“Music just really speaks to me. I feel like I'm at my happiest when I'm making music or thinking about music,” said Kola Owolabi, professor of organ at the University of Notre Dame. Owolabi is interested in a broad range of musical repertoire and enjoys finding works by less well-known composers. Recent recording projects include pieces by 20th-century African-English composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor, as well as a composition by 17th-century French composer Georg Muffat.
La Donna L. Forsgren is an associate professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre; concurrent faculty in the Gender Studies Program; and affiliated faculty in the Department of Africana Studies. Her latest book, Sistuhs in the Struggle: An Oral History of Black Arts Movement Theater and Performance, is the first oral history to fully explore the contributions of Black women intellectuals to the Black Arts Movement.
“There's no escaping metaphysics, but why would we want to? It's so interesting and so fun to pursue,” said Kris McDaniel, a Notre Dame professor of philosophy. His research focuses on existence and value — in particular, exploring the idea that there are different kinds of existence, a position that is contrary to most contemporary philosophical scholarship.
Dana Moss is an assistant professor of sociology at Notre Dame whose research interests include collective behavior and social movements, global and transnational sociology, international migration, and political sociology. She's currently working on a book project on the "Arab Spring abroad" — how Libyan, Yemeni, and Syrian communities, spread from as far away as Los Angeles to London, mobilized to support the Arab Spring revolutions that were happening in their home countries. She also developed a theory of transnational repression on how regimes constrain and pressure their diasporas.
Ulrich Lehner is the William K. Warren Professor of Theology at Notre Dame. Lehner’s work focuses on Christianity during the early modern period, around 1500 to 1800 A.D. He is currently exploring the daily life and culture of Catholics during this period, including how they worshipped and what they believed. He is particularly interested in questions that also apply to the Church today.
“I think being a lifelong learner is important, both in a career and in life,” said Chris Wilson ’85, senior partner at Stonehill Capital Management in New York. Wilson started at Notre Dame as an engineering major, but realized early on that it wasn’t a good fit for him. “I thought, ‘Somebody really needs to know the forces acting on that bridge and somebody really needs to know that really well, but it doesn't have to be me,” he said. Fortunately, he loved the elective courses he had been taking in government, so he switched majors.
Adriana Pratt ’12, head writer and a senior producer for Good Morning America on ABC, majored in political science and minored in the Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy. Multiple newspaper, magazine, and broadcast internships helped her land an assistant position at ABC News when she graduated, and she has been at that network ever since. Internships are the primary qualification she looks for when hiring — for the skills students gain from those experiences and the insight it gives them into working in broadcast TV.
Ian Johnson is the P.J. Moran Family Assistant Professor of Military History at the University of Notre Dame. His research themes include military, politics, science, technology, and medicine. In this video, he discusses his book project examining secret military cooperation between Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1920s and '30s, how the peace established after World War I fell apart, and how the peace after World War II resulted in modern institutions.
Christina Wolbrecht is professor of political science, director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy, and the C. Robert and Margaret Hanley Family Director of the Notre Dame Washington Program. She studies American politics, gender/women, political parties, and American political development. In this video, she discusses her definitive research on how women voted across the first 100 years since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.
English major Isabel Weber worked last summer as exhibitions development intern at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Duties included writing text for displays, cataloging artifacts, and collaborating with other developers and interns on exhibit installations. Career discernment is a critical aspect of internships for many students, and Weber’s experience was no exception. “I went into this summer knowing that I wanted to do museum work, not really sure what kind,” she said. “I've really fallen in love with exhibitions development.”
Therese Cory is the John and Jean Oesterle Associate Professor of Thomistic Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Her research focuses on 13th century philosophy and uncovering different ways of "modeling" the mind and its activities. “The project of understanding reality is not something that one person or one culture does by themselves,” she says. “But it's really a kind of joint project and that really gives us hope for seeing how these cultures which were often thought to be very much in conflict politically have this sort of fruitful intellectual exchange in the Middle Ages.”
Brennan O’Malley, an economics and film, television, and theatre major, interned at AMC Networks in New York City during the summer of 2019. She worked in the scheduling department, doing competitive research and helping the team develop each day’s programming schedule for the company’s networks, such as AMC, BBC America, and IFC. A grant from the Arts and Letters Summer Internship Program (ALSIP), administered by the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development, made it possible for O’Malley to cover living expenses and other costs during her internship.
What is the English major like at Notre Dame? "The English major prepares you go anywhere you want — anywhere the world calls you to go," said English major Matt Rusin. English majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as analysis, clear writing, critical thinking and empathy.
Mary Cecilia Mitsch ’10, director at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York, works with visual artists represented by the gallery to prepare their works for sale. Understanding and cultivating the emotional connection with the artworks is central to her role at the gallery. “To get to work with these objects that mean something bigger than us or are reflective of humanity is really important to me,” she said.
What is the theology major like at Notre Dame? “It's really a way to approach everything in life — yourself, your community, the world — through the lens of the Christian faith,” said theology major Sofia Carozza. Theology majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as abstract thinking, problem solving, empathy, and ethical judgment.
What is the history major like at Notre Dame? “History is more alive than I thought it was, in that history is still an ongoing argument.,” said history major Jarod Luedecker. History majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as analysis, interpretation, empathy, and critical thinking.
Notre Dame economist Taryn Dinkelman studies labor markets and human capital in developing countries, primarily in her native South Africa as well as Malawi and Chile. One current project uses South African household survey data to track the effects of newly-gained access to electricity. Dinkelman thinks that a key constraint for households is the capital to acquire large appliances that use the electricity.
Laura Miller-Graff is a Notre Dame assistant professor of psychology and peace studies and core faculty at the William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families. Her research interests include the developmental effects of exposure to violence in childhood, resiliency in children, and interventions for violence-exposed persons. In this video, she discusses how her research helps children and families thrive, even in the wake of considerable hardship.
Agustín Fuentes is the Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include the roles of creativity and imagination in human evolution, multispecies anthropology, evolutionary theory, and the structures of race and racism. In this video, he discusses why he studies the human brain in order to understand our past and imagine our future.
Braden Kimmel, an industrial design BFA student, interned this summer at Purposeful Design, an Indianapolis-based furniture company that trains and employs formerly homeless men. “There’s so much more experience you can gain from working with professionals in the field,” he said. Kimmel received funding through the Center for Career Development, which grants undergraduates up to $3,500 to cover living expenses during a qualified summer internship.
“If we want democracy to survive into the next century, then we really need to understand the conditions for that process,” said Aníbal Pérez Liñán, professor of political science and global affairs at the University of Notre Dame. Liñán studies the role of political institutions in the process of democratization, particularly in Latin America. His research finds that political leaders or parties are central to the success of a democracy, as opposed to the economic or structural conditions of a country.
In the College of Arts and Letters, students can ask meaningful questions and pursue their passions in a range of fields from anthropology to theology. Because the requirements are flexible, students can take classes across disciplines to find a major they love or synthesize ideas to create knowledge. In this video, students from a range of majors discuss why the possibilities in Arts and Letters are endless.
“If you are considering doing an internship for the summer, I would say absolutely go for it,” said Chaya Cassell, a Program of Liberal Studies and Chinese major in the College of Arts and Letters. Cassell interned at the Sagamore Institute, a public policy think tank based in downtown Indianapolis. Her main project was researching and writing a brief on the West African experience and transitional justice in Liberia. Notre Dame’s Meruelo Family Center for Career Development awarded Cassell a grant to support her during the internship, which “really made the summer a lot easier for me and encouraged me in pursuing all the things I want to do this summer with the internship,” she said.
What is the music major like at Notre Dame? “Music is not only something that is appealing to the ear. There is a very theoretical and systematic aspect,” said music major Kelvin Wu. Music majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as collaboration, musicianship, communication, and critical thinking.
Chloe Gibbs is an assistant professor of economics and faculty affiliate of Notre Dame's Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities. Her research interests include applied microeconomics, the economics of education, and labor economics. In this video, she discusses why a move to widespread full-day kindergartenten has actually widened achievement gaps among children, and why it's important to study why programs don't work the way they're intended, in order to inform policymakers and school leaders about what they should be doing.
Rory McVeigh is the Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor in Sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Social Movements at Notre Dame. His research interests include inequality, social movements, political sociology, and race and ethnicity. In this video, he discusses his research on the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s and the rise of Donald Trump nearly 100 years later, and why he studies the ways community shapes people's understanding of inequality.
What is the Program of Liberal Studies major like at Notre Dame? "We read the original texts that have shaped the way that the world has thought for the last 2,000 years," said PLS major Zach Huber. PLS majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as interpersonal communication, critical reading, thoughtful articulation of arguments, and problem-solving.
“By reading the Bible along with some of its earliest interpreters in antiquity, it's actually strange, unsettling, unsystematic. It's full of surprises,” said Nathan Eubank, associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. Eubank’s research centers on the Synoptic Gospels and the writings of Paul, particularly in light of ancient Biblical interpretation. He is currently writing a book on merit in early Christianity — the ability to gain salvation through good actions.
What is the design major like at Notre Dame? “If you're creative minded and like solving problems, I would say this is the perfect major for you,” said industrial design major Alexis Dorsey. Design majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as critical and analytical thinking, research, ideation and implementation, and visual literacy.
Congratulations to the Class of 2019! This video, screened at the Arts and Letters Diploma Ceremony, features several seniors reflecting on their time at Notre Dame and in the College of Arts and Letters.