Project Hopeful, a documentary 2012 University of Notre Dame graduates Grace Johnson and Kelsie Kiley made for a course in the Department of Film, Television and Theater (FTT), is about a new kind of modern family: one where an Illinois couple with seven biological children doubles the size of its family by adopting orphans with HIV/AIDS and special needs.
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Dr. Bob Arnot ’70 has worked as an Olympic physician, served on the boards of Save the Children and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, worked as the chief medical correspondent for NBC and CBS News, covered most major humanitarian disasters, served as MSNBC’s chief foreign correspondent in Iraq and Afghanistan, and written a dozen best-selling books on health and nutrition. As host of the television show Dr. Danger, he navigates treacherous assignments in Somalia, Sudan, and other global hotspots. Arnot also spends four months a year on humanitarian projects in Africa and the Middle East, and just completed a PBS documentary on starving children. His passions, he says, took root in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
Of the many lessons Kathleen Blatz ’76 took from Notre Dame, the one she says mattered most was not learned in a specific class or from a certain professor. Rather, it was the entirety of her educational experience—from studying abroad in Rome to diving into art history to exploring anthropology—that broadened her perspective on life and helped shape her own path.
Two essays published in Notre Dame Magazine last year have been named to the “Notable Essays of 2011” in this year’s collection of The Best American Essays, edited by David Brooks and Robert Atwan. Both essays were written by graduates of the University’s College of Arts and Letters.
As a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff in Washington, D.C., Matthew Walsh ’06 conducts policy research, makes policy recommendations on Africa and development strategy, and contributes to speeches for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “One of our jobs is to provide the Secretary of State with second opinions on policy issues,” says Walsh, who majored in political science and peace studies at Notre Dame. “It’s an exciting job that goes to the heart of almost every foreign policy debate and can have a real influence on policy.”
As an undergraduate economics major in the College of Arts and Letters, Bill Kennedy ’90 took an Asian history class to fulfill one of his academic requirements. That class, he says, is part of the reason he is now a top portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments in London. “I fell in love with international business because I’d taken government requirements and then a fascinating Asian history class,” he says. “My professor got me really excited about the opportunities in Asia. My career grew right out of my Arts and Letters degree; I became fascinated with things that are now relevant to my career and what I do every day.”
Christopher Porter, who recently completed the joint Ph.D. in logic and foundations of mathematics at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship.
Plenty of American office workers have used a Keurig coffee maker for a boost by now, and they can thank a Domer for the ubiquitous caffeine machine. Chris Stevens ’74 is one of the original four co-founders of Keurig Premium Coffee Systems. Launched in 1998, the company is now the largest seller of coffee brewers in America. Stevens, who majored in economics, is the vice president of corporate relations for Keurig.
James Bullard, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and a prominent contributor to U.S. monetary policy, will share his perspective on the state of the economy in a September 20 speech at the University of Notre Dame’s Washington Hall. Titled “U.S. Monetary Policy in the Aftermath of the Great Recession,” Bullard’s talk is the inaugural event in a speaker series designed to show students how economics can be applied to a broad range of fields.
As a documentary filmmaker, a faculty member in College of Arts and Letters’ Department of Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT), and a producer for Fighting Irish Digital Media, Ted Mandell ’86 quite literally sheds light on the University of Notre Dame’s traditions of social justice and student athletics. What unites his approach to these roles, says Mandell, is a commitment to show the human side of every story—and help his students learn to do the same.
Mothers aren’t the only ones who are biologically adapted to respond to children. New research from the University of Notre Dame shows that dads who sleep near their children experience a drop in testosterone. Previous research from humans and other species suggests this decrease might make men more responsive to their children’s needs and help them focus on the demands of parenthood. In a recent study, Notre Dame Anthropologist Lee Gettler shows that close sleep proximity between fathers and their children (on the same sleeping surface) results in lower testosterone compared to fathers who sleep alone.
While working as a national sales planner at Univision Television Group in 2009, Melissa Fisher ’07 began to feel restless. She wasn’t sure what direction to take next but knew she had to think more about what she wanted to do with her life, even if that meant taking a leap into the unknown. And so that’s exactly what she did: She quit her job and bought a one-way ticket to Cambodia. “I wanted to challenge myself and live in a developing country where I didn’t know the language,” says the former political science and Spanish double major. “I felt like I needed to do something challenging, to grow up and be on my own.”
Timothy Fuerst, one of the most-cited economists in the world, is joining the University of Notre Dame this fall as William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Professor of Economics. Fuerst’s appointment is the “crown jewel” in a series of recent hires that will bring even greater depth and diversity to the rapidly growing Department of Economics, says Chair Richard Jensen, the Gilbert F. Schaefer Professor of Economics.
Like many other veterans, Michael Zacchea ’90 returned from service in the Iraq War after an injury and struggled at times to readjust to life outside of the military. Now, the English and classics major is helping other disabled American troops on the same return journey to civilian life.
With her graduate thesis project, University of Notre Dame alumna Charlotte Lux, M.F.A. ’11, set out to redesign a stressful diagnostic procedure women who might have breast cancer undergo in the hopes of making it less traumatic. The resulting design has earned Lux recognition in the 2012 Core77 Design Awards, where she was named student winner in the strategy and research category.
Anne García-Romero, an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, has been accepted to the prestigious Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference this summer. One of just eight playwrights selected out of nearly 1,000 applicants, García-Romero will spend the month of July at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut, working with acclaimed theatre professionals to workshop her play Provenance. Also among the honorees is Notre Dame English alumna Theresa Rebeck ’80, an award-winning playwright and creator of the television show Smash.
Moneyball. True Grit. The Social Network. Black Swan. If you watched a trailer for any of these movies, then you’ve seen the work of Notre Dame alumnus Scott Mitsui ’92. A communications and theatre major, Mitsui has spent the past 12 years as producer and vice president of operations at Mark Woollen & Associates in Santa Monica, Calif., a company responsible for some of the most noteworthy and award-winning film trailers in Hollywood.
Notre Dame Magazine, the University’s quarterly alumni publication, received five medals in the annual Circle of Excellence awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), including the silver medal in general excellence and three awards in CASE’s Best Articles of the Year: Higher Education category. All three were written by alumni of the College of Arts and Letters.
Matthew V. Storin, former editor of The Boston Globe and former associate vice president for news and information at the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed chief communications executive for the University, according to Louis M. Nanni, vice president for University Relations. A graduate of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, Storin will begin serving in the newly created position July 8.
He will oversee all central communications, including public relations, marketing, public information, issues management, executive communications, Notre Dame Magazine, internal communications, multimedia services, Web and print design and development, copywriting, social media, and strategic communications planning.
Jim Cavnar ’67 originally came to Notre Dame intending to get a degree in physics but his life has been less about studying forces than becoming one for good. The theology alumnus is a founder and president of Florida-based Cross International Inc. and Cross Catholic Outreach Inc., two Christian relief and development charities founded in 2001 to help the poorest of the poor worldwide. He has worked in Catholic and ecumenical ministries for 45 years and won this year’s Rev. Louis J. Putz, C.S.C. Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association and Notre Dame Senior Alumni.
Carly Anderson, a recent graduate of University of Notre Dame, has been named one of 15 winners of the 2012 Gilder Lehrman History Scholar Award. The new award recognizes outstanding graduating college seniors from across the country who have demonstrated academic and extracurricular excellence in American history or American studies.
In the first study to measure the temporary impact of highly skilled immigrants on native populations, University of Notre Dame economist Abigail Wozniak and Fairfield University’s Thomas J. Murray—a former Notre Dame graduate student—found that when highly skilled immigrants move to a city or town, the U.S. natives in that area who are also highly skilled tend to move away. However, the study found that the same immigrant group’s presence decreases the chances that low-skilled natives would leave.
While working for the U.S. Department of Justice in Baghdad, Luke McLaurin B.A. ’03 M.A. ’04 found himself returning to the same ancient texts he read while studying philosophy and Italian at Notre Dame. “It was just a nice way to escape for me,” McLaurin says. “Reading Plato’s The Republic was interesting, thinking about issues of justice and how societies should be set up when you are living in a time when there’s a lot of upheaval around you.” He worked in the midst of Iraq’s upheaval for 14 months, acting as a legal advisor for judges, police, attorneys, and law students as they worked to improve their criminal justice system.
Jessica Scanlan Bailey ’01 is the sustainable development program officer for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in New York, where she focuses on climate change. Her position involves allocating funds for research, advocacy, communications, and other efforts to organizations focused on advancing clean energy policies at the state and federal level. Bailey graduated from Notre Dame with degrees in government and anthropology and a minor in peace studies.
During his time at Notre Dame, Tom Hampson ’71, ’73 M.A., thought he would become a photographer, a mathematician, or a marine biologist. He never expected to be able to turn his passion for social justice—or his two College of Arts and Letters degrees in theology—into a career. But that is exactly what he has done during nearly 30 years at Church World Service, a career that has taken the Elkhart, Ind., resident to more than two dozen countries around the world.
College of Arts and Letters alumnus and current Notre Dame law student Colin Littlefield’s late-night job at the Notre Dame Observatory has led to a one-in-a-billion discovery of a rare type of star—a Wolf-Rayet. Littlefield ’11 discovered the exceptional star, named WR 142b, this past summer, and he and his colleagues announced the discovery in a paper accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal.
Literature courses are practices in close reading, but one class at Occidental College is equally an exercise in active listening. Taught by James Ford III, who will join the Occidental faculty this fall as an assistant professor of English and comparative literature studies, the course explores the aesthetic and philosophical evolution of the music genre known as hip hop.
On one of his six journeys to Antarctica as part of a team seeking to unravel mysteries of the universe, Michael Zernick ’83 brought along a University of Notre Dame flag. “I am proud to have graduated from Notre Dame,” he says, adding that “the University even has influence all the way to the South Pole.”
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.”