Notre Dame’s Catholic character and commitment to the humanities endow the University with a unique perspective, and role, in leading an international conversation about addressing the global crisis of climate change, said Roy Scranton, an associate professor of English who directs the Initiative.
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For senior film, television, and theatre major Kiera Russo, taking Cinema of Portugal and Lusophone Africa was a highlight of her sophomore spring semester. Despite not knowing Portuguese, she relished being able to engage in deep discussions with classmates about cinematic productions from Portugal, Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde. In this Q&A, she discusses what the class' most thought-provoking moments, the strong relationship she developed with the professor, and how it changed her understanding of film.
“As I create art and share it with those around me, I am provided with a great support system that provides both feedback and connections with people who may be in the hunt for creative services that I can offer,” said Grosso, who is an resident advisor, dances with Ballet Folklorico Azul Y Oro, and has served as a minister at the Latino First Year Retreat.
Sophia Alvarez's favorite class is CogSci Goes to School, which examines how cognitive science informs educational practices; it includes tutoring in area schools. Ryan Van Kirk enjoyed Childhood Maltreatment Practicum, which involves mentoring a child in the foster care system. For Chris Walsh, Drunk on Film fostered meaningful discussions about the normalization of binge drinking in our culture.
In Bridger-Teton National Forest last summer, nine incoming Notre Dame merit scholars camped for four nights as part of an excursion sponsored by the Institute for Latino Studies. The newest group of Latino Studies merit scholars, also known as LSSP 6, hiked 3-6 miles a day. "Overall, it was the bonding experiences between my fellow scholars that I most appreciated," said Johanna Jimenez, a pre-health major from Minneapolis.
When Opera Notre Dame’s first film production made its debut last year, it was immediately recognized as a novel way to safely create and share a musical performance during the height of the pandemic. Now, Please Look: A Cinematic Opera Experience has won the inaugural Award for Digital Excellence in the university/conservatory category from Opera America, the hub of the national opera community. The award highlights how supporting the creative vision of faculty and students has made the University a pioneer in the future of an art form as it wades into the new entertainment reality of streaming video.
Sophomore history and political science major Michael Donelan considers Moby-Dick & 19th-Century America with Jake Lundberg to be one of the most exciting courses he has taken while at Notre Dame. In this Q&A, he discusses the appeal of the small, seminar-style class in which students explore Herman Melville’s 1851 masterpiece as a gateway into learning about life in 19th-century America as a whole.
The College of Arts & Letters has added a minor in international security studies (ISS) to help students understand root causes of war and other violent conflicts in order to pursue paths to peace. Based in the Notre Dame International Security Center (NDISC), the minor will seek to help students deepen their knowledge about national and international security as well as develop an awareness of past and present global conflicts, and access tools to evaluate security arguments.
In the fields of neuroscience and neuroanatomy, scholars often cite a 93-year-old paper that examines the thickness of cortical folds. The problem, at least for an English-reading audience, is that this knowledge has always been hiding in plain sight. The article was written in German but never fully translated — until now, thanks to a Notre Dame College of Engineering professor and a Class of 2022 graduate with a deep understanding of the language.
When the College of Arts & Letters launched a new major that allows students to pair computer science with another liberal arts discipline, Grace Conners was one of the first to apply. Now a senior, she has taken extensive computer science coursework in engineering while also having room in her schedule to pursue a supplementary major in peace studies. Along the way, she’s had four internships that have helped her consider what her future career will look like — one that, ideally, involves using computer science as a tool for peacebuilding.
A new Italian language course led is empowering Notre Dame students to educate students of their own — African refugees who must learn basic Italian before they can relocate to Italy. Through leading online class sessions, five undergraduates from a range of majors and one graduate student sharpened their Italian skills, learned how to teach others, and developed global awareness and empathy for the refugee experience.
At Notre Dame, students in a course called the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act Clinic have drafted dossiers to the U.S. government to request sanctions against the perpetrators of those crimes. Led by faculty member Thomas Kellenberg, the practicum course is framed around a federal law that allows nongovernmental organizations to request U.S. sanctions against foreign persons who have committed serious human rights abuses or corruption.
The latest video in the "What Would You Fight For?" series show how students who have taken the course gain valuable experience that prepares them for careers in human rights or anti-corruption. Their investigations have caught the eye of the U.S. State and Treasury Departments and have made a real impact in the effort to fight international corruption.
Stories of founder Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., are legend at the University of Notre Dame. But now, thanks to a trove of never-before-translated letters and a class taught by French professor Rev. Gregory Haake, C.S.C., students are getting the chance to learn more about the young priest defined by his unshakeable faith and determination — through his own words — and to share what they are uncovering with the world. The correspondence spans nearly 50 years and paints a vivid picture of life in the mid-19th century amid the challenges of building a university.
What is the classics major like at Notre Dame? “If you like history or poetry or art history or literature, you can find your own path in classics. I wouldn't want to have been anywhere else,” said student Nicholas Mungan. Classics majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as critical thinking, analysis, writing, and problem solving, then go on to top graduate and professional schools and work in a variety of professions and industries.
Learning a second, or third, language is transformative for Notre Dame students. Developing the ability to read, speak, and comprehend Arabic, Chinese, or any of the other 15+ languages that Notre Dame offers, improves memory and problem-solving skills. It also deepens appreciation of cultures, enhances travel experiences, boosts confidence, and expands understanding of the world.
What is the international economics major like at Notre Dame? "International economics brings that global perspective into economics, and it gives you the opportunity to study a language while you go through it," said student Antonio Villegas Jimenez. International economics majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as language proficiency, empathy, critical thinking, and problem solving. “I could combine this interest in economics and the way that helps you see the world with the opportunity to study Arabic in an advanced way," said major Anastasia Reisinger. "We really get a holistic vision of economics."
Anoop Sunkara is ready to work in consulting. Or be a doctor. Or advocate for better health care public policy. Wherever his career path ends up taking him, the coursework, research, internships, service, and hands-on training he’s completed during his time at Notre Dame have prepared him to do it all. “The Arts & Letters education is a fantastic track for students who desire to study and expand their knowledge beyond the traditional science field,” said Sunkara, a senior majoring in economics and Arts & Letters pre-health. “For me, I’ve always wanted to be taking science classes, but Arts & Letters gives me a vocational perspective — an ability to think and speak about big-picture issues beyond knowing basic chemistry and biology.”
What is the economics major like at Notre Dame? "Econ is everywhere. We're taking real world problems and looking at them through an economic lens," said student MyKayla Geary. Economics majors pursue their passions while developing skills such as critical thinking, analysis, writing, and problem solving. “If you understand the why, you can actually start pulling on these strings that underlie everyone's decision making process," said major Mac Ryan. "Honestly, it's been it's been life-changing for me. I've loved every second of it."
The Class of 2024 member said the project has highlighted the countless hands throughout the centuries who laboriously hand-copied manuscripts for their preservation. "The idiosyncrasies of Greek handwriting is a world I had not been exposed to before, and being able to read it is a unique experience, not to mention a very important skill to have in my field."
Even after accounting for demographic variables (gender, race/ethnicity, parental educational attainment), researchers found that undergraduate students who reported greater pandemic-induced stress tended to have greater test anxiety and were less confident in their computer skills.
Dinah Lawan won the 2022 Gary F. Barnabo Political Science Writing Prize for the best paper about a current national or global issue that provides a plan for specific action and a nonviolent resolution. Lawan recommended a peacebuilding approach to effectively dismantle Boko Haram, which has has killed more than 350,000 people in Nigeria.
The Illinois resident became interested in studying Chinese when her aunt moved to Beijing to report on the 2008 Olympics. Margaret Rauch thrived in her ND Chinese language classes, completing the highest level in her sophomore year. She then took Classical Chinese and designed an independent research project—three semesters of directed readings that examined Su Xuelin, a May Fourth Intellectual who converted to Catholicism and wrote horny Heart.
Irma Ibarra, who spoke Spanish and English when she arrived in South Bend, majored in Italian, studied in Rome, took Beginning French, and wishes she had taken a Portuguese course. Studying French helped Kyle Dorshorst gain a deeper appreciation of French music, literature, art, and culture. Maria Teel loved that her language skills could bridge gaps between people, including at the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. When Fouad El Zoghbi came to Notre Dame, he spoke French, English, and Arabic. Then he studied Spanish. Learning a new language, he said, expands your mind in unimaginable ways.
The College of Arts & Letters had 22 students selected as finalists for the 2022-23 Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Established in 1946, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program, assisting graduate and undergraduate students with pursuing graduate study, teaching English or researching abroad.
The Office of the Provost presented Kimberly Belcher, Ann-Marie Conrado, Blake Leyerle, Forrest Spence, and Michael Macaluso with Joyce Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and presented Maureen Dawson with a Dockweiler Award for outstanding advising.
Congratulations to the Class of 2022! This video, screened at the Arts and Letters Diploma Ceremony, features several seniors reflecting on their time at Notre Dame and in the College of Arts and Letters. “Your peers, your professors, everybody wants you to be the best version of yourself that you can be,” said political science and Latino studies major Matheo Vidal. “There is no place like Notre Dame, and I'm just so thankful that I was blessed to be able to experience it.”
It didn’t take long for Graham “Mac” Ryan to figure out what he wanted to study at Notre Dame. After just one conversation during a campus visit and hearing about the economics major and the philosophy, politics, and economics minor, he knew those were the programs for him. Determining how he wanted to use those professionally, though, was going to take some time. So Ryan decided to make the most of his summers figuring that out.
When the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly halted international travel, Mary Shiraef’s fieldwork plan to investigate the outcomes of communist-era border policies in Albania was postponed indefinitely. So she pivoted.The Notre Dame political science doctoral candidate decided to map pandemic-induced border closures around the world. Two years later, the project has been reported on in more than 40 news outlets, the data was peer-reviewed and published in the Nature Portfolio’s Scientific Data, Scientific Reports published the open-source results, and the National Library of Medicine posted the study. The international research collaboration is still active and continues to provide valuable skills-development opportunities for Notre Dame undergraduates.
What do studio art, German, history, fairy tales, and subverting gender tropes have in common? Notre Dame undergraduate Naya Tadavarthy has used all of them in creating her senior thesis project. Tadavarthy’s wide range of academic interests have now culminated in a perfect ending — she’s writing and illustrating a children’s book about German author Gisela von Arnim, who was creating protofeminist fairytales as a teenager in the 1840s, at a time when the world lacked female-focused literary figures.
Mikaela Ramsey has wanted to be an educator since she first set foot in a classroom at age 5. Since enrolling at Notre Dame, she’s been preparing for that career in the classroom. And far beyond. For Ramsey, now a senior, that preparation has included majoring in sociology and concentrating in Spanish. To gain additional knowledge, skills, and experience, she’s taken courses in the education, schooling, and society program and she was an Alliance for Catholic Education intern.