Notre Dame junior John “Jack” Boland has been awarded a 2021 Phi Beta Kappa Key into Public Service Scholarship for his academic excellence, leadership and commitment to public service. Boland — a political science major and philosophy, politics, and economics minor from Herndon, Virginia — is one of 20 sophomores and juniors from Phi Beta Kappa institutions selected for the award from more than 800 applicants.
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Matthew Canonico ’20 has won the Dante Society of America’s Dante Prize for best undergraduate essay — the third time since 2014 that a Notre Dame student has received the award.
A mathematics and Italian major, Canonico combined his two academic interests to explore deeper truths in Dante’s Divine Comedy.
“There are a lot of hidden treasures in Dante,” he said. “Sometimes when reading Dante, something would click, and I’d get tingles down my spine. It’s an inexhaustible piece of art that, 700 years later, is still inspiring scholarship.”
Seven seniors in the Department of Economics have secured highly competitive pre-doctoral positions for after graduation — three with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, two at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and one each at the National Bureau of Economic Research and Northwestern University's Global Poverty Research Lab. “These positions are both prestigious and highly competitive,” said Eric Sims, professor and chair of the department. “In these roles, individuals work as research assistants — and often as coauthors — with leading professional economists on cutting-edge research aimed at solving some of the most pressing issues facing society.”
Five Notre Dame students, representing the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Engineering, and Science, have been selected for a Naughton Fellowship Award for 2021-22. Offered annually, the Naughton Fellowships provide opportunities for students from some of Ireland's leading research universities and the University of Notre Dame to experience international education in the STEM disciplines.
Twenty-six University of Notre Dame students and alumni — including 21 from the College of Arts & Letters — have been awarded Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants to teach or study abroad during the 2021-22 academic year. Notre Dame has been a top producer of Fulbright students for seven consecutive years.
After growing up in a neighborhood where many of his friends didn’t make it to college, senior Diego Reynoso knows firsthand the challenges facing students in low-income communities. Now, as the second person in his family to graduate from college, Reynoso hopes to use his Notre Dame education to empower Latino communities and marginalized individuals. His time in the College of Arts & Letters and the Institute for Latino Studies, he said, have given him the skills, resources, and support to do so. “I do this for my family because they never had the opportunities that I have right now,” he said. “Just doing the most I can to help those who come from similar situations means the world to my family.”
In California, the land is sinking because the groundwater reservoirs have become so depleted; in Florida, groundwater overuse has led to the development of sinkholes, and in Louisiana, groundwater declined 200 feet between the 1930s and the 1970s. Groundwater overuse is nothing new. But in her senior thesis, Notre Dame senior Mika Inoue is taking a new approach. Drawn to major in economics and applied and computational mathematics and statistics based on her interest in the intersection of qualitative and quantitative analysis, Inoue is working with a committee of interdisciplinary professors and researchers to develop a model for integrating real-life scenarios into groundwater pumping models.
Madeline Owen of Columbus, Ohio, has been named valedictorian and Alexis Waldschmidt from Naperville, Illinois, was selected salutatorian of the 2021 University of Notre Dame graduating class. A neuroscience and behavior major, Owen minored in poverty studies and was a Glynn Family Honors scholar. Waldschmidt, a biological sciences and Chinese major, is a member of the University’s Phi Beta Kappa honor society and Dean’s List.
Senior Dain Kim had never been to Notre Dame before she arrived on campus for orientation. As a student at an international high school in Seoul, Korea, she knew she wanted to go to college in the U.S. — in a city, preferably, like one in New York or California. Instead, she ended up in South Bend. Now a psychology and statistics major with a minor in computing and digital technologies, Kim plans to pursue a career working to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion programs — helping others like herself who need to adapt quickly to entirely new cultures or circumstances.
The University of Notre Dame has launched the Center for Citizenship & Constitutional Government, a new hub of scholarship and education that strives to be a national focal point on Catholicism, constitutional government, and liberal democracy. The new center seeks to cultivate thoughtful and educated citizens by supporting scholarship and education concerning the ideas and institutions of constitutional government.
A supplementary major in education, schooling, and society (ESS) will be offered at Notre Dame beginning this fall allowing students to take ESS courses and complement their primary major in a more intensive way. ESS explores the questions of how humans learn and how society, politics, and the economy influence that learning. Since its start in 2002, ESS has grown into one of the largest minors in the College of Arts and Letters, with about 115 students in the program each year.
When Brianna Drummond walked into her first Russian class at Notre Dame, she didn’t know much about the language — including that it had its own alphabet. Now, nearly four years later, Drummond is reading poetry and prose in Russian, discussing how they connect to important historical events, and preparing for a full-time IT job at Ford Motor Co. that could draw on her knowledge of Russian. “I was motivated by the challenge (of advanced classes), combined with the fact that I had a team with me, and the professors were always checking in because it’s a small department, so everyone knows you,” she said. “I have so many friends now from the Russian major — it’s a great way to have a little community within the larger Notre Dame community.”
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Matt Hawkins wanted to teach his students the value of resilience — and the power of performance art. At a time when nearly all live theatre has been suspended for more than a year, Hawkins found a way to safely bring back the musical his students had spent months planning for and rehearsing during spring 2020. Last month, he directed a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar at Notre Dame Stadium, featuring most of the original cast.
Notre Dame senior Augustine Pasin will study at the Yenching Academy of Peking University next year as one of 117 global Yenching Scholars. He is Notre Dame’s seventh Yenching Scholar since 2017. Yenching Scholars participate in an interdisciplinary master’s degree program in China studies at Yenching Academy, a postgraduate college of Peking University that brings together young people with a demonstrated talent for leadership and innovation.
Notre Dame juniors Tarik Brown and Gregory Miller have been named 2021 Truman Scholars, becoming the University’s 10th and 11th Truman Scholars since 2010. Brown and Miller are among 62 recipients of the award from a pool of more than 840 candidates. They were recommended by 17 independent selection panels based on their academic success and leadership and likelihood of becoming public service leaders. Brown is a computer science major and Hesburgh Program in Public Service minor and Miller is an economics and applied and computational mathematics and statistics major and a Hesburgh Program in Public Service and constitutional studies minor.
Developing an entirely student-run undergraduate journal isn’t an overnight process. Even choosing a name can be painstaking. After settling on Americana — chosen for its brevity and clear affiliation with American studies — the journal’s staff launched the first online issue this spring, featuring more than a dozen articles, essays, and multimedia projects on issues including race, gender, class, media, transnationalism, and the history of ideas. The journal’s mission statement expresses that it aims to encourage high-quality research in American studies and the Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy in order to “foster an interdisciplinary conversation” and provide publishing opportunities for undergraduates.
Housed in the Department of Economics, the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economics Opportuniites partners with organizations across the United States, turning research into action to lift people out of poverty. Interns work side-by-side with leading economists throughout the year, and some are able to travel to partner organizations over the summer to work on-site. “I chose LEO because this was an opportunity that I wouldn't really be able to get anywhere else,” said Josie Donlon, an international economics and Spanish major who spent a summer creating a real-time poverty tracker during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Julian Bonds loves helping young people, so it’s only natural that the English and history major would seek a career in education. Through his interdisciplinary Arts & Letters courses, research, and interests outside of the classroom, Bonds has developed his knowledge of the education system, its benefits and flaws, and his potential role in it. “Three things have been embedded in almost all of my Arts and Letters classes — creativity, passion, and a relentless drive to learn more about a subject,” he said. “Regardless of the career path I ultimately choose, I hope to always remain willing to be creative, eager to engage with things I am passionate about, and relentless in learning more about everything in order to better help the young people I work with.”
The Department of Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) will produce † on the field of Notre Dame Stadium at 8 p.m. Friday, April 9. Tickets are free and available only to students, faculty and staff with a Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s or Holy Cross ID. FTT had planned to put on the production last April, but the pandemic prevented that from happening.
With majors in design and computer science through the Reilly Center Dual Degree Program, Hind Zahour knew very little about DNA — but she didn’t let that stop her from joining a COVID-19 research team last summer. When Zahour’s consulting internship was shortened due to the pandemic, she sought out an opportunity related to the global crisis and was invited to work with with an engineering professor, running code code to determine what genes are affected by COVID-19. The tangibility and creativity of Zahour's design major and concentration in industrial design have become the perfect balance to the technical coding work she does in computer science — and the combination has given her a more holistic way of thinking.
The musical production My Heart Says Go has come a long way since Jorge “Jay” Rivera-Herrans ’20 began writing it in his dorm room at the University of Notre Dame. Rivera-Herrans had recently switched majors – from pre-med to film, television, and theatre (FTT) – and that became his inspiration for the production. But going from concept to a fully developed musical has been a winding journey.
At Notre Dame, students in a course called the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act Clinic are drafting dossiers to the U.S. government to request sanctions against the perpetrators of serious human rights abuses or corruption. Notre Dame is one of more than 250 consortium members that Human Rights First partners on such efforts — but the only one that involves undergraduates. Students who take the course gain valuable experience that prepares them for careers in human rights or anti-corruption, and several have now founded a student group to continue the work they started in the class.
When Veronica Mansour landed her first role in musical theater as Marcie in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at age 8, she never imagined she would one day write a musical of her own. She still has trouble believing it now. A senior English and music major with a minor in musical theatre, Mansour spent last semester workshopping her original musical, An Old Family Recipe, which will be filmed over the course of a few weeks and released to the public in a live-streamed opening night this spring.
For the second consecutive year, the University of Notre Dame has been ranked as the best in the world in theology, divinity, and religious studies by the influential QS World University Rankings. The No. 1 ranking is based on academic reputation, employer reputation, and research impact. With an overall score of 92.8, the Department of Theology placed ahead of Harvard University, the University of Oxford, Duke University, and Durham University.
When Stacy Manrique joined a group of Notre Dame students visiting Mexico’s prestigious Monterrey Institute of Technology two summers ago, it felt like a homecoming. It wasn’t just the fact that Manrique is a native of Monterrey. She was also delighted to connect with students from “El Tec” — young women and men just as passionate about technology and social responsibility as she is. Manrique, who is majoring in computer science and film, television, and theatre through the Reilly Center Dual Degree Program, looks back at this and many other experiences she’s had through the Institute for Latino Studies as touchstones in her educational journey.
With 29 finalists — including 24 from the College of Arts & Letters — Notre Dame ranked 7th this year in a tie with New York University, according to the U.S. State Department, which administers the Fulbright Program via the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Children love to act things out. Some pretend to be a mother or a father, others act as a shopkeeper or pose as a singer. At age 6, John Draves wanted to be a priest. Now a senior at Notre Dame, he never abandoned that passion for his faith. As a seminarian in the Congregation of the Holy Cross, Draves uses his faith as backdrop through which he pursues his academic interests — majors in American studies and philosophy and a minor in theology.
Sophomore Mariko Jurcsak remembers the moment she became hooked on ancient history. She was in her high school Latin class, reading a poem by the Roman poet Catallus about the death of his brother, when her teacher shared that he had connected with the poem after his own brother had passed away. Connecting with history on the basis of shared humanity gave Jurcsak a new perspective on the subject — and inspired her to major in Greek and Roman civilization in the Department of Classics.
Notre Dame senior Margaret “Meg” Burns, an art history major from San Antonio, Texas, has been awarded a 2021–22 Luce Scholarship. The scholarship provides a stipend, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia, with a goal of enhancing the understanding of Asia among potential leaders of American society. Burns is Notre Dame’s 10th Luce Scholar in total and its third since 2014.
Seven Notre Dame students with majors or minors in the College of Arts & Letters have been awarded spring Gilman Scholarships to study abroad, for a total of 15 students so far for the 2020-21 academic year. Two Notre Dame students, both Arts & Letters majors, have been named alternates for the award.