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Pandemic pivot: Political science Ph.D. candidate leads team of scholars and students studying whether border closures affected COVID-19’s spread 

Author: Beth Staples

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, Internationalism, Graduate Students, and General News

When the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly halted international travel, Mary Shiraef’s fieldwork plan to investigate the outcomes of communist-era border policies in Albania was postponed indefinitely. So she pivoted.The Notre Dame political science doctoral candidate decided to map pandemic-induced border closures around the world. Two years later, the project has been reported on in more than 40 news outlets, the data was peer-reviewed and published in the Nature Portfolio’s Scientific Data, Scientific Reports published the open-source results, and the National Library of Medicine posted the study. The international research collaboration is still active and continues to provide valuable skills-development opportunities for Notre Dame undergraduates.

 

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Three A&L Ph.D. students win Graduate School awards

Author: The Graduate School

Categories: Graduate Students and General News

Three College of Arts & Letters Ph.D. students have won major honors from The Graduate School at Notre Dame, including the Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Awards in the Humanities and the Social Sciences and the Social Justice Award. The award winners will be formally recognized for their achievements at the Graduate Commencement Ceremony to be held at Notre Dame Stadium on May 14.

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English and Africana studies alumna Geraldine Mukumbi named Knight-Hennessy Scholar

Author: Erin Blasko

Categories: National Fellowships, General News, and Alumni

Notre Dame alumna Geraldine Mukumbi has been named a 2022 Knight-Hennessy Scholar. She is Notre Dame’s second consecutive Knight-Hennessy Scholar and third in the past four years. An English and Africana studies major, she will now pursue a doctorate in curriculum studies and teacher education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. She is interested in interventions in the English classroom that can inspire students to be lifelong readers — particularly, the role that young adult fiction can play in improving the quality of literacy for multilingual students.

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A&L senior crafts her own story — blending German, studio art, and history into children’s book senior thesis project and pursuing career in costume design

Author: Indonesia Brown and Josh Weinhold

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, General News, and Arts

What do studio art, German, history, fairy tales, and subverting gender tropes have in common? Notre Dame undergraduate Naya Tadavarthy has used all of them in creating her senior thesis project. Tadavarthy’s wide range of academic interests have now culminated in a perfect ending — she’s writing and illustrating a children’s book about German author Gisela von Arnim, who was creating protofeminist fairytales as a teenager in the 1840s, at a time when the world lacked female-focused literary figures.

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Sociologist Anna Haskins testifies at National Academies session on intergenerational poverty

Author: Colleen Sharkey

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

Anna Haskins, the Andrew V. Tackes Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, was one of eight experts asked to testify at a public information-gathering session on policies and programs to reduce intergenerational poverty. The webinar, sponsored by the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, was centered on outcomes resulting from current child welfare and justice systems. Haskins is a former elementary school teacher, and much of her academic work focuses on the intersection of family and the educational and criminal justice systems and how these institutions preserve and mitigate social inequality. 

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Notre Dame scholar of Dead Sea Scrolls elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Research, General News, Faculty News, and Catholicism

Notre Dame theologian James VanderKam, a renowned scholar of the Dead Sea Scrolls, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers. VanderKam, the John A. O’Brien Professor Emeritus of Hebrew Scriptures in the Department of Theology, was among the 261 members in the newest AAAS class, which includes actor Glenn Close, novelist Salman Rushdie, painter Sam Gilliam, New York Times critic Wesley Morris, and mRNA technology pioneers Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman.

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How sociology, Spanish, and the liberal arts prepared Mikaela Ramsey for a career in education

Author: Indonesia Brown and Beth Staples

Categories: Undergraduate News and General News

Mikaela Ramsey has wanted to be an educator since she first set foot in a classroom at age 5. Since enrolling at Notre Dame, she’s been preparing for that career in the classroom. And far beyond. For Ramsey, now a senior, that preparation has included majoring in sociology and concentrating in Spanish. To gain additional knowledge, skills, and experience, she’s taken courses in the education, schooling, and society program and she was an Alliance for Catholic Education intern.

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A&L students Miguel Coste and Noelle Dana named Phi Beta Kappa Key into Public Service Scholars

Author: Erin Blasko

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, General News, and Centers and Institutes

The juniors, chosen from among nearly 900 applicants nationwide, are Notre Dame's second and third Phi Beta Kappa Key into Public Service Scholars. They'll each receive a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship. Miguel Coste is a neuroscience and behavior major in the College of Arts and Letters from Tampa, Florida. Noelle Dana is a classics and philosophy major, with a concentration in philosophy, science and mathematics, and a business economics and Hesburgh Program in Public Service minor from Hampden, Maine.

 

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Sheedy family’s leadership gift endows new program at intersection of business and liberal arts

Author: Dennis Brown

Categories: Undergraduate News, General News, and Alumni

University of Notre Dame alumnus Charles Sheedy and his wife, Ellen, have made a leadership gift to his alma mater to endow an innovative new program that will offer specialized coursework, programming and resources for undergraduate students interested in finding deeper meaning in the practice of business through the liberal arts. The Sheedy Family Program in Economy, Enterprise and Society will be open to College of Arts and Letters students with a minor in business economics or a Mendoza College of Business minor, or Mendoza majors who have a major, supplemental major, or minor in the College of Arts and Letters.

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Video: The French major at Notre Dame

Author: Todd Boruff

Categories: Undergraduate News, Internationalism, and General News

French majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as language proficiency, intercultural competence, critical thinking, and analysis. “Learning a language really expands your understanding of the world and the way that the world works together, but also gives you a skill that you'll be able to use in the future in almost any context," said Maria Teel. "French is such a beautiful language and so I really love learning it."

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For senior Josiah Broughton, majoring in FTT was the perfect way to prepare for a career in video game design

Author: Beth Staples

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, General News, and Arts

Josiah Broughton started off as a computer science major at Notre Dame, but the courses didn’t align with his interests or strengths. So he stepped back, re-evaluated, and chose to take a more creative route — majoring in film, television, and theatre. The classes, he said, are fascinating and fun and offer a more comprehensive perspective on the concepts involved in video game design, from story and structure to character and graphics. Now, his dream of being a game designer is a lot closer to reality now thanks to coursework on 3D digital production for animation and video games, creating film as social action, elements of computing, and scriptwriting.

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Anthropologist Cara Ocobock earns Human Biology Association’s Early Career Award for research, teaching, and service

Author: Beth Staples

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

Cara Ocobock, assistant professor of anthropology, received the Human Biology Association’s 2022 Michael A. Little Early Career Award for her significant contribution to the field of human biology and the promise of more. She is the second Notre Dame anthropologist to earn the award in the last two years, after associate professor Lee Gettler won it in 2020.

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Creative Writing Program director Joyelle McSweeney wins Guggenheim Fellowship

Author: Beth Staples

Categories: Research, General News, Faculty News, and Arts

Notre Dame Creative Writing Program director and poet Joyelle McSweeney has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in recognition of her creative ability in the arts and potential in future endeavors. McSweeney, who is also a playwright, novelist, translator, critic, and English professor, is in extremely good company — Margaret Atwood, James Baldwin, Ken Burns, Rachel Carson, and Zora Neale Hurston are previous fellows — and 19 Arts & Letters faculty have won Guggenheims in the last 22 years. “I’m still taking it in, to be honest,” she said. “It’s a spectacular show of confidence from the universe.”

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American studies professor receives NEH fellowship for book on Turkey, Iran, and the history of comparisons made between the two

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Research, Internationalism, General News, Faculty News, and Centers and Institutes

Perin Gürel, a Notre Dame associate professor of American studies, has won a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for Research in Turkey, in support of the completion of a book on the international history of comparisons made between Turkey and Iran. Her research will detail the history of comparisons made between Turkey and Iran, but Gürel also intends to critique the intellectual valorization of comparison itself. Sharp distinctions about areas of the world are often made, she said, despite the relatively arbitrary nature of borders between countries — not to mention the ways in which subjectively comparing one thing to another permeates other aspects of life.

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Notre Dame archaeologist wins fellowship for book on understudied region of ancient Greece

Author: Pat Milhizer

Categories: Research, Internationalism, General News, and Faculty News

Located in Albania between Greece and Italy, the Roman forum at Butrint has attracted Notre Dame archaeologist David Hernandez and others for nearly 20 years. They grab pickaxes, shovels and a water pump to reveal a town plaza and emerging technologies of the time that are well-preserved because they stayed submerged underwater for centuries. An associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Classics, Hernandez is now pouring his insight into a book about the Roman forum at Butrint. Supported by a Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship at Harvard University, which he was awarded this spring, the book will explore why Butrint is far more significant than scholars have previously recognized.

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Acclaimed historian, former A&L dean John McGreevy elected Notre Dame’s provost

Author: Dennis Brown

Categories: General News and Faculty News

John T. McGreevy, a distinguished historian and former dean of the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame, has been elected the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost of the University by its Board of Trustees, acting on the recommendation of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and informed by a search committee of elected and appointed faculty and students. “The Notre Dame community is fortunate to have in John a provost who is ideally suited for a position that is so central to our progress as the world’s leading Catholic university and among our nation’s most respected teaching and research institutions,” Board Chairman John J. Brennan said. “The search committee and Father Jenkins recommended to the Trustees a scholar and administrator with impeccable credentials, and we look forward to working closely with him in the years ahead.”

 

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Putting learning into practice: How Notre Dame laid the foundation for Gina Pérez ’90 to build community in Chile, earn a Ph.D. in anthropology, and inspire new generations of liberal arts students

Author: Sophia Lauber

Categories: Internationalism, General News, and Alumni

Now a cultural anthropologist and professor of comparative American studies at Oberlin College, Gina Pérez ’90 strives to foster that same love of ideas among her students that she discovered in the Program of Liberal Studies at Notre Dame, encouraging them to take fresh looks at topics people have contemplated for centuries. Driven by her faith, Pérez's has spent her post-Notre Dame career engaging with communities both in the U.S. and Latin America through service, activism, and research. “I believe that ideas and conversations can change the world for the better — because they lead to informed and thoughtful action and engagement with the world,” she said. 

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In memoriam: Joseph Blenkinsopp, John A. O'Brien Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: General News, Faculty News, and Catholicism

Joseph Blenkinsopp, the John A. O'Brien Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the University of Notre Dame, died March 26 in South Bend. He was 94. Although he retired from Notre Dame in 1999, he continued to pursue academic research until nearly the end of his life. His last book, Luke’s Jesus: Between Incarnation and Crucifixion, was published in October 2021. 

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English professor, recently elected to prestigious learned society, evolves perspectives on British Romantic literature through disability studies

Author: Beth Staples

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

Essaka Joshua, associate professor of English, has been elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, an international educational organization that promotes understanding of the human past.  She earned the accolade because of her expertise in myth and folklore, but her understanding of and appreciation for the human past has transformed and significantly deepened since her introduction to disability studies, which she’s researched for the past 20 years. The evolving discipline of disability studies centers the experiences of people with physical, psychological and/or psychiatric differences who, like other oppressed groups, are marginalized because of exclusionary social structures and prejudices. 

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Anthropology major embarks on effort to preserve and document her native Nigerian language, spoken by only 200,000 people

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Undergraduate News, Internationalism, General News, and Centers and Institutes

Godiya Simon came to Notre Dame needing to learn a language in order to be successful. Now, she’s headed to an elite graduate program in part because of her work to ensure another language never goes extinct. Simon didn’t know just how rare her native language of Kibaku was until a conversation one day with her linguistic anthropology professor — a realization that inspired her to create a cross-continental multimedia effort to preserve and document it. In the process, she’s written a senior thesis, created a children’s book, spent a summer in Hawaii learning research skills, presented at a conference, and developed a clear vision for her post-graduate goals. 

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Notre Dame historian wins NEH grant for project that seeks to disrupt understanding of why the Habsburg Empire crumbled

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Research, Internationalism, General News, Faculty News, and Centers and Institutes

John Deak, a Notre Dame associate professor of history, has won a collaborative research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for an ambitious research project that seeks to reshape perspectives on how and why the Habsburg Empire collapsed after World War I. Partnering with historian Jonathan Gumz of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, Deak’s three-year grant will support significant archival work across Europe as the scholars explore how the wartime imposition of martial law crushed local political authority and ultimately wiped a 600-year empire off the map.

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An unpredictable career, full of purpose: How Notre Dame helped Mary Agnes Laguatan ’85 find her place in the world through languages, service, and a global mindset

Author: Sophia Lauber

Categories: Internationalism, General News, Catholicism, and Alumni

A love of language led Mary Agnes “M.A.” Laguatan ’85 to Notre Dame. Four years later, that interest had blossomed into a curiosity about the rest of the world — and a calling to live out her values in the service of others. Now an executive with the global office of Ronald McDonald House Charities, Laguatan’s time at Notre Dame allowed her to discover her place and purpose in the world, one defined by helping others and offering dignity to those in need at home and abroad.

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Video: The Arabic major at Notre Dame

Author: Todd Boruff

Categories: Undergraduate News, Internationalism, and General News

Arabic majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as language proficiency, intercultural competence, critical thinking, and analysis. "In addition to just the language requirement, you're also getting a feel for the culture, the literature classes on the modern Middle East, and Middle Eastern politics," said Natalie Armbruster. "You will be amazed how quickly you really do learn this."

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With grants from NSF and Templeton Foundation, Notre Dame professor explores symmetry in philosophy, physics

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

With support from two major research grants, Notre Dame associate professor of philosophy Nicholas Teh has been exploring new ideas in symmetry for philosophy and physics. The project is the latest in Teh’s efforts to pursue research at the intersection of science, philosophy, and mathematics. He’s particularly interested in applying philosophical principles to the work of scientists and engineers, offering conclusions and insights that can help them improve their understanding of the foundations of their research. 

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New anthology of Irish poetry offers ‘underground perspective’ on history and culture of Ireland

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Research, Internationalism, General News, and Faculty News

For centuries, the official history of Ireland was held in British archives, and the unfiltered Irish perspective was lost — except in its poetry and folk songs. For that reason, among others, poetry holds a higher status in Irish culture than in many other countries, said Brian Ó Conchubhair, an associate professor of Irish language and literature. Ó Conchubhair and co-editor Samuel Fisher are bringing that history to a wider audience on St. Patrick's Day in the most comprehensive collection of Irish poetry to date, Bone and Marrow/Cnámh agus Smior: An Anthology of Irish Poetry from Medieval to Modern.

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Women Lead 2022: Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi and stories that shape identity

Author: Beth Staples

Categories: Research, Internationalism, General News, Faculty News, and Arts

On the pages of her novels, Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi creates female characters who insist on being themselves. That’s something the award-winning writer and Notre Dame faculty member knows quite a bit about. Growing up in Iran — a country where laws restricted her mobility because of her gender — she loved marching by herself through a deep eucalyptus forest to go to the beach on the Caspian Sea. “I have a very adventurous spirit,” said Van der Vliet Oloomi, an associate professor of English and the MFA in Creative Writing Program. “I write female characters who are equally themselves. They insist on being who they are in the world.”

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How Notre Dame’s musical theatre program helps students build skills, develop confidence, and inspire conversations 

Author: Todd Boruff

Categories: Undergraduate News, General News, and Arts

Whether you are a performer, a creative person, or just a fan, Notre Dame’s musical theatre minor gives students the opportunity to perform, direct, compose, and create theatrical works in a collaborative, hands-on program. While many undergraduates come to the minor wanting to pursue a career in theatre, most of the students have other career plans. The program will help them grow in a variety of ways, Hawkins said, including in risk-taking, developing an aggressive curiosity, and “just walking a little bit taller when you walk out of class.”

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Theology professor’s research provides new insights on divine mercy and divine vengeance in the Qur’an

Author: Josh Stowe

Categories: Research, General News, Faculty News, and Centers and Institutes

In his latest published work, Gabriel Said Reynolds explores the paradox of divine mercy and divine vengeance—a puzzle with which scholars have long wrestled. The project, Allah: God in the Qur’an, (Yale University Press, 2020), enabled him to engage with the Bible, the Qur’an, and Muslim-Christian relations in ways that reach both fellow scholars and a broader audience. “It's an engaged reading of a text from a curious outsider who brings to the table some knowledge of the biblical subtext of the Qur’an,” said Reynolds, the Jerome J. Crowley and Rosaleen G. Crowley Professor of Theology. “I’m not the first to notice this, obviously—it’s a big issue in the Bible as well—but it comes to the fore in the Qur’an.”

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Notre Dame among top producers of Fulbright Program students for eighth straight year

Author: Erin Blasko

Categories: Undergraduate News, National Fellowships, Internationalism, General News, and Alumni

The University of Notre Dame is among the top producers of Fulbright Program students for the eighth consecutive year, according to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which administers the Fulbright Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. Among research institutions, the University finished second with 26 Fulbright recipients for the 2021-22 academic year, tied with Georgetown and Harvard and ahead of Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, and Yale.

Among Notre Dame's 26 recipients were 20 Arts & Letters undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni — meaning the College of Arts & Letters produced more Fulbright winners than Penn, the University of Chicago, Michigan, Northwestern, New York University, Johns Hopkins, MIT, and Duke.

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Progress via people, products, and ideas: Notre Dame professor brings concepts from designing breakthrough medical tech into the classroom

Author: Pat Milhizer

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, General News, Faculty News, and Arts

James Rudolph’s creative exercises can be measured in movement — from surgical robots making precise actions while replacing knees and hips to a handheld device that determines whether cancer treatment is working without breaking the skin. In his work, the Notre Dame assistant professor of industrial design is focused on discovering important problems in order to create a better future, a mindset he maintains in the classroom, where his students are designing everything from marketable products to physical environments to artistic experiences.

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