, and tending to an orchard on a biodynamic farm in Vermont. Three weeks later, he was sitting in the White House, interning for the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) as part of a semester in the Notre Dame Washington Program. These contrasting experiences provided Bruno, an economics and applied and computational mathematics and statistics (ACMS) major, with an assortment of skills that eventually led him to developing his senior thesis and receiving a job offer in economic consulting at the beginning of his senior year.