Notre Dame junior Katie Portman spent summer 2015 doing archaeological fieldwork while living on the M.V. Pitsiulak, a 50-foot longliner, off the coast of subarctic Canada. Despite weather issues, engine malfunctions, and permit-related delays, the experience caused her to fall in love with—and major in—anthropology. Since then, her research pursuits have taken her to Washington, D.C.; Canada; Ireland; and Russia, for projects including excavation of a medieval Christian pilgrimage site and a study of skeletons of monks from Byzantine Jerusalem.
Latest News » Undergraduate News
Senior Dan Lopes’ project “Scoop Pet Food Dispenser” received a third-place award, and senior Erin Rice’s project “Lead Animal Control Cage” received honorable mention.
For Katie Paige and Laura Heiman, research hasn’t just shaped their undergraduate experiences—it’s shaped their futures, as well. The two senior psychology majors have both gained significant research experience throughout their time at Notre Dame, writing senior theses and working closely with faculty members as they study topics ranging from depression to childhood development.
“An internship abroad is a great starting point for a career abroad,” said Margaret Swinehart, a senior history major in the College of Arts and Letters. Swinehart spent the summer of 2016 interning at the United States Embassy in Rome, Italy. She worked in the non-immigrant visa unit of the consular section, collecting documents and helping applicants prepare for their interviews. Swinehart learned about the internship through the Notre Dame Career and Internship Fair hosted by the Career Center. “The internship started as just something I was intrigued about,” she said. “It has shown me that I would like to pursue a career in government.”
Why Berlin? “Berlin has so much to offer. It wildly exceeded my expectations,” said Taylor Seeman, a senior Program of Liberal Studies and sociology senior who participated in Notre Dame’s Berlin Summer Program. The Berlin Summer Program is a six-week, six-credit program where students can experience Germany’s capital city while learning about its history and culture. Led by faculty in the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures, the program is open to students from all majors, and no prior knowledge of German is necessary.
An interdisciplinary team of four Notre Dame students won second place Friday (January 27) in the Walt Disney Imagineering Imaginations Design Competition. Mark Davidson, Jessica Klouda, Erin Rice, and Madeline Zupan were honored for their project, “The Spirit of the Isle,” a manmade island where guests enter from behind a waterfall to experience an engaging amphitheatre, explore sweeping terraces, or venture into a cave beneath the falls, which can double as an ice-skating rink in winter.
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.
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.
Since it began in 2010, the Arts and Letters Summer Internship Program (ALSIP) has awarded over $600,000 in funding to more than 250 students who gain experience and explore career options in a real-world environment—anywhere from C-SPAN in Washington, D.C., to a product design firm in New York City, to a nonprofit organization in Cape Town, South Africa.
Notre Dame senior Joseph Strasz made the most of his study abroad experience by participating in the Rome International Scholars Program—a unique opportunity for students interested in conducting research, completing an internship, and participating in extensive service learning in Rome. “I am exceptionally glad that I chose to do this. It has been 100% worth it,” said Strasz, an Italian studies and Greek and Roman civilizations major.
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.
Even during fall break, College of Arts and Letters students were hard at work. They toured Latin America to perform sacred music. They gathered to collaborate on senior thesis projects and dissertations. And they traveled to major cities across the U.S. to explore career options and network with Notre Dame alumni.
Four students from Notre Dame's College of Arts and Letters have been selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to study or intern abroad during the spring 2017 academic term. This is the most Gilman Scholars Notre Dame has had selected in a single competition.
The Institute for International Education ranked the University of Notre Dame fourth among doctorate-granting universities for undergraduate participation in study abroad during the academic year 2014-15. This represents a significant increase from the University’s ranking of #10 last year in the annual Open Doors report.
Through intensive language coursework and daily interaction with native speakers, the Summer Language Abroad experience allows students to rapidly enhance their command of a foreign language—be it Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese, French, German, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, or Swahili. About 60 participated in the 2016 SLA program through Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures.
Notre Dame senior Sienna Wdowik knows exactly the type of job she wants after graduation. Her two majors in the College of Arts and Letters and multiple international experiences, internships, and research projects will help her land it. “It’s really important to me to find a position where I can serve my country and use the knowledge that I have to do counterterrorism work,” she said. For Wdowik, majoring in political science and Arabic was the perfect way to prepare for that.
Watkins, a native of Blacksburg, Virginia, and Doyle, of Los Altos, California, are two of 32 Rhodes Scholars selected from a pool of 882 candidates who had been endorsed by their colleges and universities. They are Notre Dame’s 18th and 19th Rhodes Scholars and will commence their studies at Oxford University in October.
The public has lots of questions about refugees, and William Evans and Danny Fitzgerald have come up with some answers. Evans, chair and Keough-Hesburgh Professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Economics, and Fitzgerald, a senior economics and mathematics major, have been analyzing a quarter-century of data to determine the economic impact of refugees who enter the United States. They will present their findings to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday (Nov. 15).
King Fok, a a junior majoring in sociology and Arts and Letters pre-health with a minor in international development studies, has been awarded the 2016 Lord Acton Memorial Scholarship for his semester of study at Notre Dame’s London Global Gateway. Launched by the Association of American Study Abroad Programmes (AASAP/UK), the Lord Acton Memorial Scholarship rewards a “deserving student” who “demonstrates an understanding and appreciation of the value of an international educational experience.”
Senior Ann Gallagher won the 2016 Monteverdi Prize through Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies (PLS), allowing her to spend the summer as a scholar-in-residence at Monteverdi Tuscany, an Italian hotel and center for the liberal arts founded by PLS alumnus Michael Cioffi ’75. The Monteverdi Prize, a scholarship created by the Cioffi family for PLS majors, also includes research funding for the summer and $10,000 toward the recipient’s university student account.
When honors medieval studies major Karen Neis ’16 took a class on Charlemagne, the unusual story of the emperor’s prized elephant resonated with her. She recalled that story when it came time to choose a senior thesis, ultimately leading her to produce an illustrated children’s book, Abul Abbas, The Elephant. The book recounts the journey of the elephant a caliph gave as a gift to Charlemagne around the year 800. In the story, a Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim all work together to transport the elephant 3,000 miles from Baghdad to Aachen.
A documentary by two Notre Dame student filmmakers has been featured in 12 film festivals across the country and won numerous awards. It's the latest success story for documentarians from Notre Dame, a line that extends from How to Die in Oregon director Peter Richardson to The Great Alone’s Greg Kohs to Wordplay director Patrick Creadon. That tradition of excellence extends to 2015 graduate Dylan Parent, whose short documentary on a Holocaust survivor screened at the St. Louis International Film Festival, and Erin Zacek ’11 and Dan Moore ’11, whose film was chosen for the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival.
Notre Dame announces the launch of the Latino Studies Scholars Program (LSSP). The merit-based scholarship and accompanying curriculum for undergraduate students is designed to attract and shape leaders working to support and empower Latino communities. The scholarship was created by the University’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) as part of its mission to advance the understanding of the fastest growing and youngest population in the United States and the Catholic Church.
Notre Dame theology major John “Jake” Grefenstette ’16 has been named a Yenching Scholar at Peking University in Beijing. The globally competitive award provides Grefenstette with a full scholarship and stipend to pursue an interdisciplinary master’s degree in China studies. He is one of just 125 students—from 40 countries and more than 80 universities worldwide—to join the second cohort of Yenching Scholars.
For a talented group of students and young alumni from Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, the dream of having their film screened at a Los Angeles film festival was realized this summer. The showcase, hosted by the College of Arts and Letters, was held at the Directors Guild of America Theatre this summer. It featured six student films and a short documentary from the “First Time Fans” series, directed by alumni filmmakers.
After spending part of an undergraduate study abroad trip working with struggling teen mothers in Chile, Lauren Antosz ’16 left with the nagging feeling there was more she could do. She’ll get the chance with a grant from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, helping to develop a program that supports at-risk youth achieve higher outcomes. Antosz, who majored in Spanish, is one of a record 29 Notre Dame Fulbright Scholars for the 2016-17 year.
From the first flicker of life in Frankenstein’s monster to the spark of unexpected connection between two high school students, the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre’s 2016-17 theatre season features an array of diverse, compelling productions. The department will present two student-written plays, In Paradisum and The Pink Pope, followed by an adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Lauren Gunderson’s I and You, and Christ’s Passion: Medieval Mystery Plays.
Arts and Letter junior Emily Vincent discovered Chunmiao Little Flower on a service trip during high school in 2013. There, she learned the extent of China’s issue with orphaned and abandoned children. There are an estimated 600,000 abandoned children in China—98 percent of whom have disabilities. That first experience at Chunmiao Little Flower set the course for Vincent’s future—and, ultimately, led her to choose Notre Dame, inspired by the University’s devotion to human solidarity and concern for the common good.
Notre Dame's sustainability program, open to all majors, seeks to inspire students to cultivate practices and ways of living that preserve natural resources for future generations. The minor is housed in the College of Science, but it has proven to be an ideal way for Arts and Letters students to connect their interest in science with their passion for the humanities.
Notre Dame alumna Ray’Von Jones ’16 wants to make a difference in the world of education. And her sociology and Spanish majors are going to help her get there. “Education doesn’t only happen inside schools,” Jones said. “It happens in communities and in neighborhoods. So it’s important for me to have a larger understanding of what’s going on in our country in terms of racial climate, what different communities look like, and how they interact.