Driven by a commitment to Catholic social teaching and a strong belief that a liberal arts education can transform lives, Notre Dame and Holy Cross College faculty are teaching college-level courses for inmates at Indiana's Westville Correctional Facility. Since 2013, nearly 100 inmates have earned college credit and 11 have earned associate degrees as of this month. But developing a strong foundation in reading, writing, research, public speaking, and critical thinking offers benefits that go far beyond the professional opportunities a degree might one day provide.
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Notre Dame sociology graduate students are getting a rare inside look at the academic publishing process—and valuable experience that will give them an edge in their own research and careers. The students serve as assistant and coordinating editors of the American Sociological Review (ASR)—the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association (ASA)—under the direction of Professor Omar Lizardo, Professor Rory McVeigh, and Professor Sarah Mustillo.
Kara Donnelly wants to know why you read what you read. Many people pick up a book because they heard it was great, either from a friend or through the media. But how did they know? Who is it that makes the decisions about which books are worth our time?Donnelly, a post-doctoral fellow in Notre Dame’s Department of English who completed her Ph.D. in 2015, has researched British literature from the 1950s to the present trying to find answers to those questions. Her scholarship has focused largely on the Man Booker Prize, which recognizes excellence in fiction writing published in Britain.
The young people of war-torn northern Colombia want their homes and their lifestyle back. Displaced from their villages by guerilla and paramilitary groups, they have spent the last 10 years in urban centers—making them prime targets for recruitment by those same criminal enterprises. But rather than falling prey to a violent cause, they’ve founded a successful peace-building movement. Notre Dame Ph.D. student Angela Lederach ’07 wants to know why. She’s spent the last two summers living in Cartagena, Colombia, researching the Peaceful Movement of the Alta Montaña, and plans to return in August for at least a year to continue researching the organization for her dissertation.
Take the skills liberal arts majors already have — analysis, communication, creative collaboration, critical thinking. Now add intensive training in business and entrepreneurship. That’s a recipe for success, according to College of Arts and Letters alumni who have gone on to Notre Dame’s Engineering, Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Master’s program (ESTEEM). The 11-month professional master’s degree program has primarily trained students with STEM backgrounds in business and entrepreneurship to spur the launch of startup companies. It is now also actively recruiting Arts and Letters majors.
Nine University of Notre Dame graduate students will compete for prize money and a bid to the regional championships during the Three Minute Thesis competition on March 16. Known as 3MT, the competition features graduate students across all disciplines explaining their research in clear and succinct language appropriate for an audience of specialists and non-specialists alike, all within three minutes. The three finalists from the College of Arts and Letters are Ph.D. candidates Tony Cunningham and Caroline Hornburg from psychology, and Laura Bland from the history and philosophy of science program.
Inspired by her extensive research on a 10th-century German empress, Ph.D. candidate Megan Welton set her sights early on a scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which provides funding for American students to study in Germany. Her patience and planning paid off recently, when she was awarded the scholarship to study for a year in Essen. “My success in winning a DAAD fellowship is directly linked with the immense support that I have received as a part of the Medieval Institute and as part of the wider Notre Dame community,” she said.
Two psychology Ph.D. students and one History of Philosophy and Science graduate program student were named finalists in the College of Arts and Letters Three Minute Thesis (3MT) preliminary competition from a pool of seven competitors. Laura Bland (history and philosophy of science), Tony Cunningham (psychology), and Caroline Hornburg (psychology) advanced to the finals of the competition, hosted by The Graduate School, where they will go up against finalists from the College of Engineering and the College of Science.
Fourteen University of Notre Dame students have been awarded Fulbright grants in the 2015-16 program, placing the University among the top-producing universities in the nation. The Fulbright program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. It awards a one-year postgraduate fellowship for research, study or teaching English abroad. During their fellowship, scholars will work, live and learn in their host country.
While working at a childhood bereavement center after college, Amy K. Nuttall Ph.D. ’15 saw firsthand how resilient kids can be. She was inspired to research parentification, or the act of children assuming adult caretaking roles in their families, in her graduate work in developmental psychology at Notre Dame. She now continues to explore the issue at Michigan State University, where she landed a position as an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and directs the Family Stress Lab.
Michael Hartney, who earned his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Notre Dame in 2014, has won the American Political Science Association’s Harold D. Lasswell Award—given annually to the best dissertation in the field of public policy. Hartney, whose research focuses on how politics shape educational opportunity, also won the Notre Dame’s Shaheen Award for the best graduate student in the social sciences.
Two Notre Dame graduate students have won fellowships from Humanities WIthout Walls, a consortium funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that aims to support collaborative research and scholarship across the humanities. Michael Skaggs, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in history, and Courtney Smotherman, a student in the Ph.D. in Literature program, were among a cohort of 30 predoctoral fellows selected by HWW, based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They will attend three weeks of summer workshops designed to encourage doctoral students to explore careers both inside and outside the academy.
When University of Notre Dame graduate student Chris Dant takes a picture, he expects to come away with more than just a photograph. The third-year MFA student wants you to relate to and learn more about whatever you’re looking at. Be it an old Naval armory, or a group of skateboarders in South Bend. Dant’s ability to find those connections earned him a recent commission from the South Bend Museum of Art to document Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects across the state. His project, titled “WPA in Indiana,” was featured at the museum throughout December and January and commemorates Indiana’s bicentennial in 2016.
The Graduate School will host Three Minute Thesis (3MT) this spring, a competition showcasing graduate student research. Qualifying heats begin in late February and will culminate in a Final on March 16 (Wednesday) with a first prize of $1,000. 3MT will be a venue for graduate students from various disciplines to interact with one another and discuss their research and its implications. Additionally, the competition provides an opportunity for undergraduates, alumni, industry partners, various on-campus departments and institutions, and the community to be exposed to the high-level, cutting-edge research being performed at the University of Notre Dame.
The key to improving human memory, Notre Dame psychology graduate student Andrea Kalchik believes, is understanding the circumstances that cause us to forget. “Everyday forgetting is something that impacts everyone to some extent,” she said. “My research has the potential to help improve all people’s lives. I hope that I can make that difference.” Kalchik, a Presidential University Fellow pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Psychology’s Cognition, Brain, and Behavior Area, is focusing her research on brain processes—metamemory, episodic future thinking, and prospective memory—that are essential components of human brain function.
Kevin Phaup, who is pursuing a master’s degree in industrial design, went to Nepal last summer to conduct research for his thesis project—designing stronger, safer, cost-effective temporary shelters for refugees and victims of natural disasters. While there, he worked with Hope for Nepal, an organization co-founded by Assistant Professor Ann-Marie Conrado, to construct temporary shelters, permanent homes, and schools after an April 2015 earthquake that killed more than 8,000 people and displaced more than 3 million.
How should a concerned mother discuss issues of diet and weight with her daughter? Very carefully, according to Erin Hillard, a developmental psychology doctoral student at the University of Notre Dame. In an article recently published in the journal Body Image, Hillard and her colleagues reported on results from their study of a representative group of sixth- through eighth-grade girls and their mothers.
The Notre Dame International Security Center has received a five-year, $3.5 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation to further develop and expand its role as a forum for broader scholarship on U.S. foreign policy. The grant builds on the significant and wide-ranging support the center has received since it was founded seven years ago—including two grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to research how American scholars can contribute to the formation of U.S. national security policy.
For married couples, the odds aren’t good when one partner has anxiety or depression. The presence of such a mental issue significantly increases the risk that the couple will get divorced. Notre Dame psychology Ph.D. student Judith Biesen wants to find a way to improve the outcomes for those couples. With an American Dream grant from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Biesen is completing a longitudinal study of mental health—specifically, anxiety disorders and depression—and how it relates to marital functioning and satisfaction with the relationship.
A new interdisciplinary fellowship program launched by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives will train graduate students in state-of-the-art quantitative methods, allowing them to examine the impact of educational policies, programs, and practices. Beginning in fall 2016, the Rev. James A. Burns Fellowship is open to prospective students applying to Ph.D. programs in economics, political science, psychology, and sociology who plan to pursue educational research.
Three medievalist scholars presented a range of papers on medieval women and religious writings during the Holy Water and Saintly Ink seminar at the London Global Gateway on Nov. 24. Leanne MacDonald and Marjorie Harrington, doctoral students from the College of Arts and Letters and graduate fellows at the London Global Gateway, organized the seminar, while Hetta Howes of the Queen Mary University of London School of English and Drama was also invited to talk.
The projects took them them to Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and England. The research offers new insights into the Renaissance, Protestantism, immigrant religiousness, monks, and begging practices. Eight graduate students from Notre Dame’s Department of History received competitive fellowships or grants in support of their research—awards including a Rome Prize, a Fulbright, and Louisville Institute, Newcombe, and Schallek fellowships.
Two years and nine months. That’s how long it took Army Maj. Carl Wojtaszek to complete his Ph.D. in Notre Dame’s Department of Economics—a little more than half the typical time. An assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point since 2008, Wojtaszek received a prestigious, yet finite, award from the Army—full funding to pursue his advanced degree, but a three-year time limit to complete it.
Fifteen Notre Dame students who studied in the College of Arts and Letters have received grants from the Fulbright program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. A total of 18 students were named Fulbright finalists—the most grantees the University has ever had in the program.
Under the leadership of Ian Kuijt, director of graduate studies, seven first-year Ph.D. students encountered a curriculum focused on integrative anthropology—studying approaches and methods across a range of subfields. Next year, the program will add six students, who chose Notre Dame over several other elite institutions.
Stefanie Israel, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology, has been awarded a Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship to support her comparative ethnography of four “pacified” favelas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Earlier this year, she was awarded a Fulbright Study-Research Grant for the same project. The funding will allow Israel to spend all of 2016 conducting research in Rio. She will observe urban reform efforts in favela communities at a key point in time: before, during, and after the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, which have been a focus of protests sweeping across Brazil.
Sarah Edmands Martin, a third-year graduate student in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, received the Walter Beardsley Award from the Snite Museum of Art for her thesis installation The Princess & The Beast. Charles Loving, director of the Snite Museum, presented the award during the opening reception for the 2015 Thesis Exhibition on April 10.
Douglas Duhaime, Ph.D. student in Notre Dame’s Department of English, is busy expanding the possibilities of humanities research in the digital realm. Very busy. While embarking upon a dissertation project that will use computational models to improve our understanding of early modern book culture, Duhaime has also taken a position with ProQuest, a global information content and technology company, to develop a text and data mining service for researchers.
“Women religious have tended to get pigeonholed in certain way, that either they were only praying the monastic hours or maybe just caring for their own, pastorally speaking, but they were doing much more than that,” said Katie Bugyis, a Ph.D. candidate in medieval studies through the University of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute.
Stefanie Israel, a Ph.D. student in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology and Ph.D. fellow in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, has been awarded a nine-month Fulbright Study-Research Grant. The prestigious funding, to begin in March 2016, will allow her to complete dissertation research in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she is conducting a comparative ethnography of four “pacified” favelas.