From philosophy to musical theatre to economics, Arts and Letters faculty are using technological innovations — as well as creativity, patience, and empathy — to continue the educational experience for their students as the University shifts to online classes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The sudden shift has prompted adaptation in the face of adversity — from defending a dissertation via Zoom meeting to posting and analyzing behind-the-scenes clips of rehearsal for a musical that won't be performed — but it has also already helped faculty and students forge new bonds with each other.
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In a letter today to the Class of 2020, University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., announced that the University Commencement Ceremony on May 17 will be held online rather than in Notre Dame Stadium, and that an on-campus celebration has been scheduled for the spring of 2021. Father Jenkins made the decision after discussions with experts on infectious diseases, University deans, and student government and class officers as he continued to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus.
English major Isabel Weber worked last summer as exhibitions development intern at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Duties included writing text for displays, cataloging artifacts, and collaborating with other developers and interns on exhibit installations. Career discernment is a critical aspect of internships for many students, and Weber’s experience was no exception. “I went into this summer knowing that I wanted to do museum work, not really sure what kind,” she said. “I've really fallen in love with exhibitions development.”
When neuroscience and behavior major Revell Cozzi decided to add a minor in philosophy, religion, and literature (PRL), she was driven by more than just an academic interest. Cozzi felt the minor provided her with a piece of herself she’d been missing in college life. “One of Notre Dame’s application essays asked us what Father Basil Moreau’s quote, ‘Education is the art of helping young people to completeness,’ meant to us,” the senior said. “I feel like having that interdisciplinary aspect is the best way to bring people to completeness."
The University of Notre Dame is launching a bachelor of arts in computer science major, offering undergraduate students the opportunity to obtain rigorous training in the rapidly advancing areas where computer science intersects with the arts, humanities, or social sciences. Housed in the College of Arts and Letters, the program will involve significant coursework in the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering while offering enough flexibility for students to enroll in an Arts and Letters program — a major, supplementary major, minor, or 15-credit hour course sequence of their own design.
A neuroscience and behavior major, Giglia traveled to Ireland four separate times as an undergraduate — once for a semester at University College Dublin through the Dublin Global Gateway, and three times for Summer Language Abroad programs at Oideas Gael in County Donegal. After graduation, she was awarded a Naughton Fellowship to complete a master’s degree in neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin. She now works as a research assistant in the neurology department at Trinity, focusing on motor neuron disease.
University of Notre Dame alumna Ashley Zhou will study medical science at the University of Cambridge this fall as a member of the Gates Cambridge Scholar class of 2020. Zhou is a 2019 Notre Dame graduate from Gaithersburg, Maryland. She received a bachelor of arts degree in neuroscience and behavior and minored in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Notre Dame was 23rd among all research institutions with 15 Fulbright students for the current academic year, according to results published Monday (Feb. 10) in The Chronicle of Higher Education. In applying for the award, student winners worked closely with the Graduate School’s Office of Grants and Fellowships or the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE).
Brennan O’Malley, an economics and film, television, and theatre major, interned at AMC Networks in New York City during the summer of 2019. She worked in the scheduling department, doing competitive research and helping the team develop each day’s programming schedule for the company’s networks, such as AMC, BBC America, and IFC. A grant from the Arts and Letters Summer Internship Program (ALSIP), administered by the Meruelo Family Center for Career Development, made it possible for O’Malley to cover living expenses and other costs during her internship.
What is the English major like at Notre Dame? "The English major prepares you go anywhere you want — anywhere the world calls you to go," said English major Matt Rusin. English majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as analysis, clear writing, critical thinking and empathy.
More than 20 million people were killed and another 20 million or more were injured in World War I, but it’s difficult for Americans today to wrap their minds around just how catastrophic the conflict was. The last survivors have died, the war wasn’t fought on American soil, and it ended more than a century ago. But a group of Notre Dame students now has more than numbers, texts, or photos to help them understand the devastation. As part of their Great War and Modern Memory class — an interdisciplinary course designed and team-taught by Robert Norton, a professor of German, and John Deak, an associate professor of history — they traveled to Europe to visit battlefields and World War I memorials along the western front.
When summer comes, Notre Dame students travel around the world — to build their language and cultural skills, undertake independent research, and explore career options — growing intellectually and emotionally along the way. With funding from a wide range of sources, three Arts and Letters students spent last summer researching racism in Paris, interning at the U.S. Embassy in Benin, and speaking Swahili on the streets of Tanzania. Deadlines for applications for summer research, internship, and language immersion funding are fast approaching, with some due at the end of January.
Junior Aaron Benavides is pursuing faith through service, building community through writing and design, and understanding where in the world he stands through the study of politics and theology. Through all of those activities, on campus and abroad, he is further exploring his heritage — and contemplating its significance.
Tim Morton joined the College of Arts and Letters faculty last spring as director of the collaborative innovation minor and associate professor of the practice in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design. The minor, which centers on the principles of design thinking as an approach to solving real-world problems, draws students with a wide variety of majors from across the University — with more than 65 students taking the introductory Design Matters course last semester alone.
Brooke Guenther's research trip — six days at the London Metropolitan Archives, transcribing files from 60 facial reconstruction surgeries performed during and after World War I — was the first to be funded by a grant through the new Medicine and the Liberal Arts program at Notre Dame’s Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values. Guenther is studying Sir Harold Gillies, the father of modern-day plastic surgery, exploring the relationship between patients and the surgeon and studying societal reaction to survivors of wounded veterans who underwent plastic surgery.
Four students in Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters will study abroad next semester as Gilman Scholars, all through Notre Dame International.
What is the theology major like at Notre Dame? “It's really a way to approach everything in life — yourself, your community, the world — through the lens of the Christian faith,” said theology major Sofia Carozza. Theology majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as abstract thinking, problem solving, empathy, and ethical judgment.
University of Notre Dame senior Prathm Juneja has been named to the United States Rhodes Scholar Class of 2020. Juneja, of Edison, New Jersey, is Notre Dame’s 20th Rhodes Scholar and the 14th from the College of Arts and Letters — including four in the past six years — and will commence his studies in Oxford in October.
Sipping espresso and snacking on pastry, senior Terese Schomogyi counted the number of disposable cups carried out of a café into the sloping streets of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. With funding from the Glynn Family Honors Program, Schomogyi traveled last year to Amsterdam and Stockholm, Sweden, to study sustainable and ethical practices in café culture and marketing, a versatile project that would combine all her passions — political science, peace studies, and sustainability — into a senior thesis. Or, so she thought. In research, sometimes things don’t always go according to plan.
What is the history major like at Notre Dame? “History is more alive than I thought it was, in that history is still an ongoing argument.,” said history major Jarod Luedecker. History majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as analysis, interpretation, empathy, and critical thinking.
In less than three years, Ellen Pil has conducted research in Germany, traveled to the Galápagos Islands, worked for a nongovernmental organization in South Africa, and interned with a nonprofit health center in Chicago. A Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar and a member of the Glynn Family Honors Program, Pil said she is amazed by the support she’s received in identifying opportunities and funding to cultivate her interests and discover intersections between her fields of study.
As an aspiring journalist, I think that anthropology is the perfect field to study. In many ways, the disciplines are similar. Anthropological ethnographies require interviews and observation, just like writing a news article. Similar ethics when building trust and remaining objective apply to each field. Both help me remain informed about the community and allow me to talk to people different from myself. But in key ways, anthropology is different enough that it’s helped me become a far better journalist.
Economics students at the University of Notre Dame are contributing to the evidence-based anti-poverty research conducted by Notre Dame economics professors and research faculty at the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO). Through LEO’s internship program, students gain real-life experience in areas such as project management, data collection, statistical and econometric analysis, and research report writing.
On the way to graduating with majors in Spanish and music, senior Peter Sabini has rekindled old intellectual flames, discovered new passions, and found a future that combines them all. Sabini has studied abroad in Toledo, Spain, scored music in a studio in New York City, and is now translating 40 Spanish poems into English for his senior thesis. “Four years is too short,” he said, “but I got to do a bit of everything.”
After Kaleem Minor graduates with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the College of Arts and Letters this spring, he’ll head to California for a job he’d never dreamed of. In fact, less than a year ago, the soon-to-be analyst for a $35 billion alternative investment firm knew next to nothing about the world of finance. A trip over spring break last year changed his perspective — and his career path. Minor was one of 16 black Notre Dame students who participated in an “alternative investment trek” to the West Coast to learn more about careers in the financial services industry.
Braden Kimmel, an industrial design BFA student, interned this summer at Purposeful Design, an Indianapolis-based furniture company that trains and employs formerly homeless men. “There’s so much more experience you can gain from working with professionals in the field,” he said. Kimmel received funding through the Center for Career Development, which grants undergraduates up to $3,500 to cover living expenses during a qualified summer internship.
In labs, at conferences, and in public policy forums domestic and abroad, Notre Dame neuroscience and behavior majors are exploring and deepening their passion for the study of the human nervous system. Last year, three members of the Class of 2019 used grants they received through the Glynn Family Honors Program to conduct research on meditation and neglected children, measuring stress response, and rethinking justice. Through one discipline, they were able to see a variety of ways in which a firmer grasp of human thinking, affect, and behavior can serve as a force of good in the world.
Mike Schur — creator of The Good Place and Parks and Recreation and a writer and producer on The Office — came to Notre Dame last week to talk to students in the 1-credit The Good Class, which focuses on the philosophy and production of his current NBC show, as well as multiple sections of the God and the Good Life introductory philosophy course.
In the College of Arts and Letters, students can ask meaningful questions and pursue their passions in a range of fields from anthropology to theology. Because the requirements are flexible, students can take classes across disciplines to find a major they love or synthesize ideas to create knowledge. In this video, students from a range of majors discuss why the possibilities in Arts and Letters are endless.
“If you are considering doing an internship for the summer, I would say absolutely go for it,” said Chaya Cassell, a Program of Liberal Studies and Chinese major in the College of Arts and Letters. Cassell interned at the Sagamore Institute, a public policy think tank based in downtown Indianapolis. Her main project was researching and writing a brief on the West African experience and transitional justice in Liberia. Notre Dame’s Meruelo Family Center for Career Development awarded Cassell a grant to support her during the internship, which “really made the summer a lot easier for me and encouraged me in pursuing all the things I want to do this summer with the internship,” she said.