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Year abroad helps Italian major develop language skills, discover senior thesis topic, and strengthen connection to family heritage

Author: Hailey Oppenlander

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

Gianna Van Heel’s time studying abroad while at Notre Dame was immersive and comprehensive — the nearly yearlong experience included coursework, research, an internship, and embracing the Italian way of life. She knew it was the best way to truly learn another language. Van Heel, who won the College of Arts and Letters’ Robert D. Nuner Award for the language major with the highest GPA, studied Dante during her time abroad and was captivated by his writing. 

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Majoring in neuroscience helps Arts and Letters student research concussions, study abroad, and land a job at a big consulting firm

Author: Hailey Oppenlander

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

When Joseph Weiler was 8, he sustained his first concussion — and he's wanted to study the complexities of the brain ever since. Now a neuroscience and behavior major in the College of Arts and Letters, Weiler's senior thesis oversaw the implementation of the Cogstate Cognigram — a test designed to track early cognitive symptoms of concussions — in Notre Dame’s Baraka Bouts women’s boxing competition for the last two years.

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Three Arts and Letters professors named ACLS fellows

Author: Amanda Skofstad

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

Two historians and one theologian are among 81 fellows named from more than 1,100 applicants in the 2019 award cycle. ACLS awardees are selected for excellence in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, and the fellowships support six to 12 months of full-time research and writing. Notre Dame winners include Yury P. Avvakumov, associate professor of theology; Katie Jarvis, assistant professor of history; and Emily Remus, assistant professor of history.

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American studies professor's research explores how U.S. Catholics' quest for holy heroes leads to tensions between national, religious identities

Author: Amanda Skofstad

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

In new research, Kathleen Sprows Cummings — University of Notre Dame associate professor of American studies and director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism — chronicles how canonization, or the intricate process of naming someone a saint, prompted a minority religious group to define, defend and celebrate its American identity. Her book, A Saint of Our Own: How the Quest for a Holy Hero Helped Catholics Become American, is the first study of multiple causes for canonization within a United States context. 

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Sheedy Award winner Ernesto Verdeja praised for commitment to peace and justice

Author: Carrie Gates

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

For his work in the classroom, Verdeja has been selected to receive the 2018 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award — the highest teaching honor in the College of Arts and Letters — which will be presented at a reception in his honor on May 7 at 3:30 p.m. in the McKenna Hall auditorium.

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Two Notre Dame faculty elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

Two faculty from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters — Declan Kiberd and Dianne Pinderhughes — have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers. They are among more than 200 members of the 239th AAAS class, which includes former first lady Michelle Obama, author Jonathan Franzen, gender theorist Judith Butler, former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, NPR host Michel Martin, and neuro-oncologist Robert B. Darnell.

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Arts and Letters graduates Jeremy Cappello Lee, Lily Falzon named 2019 Yenching Scholars

Author: Erin Blasko

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

Arts and Letters graduates Jeremy Cappello Lee and Lily Falzon, both members of the class of 2018, have been invited to study at the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing, China, as two of approximately 125 Yenching Scholars from across the globe. Established in 2014, the Yenching Academy offers a one-year master’s degree program for students with outstanding academic backgrounds and broad curiosity. The program pushes the study of China beyond the traditional boundaries of the humanities and social sciences.

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PLS major turns fascination with King Arthur into unique senior thesis — an original, illustrated book

Joan Becker, a senior majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies, has traveled to Germany, Belgium, France, and Wales to explore real-world places important to the Arthurian legends. Now, Becker is funneling her experiences abroad and in her PLS classes into a unique senior thesis — a handmade and hand-bound book about King Arthur, in the style of the first books printed in the late medieval era. 

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Film professor emeritus receives lifetime achievement award from Society for Cinema and Media Studies

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

Donald Crafton — a Notre Dame film, television, and theatre professor widely considered the pre-eminent scholar on early animation — received the Distinguished Career Achievement Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies last month. “Don Crafton’s work has set a high standard for historical scholarship and also has contributed vitally to the study of animation within our field,” said Heather Hendershot, an MIT professor of film and media, in her introduction of Crafton at the awards ceremony.

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Theology, studio art, and Irish studies come together in undergraduate’s creative research project on Ireland’s holy wells

Author: Hailey Oppenlander

Categories: Catholicism, Internationalism, Research, Undergraduate News, and General News

Junior Anja Renkes will bring her three academic disciplines together in an international research experience this summer at the Dublin Global Gateway in the Irish Internship Program. She plans to create paintings of Ireland’s holy wells — small springs with devotional significance — that capture the area’s landscape as pure gift from God.

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American studies professor awarded Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship to support work on Latinx murals of Pilsen

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

Chicago is home to hundreds of works of Latinx public art that are both captivating and politically provocative. But there’s no good place to go for comprehensive information on where they are, who made them, or how they reflect the Latino experience in Chicago. Jason Ruiz is changing that. Ruiz has been awarded a Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship to create a set of walking tours and digital tools to explore Pilsen — the changing neighborhood at the heart of Chicago’s Latinx community — through its vibrant, historic murals.

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Month spent living at Japanese temple with Zen monk inspires English and philosophy major’s senior thesis

Colin Rahill’s time at Notre Dame has been defined by learning from some of the world’s great thinkers — whether it be on paper or in a temple on the other side of the globe. An English and philosophy major whose senior thesis focuses on the works of Percy Shelley and Soren Kierkegaard, Rahill spent six weeks last summer in Japan, including a month living at the Shoganji Temple with a Zen monk, Jiho Kongo.

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For anthropology major Grace Garvey, exploring other disciplines is key to research success

Author: Hailey Oppenlander

Categories: Research and Undergraduate News

Grace Garvey’s academic curiosity isn’t confined to one subject area. Her interest in human migration manifests in all sorts of different disciplines. She’s an anthropology major who is working closely with an American studies professor on her senior thesis. For her capstone project in the Hesburgh Program in Public Service, she partnered with an economics major. And her coursework while studying abroad in Ireland focused on global perspectives on migration and archaeology. “The world isn't just one discipline — it's a nexus of all these different studies,” she said. “So a liberal arts education is more realistic to the type of knowledge that you need to have moving forward when you graduate.”

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English professor’s novel named finalist for PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, an assistant professor of English at Notre Dame, has been named a finalist for the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the country’s largest peer-juried prize for novels and short stories. The honor is for Van der Vliet Oloomi’s second novel, Call Me Zebra, which follows a young heroine as she leaves New York and retraces the path she took with her father from Iran to the United States. Literature is at the heart of the novel — the protagonist, Zebra, considers books central to her identity, has personal literary theories, and at times literally devours certain pages of books.

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The Good Class: How an innovative Notre Dame philosophy course gets undergrads excited about contemplating — and constructively debating — life’s big questions

Author: Carrie Gates

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

An innovative Notre Dame course, God and the Good Life, is not only transforming the way students are introduced to philosophy — it is changing their perspectives, trajectories, and lives. Nearly 1,200 students have enrolled in the course since philosophy professor Meghan Sullivan launched it two years ago, and for many, it has become a defining experience in their undergraduate education. It's also drawn an array of prominent guest speakers — including an upcoming appearance by Michael Schur, creator of the philosophy-focused NBC comedy The Good Place.

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Study finds breastfeeding may play a protective role for newborns whose mothers experienced prenatal violence

Author: Colleen Sharkey

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

How infants adjust in their first months of life depends on many factors, including what their mothers experienced while they are in utero — 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime, and that risk increases during pregnancy, but surprisingly few longitudinal studies have been conducted on the effects of IPV during pregnancy. William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families Assistant Professor of Psychology Laura Miller-Graff led a novel study examining the role of breastfeeding as a potential protective factor against detrimental outcomes for infants associated with IPV during pregnancy. 

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Video: Theologian Gerald McKenny on the ethics of biomedical technology

Author: Todd Boruff

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

Gerald McKenny is Walter Professor of Theology. His research interests include moral theology, Christian ethics, and biomedical technologies. In this video, he discusses his interests in how human beings respond to vulnerabilities and limitations, issues he studies as an ethicist and theologian, and why it's important for humanities scholars to be involved in questions of biotechnology.

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Women Lead 2019: Historian Elisabeth Köll paints intricate picture of China's economic systems

Author: Carrie Gates

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

Growing up in Germany, it wasn’t just unusual that Elisabeth Köll wanted to study Chinese. It was so rare for students at Bonn University to focus on it, there was even a term for it — an “orchid subject.” Nevertheless, Köll was fascinated by China, and her decision to spend two years as an undergraduate in a government exchange program at Fudan University in Shanghai deepened her interest in Chinese history — and launched her global career.

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Notre Dame psychologist elected chair of American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

David A. Smith, a Notre Dame professor of psychology, has been elected chair of the American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation. His term, which began in January, involves leading the 32-person commission, which is charged with the accrediting of nearly 1,200 doctoral, internship, and postdoctoral programs in clinical, counseling, and school psychology.

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Theology Ph.D. students to spend six weeks in Holy Land learning geography, history, and archaeology

Author: Brian Wallheimer

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

The Notre Dame Department of Theology is hosting an academic experience in the Holy Land this summer for graduate students in Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity and History of Christianity, adding a sense of place for those studying ancient scriptures. Abraham Winitzer, the Jordan H. Kapson Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, and Robin Jensen, the Patrick O’Brien Professor of Theology, will lead the trip for up to 10 students. They will spend four weeks at Notre Dame’s Jerusalem Global Gateway and Tantur Ecumenical Institute learning the geography and history of the Holy Land, then spend two weeks at a nearby archaeological site.

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Inspired by service experience, psychology major’s research aims to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Author: Hailey Oppenlander

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

For junior Alice Felker, it only took eight weeks for a service experience to turn into years of research and volunteer efforts for people with disabilities. The summer after her freshman year, Felker participated in the Summer Service Learning Program, an eight-week service opportunity within marginalized populations run by Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns. The following summer, the psychology and applied and computational mathematics and statistics major conducted a study to examine the daytime programs offered for people with disabilities.

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‘Ways of seeing and changing the world’: Gender Studies Program marks 30 years of rigorous, interdisciplinary study and a commitment to social justice

Author: Carrie Gates

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

Three decades after its founding, the Gender Studies Program is thriving, with more than 70 students currently pursuing gender studies majors, supplementary majors, and minors at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as more than 50 associated faculty across campus. Hundreds of students have found a home in the program over the years — including Sarah A. Mustillo ’96, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

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Notre Dame among top producers of Fulbright students and scholars

Author: Erin Blasko

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

The University of Notre Dame is among just 11 institutions to be named a top producer for both the Fulbright U.S. Student and Scholar programs for the 2018-19 academic year, a first for the University, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Of the 24 students to receive Fulbrights, 20 were College of Arts and Letters students and alumni. Arts and Letters alone produced more Fulbright student winners than Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Emory, and Duke.

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Lost voices of slaves, sung and spoken, to be featured during London panel  

Author: Joanna Byrne

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

On Feb. 14, Sophie White, associate professor of American studies at Notre Dame, together with a group of musicians, activists and academics, including the composer Odaline de la Martinez, will participate in a panel discussion at the London Global Gateway titled “Voices of the Enslaved: Tales of Love and Longing."

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Political scientist Guillermo Trejo continues push for transitional justice in Mexico

Trejo, an associate professor of political science and faculty fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, helped draft a major proposal for a truth commission that was presented to the federal government at a press conference in Mexico City on January 22. If implemented, the truth commission would investigate alleged human rights atrocities committed by the government or organized criminal groups during Mexico’s war on drugs between 2006 and 2018.

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Fewer unintended pregnancies contribute to all-time low U.S. fertility rate, new research says

Author: Colleen Sharkey

Categories: Faculty News, Research, and General News

The U.S. birth rate has been decreasing for the last decade, reaching a historic low in 2017. New research from a team of economists suggests that much of this decline is due to reductions in unintended births. Kasey Buckles, the Brian and Jeannelle Brady Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame, and her co-authors found that the number of births that were likely unintended has fallen 16 percent since 2007. This drop accounts for more than a third of the overall decline in births in the U.S. over that period, and is driven by declines in births to young women.

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Anthropologist’s exploration of migration, music, and poetics wins trio of book awards

Author: Brian Wallheimer

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

Notre Dame anthropologist Alex Chávez’s first book, Sounds of Crossing: Music, Migration, and the Aural Poetics of Huapango Arribeño, has certainly caught the eye of his peers. The in-depth look at Mexican migrants’ cultural expression through music has earned three prestigious awards in the fields of anthropology and ethnomusicology.​​​​​​Chávez’s work has earned the 2018 Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology Book Prize and 2018 Association for Latina and Latino Anthropologists Book Award, and now the Alan P. Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology. 

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Historian Paul Ocobock awarded American Historical Association prize for book on the role of age in Kenyan violence

Author: Carrie Gates

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

Kenya has been troubled by ethnic violence for many years, especially surrounding elections, and most histories of the country focus on the issue of ethnicity. But there is another factor that is just as important, Paul Ocobock argues — age. He was awarded the 2018 Morris D. Forkosch Prize for his exploration of the centrality of age and masculinity in the lives of young men in his book, An Uncertain Age: The Politics of Manhood in Kenya.

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