When she first arrived at the University of Notre Dame, Karen Stockley ’08 had no plan to major in economics and says graduate school wasn’t on her radar either. Today, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University and already has three years of professional research experience, an award-winning paper to her credit, and a bright future in healthcare economics. It was a Principles of Economics class during her very first semester, Stockley says, that sparked her interest in the field.
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Economics majors in the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters develop the analytical skills and social perspective needed to better understand complex economic forces at work in the world. They also hone the ability to express their ideas and insights both clearly and concisely. That’s exactly what Class of 2011 students Elizabeth Koerbel and Matthew Conti demonstrated in their senior theses, which won first and second place, respectively, in the University’s annual Bernoulli Awards competition.
By now, most people are aware of the environmental effects of air or water pollution; University of Notre Dame philosopher and scientist Kristin Shrader-Frechette has devoted herself to bringing to light a less known concern, the inequitable distribution of pollution’s human toll. “Polluters ‘target’ poor and minority communities to locate noxious facilities because they know that residents often are unable to defend themselves,” she says. For her efforts, Shrader-Frechette was recently awarded the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University’s Institute for Global Leadership.
Understanding the way the world works is important. But understanding the way you work is just as important, says Joshua Kaplan, director of undergraduate studies in Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science. And by majoring in political science, students come to know both.
Dan O’Brien ’99 has always considered himself an actor and now he is a successful professional. As a lead on the NBC sitcom Whitney, he can share his passion for performance with all of America. O’Brien says he did not major in theater at Notre Dame because he knew already that his passion was for acting and he was not particularly interested in the technical and behind-the-scenes work which the major entailed. Instead, he participated in the College of Arts and Letters’ Program of Liberal Studies and took as many acting classes as he could.
As a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, Anne Peterson focuses her research on ancient philosophy and metaphysics, especially on metaphysical issues in Aristotle. Her interest in these topics, she says, began as an undergraduate in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, where she majored in English and philosophy.
Elizabeth Simari ’08, crosses Saint Peter’s Square on the way to and from work, shops at the Vatican’s grocery store, and has even had the Pope drop by her office. “It’s an amazing experience,” says Simari, who majored in Italian and English at Notre Dame and now works for the weekly English edition of the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. “I feel blessed to have these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.”
David Murphy, former president and chief executive officer of Better World Books, a for-profit social venture initially created and spun out of the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed associate dean for entrepreneurship for the Colleges of Science and Engineering and director of Notre Dame’s Engineering, Science, and Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Masters program. Murphy graduated from Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1980
University of Notre Dame students were awarded 13 Fulbright grants for the 2011-12 academic year, placing the University among the top universities in the nation. Eleven of the 13 are from the College of Arts and Letters. The U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, Fulbright recently announced the complete list of colleges and universities that produced the most 2011-2012 U.S. Fulbright students.
Robert Sedlack, an associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Art, Art History and Design, recently won two American Graphic Design Awards for University-related projects. Graphic Design USA magazine honored Sedlack ’89 for his work on the Parallel Currents exhibition catalogue for the University’s Snite Museum of Art and for Words for Painting, an artist’s monograph showcasing the work of Notre Dame Assistant Professor Jason Lahr.
Notre Dame Department of History alumna Nicole Farmer Hurd ’92 was recently featured on NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams for her efforts to help disadvantaged high school students enter the world of higher education. Hurd is the founder and executive director of the National College Advising Corps (NCAC), a program that strives to increase the number and graduation rate of low-income, underrepresented, and first-generation college students. NCAC is housed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where Hurd also serves as a clinical assistant professor in the School of Education.
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame, has been elected to the board of directors of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), the non-partisan, non-profit organization that has sponsored and produced all U.S. presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988.
They won’t hear a drill sergeant shouting orders. They won’t crawl in the mud. And they won’t be scaling tall walls. At this boot camp, a select group of Notre Dame students in the College of Arts and Letters will instead learn to navigate the business world, analyze corporate data, and propose solutions to key management problems. Held in Chicago during spring break each year, the four-day Arts and Letters Business Boot Camp allows liberal arts students to meet and network with employers and successful Chicago-area alumni.
At 6 p.m. on the eve of the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, Pope Benedict XVI picked up his iPad and, with Thaddeus “TJ” Jones ’89 by his side, revolutionized Vatican media with the launch of News.va and the first Papal tweet. Jones, who majored in American Studies and Italian, is the project coordinator for News.va and worked with all of the various media sources, as well as the company that developed the portal, in order to create the site as it exists today.
A pair of documentaries by 2011 graduates of Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre are “cleaning up” on the film festival circuit.
As a student in Notre Dame’s Department of History, Colin Rich ’11 didn’t memorize the names and dates of significant World War I battles, and he can’t recite a list of every U.S. president and vice president. What he did learn as a history and economics major in the College of Arts and Letters was far more valuable: the ability to uncover how and why things happen, to speak persuasively, to write concisely, and to synthesize an array of sources in into a cogent argument.
Ted Robinson began honing his craft as a kid, sitting alone in front of a television with the sound off. There, with the door closed, he would announce ball games, imitating Marv Albert, a New York Knicks and Rangers broadcaster, and Lindsey Nelson, who did Mets games and a national replay show for Notre Dame football. Today, Robinson reaches much larger audiences as a two-time Emmy award-winning broadcaster of seven Summer and Winter Olympics, Wimbledon and French Open tennis, San Francisco 49ers football, and Major League Baseball.
Xavier Murphy, a 2011 University of Notre Dame graduate who was on campus this semester completing one course and working as an intern with the football program, died October 11 of complications from leukemia. Murphy resided in Zahm Hall at Notre Dame and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science.
Notre Dame students in a College of Arts and Letters course called Foundations of Business Thinking are the only class in the nation invited to participate in the inaugural gathering of ConvergeUS, a new nonprofit initiative dedicated to social innovation through technology. Chaired by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and TechNet CEO Rey Ramsey, the organization connects leading entrepreneurs, scholars, nonprofits, corporations, and technology experts in an attempt to find innovative solutions to pressing social problems.
Strong Bodies Fight, a film which chronicles the University of Notre Dame’s Bengal Bouts charity boxing tournament, was recently named Best Sports Documentary at the 2011 Action on Film International Film Festival in Pasadena, Calif., and won the Audience Choice Award from the Chicago United Film Festival. Produced by writer Mark Weber ’09 and director William Donaruma ’89, a professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, the film has been building a winning record at film festivals.
The Notre Dame Alumni Association recognized three Notre Dame graduates last week, including College of Arts and Letters alumni Haley Scott DeMaria ’95, and Rev. David Garcia ’74 M.T.S., ’84 M.S.A., and Mendoza College of Business Alumnus Lt. Cmdr. Robert L. Miller, Sr. ’42, ’47 J.D. USNR (Ret.).
Susan Blackwell Ramsey, a 2008 graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program, is the winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry for 2011. She will receive a $3,000 prize and publication of her manuscript, A Mind Like This, by the University of Nebraska Press.
Meet the Press. Steppenwolf Theatre Company. NBCUniversal. MTV. National Geographic. The Jimmy Kimmel Show. CNN. Entertainment One. NFL Films. Television stations from coast to coast. These are just some of the places where students in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT) intern as undergraduates, developing industry experience, making invaluable contacts, and getting exposure to a wide variety of career opportunities.
A graduate of Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies, Kelly Gleason ’98 was leading a team of maritime archeologists on a research expedition some 600 miles northwest of Honolulu when they discovered a gem of maritime—and literary—history: the resting place of a ship called the Two Brothers, which wrecked on a reef in 1823. The ill-fated Nantucket ship was captained by George Pollard Jr., whose earlier whaling vessel, the Essex, was rammed by a whale and sunk in 1820, inspiring author Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick.
University of Notre Dame government and peace studies alumnus Stephen Fuller ’92 was recently appointed commanding officer of the USS Nicholas, the ship that captured the Somali pirates in spring 2010.
Jason Laws is a man who writes his own story. When the job he wanted didn’t exist, he created it. Since receiving his political science degree from the University of Notre Dame in 2007, Laws has built a successful career in Chicago as a commercial choreographer, creative director and producer. He’s also carved a niche for himself creating flash mobs—a concept that wasn’t even invented until 2003.
At this summer’s Venice Biennale—often called the Olympics of the contemporary art world—the U.S. pavilion features a musical ATM, a treadmill atop an upside-down World War II tank, and gymnasts performing routines on airline seats. It was Notre Dame graduate David Hunt’s job to turn the unusual visions of Puerto Rico-based artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla into reality.
Stephanie Sluka Brauer ’97 helps house families in 18 countries as the resource development manager for Habitat for Humanity International’s Africa and Middle East regional office. Brauer, who majored in anthropology and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame, now lives and works in Pretoria, South Africa.
Sean Walsh, a graduate of Notre Dame’s departments of philosophy and mathematics, has been awarded a Kurt Gödel Research Prize Fellowship—one of the most prestigious honors in the field of logic.
The University of Notre Dame Alumni Association honored the achievements of seven distinguished graduates—including several from the College of Arts and Letters—during its annual Alumni Senate events last week.