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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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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Holly Levin-Aspenson discusses why it's important to improve how psychologists describe and measure mental health problems and what makes Notre Dame's Ph.D. in psychology program distinctive.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame has received multiple funding awards totaling nearly $750,000 to continue its work reducing poverty and improving lives through evidence-based programs and policies.
The transformative gift will help the center expand its work forming and mentoring Notre Dame students, engaging in interdisciplinary programming and research, and promoting a culture of life worldwide through teaching, exchange, and service.
Three University of Notre Dame faculty members — Rebecca Tinio McKenna, Sarah McKibben, and Vincent Phillip Muñoz — have been offered fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities in the 2018 award cycle. With 65 total awards, scholars in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have received more NEH fellowships any other private university in the United States since 1999.
In the past three years alone, Notre Dame student Mary Elsa Henrichs’ passions for theatre, English literature, and German have converged in many memorable ways. She’s attended performances of Hamlet in Berlin. She’s worked as a research assistant to two German professors, helping to bring book projects to publication. And she’s spending next semester studying in Heidelberg, Germany, where she hopes to secure a theatre internship. The arts, she said, are a through line between her majors in German and English.
Senior Mary Ninneman has been to Thailand, Greece, and Washington, D.C., studying the causes and effects of human trafficking — and those experiences inspired her to further study the issue in the place she knows best. A history and political science major, Army ROTC cadet, and member of the Glynn Family Honors Program, Ninneman’s four years of academic, internship, and international experiences have culminated in a senior thesis analyzing how the issue she’s most passionate about impacts her home state of Nebraska.
Homelessness in the U.S. is a persistent and complex problem. Each year more than 2.3 million people experience homelessness, 7.4 million people live “doubled up” with friends or family for economic reasons, and many more are on the brink of homelessness. A new study conducted by researchers at the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities shows that emergency financial assistance for people facing homelessness not only reduces shelter entry, but also reduces criminal behavior.
For Christopher Chowrimootoo, there’s nothing unusual about a musicologist teaching in the Great Books program. That’s because, like his research, the Program of Liberal Studies is fundamentally interdisciplinary. He primarily tries to bring music into wider conversations about the “middlebrow” in literature, film studies, and cultural history. This originally pejorative term implied cultural aspiration, using “highbrow” art to achieve a higher social and aesthetic status.
Zhiyong Zhang, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology, has been awarded the 2018 Cattell Early Career Research Award from the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology.
Assistant professor Kim Rollings’ research examines how built and natural environments impact mental and physical health. In collaboration with Nancy Wells, professor of design and environmental analysis at Cornell University, she recently developed an assessment tool that scores elementary school cafeteria environments, suggesting improvements that promote healthier eating.
Sophia Bevacqua ’17, an art history major now serving a five-year fellowship at the Vatican Museums, works with seven laboratories dedicated to preserving and restoring the site’s vast collections. She works with the laboratories to determine which works of art will be restored, which methods will be used to do the work, and how much each project will cost. She then works to match upcoming restoration projects with benefaction from the museums’ pool of approximately 2,400 donors.
The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures has added expertise in modern Spanish and Italian culture and literature this year with two new faculty hires — Pedro Aguilera-Mellado and Charles Leavitt IV. Aguilera-Mellado, who comes to Notre Dame from the University of Michigan, focuses on modern and contemporary Spain. Leavitt, who received a Ph.D. from Notre Dame in 2010, returns to the University after teaching Italian studies at the University of Reading.
Christian Smith, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology at Notre Dame, has won the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion’s 2018 Distinguished Book Award. The honor, conferred upon the most outstanding book published by an SSSR member in the past two years, lauded the “impressive accomplishment” of Smith’s Religion: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters. Smith’s book aims to help the social sciences better understand and explain religion by building an innovative theory of religion that builds on developments in science, theory, and philosophy.