Each summer and school year, a dimly lit computer lab in the basement of Jenkins-Nanovic Hall on Notre Dame’s campus hums with the activity of undergraduate interns working to find solutions to complex, poverty-related issues. As an intern for the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, Emily Merola ’20 helped collect data for the Catholic Charities Fort Worth's Stay the Course project and Padua program. “It was really great to be close to the actual operations of the provider and know that each data point is a person,” Merola said. “I think everybody knows, but sometimes you need that salient reminder.”
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Francie Shaft has discovered intersections between her theology and Japanese majors through her classes and research — both on campus and in Japan. Those opportunities would not have been possible, she said, without the support she found at Notre Dame. “Notre Dame wants you to start pursuing what you’re passionate about, even as a freshman. If I didn’t have these people who have believed in me from the start, I don’t think I would be as creative and as bold in the sorts of experiences I want to have.”
The Homeless Prevention Call Center for the City of Chicago, currently run by Catholic Charities of Chicago, has helped thousands of families stay off the streets. Knowing funding for public programs is never guaranteed, it wanted to prove its method was cost effective and impactful. In 2012, it approached Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) for assistance. Could LEO researchers measure the call center’s effectiveness rather than volume?
Political science major Oneile Baitlotli spent most of her junior year planning the summer research project abroad she needed to earn a minor in International Development Studies: a study of how to help low-income families in her native Botswana gain access to affordable early childhood education. But in March, the coronavirus largely suspended overseas travel and closed international borders. And Baitlotli and nearly a dozen other juniors in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies’ IDS program were forced to abandon their original capstone projects. With help from their faculty advisors and the Kellogg Institute, they developed new research projects they could do virtually within a matter of weeks.
The John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values has announced new leadership for two key programs — Vania Smith-Oka, an associate professor of anthropology, and Amy Hixon, an associate professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences. Smith-Oka will serve as the inaugural director of the center’s Medicine and the Liberal Arts program, and Hixon has been named director of the GLOBES graduate certificate program.
Sociologist Erin McDonnell and psychologist Nathan Rose have received National Science Foundation Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards for 2020. They are among nine University of Notre Dame faculty members to receive the awards this year. “This is the most prestigious award granted by the NSF to early-career faculty and reflects the quality of Erin McDonnell’s and Nathan Rose’s research,” said Sarah Mustillo, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “I am thrilled that they are continuing the College’s strong record of success with these awards.”
Teaching English at Oakland High in the late 1990s, Ernest Morrell faced the age-old problem of how to get modern students interested in a canon of long-dead writers and poets. So he and a colleague decided to introduce elements of pop culture such as rap songs into their classrooms as a way to engage the students with topics that kids know and care about. Over the years, Morrell, who now directs the Notre Dame Center for Literacy Education and is a professor of English and Africana studies, has focused his research and teaching around the idea that young students can be trusted to do complex academic work — if the topic is compelling to them and they got the right training.
The Notre Dame Dublin Global Gateway and the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason have launched a new, four-part international series to celebrate the first anniversary of the canonization of St. John Henry Newman — theologian, poet, convert and founder of the Catholic University of Ireland. “Thinking with Newman: Educating with Intention Today” will explore Newman’s seminal work, “The Idea of a University,” and its contemporary relevance to educational challenges faced today during the coronavirus crisis. The series launches on Oct. 7, and registration is required.
Over the last three years, the Notre Dame International Security Center has added faculty and postdoctoral fellows, expanded its undergraduate and graduate programs, and become a thought leader on issues surrounding national security and innovative approaches to U.S. grand strategy. The center is now continuing to build on that success with $7.66 million in new grants, which will support naming Jim Webb, a former U.S. senator from Virginia and secretary of the Navy, as NDISC's inaugural distinguished fellow; creating a pre-doctoral fellowship program and expanding the current post-doctoral fellows program.
Ernest Morrell, a professor of Africana studies and English, the Coyle Professor in Literacy Education, and director of the Center for Literacy Education at the University of Notre Dame, has collaborated with fellow subject experts to create the first capstone course on the African diaspora for AP Seminar high school teachers and students.
A small but growing number of tenure-track faculty have roots in Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), a program of the Division of Student Affairs at Notre Dame that provides access to opportunities and resources for historically underrepresented students to thrive at Notre Dame and beyond. “Because of MSPS, I was lucky enough to have professors that took an interest in me and pointed me in the right direction to come to the idea that graduate school was something that I could do,” said Camille Suarez, a 2013 Arts & Letters graduate.
Senior Sam Cannova’s affinity for problem solving has driven him to pursue a diverse range of experiences at Notre Dame. It has inspired him to dive deep into classic texts, volunteer for a nonprofit in the South Bend community, and travel to South Africa to conduct research on hip-hop culture. He entered Notre Dame intending to major in business but was inspired to try out some Program of Liberal Studies classes after hearing about the experiences of other students in the program.
The Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS) has selected 17 University of Notre Dame students — including 14 from the College of Arts and Letters — for its NDIAS Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program. The 2020-2021 fellowship class will serve as research assistants for NDIAS faculty and Ph.D. fellows, who are focusing on the theme The Nature of Trust.
A recent study by University of Notre Dame economists Kasey Buckles, William Evans, and Ethan Lieber — all affiliated with Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) — found that greater exposure to the opioid crisis increases the chance that a child’s mother or father is absent from the household and increases the likelihood that he or she lives in a household headed by a grandparent.
Dominique Vargas discusses how the body works as a metaphor in contemporary American literature and why it is important to question the global politics and economic institutions that dominate, regulate, and sometimes criminalize the body as commodity, labor, and threat.
Paul Ocobock, a Notre Dame associate professor of history, has received a fellowship from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to study the complex economic and cultural connections between coffee lovers and the men, women, and children who grow the beans in places like Kenya. The New Directions Fellowship will support Ocobock’s research of key forces in the history of international trade for his book Imperial Blend: Kenyan Coffee and Capitalism in the Era of Anglo-American Empire, and to develop new courses on global economic history.
Theodore J. Cachey Jr., a professor of Italian and the Albert J. and Helen M. Ravarino Family Director of Dante and Italian Studies, has been invited to sit on the scientific committee for the 2021 Dante centenary, organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture. He is the sole representative of Dante studies outside of Italy to participate in the deliberations of the planning committee.
Inspired by Pope Francis's observation that Christians "cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life," the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture will host a webinar discussion on racism and the culture of life on July 28 at 8:00 p.m. (EDT).
Denis Robichaud, an associate professor in the Program of Liberal Studies, has been awarded the I Tatti Jean-François Malle Residential Fellowship for his project, Controversies over God and Being in the Italian Renaissance: religion, philosophy, and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s De ente et uno. As one of 15 recipients awarded an I Tatti residential fellowship, Robichaud will spend a year researching and writing at I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy.
The University of Notre Dame in partnership with IBM today launched a collaboration that will address the myriad ethical concerns raised by the use of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and quantum computing, to address society’s most pressing problems. Funded by a 10-year, $20 million IBM commitment, the new Notre Dame-IBM Tech Ethics Lab will conduct applied research and promote models for the ethical application of technology within the tech sector, business and government.
Mark McKenna, the John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law and director of the Law School’s Program on Intellectual Property and Technology Law, has been named the founding director of the University of Notre Dame’s Technology Ethics Center. ND-TEC was formed as a result of interest and leadership from Sarah Mustillo, dean of the College of Arts and Letters, and Provost Thomas G. Burish.
Buttigieg will work on two research projects at the NDIAS: one that explores how to restore trust in political institutions and another that considers the forces distinctively shaping the 2020s.
The Kylemore Abbey Global Centre, along with six partners from across the University of Notre Dame campus, has launched the Kylemore Book Club, an open, multimedia, educational enrichment program featuring Notre Dame’s expert faculty. The debut program, “Literature and Film in Lockdown,” is led by Professor of English and the Donald R. Keough Family Professor of Irish Studies Barry McCrea.
Twenty-six University of Notre Dame students and alumni — including 20 from the College of Arts and Letters — have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to teach or study abroad during the 2020-21 academic year. Notre Dame has been a top producer of Fulbright students for six consecutive years.
At Notre Dame, senior Emily Pohl found a passion for social change — and put it into action. An international economics major with a concentration in French, Pohl worked to combat the cycle of poverty by researching and implementing microfinance initiatives. She is graduating with a portfolio of real-world research experiences, a published journal article, and a position at LEK Consulting in Chicago. And it was her Arts and Letters education that empowered her to take action.
Seniors Kendrick Peterson and Andrew Jarocki are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they brought their perspectives together for research they hope will make an impact on the South Bend community. The pair chose to team up for their Hesburgh Program in Public Service capstone project — searching for a solution to reducing recidivism that Democrats and Republicans can agree on.
What Karen Graubart didn’t find in archives in Spain and Peru was, in some ways, as valuable as what she did. An associate professor in the Department of History, Graubart has spent more than 15 years conducting archival research on women and non-dominant communities in the Iberian Empire for her first two books. But she is also considering how the archives themselves have shaped her research — by questioning who is represented in them and why.
What does palm oil — cheap, easy to produce, and endlessly versatile — explain about state-building in a region wracked by violence? Plenty, according to Ph.D. candidate Camilo Nieto-Matiz, a comparative political scientist who studies how states increase their capacity in subnational peripheries, poor areas with little state presence, in times of conflict. In other words, he examines how governments undertake fundamental tasks like providing security, collecting taxes, and building schools and roads — all of which are necessary for development, democracy, and political order.
Katie Jarvis, an associate professor in the Department of History, has been awarded the Louis A. Gottschalk Prize from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies for her work, Politics in the Marketplace: Work, Gender, and Citizenship in Revolutionary France. The book is the first study of the Parisian market women — the Dames des Halles — during the French Revolution and explores how the Dames’ political activism and economic activities shaped the nature of nascent democracy and capitalism through daily commerce.
In a world with more than 70 million displaced persons, the average refugee will spend more than 17 years displaced, with many settling long-term in refugee camps dependent on humanitarian aid. The continued prevalence and growth of protracted refugee camps has become unsustainable for host states and insufficient for refugees, who have the right to dignified and productive lives. In 2019, the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) commissioned Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology and Pulte Institute for Global Development to help them understand the personal, economic, and social complexities that may affect refugee and host community self-sufficiency.