Imagine bringing the magic of a Disney theme park to the Notre Dame campus. Students in Scott Shim’s Collaborative Product Development course recently took on that challenge—with great success. A team of four students from that class has made the finals of the Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition, earning an all-expenses-paid trip to Walt Disney Imagineering—the creative force behind the Disney parks, resorts, and attractions—in Glendale, California, this week.
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Beginning Monday (Jan. 16), the University of Notre Dame will host a series of events to mark both Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Walk the Walk Week. The observances celebrate the diversity that currently exists on the University’s campus and offer an opportunity to reflect on how each member of the campus community can take an active role in making the University more welcoming and inclusive.
A Notre Dame undergraduate and a master’s degree student have been awarded the Dante Society of America’s two top student essay awards. Dale Lobo ’16, a science pre-professional major and theology minor, won the Dante Prize for best undergraduate essay related to the life or works of the renowned Italian poet. Thomas Graff, who received his master’s in Italian studies at Notre Dame this spring, won the Charles Hall Grandgent Award for best essay on Dante by a graduate student.
A unique collaboration between the Notre Dame Children’s Choir and a Sacred Music at Notre Dame graduate student aims to invigorate ancient pieces of music and make them more accessible and enjoyable for modern audiences. Released by the Dynamic Catholic Institute, O Emmanuel is already attracting attention, debuting this week at No. 1 on Billboard’s traditional classical albums chart and No. 3 on the classical albums chart. A review in Catholic World Report described it as “the best jazz infusion into contemporary Christmas music since Charlie Brown’s Christmas.”
Policy research by Reyes Ruiz González, a graduate student in economics and Ph.D. fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, was recently published by Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, a leading public policy think tank that promotes economic opportunity, prosperity, and peace. The case study, coauthored by Arturo Ramírez Verdugo, analyzes successful subnational approaches to reducing violence related to drug trafficking and organized crime that spiked in two of Mexico’s northernmost states in 2009–11.
César Soto wants to know how the spark of political revolution can transform religious concepts of community and inclusion. To better understand the issue, he’s turning to the literature of England, Ireland, and Mexico in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Soto, a Ph.D. candidate in Notre Dame’s Department of English with a graduate minor in Irish studies, has been awarded a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship for 2016-17 to support his project.
Graduate students Filippo Gianferrari and Adriana Monica Solomon have been awarded Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships to delve deeper into the lives and impact of two intellectual archetypes—Dante and Isaac Newton, respectively. Gianferrari, a Ph.D. candidate in the Medieval Institute, is investigating the Latin authors who may have influenced Dante. And Solomon, a philosophy Ph.D. candidate in the History and Philosophy of Science Program at the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, is shining a light on Newton’s lesser-known contributions to philosophy and science.
The University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters has launched two rigorous new doctoral programs in Italian and Spanish designed to train world-class literary scholars in the languages and literatures of Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, and Latin America. As the first new graduate degrees formed since the creation of the College’s innovative 5+1 Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, the curriculum and structure has been designed to incentivize and facilitate timely degree completion.
From investigating the lives of medieval Islamic scholars to studying 15th-century manuscripts from the confessors of Burgundy, history graduate students at Notre Dame are traveling the world to conduct original research. Six Ph.D. students in the Department of History have been awarded 2016-17 research grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program.
the London Global Gateway hosted the fourth annual Global Dome Exchange Program, an intensive seminar designed to accelerate dissertation progress and build international networks of young scholars in the humanities. The program facilitated conversations between 15 graduate students and 18 guest faculty—with diverse interests spanning literature and history—from the University of Notre Dame, University of Oxford, King’s College London, and University of Edinburgh.
With a growing need for skilled data scientists, the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with AT&T, has announced its new online master of science degree with a specialization in data science. Offered by the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics, with the collaboration of the Department of Psychology, the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and the Mendoza College of Business, this degree program will prepare graduates for careers as data scientists in a wide range of industry fields fields including management, marketing, information technology, government policy, health care, finance, education and scientific research.
The University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters has launched a new, guaranteed postdoctoral fellowship that will incentivize timely dissertation completion and prepare graduate students to launch their careers. Funded in part by a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the 5+1 Postdoctoral Fellowship Program guarantees that students who finish their dissertations and complete degree requirements within five years of enrollment will receive a one-year postdoctoral fellowship. This fully funded transitional year will provide an ideal opportunity for new Ph.D.s to prepare for an increasingly competitive job market by furthering their research, expanding their teaching portfolio, or exploring career opportunities outside the academy.
Thomas E. Burman, an esteemed scholar of medieval Christianity and Islam, has been named the Robert Conway Director of the University of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute. Burman, currently a professor of history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will begin his new role in January 2017.
Seven students in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have been awarded graduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for 2016. Another six have been recognized with honorable mentions. The NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) honors and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and social science disciplines. The award provides a stipend, tuition support, and research funds for three years.
Twenty-four Notre Dame students who study in the College of Arts and Letters have received 2016-17 grants from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, offering students grants to conduct research, study, and teach abroad. The total number of finalists from Arts and Letters alone surpasses the previous University-wide Fulbright record of 17, set last year. In all, 30 Notre Dame students were named Fulbright finalists for 2016-17.
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.
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.